Policy Information

Date Established: 2/27/2004
Date Last Updated: 12/11/2014
Category: Research
Responsible Office:
Sponsored Projects Services
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Policy Contents

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Graduate Student Tuition on Research Awards

Summary

Graduate student salaries and tuition costs are allowable costs on sponsored projects and are often a required cost.

Policy Statement

Graduate students may be employed as Research Project Assistants to perform necessary work on research projects. Compensation for Research Project Assistants must include salary and tuition remission.

Budgeting Tuition Remission on Research Awards

Principal investigators (PI) who appoint a Research Project Assistant to their research projects must include a line item in the direct cost budget proposal for tuition remission based on the university five year projected tuition schedule. If a sponsor does not allow tuition, the proposal must include a commitment from the PI, department, or school/college to cover tuition costs.

Proposals and budgets for non-competing renewals that include salary costs for a Research Project Assistant must also include a budget for graduate tuition costs based on the current five year projected tuition schedule. When no-cost extensions are requested, the PI must consider the five year projected tuition schedule when planning to employ a Research Project Assistant during the extended period; both salary and tuition costs will be assessed to the project.

The requirement to include graduate student tuition costs for Research Project Assistants can be waived only with the approval of the cognizant dean and Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED). A statement from the dean that tuition for the Research Project Assistant will be supported by college, school, or other institutional funds must accompany the proposal. When appropriate and in accordance with the terms of the sponsor, the tuition costs covered by other funding sources may be recorded as cost sharing on the research award.

Graduate Student Eligibility

Graduate students receiving tuition remission from a research project must have a bi-weekly (not hourly) appointment, be working on the project, have a Research Project Assistant (or equivalent) title, and meet the eligibility requirements listed in the Student Employment Policy, including but not limited to being enrolled for 9 credit hours or certified full time and performing work related to their area of study.

Research Project Assistants must perform work for a specific research award in order for their tuition remission to be charged to the award.

Tuition Remission Rates

The projected tuition rates are in compliance with the State University of New York (SUNY) tuition policy. The five year projected tuition schedule will be revised annually by September 1.

The five year projected tuition schedule will be reviewed annually by the VPRED and approved by Academic Planning and Budget (APB).

Charging Tuition Remission to Research Awards

Graduate student tuition payments will be prorated, based on the student’s appointment an charged to research awards for the actual cost of tuition based on a full semester or a pro-rated term. Budget revisions to the tuition category must be made in accordance with the Facilities and Administrative Cost Recovery and Distribution policy. Student fees are not included in the five year projected tuition schedule or the tuition remission process. Students may not be reimbursed directly for tuition charges; all tuition remission payments will be in the form of a credit to the student’s account.

According to federal regulations, tuition remission must be consistently provided in a like manner to students in return for similar activities conducted in non-sponsored as well as sponsored activities. A decanal unit may choose to implement a policy stating that all students may be reimbursed only the in-state tuition rate, or they may choose to cover the actual tuition costs. Departmental policies must be written and made available, treat all students consistently, and may not be less restrictive than this policy.

Background

In accordance with the terms of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniformed Guidance, tuition remission and other forms of compensation paid as, or in lieu of, wages to students performing necessary work are allowable provided that:

  • the individual is conducting activities necessary to the sponsored agreement
  • tuition remission and other support are provided in accordance with established educational institutional policy and consistently provided in a like manner to students in return for similar activities conducted in non-sponsored as well as sponsored activities
  • during the academic period, the student is enrolled in an advanced degree program at the institution or affiliated institution and the activities of the student in relation to the sponsored research project are related to the degree program
  • the tuition or other payments are reasonable compensation for the work performed and are conditioned explicitly upon the performance of necessary work.

Applicability

This policy applies to research awards administered by the Research Foundation and University at Buffalo Foundation.

Definitions

Principal Investigator (PI)

A University at Buffalo (UB) faculty or staff member who bears responsibility for the intellectual leadership of a project. The PI accepts overall responsibility for directing the research, financial oversight, and compliance with relevant university policies and sponsor terms and conditions.

Sponsored Project

Any externally funded research, training, evaluative testing, or public service project directed by UB faculty or staff as part of their university work that requires the university to perform a specified program or deliver a specified product.

Tuition Remission

For the purpose of this policy, the payment of part or all of the required tuition due for education rendered as compensation for graduate students employed as Research Project Assistants (or equivalent) and for performing work on research awards.

Responsibility

Academic Planning and Budget (APB)

  • Annually review and approve the five year projected tuition schedule.

Accounts Payable

  • Process payment of all tuition invoices approved by Sponsored Projects Services (SPS).

Financial Aid

  • Add tuition remission to the Research Project Assistant’s financial aid package to prevent over-awarding.

Financial Management

  • Annually, by September 1, develop a five year projected tuition schedule compliant with SUNY tuition policies.
  • Forward the draft five-year projected tuition schedule to the VPRED for review and to APB for approval.

Principal Investigators

  • Include a line item for tuition remission based on the five year projected tuition schedule in all research proposals that include a Research Project Assistant (or equivalent) appointment.
  • Complete a Graduate Student Remission/Scholarship Verification Form for all graduate students appointed as a Research Project Assistant to a research project, obtain dean or vice president approval, and forward to Student Accounts.

Sponsored Projects Services (SPS)

  • Submit to external sponsors only those research proposals that include a line item for tuition remission (in the Other Direct budget category) for each Research Project Assistant (or equivalent) budgeted in the Personnel category. If tuition costs are not included in the budget, the proposal must include a plan approved by the cognizant dean to cover the tuition costs for each Research Project Assistant (or equivalent) listed for salary support.
  • Verify that all graduate student appointments to research awards with the title of Research Project Assistant (or equivalent) are accompanied by a completed Student Remission/Scholarship Verification Form.
  • Review and approve invoices prepared by Student Accounts that charge graduate student tuition costs to research awards.
  • Forward approved invoices to Accounts Payable for processing.

Student Accounts

  • Upon receipt of the Student Remission/Scholarship Verification Form from the appropriate dean or vice president, assign a positive service indicator to the student’s account to prevent late fees or billing related holds while waiting for payment.
  • Provide the tuition remission amount to Financial Aid to incorporate into the student’s aid package to prevent over-awarding.
  • At the point of 100% tuition liability (the start of the fifth week of classes), generate an invoice detailing the amount to be charged to the research project and forward to Sponsored Projects Services.

Procedure

  1. Appointments of graduate students with the title of Research Project Assistant (or equivalent) to research awards must be accompanied by a copy of the completed Student Remission/Scholarship Verification Form.
  2. The Department forwards the completed Student Remission/Scholarship Verification Form to Student Accounts.
  3. Upon receipt of the Student Remission/Scholarship Verification Form, Student Accounts will provide the tuition remission amount to Financial Aid to incorporate into the student’s aid package.
  4. Financial Aid will add the tuition remission to the financial aid package of the student as a placeholder to prevent over-awarding.
  5. At the point of 100% tuition liability, Student Accounts will generate an invoice detailing each student’s actual tuition costs and will forward the invoice to SPS.
  6. Upon receipt of the invoice, SPS will review for allowability and if appropriate, approve the payment charging the research project for the actual tuition costs indicated on the invoice.
  7. SPS will forward the approved invoice to Accounts Payable for processing.
  8. Accounts Payable will generate payment and forward to Student Accounts.
  9. Upon receipt, Student Accounts will apply the payment to the student’s account.

Contact Information

Sponsored Projects Services
The UB Commons
520 Lee Entrance; Suite 211
Amherst, NY 14228-2567
Phone:  716-645-4381
Fax:  716-645-2760
Email:  info@research.buffalo.edu
Website:  www.research.buffalo.edu

Related Information

University Links

FORMS

Related Links

History

December 2014

Updated to reflect that graduate student:

  • tuition payments are prorated based on the student’s appointment
  • titles eligible for tuition remission include Research Project Assistants and other equivalent titles.
June 2013 Full policy revision to reflect current requirements and processing practices.

Presidential Approval

Signed by President Satish K. Tripathi

Satish K. Tripathi, President

6/14/2013

Date