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ARCHIVED - NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/98)

Part III: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities-Part 4 of 6

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2. Other Direct Costs

a. Training-Related Expenses

Funds are provided to defray such training costs as staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, staff travel, and other expenses directly related to the training program. Funds are requested and awarded as a lump sum on the basis of the predetermined amount per predoctoral and postdoctoral trainee approved for support. Levels are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Current levels are found in Appendix 1. Interested applicants should be advised to consult the program announcement regarding the specific level for programs such as the short-term training program, the MARC program, or the COR program.

Under exceptional circumstances, which can include accommodating the disabilities of a trainee, it is possible to request institutional costs above the standard rate. Requests for additional costs must be explained in detail and carefully justified in the application. Consultation with NIH program staff in advance of such requests is strongly advised.

b. Trainee Tuition and Fees

Tuition, fees, and health insurance are allowable trainee costs only if such charges are required of all persons in a similar training status at the institution, without regard to their source of support. Family health insurance is not an appropriate charge. However, the trainee may elect personally to pay the differential between self and family health insurance options. Tuition at the postdoctoral level is limited to that required for specific courses in support of the approved training program and requires prior approval of the awarding office. For the purposes of award, tuition, fees and health insurance are awarded together in a single budget category. Funds are awarded based on a formula applied to the requested level. The formula is described in Appendix 1.

c. Trainee Travel Costs

If requested by the institution, the awarding office may award grant funds to cover the costs of trainee travel including attendance at scientific meetings which the institution determines to be necessary to the individual's training. Funds may not be expended to cover the costs of travel between the trainee's place of residence and the training institution, except that the grantee institution may authorize a one-way travel allowance in an individual case of extreme hardship.

In addition, support for travel to a research training experience away from the grantee institution may be permitted. Research training experiences away from the parent institution must be justified considering the type of opportunities for training available, how these opportunities differ from those offered at the parent institution, and the relationship of the proposed experience to the trainee's career stage and career goals. This type of research training requires prior approval from the awarding office. Letters requesting such training may be submitted to the awarding office at any time during the award period.

d. Short-term

The institution may receive up to $125 per month to offset the costs of tuition, fees, travel, supplies, and other expenses for each short-term, health-professional research training position.

3. Rebudgeting of Funds

a. Trainee-Related Expenses

Expenditure and rebudgeting of funds awarded in lump sum for trainee-related expenses do not require awarding office prior approval.

b. Trainee Costs

For the purposes of rebudgeting, trainee costs include stipends and tuition and fees (including health insurance). These costs may not be used for other purposes except under unusual circumstances and then only with the prior written approval of the awarding office. Rebudgeting into or within the stipends and tuition/fees categories is allowable without awarding office prior approval.

c. Trainee Travel

For the purposes of rebudgeting, trainee travel is not considered a trainee cost and, therefore, may be rebudgeted into any other budget category without prior approval.

4. Expenditure of Funds

Policies governing expenditure of all training grant funds are those permitted under the applicable cost principles and this policy statement, unless otherwise indicated in the Notice of Grant Award.

5. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs

The institution will receive F&A costs (previously "indirect costs") based solely on 8% of total direct costs exclusive of tuition and fees and health insurance, and expenditures for equipment. Applications from State and local government agencies, except State universities or hospitals, may receive full F&A cost reimbursement.

6. Program Income

Policy requires applicants for NIH research grants, including training grants, to include in their grant applications an estimate of the amount and source of program income expected to be generated as a result of the project for which support is being sought. See "Administrative Requirements     Management Systems and Procedures     Program Income" in Part II of this policy statement for policies that govern the treatment of program income.

H. Reporting Procedures

The following documents are critical to the process of establishing the payment of stipends and other costs, as well as the determination of possible payback service. Failure to submit the required forms in a timely manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding for the award.

1. Statement of Appointment (Form PHS 2271)

a. Grantee Submission

The institution must submit this form to the NIH awarding office prior to or at the start of each trainee's appointment or reappointment. No stipend or other allowance may be paid until the appointment form has been submitted. If the support covers the individual's initial 12 months of postdoctoral support, a signed Payback Agreement must also be submitted. It is important to note that the information on the Statement of Appointment and the Termination Notice is the basis for determination of the length or amount of an individual's payback requirement. An accurate social security number should be included on the Statement of Appointment and all other documents. The program director and the institutional financial officials should coordinate the information reported on the Statement of Appointment. It should be treated as a financial document for obligating costs (stipends) which later are reflected on the Termination Notice and as part of the total costs in the Financial Status Report. A supply of Statement of Appointment Forms (PHS 2271) is provided to the program director by the awarding office. In FY96, NIH began piloting the electronic receipt of the information on the PHS 2271. A number of grantee institutions are currently testing this system.

b. Interim Revisions

Any changes or corrections involving a trainee appointment under an institutional grant, such as, name, permanent mailing address, period of training, stipend support, must be reported by the training program director to the awarding office on an amended PHS-2271 at the time of the change.

2. Payback Agreement (Form PHS 6031)

A National Research Service Award Payback Agreement must be signed by each postdoctoral individual for whom the appointment covers his/her initial 12 months of postdoctoral NRSA support. If the individual has already received 12 months of postdoctoral support under any NRSA grant or award, this form is not required. No Payback Agreement is required for predoctoral or prebaccalaureate trainees. For detail on NRSA payback, see Section IV.

3. Termination Notice (Form PHS 416-7)

The Termination Notice (Form 416-7) is the basis (along with the Statement of Appointment Form) for validating the total period of NRSA support and the amount of payback obligation (if any) for each NRSA trainee. For an institutional award, the awarding office sends the program director a supply of Termination Notices on an annual basis. The program director is responsible for the submission of a Termination Notice on each trainee immediately upon the termination of his/her support.

4. Consecutive Support

If a trainee switches from one NRSA grant mechanism to another, including from one awarding office to another, the requirement for payback service incurred is deferred until the total NRSA support is completed. All Statement of Appointment forms are reviewed to determine if previous NRSA support has been provided.

I. Progress Reports, Financial Status Reports, and Changes in the Project

1. Progress Reports

Progress reports must be submitted with all applications for non-competing continuation support in accordance with the instructions accompanying the application forms. Incomplete or inadequate progress reports may be returned for revision and may result in a delay of continued support. In addition, a final progress report must be submitted to the awarding office within 90 days after the end of a final competing segment of a project period.

2. Financial Status Report (FSR)

A FSR is required for all institutional grants no later than 90 days after the close of each budget period. This report will document the financial status of the grant according to the official accounting records of the grantee institution. Trainee stipends and tuition are obligated for the full 12-month appointment from the budget period in which the appointment is initiated. Portions of stipends and tuition that extend beyond the budget period are carried over as unliquidated obligations. However, the report for the final budget period must have no unliquidated obligations and must indicate the exact balance of unobligated funds.

3. Changes in the Project

a. Changes in the program objectives as they relate to the area of research training for which the grant was approved require prior approval from the NIH awarding office.

b. Where absence of the program director is expected to exceed a continuous period of more than three months, plans for the conduct of the program during his or her absence must be approved in writing by the awarding office. Any proposed change of program director must be requested by the grantee institution and be approved in writing by the awarding office following review of the nominee's qualifications and re-evaluation of the project in the light of the proposed change.

c. Institutional grants are not transferred from one domestic institution to another except under most unusual circumstances. Such a change will generally be approved only if all of the major benefits attributable to the original grant can be transferred and there is no negative impact on trainees active in the program.

J. Other Terms and Conditions

1. Leave

a. Vacations and Holidays

Trainees may receive the same vacations and holidays available to individuals in comparable training positions at the grantee or sponsoring institution. Trainees shall continue to receive stipends during vacations and holidays. At academic institutions, the time between semesters or academic quarters is generally considered an active part of the training period.

b. Sick Leave and Other Leave

Trainees may continue to receive stipends for up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year. Under exceptional circumstances, this period may be extended by the awarding office in response to a written request from the training program director or the sponsor. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.

c. Parental Leave

Trainees may also receive stipends for up to 30 calendar days of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee or sponsoring institution have access to paid leave for this purpose. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. For trainees, the use of parental leave must be approved by the training program director.

A period of terminal leave is not permitted and payment may not be made from grant funds for leave not taken.

d. Unpaid Leave

Individuals requiring extended periods of time away from their research training experience, which could include more than 15 calendar days of sick leave or more than 30 calendar days of parental leave must seek approval from the awarding office for an unpaid leave of absence. Approval for a leave of absence must be requested in advance by the training grant program director and be countersigned by an authorized institutional official.

During a leave of absence, documentation to suspend the period of appointment must be completed by submitting an amended Statement of Appointment Form and a Termination Notice. These forms should be submitted to the awarding office at the beginning of the leave. At the resumption of NRSA support, the reappointment must be documented on another Statement of Appointment Form.

2. Termination

A training grant may be terminated prior to its normal expiration date at the written request of the recipient, or by the Director, NIH, if it is found that the recipient has materially failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the award or to carry out the purpose for which it was made. In the event an award is terminated for cause, the Director, NIH, shall notify the awardee in writing of this determination, the reasons therefore, the effective date, and the right to appeal the decision.

3. Publications

Trainees are encouraged to submit reports of their findings for publication to the journals of their choice. Responsibility for direction of the project should not be ascribed to NIH. However, awarding office support must be acknowledged by a footnote in language similar to the following: "This Investigation was supported by National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award (number) from the (awarding office)." In addition, it is now mandated that all grantees funded with Federal dollars, in whole or in part, acknowledge Federal funding when issuing statements, press releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations and other documents. Grantees are required to state (1) the percentage and dollar amounts of the total program or project costs financed with Federal money, and (2) the percentage and dollar amount of the total costs financed by nongovernmental sources.

4. Copyright

Except as otherwise provided in the conditions of the award, when publications or similar copyrightable materials are developed from work supported by NIH the author is free to arrange for copyright without awarding office approval. Any such copyrighted material shall be subject to royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license to the Government to reproduce them, translate them, publish them, use and dispose of them, and to authorize others to do so for Government purposes.

5. Patents

No training grant made by NIH primarily to an awardee for educational purposes will contain any provision giving NIH any rights to inventions made by the awardee.

6. Disposition of Professional Fees

Fees resulting from clinical practice, professional consultation, or other comparable activities performed pursuant to the purpose of the award may not be retained by the trainee/fellow. Such fees will be assigned to the grantee institution for disposition in accordance with NIH policy on grant-related (program) income (see "Administrative Requirements     Management Systems and Procedures     Program Income" in Part II of this policy statement). The term "professional fees" does not apply to honoraria, fees for scholarly writing, delivery of occasional outside lectures, or service in an advisory capacity to public or private non-profit organizations. These fees, if within institutional policy, may be retained by the awardee.

7. Human Subjects/Animal Welfare/Recombinant DNA

a. Human Subjects

The HHS regulations for the protection of human subjects provide a systematic means, based on established, internationally recognized ethical principles, to safeguard the rights and welfare of individuals who participate as subjects in research activities supported or conducted by the HHS. If the applicant organization has an approved Assurance of Compliance on file with OPRR but, at the time of application, plans for the involvement of human subjects are so indefinite that Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and approval are not feasible, the grantee should check "Yes" and insert "Indefinite" on the face page of the application. If an award is made, human subjects may not be involved until a certification of IRB approval or designation of exemption has been submitted.

In many instances, trainees supported by institutional training grants will be participating in research supported by research project grants for which the IRB review is already completed or an exemption is already designated. This review or exemption designation is sufficient, providing the research would not be substantially modified by the participation of a trainee. The appropriate grants must be identified along with their IRG review dates or exemption designation.

For additional information on human subjects requirements, please refer to the Individual NRSA application kit or contact the Office for Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3B01, Mail Stop Code 7507, Bethesda, MD 20892-7507, Telephone: (301) 496-7041.

b. Vertebrate Animals

The PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals requires that grantee institutions (foreign or domestic) proposing to use vertebrate animals file a written Animal Welfare Assurance with the Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR), establishing appropriate policies and procedures to ensure the humane care and use of live vertebrate animals involved in research activities supported by NIH. If the applicant organization has an approved Assurance of Compliance on file with OPRR but, at the time of application, plans for the involvement of vertebrate animals are so indefinite that Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) review and approval are not feasible, the grantee should check "Yes" and insert "Indefinite" on the face page of the application. If an award is made, vertebrate animals may not be involved until verification of the IACUC approval date has been submitted to the NIH awarding office.

In many instances, trainees supported by institutional training grants will be participating in research supported by research project grants for which the IACUC review is already completed. This review is sufficient, providing the research would not be substantially modified by the participation of a trainee. The appropriate grants must be identified along with their IACUC review dates.

For additional information on vertebrate animals requirements, please refer to the PHS 398 application kit or contact the Office for Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Blvd, Suite 3B01, Mail Stop Code 7507, Bethesda, MD 20892-7507, Telephone: (301) 496-7163.

c. Recombinant DNA

The current NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules and announcements of modifications and changes to the Guidelines are available from the Office of Recombinant DNA Activities, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892. All research involving recombinant DNA techniques that is supported by the HHS must meet the requirements of these Guidelines.

A. Purpose and Background

The National Research Service Award (NRSA) legislation requires some recipients of support to pay back the Federal Government by engaging in health-related biomedical or behavioral research including the direct administration or review of health-related research, health-related teaching, or any combination of these activities. Recent policy changes have significantly broadened the definition of "health-related." See Section C.1.a.(3) for a complete interpretation.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Revitalization Act of 1993, signed into law on June 10, 1993, includes provisions in Section 1602 that substantially modify the service payback requirement for individuals supported by the NRSA. For research training grants, these new provisions are applicable to all new appointments or re-appointments on or after June 10, 1993. For individual fellowships, these provisions apply to all fellowship awards beginning on or after June 10, 1993. For competing fellowships, the award beginning date refers to the award activation date.

An individual who was appointed to a research training grant or who had a fellowship award activated before June 10, 1993 would be governed by the service payback provisions in effect at the time of the appointment or award until the end of that appointment or budget period.

B. Implementation

The incurrence of a payback obligation for an NRSA recipient is solely dependent upon when NRSA support was received.

1. Prior to August 13, 1981

Prior to August 13, 1981 (enactment of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act), a payback obligation existed for all prebaccalaureate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral support received.

2. Effective August 13, 1981

Effective August 13, 1981, a 12-month legislative allowance waiving payback obligation for the first 12 months of support was enacted for all predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees/fellows. This legislation provided that all trainees/fellows who were not in delinquent status on that date received the allowance (this was retroactive to the beginning of the NRSA program). Individuals in delinquent status continued to have a payback obligation for all support received. This legislative change also eliminated the payback obligation for prebaccalaureate recipients.

Historically, short-term trainees supported by the T35 mechanism (NRSA Short-Term Training) incurred no payback obligation. However, for short-term trainees supported within a T32 program, the period(s) of support accrued and ultimately counted toward the total NRSA support.

3. Effective June 10, 1993 (NIH Revitalization Act):

a. Predoctoral Recipients

For predoctoral trainees beginning appointments and for predoctoral fellows activating awards on or after June 10, 1993, no payback obligation is incurred. Thus a Payback Agreement Form (PHS 6031) is no longer required.

b. Postdoctoral Recipients

For postdoctoral recipients, a payback obligation is incurred for the first 12 months of NRSA support with the 13th and subsequent months of postdoctoral support serving to pay back this obligation on a month by month basis. A Payback Agreement Form (PHS 6031) is still required but only for the initial 12-month postdoctoral support period.

The requirements established by the Revitalization Act also provide that the 13th and subsequent months of postdoctoral NRSA supported research training will be used to discharge any prior postdoctoral NRSA service payback obligation. See Section IV.C.1.c., Initiation of Payback Service, for detailed changes effective with the Act.

c. Short-term Training

Any predoctoral short-term training would not incur a payback obligation. Postdoctoral short-term training would incur a payback obligation. Any support would accrue along with any subsequent postdoctoral support until the first twelve months was established. At that point, the 13th and subsequent months of support would serve to offset the obligation on a month-by-month basis. In the event that subsequent postdoctoral support was not received, the individual would have an obligation which would have to be paid back in the traditional manner.

C. Payback

The NIH awarding office generally assumes responsibility for handling payback activities once the Termination Notice has been submitted and accepted. For some awarding offices, the NIH NRSA Payback Service Center assumes this responsibility. Established in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences effective October 1, 1995, the Payback Service Center personnel represent the NIH's experts in the NRSA Payback arena. For those awarding offices participating in the Center, the authorities normally delegated to the awarding office are automatically delegated to the Chief, NRSA Payback Service Center.

Most NRSA recipients eventually fulfill their payback obligation by engaging in activities which are determined to be acceptable service. Some recipients fulfill their obligation via financial payback. On rare occasions waivers of the payback obligation are granted.

As indicated in Section IV.B above, the amount of a payback obligation incurred is solely dependent upon when NRSA support was received. Timing of NRSA support is also a factor on the type of service that qualifies as acceptable payback.

1. Service Payback

a. Definitions

For the purpose of fulfilling the NRSA service payback obligation, the following definitions apply:

(1) Research

Research is defined as an activity which involves the design of experiments, development of protocols, and collection and interpretation of data. In addition, review of original research or administration of original research which includes providing scientific direction and guidance to research may be acceptable if a doctoral degree and relevant research experience is required for individuals filling such positions. Such research can be conducted in an academic, government, commercial or other environment in either a foreign or domestic setting.

In addition, when consistent with the cumulative amount, type, and frequency of research or research training experiences, functions which involve analytic or other technical activities conducted in direct support of research, as defined above, will also satisfy the service payback obligation.

(2) Teaching

Teaching is an instructional activity that takes place in an organized educational or other instructional environment. Activities classified as teaching are generally carried out in a formal didactic setting but other activities will be considered if they are consistent with the certifying institution's policy on the definition of teaching responsibilities. Such teaching can be conducted at universities, professional schools, research institutes, teaching hospitals, primary schools, secondary schools or colleges. When calculating hours of teaching per week, it is permissible to include three hours of preparation time for each hour of direct instruction. Acceptable teaching activities must have a biomedical or health-related relevance.

(3) Health-Related

This incorporates a broad range of activities related to the description, diagnosis, prevention or treatment of disease from the most basic biomedical or behavioral research to the most applied or clinical research. In addition to fields usually considered to be directly related to human disease, activities in other fields such as agriculture, environmental sciences, biotechnology, and bioengineering will also be considered health related.

b. Time Commitment

All acceptable activities must be undertaken for periods that average at least 20 hours per week. Total employment in such activities averaging less than 20 hours per week cannot be counted towards fulfilling the obligation except in cases of disability or other pressing personal or family circumstances such as child care or elder care responsibilities. It is not permissible for individuals otherwise engaged in full-time employment to engage in service payback activities at effort levels below 20 hours per week.

If less than 20 hours commitment per week is permitted, the total period of service obligation will be prorated. For example, an individual who owes 12 months of service and can devote only 10 hours per week to service payback activities due to a disability will be required to engage in such service for 24 months. These exceptions are rare and must receive prior approval from the awarding office.

c. Initiation of Payback Service

(1) Support Received Prior to NIH Revitalization Act

For NRSA recipients who incurred a payback obligation from support received prior June 10, 1993, payback service must be performed following completion of NRSA support. No amount or type of activity prior to or during the period of NRSA support will satisfy the NRSA service payback obligation. However, payback service may be initiated immediately after termination from NRSA if the research or teaching activities meet the criteria cited above.

(2) Support Received Post-NIH Revitalization Act

Beginning with awards operating under the NIH Revitalization Act (appointments on or after June 10, 1993), service payback obligations for postdoctoral recipients may be discharged in the following ways:

(a) By receiving an equal number of months of postdoctoral NRSA support beginning in the 13th month of such postdoctoral NRSA support;

(b) By engaging in an equal number of months of health-related research, training and/or teaching averaging more than 20 hours per week.

(c) Trainees and fellows beginning appointments for the 13th and subsequent month of POSTDOCTORAL NRSA support on or after June 10, 1993 will be engaging in service which will also satisfy prior postdoctoral NRSA service payback obligation. Post-award service in non-NRSA supported health-related research, training, and/or teaching, is creditable toward any NRSA service payback obligation.

(d) Individuals who have completed their predoctoral NRSA training and have an existing NRSA service payback obligation are still required to engage in service payback or make financial repayment. Postdoctoral NRSA support may not be used to satisfy an existing predoctoral payback obligation.

d. Source of Funding

The source of funds supporting an individual's service payback activity is not restricted beyond the fact that for predoctoral payback activities it must not be supported by NRSA. An individual could be supported by a PHS grant or from any non-NRSA Federal or non-Federal source. Unpaid service is also permitted.

e. Timing of Service Obligation

An individual must begin to undertake the payback service requirement within two years after the termination date of the individual's NRSA support unless an extension of time to begin payback has been approved by the awarding office (see Section IV.C.4.a).

2. Alternative Service

Alternative service in lieu of research and teaching was deleted by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981. Individuals who entered the NRSA program on or after August 13, 1981, the date the Act was signed, are not eligible for alternative service. Individuals who entered the NRSA before August 13, 1981 are governed by the alternative service provisions in effect when their appointment started. Additional information concerning alternative payback service is available from the awarding office.

3. Financial Payback

a. Policy and Principal Calculation

If any individual to whom the requirement for service is applicable fails to undertake or perform such services, the United States Government shall be entitled to recover from the individual the amount determined in accordance with the following formula plus interest:

A = O (t-s)

(t)

Where "A" is the amount the United States is entitled to recover, "O" is the sum of total amount paid to the individual under the National Research Service Award support; "t" is the total number of months in service obligation, and "s" is the number of months of such obligation served.

The total paid to the individual under institutional grants and individual awards at domestic, non-federal sponsoring institutions is considered to be the stipend only. The total paid an individual under a fellowship award at a foreign sponsoring institution includes the payment for the round trip travel costs. The total paid an individual under a fellowship award at a Federal sponsoring institution includes any money expended from the institutional allowance provided for such purposes as health insurance, travel, tuition, and fees.

b. Interest & Interest Rate Calculation

NIH computes interest on the principal amount beginning on the date the U.S. became entitled to recover stipends. The interest rate is the rate fixed by the Secretary of the Treasury after taking into consideration prevailing consumer rates of interest. Accordingly, interest may be accruing on any NRSA obligation if the two-year grace period has passed, or if deferment has expired, or if service has terminated before completion of the payback obligation. The Department of the Treasury certifies NRSA interest rates on a quarterly basis. Interest is computed on a 360 day-a-year basis and is applied through the date of receipt. Any outstanding amount will continue to bear interest at the initial rate set by the Secretary of the Treasury until financial payback is complete.

Determination of the "date" which sets the applicable rate of interest is dependent upon the type of NRSA account received for collection. If Financial Payback is Voluntary, the signature date of the notification of voluntary payback is the "date" that determines the interest rate as well as the initiation of the three year repayment period. If Financial Payback is Involuntary, the "date" which determines the interest rate and the three-year repayment period is the date of expiration of the two-year period following the termination of NRSA support. For example, if during June 1991, OFM received an account reflecting January 31, 1989 as the termination date of NRSA support, the Government, lacking any documentation to the contrary, becomes entitled to financial payback effective February 1, 1991. The rate of interest applicable is determined based on the February 1, 1991 date and the total NRSA obligation is required to be fulfilled by January 31, 1994.

The amount to be recovered financially, as determined from the Termination Notice plus applicable interest, shall be paid to the United States within the three-year period following such date.

4. Extensions of Payback

The National Research Service Award legislation and the promulgating regulation (42 CFR Part 66) authorize the Secretary to make exceptions to certain requirements under the Act.

a. Extensions of the Two-Year Period to Initiate Payback

Frequently, an APAC is returned requesting an extension of the two-year period to initiate payback. Indication of valid plans to initiate payback soon after the two-year grace period may be good reason to grant an extension.

b. Basis for Extensions

The awarding office may extend the period for undertaking payback service or permit breaks in continuous service. These determinations are based on the following criteria:

(1) an extension or break in service is necessary so the individual may complete his or her research or clinical training;

(2) the individual is unable to complete the requirements within the specified period because of a temporary disability; or

(3) completion by the individual of the requirement within the specified period would involve substantial hardship to the individual and that failure to extend the period would be against equity and good conscience.

Reasons for an extension or break in service include such things as completing residency training, where clinical teaching or research are not an integral part of their training, or individuals seeking employment that would fulfill the payback requirements.

Requests must be made in writing (separate letter or Annual Payback Activities Certification (APAC)) to the awarding office, specifying the need for additional time and the length of the required extension.

c. Extension to Complete Payback Service

The awarding office may approve or disapprove requests to extend the period of payback service or permit breaks in continuous service. Decisions to permit breaks in service are based on the criteria described in Section IV.C.4.b above.

5. Waiver

a. Policy

The National Research Service Award legislation and the promulgating regulation (42 CFR Part 66) authorize the Secretary to make exceptions to certain requirements under the Act. For waiver requests, NIH may waive, in whole or in part, the payback obligation, upon determination that compliance by the individual is impossible or would involve substantial hardship, and enforcement of the obligation to that individual would be against equity and good conscience.

b. Waiver Criteria

Requests for waivers should be made in writing to the awarding office and explain the need for the waiver according to the following criteria:

(1) Compliance by an individual will be deemed impossible if the individual is permanently and totally disabled; (2) In determining whether compliance would involve substantial hardship to the individual and would be against equity, the Director, NIH (or designee) shall take into consideration:

(a) the individual's financial resources and obligations at the time of request for a waiver; (b) the individual's estimated future financial resources and obligations;

In rare cases, the following might also be considered:

(c) the reasons for the individual's failure to complete the requirements within the prescribed period, such as problems of a personal nature;

(d) the extent to which the individual has engaged in payback activities;

(e) whether the individual has received sufficient training to be qualified to perform such activities;

(f) the lack of employment opportunities appropriate to the individual's education and training; and

(g) any other extenuating circumstances.

(3) Any obligation of any individual toward payback will be canceled upon death of the individual.

D. Certification of Payback Activities

1. Annual Payback Activities Certification (Form PHS 6031-1)

a. Annual Certification

Payback service is certified through the use of the Annual Payback Activities Certification (APAC) form (PHS 6031-1). Individuals with an outstanding payback obligation, must complete an APAC annually until their payback obligation is fulfilled.

The APAC is sent by NIH approximately one year after the completion of NRSA support, if an individual has incurred a payback obligation. Payback service may be initiated within the first 12 months of termination even though trainees/fellows have up to 24 months to initiate payback. There is no penalty to those individuals who do not initiate payback within the first 12 months; however, it is critical that they complete an APAC form to ensure contact is maintained and addresses are current.

On this form, the individual will report the activity in which he or she was engaged for the preceding 12 months, within the specified "reporting period". These forms are to be returned within 30 days of the reporting period end date to:

Data Management Control Section, OER
National Institutes of Health
Rockledge II, Room 1010
6701 Rockledge Drive MSC 7715
Bethesda, MD 20817-7715

Forms are then forwarded to the awarding office who will then review the activity and make a decision on its acceptability and inform the former trainee/fellow of the decision. This process will continue annually until the individual's total payback obligation is satisfied.

b. Change of Address

Any change in the mailing address of a NRSA recipient must be reported promptly to the awarding office until the service obligation is fully discharged.

2. Breaks in NRSA Support

Sometimes a trainee/fellow will have a period of non-NRSA support between two NRSA awards. An appropriate activity performed during this period of time may count for payback purposes toward the first NRSA award. If the non-support period is six months or longer, the individual receives an Annual Payback Activities Certification (APAC) form through the regular mechanism. However, if the break is less than six months, an APAC will not be automatically mailed. If acceptable payback service was performed during the break, the individual may complete an APAC, which can be obtained from the awarding office, to document the payback service.

3. National Health Service Corps

Occasionally, an NRSA recipient will have previously been a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholar. Legislation provides authority for holders of both awards to pay back the obligation of the two sources of support concurrently. Therefore, activities which qualify as NRSA payback will also serve as payback for the NHSC obligation. However, no Legislative Allowance is provided for NHSC service; e.g., 36 months of NRSA support (prior to June 10, 1993) and 36 months of NHSC support would require 24 months of NRSA payback service and 36 months of NHSC service respectively. The awarding office monitors both obligations until they are both satisfactorily completed.



APPENDIX 1-NRSA FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

Costs are normally provided based on a 12-month budget period. Awards for less than 12 months are prorated accordingly.

A. STIPENDS

Reference: NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

Annual stipend levels apply to all individuals receiving support through Institutional or Individual NRSA grants and are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. These levels also apply to Minority Access to Research Career (MARC) and Career Opportunities in Health (COR) programs. Supplementation, or retroactive adjustments, with NRSA funds to accommodate changes in stipend levels is unallowable. Note, the annual level for postdoctoral recipients is determined by the number of full years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the time of the appointment/award.

B. TRAINING RELATED EXPENSES (TRE) - Institutional Training Grants

Sometimes referred to as "Above the Line Costs" or "Other Expenses", TRE funds are awarded to help defray the costs of other training related expenses such as staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies and staff travel. TRE is generally requested in a lump sum, based on the number of trainees requested in the application, and entered on the budget page without further stipulation. Current levels are up to $1,500 per year for each predoctoral trainee, and up to $2,500 per year for each postdoctoral trainee. The training related expenses for specialized programs such as MARC & COR are referenced in the specific program announcements.

C. INSTITUTIONAL ALLOWANCE - Individual Fellowships

Reference: NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 26, No. 1, January 10, 1997

Provided annually to help defray the costs for the individual fellow. Section II.G.2.a.(1) describes in detail what are considered acceptable costs for individual fellowships depending on the training site. Note however, beginning in FY97, for postdoctoral fellowships, tuition & fees (except health insurance), when applicable, are no longer included as part of the institutional allowance. That cost will be awarded in accordance with the tuition policy described below. The cost of self-only health insurance itself will continue to be charged to the Institutional Allowance.

1. For new, competing fellowships, funded in FY 97 and henceforth, institutional allowance will be provided for all years as follows:

Predoctoral: Up to $4,000. Note, many awarding offices provide individual predoctoral fellowships with a reduced institutional allowance (usually $2,000) since costs for tuition, fees and health insurance are awarded separately. Specific program announcements and/or awarding offices should be contacted for guidance.

Postdoctoral: Up to $4,000 (For fellows at non-federal, non-profit, or foreign institutions)

Up to $3,000 (For fellows at Federal laboratories or for-profit institutions)

2. For non-competing fellowships funded in FY97, institutional allowance will continue to be awarded at levels previously determined. For those grants involving tuition & fees (including health insurance), these costs will continue to be paid under the previous policy guidelines. For postdoctoral fellows these costs will continue to be part of the institutional allowance. For predoctoral fellows, specific programmatic guidelines should be consulted.

Predoctoral: Up to $4,000

Postdoctoral: Up to $3,000

D. TUITION AND FEES

References:

NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 25, No. 2, February 2, 1996

NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 25, No. 31, September 20, 1996

NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 26, No. 1, January 10, 1997

Beginning in FY96, the NIH announced a new policy for the reimbursement of tuition costs. Note, applicant institutions are instructed to continue to request the full amount of these costs in competing applications. Awarding office staff will apply the reimbursement formula at the time of an award.

1. Institutional Grants

a. For competing awards issued in FY96 and henceforth, combined costs of tuition, fees and self-only health insurance are reimbursed at the following per trainee rate: 100% of all costs up to $2,000 and 60% of costs above $2,000. Future years provide no escalation.

b. Non-competing awards funded in FY96 will continue to be reimbursed at established levels until such time as they recompete.

2. Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships

a. For competing awards issued in FY97 and henceforth, when applicable, tuition and fees (excluding health insurance) is reimbursed at the following rate: 100% of all costs up to $2,000 and 60% of costs above $2,000. Future years provide no escalation.

b. Non-competing awards funded in FY97 will continue to be reimbursed at previously established levels.

3. Individual Predoctoral Fellowships

Reimbursement of tuition and fees (including health insurance) varies among the NIH awarding offices. Therefore, specific program announcements and/or awarding offices should be contacted for guidance.

a. When tuition, fees and health insurance is awarded as a separate cost, for competing awards issued in FY97 and henceforth, this cost will be reimbursed at the following rate: 100% of all costs up to $2,000 and 60% of costs above $2,000. Future years provide no escalation.

b. Non-competing awards funded in FY97 will continue to be reimbursed at previously established levels.

E. SHORT-TERM TRAINING - Students in Health Professional School

Most short-term trainees are funded at the predoctoral stipend level. The current monthly level is $958. Up to $125 per month for each participating student may be requested to defray other costs of training such as staff salaries, consultant costs, research supplies, tuition, travel etc. Some NIH awarding offices provide short-term training at the postdoctoral level as well. Specific program announcements and awarding offices should be contacted for guidance.



APPENDIX 2-RECEIPT, REVIEW, AND AWARD SCHEDULE


Application Receipt Dates

Review and Award Schedule
All Institutional National Research Service Awards*
Scientific Merit
Review
Advisory Council
Review

Earliest Award
January 10June/July September/OctoberDecember
May 10October/November January/FebruaryApril
September 10February/March May/JuneJuly
Individual National Research Service Awards (Fellowships)


Initial Review Dates

Range of Likely
Start Dates
April 5 June/JulySeptember/December
August 5 October/NovemberJanuary/March
December 5 February/MarchMay/July

*Some Institutes have only 1 or 2 receipt dates for Institutional Training Grants. They are:

Institute/Center Application Receipt Date(s)

NIAMay 10
NIAAAMay 10
NIAIDSeptember 10
NIAMSMay 10
NICHDMay 10
NIDAMay 10
NIDCDMay 10
NIDRSeptember 10
NEIMay 10
NIEHSMay 10
NHLBIMay 10
NHGRIMay 10
NIMH (except Office of AIDS)May 10
NINDSMay 10
NINRMay 10

Applicants are encouraged to confirm the application receipt dates by calling the appropriate Institute or Center Review Office. Specific NRSA programs may change their receipt dates to complement Institute workloads.



APPENDIX 3-NRSA FORMS

Research Fellowship Activation Notices (PHS 416-5) are automatically mailed with applicable Notice of Grant Awards. Additional forms are available from the Grants Management Office of the awarding IC.

Statement of Appointment Forms (PHS 2271) are automatically mailed with applicable Notice of Grant Awards. Additional forms are available from the Grants Management Office of the awarding IC.

NRSA Payback Agreements (PHS 6031) are automatically mailed with applicable Notice of Grant Awards. Additional forms are available from the Grants Management Office of the awarding IC

NRSA Termination Notices (PHS 416-7) are automatically mailed with applicable Notice of Grant Awards. Additional forms are available from the Grants Management Office of the awarding IC.

NRSA Annual Payback Activities Certifications (PHS 6031-1) are automatically mailed annually to applicable recipients.


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