by Jane S. Shaw
“Overhead receipts” are back as a legislative issue. In 2003 Jon Sanders, writing for the Pope Center, pointed out that in 2002 the University of North Carolina system had received $123.6 million in overhead from the federal government research grants, money provided to “defray the administrative and institutional costs in conducting the actual research.” But those costs, he said, had already been covered by the General Assembly. “Thus the overhead receipts stand out as a recoverable pot of money to legislators, especially during a tight budget season.” However, the General Assembly hasn’t seriously tried to recover them since the 1990s, when between 10 and 30 percent of the costs were sent back to the legislature.
This year, the issue has resurfaced, as Duke Cheston reports on the Pope Center site. In its budget bill, the legislature has mandated an annual report of all such overhead and what it has been spent on. The Pope Center will be watching.