Graduate Student Compensation

Release Date:

In addition to superseding the notice that appeared in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 25, No. 8, March 15, 1996, this notice supersedes one published by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in the NIH Guide, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 26, 1996.

This notice supersedes the notice that appeared in the NIH Guide for Grants and ​Contracts, Vol. 25, No. 8, March 15, 1996, about the compensation of graduate students with funds from National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants. The purpose of this notice is to raise the maximum amount provided by NIH research grants for the compensation of a graduate student employee from $23,000 to $26,000. As before, the amount provided for compensation includes salary or wages, fringe benefits, and tuition remission.

These following operating guidelines apply to individuals who are employees of ​the grantee institution, not to individuals in a training status. NIH has a separate appropriation under the authorization of the National Research Service Act to award institutional research training grants and individual fellowships to support research training.

Operating Guidelines

Effective immediately, NIH will provide up to $26,000 for graduate student compensation on competing grant and cooperative agreement awards. No adjustments will be made to noncompeting total cost award levels or future year commitments. NIH staff will review the compensation requested for graduate students on competing grant and cooperative agreement applications for which a budget is submitted. NIH will not request budgets for those applications submitted following modular grant instructions solely for the purpose of reviewing graduate student compensation, although the role of a graduate student must be described in the budget narrative section. However, this does not eliminate the requirement that institutions ensure that reasonable rates of compensation are being charged to NIH research grants.

When submitting budgets that request support for a graduate student, the applicant institution should provide in the budget justification section the basis for the compensation level. If not provided, this information will be obtained from the institution's business office for any request that appears excessive. NIH institutes and centers will review the requested compensation level and, if it is reasonable, will award the actual amount requested, up to a maximum of $26,000. Institutions may rebudget funds to charge more than $26,000 to the grant award, provided it is in accordance with OMB cost principles requiring that costs reflect reasonable compensation (e.g., does not exceed the amount paid to a first-year postdoctoral employee at the same institution performing comparable work).


These guidelines are effective immediately. Questions about these