NIH Salary Cap

The NIH salary cap is a statutory limitation imposed by Congress on an individual’s rate of pay directly chargeable to grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The salary cap limits the rate of pay chargeable to NIH awards to a maximum that is tied to the Federal Executive Pay Scale and the year of the award. The capped rates of pay apply equally to academic year and twelve-month employees.

Current and historical salary cap limits can be found on the NIH website. NIH funds may not be used to pay the salary of an individual at a rate in excess of the applicable annual salary cap.

Pre-Award: Budgeting

If a faculty's salary is over the NIH Salary Cap, the excess is considered institutional support and needs to be identified during the proposal phase of an award. Principal investigators (PIs) and their department grant administrators (DGAs) should work with their Pre-Award Sponsored Projects Administrator to accurately budget salary in their proposals.

Post-Award: Cost-Share

PIs and their DGAs should work with their SPS post-award SPA to accurately document the cost share for the amount of salary above the NIH cap that cannot be charged to the grant. Salary costs over the NIH cap must be charged to a non-federal source. For more on UO cost share documentation process please review Cost Share Reporting and Documentation. For information on UO expense documentation process, please review Expense Approval and Documentation Requirements.

OVPRI Policy for Covering Salaries in excess of the NIH Cap

  1. The OVPRI will not provide over the cap funding for tenure-track faculty during the academic year, as funds are allocated to their School or College through the academic allocation model to cover their full salary during the academic year.
  2. During summer, OVPRI will provide up to $10,000 in total summer support (salary +OPE) per faculty member to cover any effort above the NIH salary cap for TTF. Effort that exceeds $10,000 in over the cap funds must be covered through other means.
  3. The OVPRI will cover up to $10,000 annually in salary and OPE per faculty member for non-tenure track faculty above the NIH salary cap, hired before January 1, 2019. Future hires of NTTF with salaries over the cap need to be covered by the home unit. This new policy will be re-evaluated in two years.

If a department would like to apply for OVPRI support, they should fill out the online Salary Cap Support Request form below. The form must be submitted by 4/30/21 for eligible wages paid through 3/31/21.

Salary Cap Support Request Form