NIH GUIDE, Volume 24, Number 15, April 28, 1995



National Institutes of Health

The following Notice of Invitation from the Chair of the Task Force

on Tuition Reimbursement has been sent to program directors of all

National Research Service Award (NRSA) Research Training Grants,

business officials and administrative officials at institutions with

NRSA Research Training Grants, and relevant professional societies.

All interested parties are invited to participate in the Public Forum

on NRSA Tuition Reimbursements as indicated in the letter.


April 24, 1995

To:  All Parties Interested in a Public Forum on NRSA Tuition

Reimbursements at the National Institutes of Health

From:  Chairman, Task Force on Tuition Reimbursement

Re:  Public Forum on Tuition Policy

Under a relatively fixed budget, it has been very difficult for the

NIH to continue its policy of paying the full costs of tuition, fees,

and health insurance (hereafter called tuition) for predoctoral

trainees supported by National Research Service Award (NRSA)

institutional research training grants.  At the current time, tuition

accounts for about half of the cost of supporting a predoctoral

trainee, and costs the NIH more than $70 million out of a total NIH

NRSA predoctoral training budget of $155 million.  At some

institutions, graduate tuition costs exceed $25,000 per year.

As a cost saving measure, the NIH froze tuition in 1989 for all ICs

(Institutes and Centers).  After fiscal year 1989, some Institutes

returned to a full reimbursement policy while others kept tuition

reimbursements frozen.  As a consequence, there is considerable

disparity in tuition policies across the NIH ICs.  Although the NIH

has made several attempts to develop a uniform tuition policy, none

has been endorsed by the academic community, and none has been

adopted as formal policy by the NIH.

In an attempt to resolve this issue, a Task Force has been assembled

to consider the tuition reimbursement policy on NRSA institutional

research training awards. The Task Force will officiate at a one-day

public meeting, to which all interested parties are invited.

Immediately following the Public Forum, the Task Force will prepare a

summation of the testimony from the Public Forum, and the members

will develop recommendations for a uniform NRSA tuition policy.


The Public Forum will be convened on June 5, 1995, in the Natcher

Conference Center, 45 Center Drive, National Institutes of Health

campus, Bethesda, Maryland.  The one-day meeting will begin at 8:30

am and conclude at approximately 5:30 p.m.

During the Public Forum, individuals will provide brief testimony on

tuition reimbursement concerns and issues at the invitation of the

Task Force.  There will be opportunities for other audience members

to offer comments during periods of "Open Discussion" scheduled

throughout the day.

We would like to invite all interested parties to submit a two page

response, no later than May 25, to the questions below.  Individuals

interested in responding should mail their responses to the address

shown below, or FAX (301-480-8256) their responses to Dr. Ernest

Marquez by May 25, 1995.  The Task Force will review the responses

and select the individuals who will be invited to address the Task

Force at its June 5 Public Forum.  Be assured that the Task Force

will review all responses generated by this solicitation:

1.  Should there be a uniform policy for tuition reimbursement on all

NRSA institutional training grants made by the NIH?

2.  What is the relationship of tuition to the overall cost of

training a predoctoral student at your institution, i.e., What

specific costs are covered by tuition?

a.  Is the tuition charged for graduate students the same as that for

undergraduate students?

b.  Is the tuition charged the same amount for each year of graduate

school, i.e., during course work and full-time research?

3.  Assuming an NIH policy to pay less than the full cost of tuition,

which of the following reimbursement proposals would you prefer for

your institution, and why?

a.  The NIH would pay a fixed percentage of published tuition charges

for all predoctoral trainees regardless of the actual cost.

b.  The NIH would pay a fixed tuition amount for all predoctoral

trainees regardless of actual cost (The NSF model).

c.  The NIH would pay a fixed amount of tuition for all trainees in

public institutions and a higher, but fixed amount of tuition for all

trainees in private institutions.  The amounts would be based on

average tuition costs for public institutions and for private

institutions, and in no case would NIH pay more than 100% of tuition

costs.  This is sometimes called the Capped Two-Tiered Cost of

Education Allowance.

d.  The NIH would pay 100 percent of tuition costs below $6,000 and

lesser amounts of any costs above this amount in what is sometimes

called a Marginal Rate Model.  For example, one model proposes the

following reimbursement rates:

1) If tuition costs are 0-$6000, 100% of this amount is paid

2) If tuition costs are $6000-10,000, the amount paid would be $6,000

plus 65% of the amount over $6,000

3) If tuition costs are $10,000-14,000, the amount paid would be

$8,600 plus 45% of the amount over $10,000

4) If tuition costs are $14,000-18,000, the amount paid would be

$10,400 plus 30% of the amount over $14,000

5) If tuition costs are in excess of $18,000, the amount paid would

be $11,600 plus 20% of the amount over $18,000

e.  None of the above four models necessarily involves a direct

relationship between the tuition payment and the quality of training.

Can you suggest a workable algorithm which would include quality of

education as one of the determining factors in the tuition


4.  Assuming constant federal dollars for training, what do you see

as a proper balance between number of trainees and tuition

reimbursements?  Would you favor paying full tuition even at the

expense of training positions? What is a rational way to achieve this


If you have further questions about the Public Forum, please

telephone Dr. Ernest Marquez at (301) 594-5965 or E-Mail at

We hope that you will take the opportunity to assist in our effort to

gather the views of people interested in the tuition reimbursement

policies of the NIH by sending us a letter no later than May 25 to:

Task Force on Tuition Reimbursement

c/o Dr. Ernest Marquez

National Institutes of Health

National Institute of Nursing Research

Building 45, Room 3AN-12E

45 Center Drive MSC 6302

Bethesda, MD  20892-6302

We know you share our interest in providing an equitable and fair

discussion on the issue of tuition reimbursement by the National

Institutes of Health.



Dr. Paul Anderson

Chairman, Task Force on Tuition Reimbursement


Dr. Paul S. Anderson (Chair)

E.I. Dupont-Merck Pharmaceuticals Co.

Wilmington, DE  19880-0353

Dr. Robert Birgeneau

Dean of Science

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA  02139

Dr. Gail Cassell

University of Alabama at Birmingham

UAB Station

Birmingham, AL  35294

Dr. Carl Frieden

Washington University

School of Medicine

St Louis, MO  63110

Dr. Manual Navia

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Cambridge, MA 02139

Dr. Baldomero Olivera

University of Utah

Dept of Biology

Salt Lake City, UT  84112

Dr. John Perkins


University of Texas

SW Med CTR/Dallas

Dallas, TX  75235

Dr. William Reznikoff

University of Wisconsin

420 Henry Mall

Madison, WI  53706

Dr. Robert Simoni

Stanford University

Dept of Biological Sciences

Stanford, CA  94305-5020

Dr. Jeanne Sinkford, DDS

Director, Office of Women and Minority Affairs

American Association of Dental Schools

Dean Emeritus, Howard University College of Dentistry

Washington, DC  20036-2212

Dr. James Staros

Professor and Chair

Department of Molecular Biology

Vanderbilt University

College of Arts and Sciences

Nashville, TN  37232-0146

Dr. Palmer Taylor

Department of Pharmacology

School of Medicine

University of California San Diego

La Jolla, CA  92093-0636


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