Learn About Fringe Benefit Rates

Learn about Columbia University's fringe benefit rates. 


Fringe Rates

Columbia University provides a full array of benefits to its faculty and staff that is either fully or partially funded by the University, including benefit plan-related expenses (medical, retirement, etc.) and tax-related expenses (matching FICA/Medicare tax contributions).

To fund the Columbia-paid benefits, the University applies a fringe benefit rate to salaries as they are paid and charged in the labor accounting system. The fringe benefit rate that is applied depends on a number of factors:

  • Employee attributes including position (job code) and student status
  • Earnings code used for the payment
  • Fund type being charged (e.g., grant, certain endowments)
Fringe Rates

The fringe rate charged to the department on an employee’s earnings is not determined by the (ARC) account number used. This marks a change from the way fringe charges were calculated prior to the implementation of the labor accounting system. 

While the account code charged no longer determines the fringe rate, it is important to continue to use the correct combo-code when charging employee earnings in People@Columbia (PAC). This will ensure that reporting and reconciliation with your budget remains consistent.

Each year, the University establishes with the federal government a single fringe benefit rate that is applied to salaries funded by government grants and contracts, including sub-awards to Columbia from non-governmental sponsors which are pass-throughs of governmental funds.

Although the government rate takes into consideration most of the fringe benefit costs incurred by the University, federal regulations do not permit Columbia to include certain fringe benefit costs, such as the employee tuition benefit for dependent children, in the computation of the government rate. In order to recover these additional fringe benefit costs, the University applies a higher rate to salaries that are funded by sources other than government grants and contracts.

For FY24, the fringe benefit rates are as follows:

(View the Fringe Rate Agreement)

Regular Employees (Includes full time, part-time, and casual employees; does not include Columbia University, Barnard College or Teachers College students):

  • For salaries charged to government grants and contracts: 29.3%.
    • The fringe benefit charge is applied to account 59010.
  • For salaries charged to all other funding sources from July 2023 to December 2023: 33.50%.
    • (29.3% is applied to account 59010, and 4.2% is charged to account 59020)
  • For salaries charged to all other funding sources from January 2024 to June 2024: 33%.
    • (29.3% is applied to account 59010, and 3.7% is charged to account 59020

Student Employees (During the Academic Year):

  • Full time and half time students working during the academic year: 0%
  • Less-than-half-time students working during the academic year:
    • Salaries funded from all sources is 8.15%, charged to account 59030 

Student Employees (Working During the Summer):

  • Full time and half time students enrolled during the summer: 0%
  • Less than half time students enrolled during the summer:
    • Salaries funded from all sources is 8.15%, charged to account 59030
  • Matriculated students (those students who are not enrolled in the summer semester but are enrolled in a degree-granting program and have not graduated or taken a leave):
    • Salaries funded from all sources is 8.15%, charged to account 59030 

Please note: As stated above, there are several factors that determine the actual fringe rate charged. For example, earnings for certain types of employees including Graduate Research assistants are not fringed; earnings associated with certain earnings codes, like clinical practice earnings, are fringed at varying rates determined by the specific earnings code and attributes of the employee.

Fringe benefit charges are not assessed on non-W-2 earnings, such as stipend payments and scholarship payments.

Colleges and Universities Fringe Rate Agreement

To reference the latest approved Fringe Rate Agreement

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