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Tuition Scholarship Support Practice for Grants and Contracts

SUMMARY

When a Principal Investigator (PI) requests support for an academic year stipend for a Research Project Assistant (RPA) from an external sponsor, the PI must also request the average cost of tuition from the sponsor. Only The Graduate School can waive the requirement of requesting the tuition from the sponsor. If the sponsor funds the PI's request, then the PI must pay the full-time in-state tuition for in-state students and the average cost of tuition for out-of-state students, with the RPA registering for 12 credits per academic year semester. If the student is G2 or G3, the student must register for 9 credits, and if G4 (ABD), then 1 credit. Academic year RPAs on grants for which tuition funding was approved by the external sponsor must have tuition payment from the grant, and in turn, The Graduate School provides tuition scholarships for RPAs. RPAs receiving tuition scholarships must meet the standard terms and conditions of tuition scholarships. If the student is a first-year, domestic, out-of-state student, The Graduate School will cover the difference between the grant tuition payment and the out-of-state tuition bill; if the student is classified as international, The Graduate School will cover the difference between the grant tuition payment and out-of-state tuition bill. If the RPA is a doctoral student and has exceeded the four-year eligibility for Graduate School TA/GA stipends and tuition scholarships, the RPA is still eligible for tuition scholarship from The Graduate School for a 5th year and, if necessary, 6th year, provided that the student meets the standard terms and conditions of tuition scholarships and that a grant pays tuition. When a grant pays full-time registration in-state tuition or the average cost of out-of-state tuition, the department/school/PI, depending on the arrangement, receives an allocation from other accounts, at the rate of $3,000 per AY RPA if registered at 12 credits per semester or $2,500 if registered at 9 credits per semester. At the discretion of the department/school/PI, these funds can be used to support graduate students. If the student is officially ABD or master's course-complete, the registration requirement is one credit per semester, the grant must pay the full amount of the tuition bill, and there will be no re-allocation to the department/school/PI.

For current grants and contracts, tuition payments must cover the RPA's tuition bill, or if out-of-state, the amount budgeted on the grant or contract, which would be the "average cost of tuition" rate at the time the grant or proposal was submitted.

Effective Date: September 1, 2012

Changes in practice regarding tuition scholarships for research project assistants:

  • Average cost of tuition for RPAs, which currently is $12,000
  • If student appointed is in-state resident, then grant only billed in-state tuition
  • If out-of-state/non-resident student, then grant billed $12,000, but RPA receives full scholarship. The Graduate School covers difference, using the tuition scholarship set aside provided to academic units.
  • University allocation practice to units will be $3,000 per AY RPA tuition contribution by grant for 12 credits/semester for academic year (or $2,500 for 9 credits/semester for academic year)
  • RPAs must register for 9 or 12 credits per semester, depending on level, unless they are officially ABD or master's course-complete, in which case they may register for 1 credit
  • If approved for one credit registration, the grant will only be billed for one credit, The Graduate School will provide one credit of tuition scholarship from the "tuition allocation" for that academic unit, and there will be no university allocation to unit/PI. If RPA is officially ABD or master's course-complete, but must take more than 1 credit, then student must register for 9 credits. These students must be registered full-time so that state tax support dollars to campus are sufficient to carry the campus costs of the tuition scholarship. Again, the tuition scholarship will come from the "tuition allocation" for that academic unit.

*As posted 10-15-2010, and so prior to the above date, the average cost of tuition was $10,430.

Continuation in practice:

  • If requesting an AY RPA stipend from a sponsor, PI must request tuition contribution from the sponsor, as per current guidelines from the Division of Research and The Graduate School.
  • Only The Graduate School can waive the requirement of requesting the tuition from the sponsor. Any exception to the policy requiring tuition payment by a grant or contract must be approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School (using the Request for Exception Form). This must be approved before submission of the proposal to the sponsor.
  • If RPA lines are created after a sponsor funds a project, the project/PI/unit is responsible for the entire tuition bill. The PI/unit may request a tuition scholarship from its unit's tuition scholarship "tuition allocation." If necessary, the PI/unit may also request a tuition scholarship directly from The Graduate School, but the availability of these is quite limited. Normally the PI/unit will still be responsible for contributing to the tuition payment, as outlined above. The PI/unit may only offer and appoint such a tuition scholarship with prior written approval by The Graduate School.
  • Students on assistantships are required to be registered as full-time students (i.e., 9 or 12 credits per semester; exception as above, only if officially ABD or master CC , for 1 credit).

Cost Share

If the contract/grant requires cost sharing and there is insufficient institutional support other than tuition scholarship monies to meet the cost sharing requirement, then with prior approval of the cognizant Chair, Dean and the Dean of The Graduate School a partial or full tuition scholarship(s) may be given if the contract/grant is funded. Documentation of sponsor policy on cost share is required. Normally, units will be expected to cover such cost sharing with the unit's tuition scholarship "tuition allocation."

Sponsor Limitations

If a sponsor has a universal written policy that prevents the sponsor from paying for tuition costs, an official copy of the Sponsors' current policy will need to accompany the proposal submitted to Sponsored Program Development.

Exceptions

Any exceptions to requesting tuition from a sponsor must be approved by The Graduate School prior to submission of the proposal to the sponsor (using the Request for Exception Form). The completed form must be received at least five working days before submission to the sponsor. Submit the form to the Assistant Dean of Budget and Funding in The Graduate School, or to the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School.

Current Awards

Starting May 1, 2002, all proposals for funding to external sponsors submitted through the Research Foundation will be required to request tuition support for all of the Research Project Assistants (RPAs) supported on the sponsored project during the academic year. As outlined below, from May 1, 2002-April 30, 2003, this tuition will be 75% of the cost of in-state tuition. Effective May 1, 2003, the budgets will need to include 100% of the in-state tuition. Effective March 1, 2009, the budgets will need to include "average cost of tuition." Whenever the tuition rate is increased, the "average cost of tuition" will be increased accordingly, and that will go into effect for grant and contract proposals on the same date as the tuition increase.

Tuition Requested Prior to March 1, 2009

All project budgets must include 100% of the cost of in-state Graduate tuition. If an International student is to be supported on the project, The Graduate School will provide a Tuition Scholarship that will cover the difference between this amount and the cost of out-of-state tuition. All sponsors, including New York State, will be expected to cover 100% of in-state graduate tuition.

Re-Allocation Practice for Tuition Scholarship Revenues from Grants and Contracts - Old Practice Prior to 1 March 2009

When grants and contracts pay at least the in-state tuition, the University will release other funds as follows:

Part One: Distribution of Funds to Academic Programs and the University Budget

  • An amount equal to 70% of the revenue generated through inclusion of in-state tuition charges on grants and contracts will be placed in a Graduate School Research Foundation account.
  • An amount equal to 30% of the revenue generated through inclusion of in-state tuition charges on grants and contracts will be available for distribution to meet other University needs.

Part Two: Allocation of Funds to Support Academic Units

Released funds placed in a Research Foundation Tuition Scholarship account will largely be used to support the graduate programs that generated these revenues through their contract and grant efforts. A smaller portion will be directed to support the needs of graduate students in other academic units on campus. These funds will be allocated as follows.

  • 25% of the released funds will be used by The Graduate School to support recruitment efforts, Graduate Scholars awards, and/or provide other support to full-time graduate students enrolled in any of our academic programs.
  • 75% of the released funds will be allocated to support graduate students in the programs that generated these funds. These allocations will be made on a proportional basis, that is, each unit will get an allocation proportional to their overall contribution to the entire pool of revenues. The funds allocated to academic units will be allocated on an annual basis. These funds are explicitly intended to support graduate students only. Toward this goal, academic units must use these funds in one of two ways.
    • First, the funds may be used to support graduate students through the Graduate Scholars program. This program allows the awarding of fellowships to graduate students in recognition of their academic performance. These fellowships are not awarded with any expectation or requirements for services in exchange for the fellowship Award.
    • Second, the academic unit may use these funds to support RPA assistantship appointments. These appointments may be for either a single semester or the entire academic year.

Policy Regarding Eligibility of Grant-Supported RPAs for Tuition Scholarships

Graduate students paid as Research Project Assistants (RPAs) for the academic year may receive a tuition scholarship when their stipends meet the minimum standards established by The Graduate School, and when the grant or contract provided tuition funds to the University (or had this tuition requirement waived). All tuition scholarships provided to graduate Research Project Assistants (RPAs) are paid via The Graduate School's tuition scholarship fund; thus, all RPAs must meet all Graduate School terms and conditions in order to receive a tuition scholarship. These terms are outlined below.

All tuition scholarship recipients:

  1. must register full time (9 or 12 credits depending on Level)
  2. must have a minimum graduate GPA of 3.0
  3. must not have any Incompletes or Withdraws while on a tuition scholarship
  4. must be in satisfactory academic standing with their graduate program
  5. must apply for NY State residency immediately upon enrollment unless they are on international visas
  6. may receive no more than 4 semesters of tuition scholarship as a master's student, no more than 12 semesters of tuition scholarship as a doctoral student if they arrived at Binghamton with a bachelor's degree, and no more than 8 semesters of tuition scholarship as a doctoral student if they have a master's degree
  7. must sign and return to The Graduate School the Terms and Conditions for Acceptance of Tuition Scholarship form before a tuition scholarship can be awarded

Tuition scholarships:

  • do not cover undergraduate courses, audited courses, or physical education courses
  • do not cover student fees

**Since RPAs are not limited in the number of semesters they can be employed as an RPA, there may be instances when a grant budget includes tuition for an individual who has received more than the maximum allowable semesters of tuition scholarships. In that case, the Principal Investigator should contact Sponsored Funds Administration to request that the funds included in the budget for tuition to cover such an RPA be paid directly to the Office of Student Accounts rather than distributed according to the existing cost-sharing agreement. Where possible, the RPA should be advised to register full time. However, when the total tuition collected is less than the actual tuition costs for full time registration, the RPA may be permitted to register for less than full time status (i.e., less than 9 or 12 credits, based on level) assuming this would not violate any visa requirements that may be applicable.

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Last Updated: 7/18/12