REVISED OCTOBER 2018. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2018

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, NRSAs, NRSA, individual fellowship, allowable costs, unallowable costs, pre-award costs, stipends, stipend levels, institutional allowance, benefits

11.2.9 Allowable and Unallowable Costs

11.2.9.1 Pre-award Costs

Pre-award costs to an individual fellowship are limited. StipendsA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. and tuition and fees may not be charged to a fellowship award until a fellow has actually activated and the appropriate paperwork submitted to the NIH. Therefore, these costs may never be charged as pre-award to an individual fellowship. There are rare occasions when costs associated with the institutional allowance may be allowable as pre-award costs. Sponsoring institutions should consult with the NIH awarding ICThe NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award. when considering a pre-award cost.

11.2.9.2 Stipends

A stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. is provided as a subsistence allowance for Kirschstein-NRSA fellows to help defray living expenses during the research training experience. It is not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal government or the sponsoring institution. StipendsA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. must be paid in accordance with stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. levels established by NIH, which are based on a 12-month full-time training appointment. In the event of early termination, the stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. will be prorated according to the amount of time spent in training. The sponsoring institution will submit a Termination Notice reflecting the early termination and the NIH awarding ICThe NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award. will issue a revised NoANotice of Award: The official, legally binding document, signed (or the electronic equivalent of signature) by a Grants Management Officer that: (1) notifies the recipient of the award of a grant; (2) contains or references all the terms and conditions of the grant and Federal funding limits and obligations; and, (3) provides the documentary basis for recording the obligation of Federal funds in the NIH accounting system. to decrease approved funding. The sponsoring institution must base its calculations on the applicable stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. level provided by the NIH.

11.2.9.3 Stipend Levels

StipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. levels are updated periodically in conjunction with an NIH annual appropriation. When increases are approved, they are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Current levels are posted at http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm. The NIH awarding ICThe NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award. will adjust fellowship awards on their anniversary dates to include the currently applicable stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. amount.

General information related to stipendsA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. follows:

11.2.9.4 Institutional Allowance

NIH awards an institutional allowance to help support the costs of training. The specific levels of allowance for predoctoral and postdoctoral support, including those for individuals training at Federal laboratories, for-profit organizations, or foreign organizations, are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. They also are available on the NIH Web site at http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm#fellowships.

The institutional allowance is a fixed amount. Expenditures under institutional allowances are not subject to NIH prior approvalWritten approval by an authorized HHS official, e.g., a designated IC GMO, evidencing prior consent before a recipient undertakes certain activities or incurs specific costs (see Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-Prior Approval Requirements). requirements, and the institution is not required to account for these expenditures on an actual cost basis. Allowable uses of the Institutional Allowance are described below.

Except for fellows at Federal training sites, consistent with NIH policy governing the type of expenditures appropriate for the institutional allowance, the sponsoring institution authorizes the expenditure of the institutional allowance on behalf of the fellow according to the institution's policy. The institution is entitled to expend up to the full institutional allowance upon official activation of the award. However, if an individual fellow is not in a training status for more than 6 months of the award year, only one-half of that year's institutional allowance may be charged to the grant. The NoANotice of Award: The official, legally binding document, signed (or the electronic equivalent of signature) by a Grants Management Officer that: (1) notifies the recipient of the award of a grant; (2) contains or references all the terms and conditions of the grant and Federal funding limits and obligations; and, (3) provides the documentary basis for recording the obligation of Federal funds in the NIH accounting system. will be revised and the stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. and institutional allowance balances must be refunded to NIH.

For fellows at Federal training sites, the NIH awarding ICThe NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award. authorizes the expenditure of the allowance. Payment is made through NIH's OFM for awards made prior to October 1, 2013 and through PMS for awards issued after that date.

The type of sponsoring institution dictates what costs may be charged to this category and how the funds are to be administered:

The following are guidelines for the use of the institutional allowance:

  • Travel. Payment for travel to scientific meetings is appropriate when it is necessary for the individual's training and when the costs are incurred within the period of grant-supported training.

For fellows at Federal laboratories, reimbursement of travel costs must be in accordance with applicable Federal travel regulations.

Funds may not be expended to cover the costs of travel between the fellow's place of residence and the domestic training institution, except that the sponsoring institution may authorize the cost of a one-way travel allowance in an individual case of extreme hardship.

  • Health Insurance. A fellow's health insurance is an allowable cost only if applied consistently to all individuals in a similar training status regardless of the source of support. Family health insurance is an allowable cost for fellows who have families and are eligible for family health insurance coverage at the sponsoring institution. Self-only health insurance is an allowable cost for fellows without families. Health insurance can include coverage for costs such as vision and/or dental care if consistent with organizational policy. Historically predoctoral fellowships included health insurance as part of the tuition and fees category. This is no longer the policy. For any fellowship (predoctoral and postdoctoral) that competed and was awarded in FY2007 and beyond, health insurance is awarded as part of the Institutional Allowance. Any fellowship that competed and was awarded prior to FY2007, health insurance will continue to be awarded as part of the Tuition and Fees category.
  • Medical Liability and Other Special Insurance. Medical liability (malpractice) insurance or other special insurance is an allowable cost to NRSA grants only if nature of the research training requires such special insurance. For instance, medical liability would be allowable if the research training experience involves direct contact with patients or human subjects. In all cases, for the cost to be charged to the NRSA grant, it must be consistently required for all in a similar training status, regardless of the source of support. Special insurances that are routinely offered as optional employee benefits (such as disability insurance, life insurance, or workman's compensation insurance), are not normally allowable charges (see separate section on Employee Benefits) unless the nature of the research training requires such special insurance.
  • Extraordinary Costs. Additional funds may be requested by the institution when the training of a fellow involves extraordinary costs for travel to field sites remote from the sponsoring institution or accommodations for fellows who are disabled, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The funds requested for extraordinary costs must be reasonable in relationship to the total dollars awarded under a fellowship and must be directly related to the approved research training project. Such additional funds shall be provided only in exceptional circumstances that are fully justified and explained by the institution in the application or as part of a special written request.

11.2.9.5 Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are provided under the following policy:

  • For individual predoctoral fellowships (F30 and F31), an amount equal to 60% of the level requested by the sponsoring institution, up to $16,000 per year, will be provided. If the program supports formally combined dual-degree training (e.g., M.D.-Ph.D., D.D.S.-Ph.D.), the amount provided will be up to $21,000 per year. Note the new policy moves health insurance into the Institutional Allowance budget category for predoctoral fellowships. This is now consistent with the treatment of this cost for postdoctoral fellowships
  • For individual postdoctoral fellowships (F32) and individual senior fellowships (F33), an amount equal to 60% of the level requested by the applicant institution, up to $4,500 per year, will be provided. If the program supports postdoctoral individuals in formal degree-granting training, the amount provided will be up to $16,000 per year. For postdoctoral fellows, costs associated with tuition and fees are allowable only if they are required for specific courses in support of the research training. Health insurance is not included in this budget item because costs for it are to be charged as institutional allowance.

11.2.9.6 Travel to Foreign Training Sites

For fellows at foreign training sites, in addition to the institutional allowance, awards may include a single economy or coach round-trip travel fare. No allowance is provided for dependents. U.S. flag air carriers must be used to the maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the means of travel between the United States and a foreign country or between foreign countries. This requirement shall not be influenced by factors of cost, convenience, or personal travel preference. Any funds awarded for travel to/from foreign training sites must be reported on the Termination Notice as part of the "Amount of StipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee." column. For additional information regarding foreign travel, see Cost Considerations-Allowability of Costs/Activities-Selected Items of Cost-Travel/Employees in IIA.

11.2.9.7 Employee Benefits

Since Kirschstein-NRSA fellowships are not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal government or the sponsoring institution, institutions may not seek funds, or charge individual fellowship awards, for costs that normally would be associated with employee benefits (for example, FICA, workman's compensation, life insurance, union dues, and unemployment insurance). Concerning union dues or other similar costs otherwise paid personally by the fellow; if a fellow requests the institution deduct such a cost from the stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. amount, the institution can provide the fellow such a service. However, in no case can such a deduction from the stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. be made automatically without the approval of the fellow.

11.2.9.8 Rebudgeting of Funds

Individual fellowship awards are formula based, generally restricted for the specific budget category of the award, and cannot be rebudgeted without prior written approval from the NIH awarding ICThe NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award..