National Research Service Award (NRSA) training grants and fellowships at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been governed by a formal tuition reimbursement policy since the mid-1990s. Increases in tuition, fees, and health insurance, however, began to limit the number of trainees that the NIH could support. In FY 2007, NIH began testing a new funding policy that gave institutions the option to re-budget grant funds. This evaluation assessed the extent to which institutions transferred or re-budgeted training grant funds between stipends and tuition and fees.
Of the 1,514 NRSA institutional training grants eligible to rebudget funds between stipends and tuition/fees, ten reported doing so. For those ten training grants, the amount of funds re-budgeted typically represented less than a full training slot as several of those institutions only re-budgeted modest amounts of funding that became available when a training appointment ended early, or a postdoctoral trainee was appointed at a lower experience level than anticipated. This evaluation did not find widespread re-budgeting of stipend funds for tuition. However, the option to re-budget NRSA training grant funds between the stipend and tuition/fee categories appeared to provide useful flexibility to training program directors when stipend funds unexpectedly become available, and therefore, the option should continue to be offered.
Report Title: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Program Policy Changes for FY 2007: Implementation and Implications
Agency Sponsor: NIH, National Institutes of Health
Federal Contact: Rosanna Ng, 301-496-5367
Performer: Diana Trunnell (Clarksburg, MD)
Record ID: 9386 (Report issued October 31, 2009)