Get Answers on Salary Cap and Training Stipends

Funding News Edition: August 17, 2022
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Whether you are a principal investigator, training director, fellow, or trainee, use this article to refresh your understanding of how salary caps and stipends work. The numbers and links here are current as of the time of this writing—you can always find the latest information on the NIAID Salary Cap, Stipends, and Training Funds page.

New questions and answers. NIH recently posted a new Stipend and Salary Questions and Answers section to help clarify common points of confusion. It covers funding levels, salary and fringe benefits, stipend levels by year, rebudgeting, and other topics.

Salary cap. Congress limits the direct salary your institution can pay you from a Health and Human Services (HHS) grant, cooperative agreement, or contract to a level no higher than Executive Level II of the federal Executive Pay Scale: currently $203,700 for full time.

Your salary cap also depends on your percent effort on the award. Check the example calculations in NIH’s February 10, 2022 Guide notice. Your institution may pay you beyond the cap with non-NIH funds.

National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipend levels. The HHS Secretary sets NRSA stipend levels for institutional research training grants or individual fellowships. Although the Secretary typically adjusts the stipend levels every year or so, there is no set schedule for cost-of-living increases.

NIH announced the latest stipend levels for each level of experience in a May 13, 2022 Guide notice. NIAID training and fellowship awards follow the stipend levels shown in the Guide notice but note that some other NIH institutes and centers set lower stipend levels.

How can you use Training Grant (T) and Fellowship Grant (F) funds? Your grant covers the salary and stipends mentioned above. Separately, you can also use T and F award funds to pay for facilities and administrative costs, tuition and fees, travel, an institutional allowance for training-related expenses, and certain accommodations for disabled trainees. Find full details in the “What Do Training Funds Pay For?” section of NIAID’s Salary Cap, Stipends, and Training Funds page and in your official Notice of Award.

Direct further questions to your training program director, your institution’s Office of Sponsored Programs, or an assigned NIH grants management specialist.

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