Notice of New NIH Policy for Funding of Tuition, Fees, and Health Insurance on Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards

Notice Number: NOT-OD-06-090

Key Dates
Release Date: August 4, 2006

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

The NIH announces a change in policy for funding of tuition, fees, and health insurance costs associated with Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA). The new policy applies to new and competing-continuation (renewal) NRSA institutional research training grants (T32, T34, and T35) beginning in fiscal year (FY) FY 2007, and competing individual fellowships (F30, F31, F32, and F33) awarded beginning in FY 2007. It also applies to institutional research training grants that received competing awards in FY 2006. For this cohort, the FY2007 non-competing awards will be issued recalculating budget categories to reflect this new policy.

Background

The NRSA program has been used by the NIH as the primary means of supporting graduate and postdoctoral research training since enactment of the NRSA legislation in 1974. This program uses a combination of institutional training grants and individual fellowships to ensure a continuing cadre of well-trained scientists prepared to conduct and lead health-related research. Currently, the NIH reimburses 100% of the requested tuition, fees, and health insurance costs up to $3,000 and 60% of the costs above $3,000, per trainee (NIH Grants Policy Statement, 12/2003). Due to the rising costs for tuition, fees, and health insurance, NIH temporarily limited support for these costs for FY 2006 competing applications for NRSA institutional training grant support (NOT-OD-05-059).

In November 2005, the NIH held a Town Hall Meeting to hear comments and insights concerning NRSA fiscal policies. Several potential modifications to the NIH's current tuition, fees, and health insurance formula were discussed at the meeting. The NIH considered the feedback from the meeting participants and other stakeholders, evaluated and modeled several options, and solicited additional comments from the stakeholders (NOT-OD-06-064). NIH received two differing perspectives from the community—part of the community places highest priority on maintaining the current total number of Kirschstein NRSA supported trainees and fellows; another part of the community places highest priority on limiting the additional costs of training that must be born by the awardee institutions. In developing this policy, NIH has sought to balance the need to maintain the preparation of future investigators with a desire to moderate the impact on the extramural research training community. The NIH realizes the potential impact of the new policy, acknowledges the difficulty in deciding among the various options, and has strived to reach an equitable balance amongst them in the following policy, which will be implemented as a pilot to provide a basis for an analysis to reconcile these perspectives.

New Policy

Institutional Training Grants
Effective with new and competing renewal institutional NRSA awards made in FY 2007 and for non-competing awards in FY 2007 for programs that received competing awards in FY 2006, the NIH will provide funds for tuition, fees, health insurance, and training related expenses, as detailed below.

Individual Fellowships

Effective with competing individual NRSA awards made in FY 2007, the NIH will provide funds for tuition, fees, health insurance, and institutional allowance, as detailed below.

The following table summarizes differences between the old policy and the new policy.

Institutional Training Grants

Award
Category

Predoctoral

Postdoctoral

OLD

NEW

OLD

NEW

Stipend

$20,772

$20,772

$35,568-$51,036

$35,568-$51,036

Tuition/Fees

- $3,000 + 60% above $3,000
(includes health insurance)

- 60% up to $16,000

- 60% up to $21,000 for dual degree

- $3,000 + 60% above $3,000
(includes health insurance)

- 60% up to $4,500

- 60% up to $16,000 for additional degree

Training Related Expenses

$2,200

$4,200
(includes health insurance)

$3,850

$7,850
(includes health insurance)

Trainee Travel (per trainee)

$400-$1,000

F&A (Old) 8% (excludes tuition/fees/health insurance, equipment)

F&A (New)

8% (excludes, tuition/fees, equipment)



Individual Fellowships

Award
Category

Predoctoral

Postdoctoral

OLD

NEW

OLD

NEW

Stipend

$20,772

$20,772

$35,568-$51,036

$35,568-$51,036

Tuition/Fees

- $3,000 + 60% above $3,000
(includes health insurance)

- 60% up to $16,000

- 60% up to $21,000 for dual degree

- $3,000 + 60% above $3,000
(does not include health insurance)

- 60% up to $4,500

- 60% up to $16,000 for additional degree

Institutional Allowance

$2,750
$1,650*

$4,200
$3,100*
(includes health insurance)

$7,000
$5,900*
(includes health insurance)

$7,850
$6,750*
(includes health insurance)

*Higher figures are applicable to Public and Private Non-Profit Institutions. Lower figures are applicable to Federal and For- Profit Institutions.

The new policy is a pilot that will be evaluated after data have been collected for two full years.

The NIH recognizes the potential impact of the new policy on sponsoring institutions, but notes that institutions have considerable flexibility in their use of the awarded funds as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. See: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part11.htm.

This Notice modifies policy for NRSA institutional awards for this cohort of new and competing grants referenced above as follows:

Beginning with awards issued with FY2007 dollars, funds may be rebudgeted as follows:

For those institutional training grants not immediately affected by this policy change, existing budgeting and rebudgeting policies will continue to apply until such time as the program is awarded under the new guidelines.

For those individual fellowships not affected by this policy change, existing budgeting and rebudgeting policies will continue to apply until the end of the fellowship project period.

Opportunity to Rebudget Formally

As part of the two year pilot, institutions that choose to rebudget between stipends and tuition/fees for institutional (T32, T34, and T35) programs will notify NIH as part of the budget justification in each annual progress report. Currently in the annual progress report grantees are instructed to “indicate whether all stipends awarded for the current budget period will be used….” This instruction will be modified to request specific information from grantees that choose to rebudget awarded positions into the tuition and fees category, including the number of trainee positions (predoc and postdoc) and the estimated dollar figure that was rebudgeted during the budget period being reported. Similar information will be requested about plans for rebudgeting during the coming budget period. The recommended levels will remain as committed in the initial competing award; however, adjustments in support may occur as a result of other budgetary and administrative issues during the course of the project.

Evaluation Plans

The use of the rebudgeting option along with other aspects of this policy will be evaluated following the pilot period; e.g., progress reports submitted in FY2008 & FY2009. During early FY2010, data collected on the use of the rebudgeting option will be evaluated to determine if the data: 1) are adequate for analysis; and 2) support a reassessment or implementation of a final policy for a longer term.

The final policy, expected to be issued by July 2010 (FY2010), will be applied to competing awards made in FY2011.

Inquiries

Inquiries concerning this Notice may be directed to:

Office of Extramural Programs
National Institutes of Health
Email: NIHTrain@mail.nih.gov


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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