Budget guidelines

Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide

Current SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR eligible and ineligible expenses

Personnel Costs

Recommended minimum stipend amounts (varies by department/school/program):

  • MA:  $12,000/year or $4,000/semester
  • PhD: $15,000/year or $5,000/semester

SFU’s student hourly wage rates

Student Assistants

Minimum Hourly

Benefits @ 12%

Minimum Total

Maximum Hourly

Benefits @ 12%

Maximum Total






















Note: “Benefits” includes statutory welfare benefits of 8% of salary and statutory holiday pay of 4%. Either percentage may be increased by law, or may vary by individual. For budgeting purposes, the 12% figure should be used.

Travel and Subsistence Costs (SFU)

Research travel costs must be essential to research activities or to communicate research results. The SFU Travel Policy (appendix) lists standard rates for travel/subsistence:

  • obtain air travel at the lowest fare possible (cost may not exceed the equivalent of full economy fare)
  • request subsistence costs only for days spent away from home when overnight accommodation is required (maximum 125 days per person, per year)
  • private accommodation: $35/night
  • personal vehicle usage: $0.51/km
  • meals when traveling (rates include tips and taxes):
Within Canada
Breakfast $13
Lunch $15
Dinner $29Total $57/day
Within USA
Breakfast $16
Lunch $18
Dinner $34Total $68/day
Rest of World
Breakfast $13
Lunch $17
Dinner $33Total $63/day

Teaching "Buy Outs"

Some funding agencies provide salary replacement funds to protect research time and "buy out" teaching responsibilities.

According to SFU Policy:

  • the minimum cost of one regular course buy-out is 12% of annual salary
  • a faculty member normally may not buy out more than one course in any academic year
  • buy outs require the approval of the Department Chair and Faculty Dean