stage indicator - apply for a grant

Salary Cap & Stipends

Congress sets the salary cap for grantees and contractors and stipend levels for trainees and fellows.

When you prepare your budget, check the cap on the direct salary you can charge to a grant and the stipend levels for your competing or noncompeting application, contract, or proposal.

Salary Cap

Effective January 6, 2019, the salary cap is $192,300 as announced in an April 17, 2019 Guide notice.

Your institution may pay you beyond the cap with non-grant funds. Note that for a nonmodular, noncompeting award, you may not get paid beyond the salary cap by rebudgeting from other categories, but you may use any freed-up salary funds for other purposes.

For historic levels, see NIH’s Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990-Present).

NRSA Stipend Levels

The levels shown below were set in a November 27, 2018 Guide notice.

Fellowship and Training Stipend Levels, in Dollars

Career Level 12 months 1 month
Predoc 24,816 2,068
Postdoc 0 50,004 4,167
Postdoc 1 50,376 4,198
Postdoc 2 50,760 4,230
Postdoc 3 52,896 4,408
Postdoc 4 54,756 4,563
Postdoc 5 56,880 4,740
Postdoc 6 59,100 4,925
Postdoc 7 or more 61,308 5,109

More Information

For news on our budget, watch this page or NIAID Funding News. See more financial information such as the Financial Management Plan and NIAID Paylines.

Questions & Answers

NIH caps the direct salary you can request using funds paid by a competing or noncompeting application, contract, or proposal.
No. If you're a PI on a grant or contract, you may not charge a higher salary than the current cap allows. If your institutional salary is higher than the NIH cap, you may use non-federal sources of funding to cover the difference.

Each year, NIH sets a maximum for PI salaries, though your institution can use its own money to pay beyond NIH's limit.

If the limit changes, you can rebudget funds to pay for a higher salary without prior approval, but you can't get more money from NIH.

When NIH announces the levels in its Guide, we notify you in the NIAID Funding News and post the salary levels on this page.

Yes, but we expect you to budget for salary at a level that matches your level of effort, up to the salary cap.

Keep in mind that if increasing your effort will alter the scope of your research, you need NIAID's permission for the change in scope.

Read Changes to Project or Budget to learn more.

Content last reviewed on