To: Principal Investigators
From: Stephen Rittenberg, Vice Provost for Academic Administration
Re: Graduate Research Assistants
Date: August 21, 1998

     With the 1998-99 academic year, the University will complete the transition to direct funding of the tuition of student officers of instruction and research, as required by the federal Office of Management and Budget. As of this year, we may no longer charge the tuition of any student officers to the fringe pool. Last year, we implemented the OMB's ruling for student officers other than Graduate Research Assistants. I am writing to you today about the GRAs and, in particular, the process by which we will charge a portion of their tuition to grants and contracts.

     In 1998-99, a non-NIH grant or contract will be responsible for up to $11,850 of the tuition of a GRA, depending upon the percentage of the student's salary it funds. Grants from the National Institutes of Health will be charged with a lesser amount due to the $23,000 compensation cap the agency has imposed on the total awards it makes for GRAs, including their tuition. The maximum for NIH grants in 1998-99 will be $3,517 in the Health Sciences, other than the School of Public Health where it will be $7,000, and $5,500 for those in other parts of the University. The maximum amount of tuition that can be charged to grants and contracts will be adjusted each year and communicated to you by your sponsored projects office. Questions concerning the budgeting of tuition on grants and contracts should be directed to those offices.

     The maximum allowable tuition will be charged out through an automated process that uses the accounting information the department submits for the GRA's salary. Between September and May, one-ninth of the maximum allowable tuition will be charged each month to the account(s) from which the GRA's base salary is paid. If a GRA is paid from more than one account during one of those months, including accounts other than grants and contracts, the one-ninth will be split in proportion to the percentage of the student's base salary charged to each. These tuition charges will appear in your financial statements under subcode 4866. No tuition will be chargeable to grants and contracts for June, July and August, even if the student holds a GRA appointment during those months. While the maximum allowable tuition will be charged out in monthly increments, grants and contracts will be encumbered for the remaining amounts they will eventually pay, in the manner of salary encumbrances. If it is necessary to make a retroactive change in the sources from which a GRA's base salary is paid between September and May, a corresponding adjustment will automatically be made in the tuition charges and encumbrances for the student.

     The automated procedures use the Payroll subcode 1331 to determine where the tuition charges and encumbrances should be made. Therefore, that subcode may be used only for the base salary of a student holding an appointment as a GRA in the Personnel Information System. Additionally, the student's base salary, as recorded on the PAF, must equal or exceed the monthly minimum specified in the Provost's guidelines for student officers, which for 1998-99 will be $1,340.

     If you have any questions about the new procedures, you should speak with your departmental administrator who has received detailed instructions on how to process the tuition charges to grants and contracts. You may also contact your sponsored projects office. Let me thank you in advance for your cooperation in introducing the new procedures and express my appreciation for your part in the complicated task of changing how we fund our student officers of instruction and research.

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