Budget-Building Guidelines

Below are some basic guidelines on building a budget, aimed to help you fill out the Simpson Center's budget-building spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is required for a funding round proposal and should be bundled into your submission as part of your PDF. 

Expense Categories


$300‐750 national, $1,200‐2,000 international. When checking fares, it is best to use quotes from UW contract travel agencies or airline providers for travel between the guest's home and Seattle, as this is how we purchase and reimburse airfare. (For UW policies on travel, consult the Travel Office.)

Ground Transportation

$120 is a good figure to accommodate all legs of ground transport (taxi, Lyft, Uber, etc.). 


The Simpson Center’s preferred hotel is the Graduate Hotel. Its nightly rate varies based chiefly on time of year. Winter is low season; late spring and early fall are high season. $200 is a good estimate. The hotel is within walking distance to campus and has both a casual restaurant/bar and a coffee shop. Let us know if you prefer to use another hotel.

A note on planning hotel stays: for guests flying in from east of the Rockies, flights departing Seattle to fly east are almost all morning flights (6:30am-10:30am departures), or red-eyes with a layover (departing Seattle 7:30-10:30pm). For this reason, we recommend adding an extra night for east coast guests (e.g. For a Thursday afternoon lecture, guest flies in Wednesday evening, departs Friday morning, total of 2 nights; for a Thursday afternoon lecture + workshop, guest flies in Wednesday evening, departs Saturday morning, unless red-eye preferred).


Many conferences provide honoraria as well as travel expenses only for keynote speakers; conferences that feature only invited speakers or multiple plenary sessions may do otherwise.

The amounts for conference speakers varies. For visiting faculty speakers, we suggest $500 for assistant professors, $750 for associate professors, and $1000 for full professors. A larger honorarium is sometimes offered when the speaker is engaged for multiple days in workshops, seminars, and/or class visits in addition to a lecture. Local speakers generally take less time out of their schedules for a lecture or visit and often receive smaller honoraria. If you'd like to proposal a different amount, please discuss with the Simpson Center before submitting your proposal. Generally, we do not process honoraria for conference speakers for less than $200 (graduate research clusters may offer $200 or less). To give more minimal and symbolic forms of support, we suggest offering travel funds.

Food & Beverage

These estimates allow for drop‐off and/or service fees, and applicable permits.

  • $20/person: Simpson Center lunch 
  • $25/person: UW Club lunch (Cascade Room)
  • $200: standard Simpson Center reception for 30 people
  • $50/person: hearty appetizers by outside caterer for up to 30 people
  • $85/person: restaurant dinner for up to 8 people
  • $75/person: catered dinner at Simpson Center or faculty home for up to 14 people

We do not recommend a restaurant dinner for over 8 people. Instead, we suggest a reception for a large group and then a dinner for a small group. This is a perfect way to facilitate conversation after a lecture between all the attendees, and then take the guest lecturer and a few people out for intimate conversation.


The Simpson Center makes its space available gratis and we prioritize scheduling funded projects in our space. Learn more about Simpson Center room details

There are occasions that funded projects need larger rooms or our space is not available. 

Other options include:

See a full list of campus facilities and venues with UW contracts. Off‐campus facilities may provide contracts or invoices for use of their space.

If you have audiovisual needs, be sure to inquire about the availability and cost of equipment and/or support.

Student Assistants

We recommend that events occuring outside of the Simpson Center rooms include wages for student hourly assistance to help with on-site logistics. Our rate is $20/hour for graduate students and, starting Jan 1, 2019, approx. $16/hour for undergraduates, plus benefits. We follow all City of Seattle minimum wage increases for large employers for our undergraduate students. Increases may happen throughout the year, so refer to Seattle or the state's website. In addition to potential undergraduate wage increases, projects will budget in benefits. We recommend an estimate of 22 percent benefits for 2019-20.

For example, 20 hours of graduate student assistance would be $400 plus $88 for benefits (400 x .22)for a total of $488.


Variable. The Simpson Center can provide print and electronic flyers, distributed on campus and available for circulation through your networks. See our Publicity Assistance webpage to learn how the Simpson Center helps publicize funded projects.

The Simpson Center is happy to talk with you about publicity as you prepare your budget and proposal. Additionally, you might find our Determining Your Project’s Publicity Needs webpage helpful.

Conference Programs

If you are planning a conference and plan to use Simpson Center conference programs, please budget for printing expenses. These expenses vary, based on quantity and number of pages needed (i.e.: 50 single-sheet copies may cost $50, whereas 150 multi-page copies may run around $100-150). The Simpson Center generally prints no more than 50 programs for conferences taking place in Communications 202 that are open to campus audiences (the room holds about 35 people). For working conferences and workshops that are closed to the public, we print fewer programs, depending on the number of participants. If you feel that you will need more than 50 programs for your event, please let us know in advance.   

Research Funds

The Simpson Center’s Executive Board may grant UW faculty a research fund of $1,500 to organize a complex conference or speaker series. The Simpson Center also offers a research fund to teach a one-credit micro‐seminar in conjunction with a conference or symposium.

Per Diem Expenses

As a practice, the Simpson Center does not pay per diem expenses. Instead, we encourage UW hosts to organize lunches and dinners with invited speakers.

Other Revenue

Budgets should detail anticipated expenses and sources of revenue and include in the budget proposal.

Sample Budgets

Budgets should detail anticipated expenses and sources of revenue. Where possible, expenses should be broken out in detail. 

  • Sample Project Budget A: Speaker Series outlines a budget for 3 invited speakers and includes honoraria, transportation and accommodations, meals/events, and basic publicity. 
  • Sample Project Budget B: Medium-Sized Conference outlines a budget for 8 invited speakers (6 domestic, 2 international). Includes honoraria, transportation and accommodations, meals, venue considerations, programs, and basic publicity for a conference lasting approximately 2.5 days. 

We encourage applicants to meet with us before submitting a proposal. To schedule a meeting, contact Assistant Director Rachel Arteaga.