SOM Budgeting for Graduate Research Assistants

The following information applies to all School of Medicine graduate students in the following PhD programs: Behavioral Neuroscience, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cell & Developmental Biology, Integrative Biomedical Sciences, Molecular & Medical Genetics, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, and the Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences.


  • Stipends are paid to these students while they are registered for a full-time course load (minimum 9 hours of 600-level courses) and engaged in research training. Stipends are not paid during leaves of absence. Effective July 1, 2009 all new students will receive a $24,500 stipend – that is also the lowest stipend that can be paid to advanced students. Advanced students may receive a stipend as high as $26,000, as long as this is consistent with the internal policy established by each Ph.D. program. (Of course no Graduate Research Assistant [GRA] stipend can be more than the 0-level postdoctoral NRSA stipend in effect at the time the grant award is issued.)
  • In a Research Grants where a GRA is listed in personnel, the ‘salary’ requested for the GRA is actually the stipend (not a payroll salary). In the application’s budget justification it must be stated that the requested ‘salary’ is really a stipend.
  • Please refer to the following link for the full stipend policy established by the Graduate Council:


  • PIs are encouraged to request funds for the partial tuition and fees for each GRA on a research grant. The tuition waiver for the above departments sets the GRA tuition at $2,000 beginning July 1, 2008. There is a strong likelihood that the partial tuition for GRA’s will increase by $1,000 a year up to a maximum of $5,000. Therefore, on multiple-year grants it is best to increase the tuition $1K a year, up to $5K.
  • Please note that for pre-doctoral trainees on institutional training grants, or for pre-doctoral students
    applying for an individual fellowship grant (e.g., NRSA grants), the full tuition is always requested in the proposal, not the partial tuition shown here for GRA’s on research grants.


  • The fees associated with tuition are requested in full for each GRA. Tuition fees include following fees: building fee, incidental fee, student activity fee, resource fee and the health service fee. Raise the fees by 3% each subsequent grant year (though this may not actually cover the real increase for the next academic year it is the best estimate possible).
  • Be assured that even when including these tuition fees, the health insurance (see below), and the partial tuition in a research grant budget, a GRA will still ‘cost’ less than a lab assistant earning $25,000/year salary with the added 45% fringe benefit rate.


  • Insurance costs are treated like fringe benefits on a research grant budget. They include vision insurance, dental insurance, and the major medical fee. These are raised by 3% in the first year’s grant budget; each subsequent year is also increased by 3% to at least partially account for inflation.
  • Refer to the online tuition/fees chart for the actual fees and insurance costs (ignore the tuition costs and use the partial tuition amount noted above instead):