Budget-Building Guidelines

We hope these guidelines and budget-building spreadsheet will help you create an estimated budget for your proposal. 

Expense Categories


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.

If you choose another hotel, check the UW contract rate and ensure the quoted rate includes taxes and fees.


Variable. For visiting faculty speakers, we suggest $450 for assistant professors, $650 for associate professors, and $750 for full professors. A larger honorarium is sometimes offered when the speaker is engaged 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.

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.

Generally, we do not process honoraria for less than $200. To give more minimal and symbolic forms of support, we suggest offering travel funds.


$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

$60 one‐way for taxi, Lyft, Uber, etc. 


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

  • $20-25/person: boxed lunch or UW Club (Cascade Room)
  • $30-50/person: catered reception or light buffet dinner
  • $75/person: restaurant dinner for groups of less than 15 people
  • $85-100/person: restaurant dinner for groups of more than 15 people
  • $100‐200: standard Simpson Center reception for 30 people

Room Rental + Equipment Rental or Support

Variable. The Simpson Center makes its space available gratis. Learn more about Simpson Center room details.

Otherwise, we suggest that you consult with the venue in question, as each will likely have its own equipment offerings and related policies.

On the UW Seattle campus, you might consider:

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 2018-19.

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 and ours, for $50 per event.

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 encourages UW hosts to organize lunches and dinners with invited speakers instead of per diem expenses.

Formatting Your Budget

Budgets should detail anticipated expenses and sources of revenue. Where possible, list expenses in detail. Include your budget as part of your bundled 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.

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