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NIH Salary Cap: FAQ's

What Is the NIH Salary Cap?

The federal Consolidated Appropriations Act limits the rate at which salaries are paid under sponsored research awards funded by certain agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Since the implementation of the cap in 1989, salary limits have been imposed on awards made by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Beginning with the FY 2002 Appropriations Act, the cap was applied to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awards.  Please refer to the NIH website for current information on the level and process for applying the cap to proposals and awards.

What Is the Basis for the NIH Salary Cap?

The cap is tied to levels of the Federal Executive Pay scale specified within the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

How Is the NIH Salary Cap Applied?

The cap establishes a maximum annual rate of pay at which an individual can be compensated for full time committed over a twelve-month period. Salary charges to a sponsored research award from the (HHS) agencies cited above cannot be paid at a monthly rate that exceeds 1/12th of the maximum annual rate of pay then in effect. T

How Do You Calculate the NIH Salary Cap for Faculty with Nine-month Appointments?

Compensation received by academic year faculty reflects the fact that nine-month salary is paid out in twelve equal portions. 

revised March 22, 2015

Last Updated: 3/22/15