Grant-Funded Graduate Tuition Waivers

Effective July 1, 2020, investigators must include a minimum of 4.3% of the annual direct costs of a project as tuition for each graduate student stipend, unless a funding agency specifically prohibits charging tuition. For PIs requesting more than $250K per year, or if there is no limit on the amount that can be requested, full in-state tuition must be included. The 2020-2021 in-state tuition rate for graduate students is $523 per credit hour. If a PI's budget includes partial tuition, a tuition waiver will be provided for the balance of the amount of in-state tuition. Tuition is not subject to facilities and administration (F&A) charges. The established minimum percentage will be evaluated annually and may change as tuition rates change.

Tuition for market-driven graduate programs: One Stop lists program specific graduate comprehensive tuition for programs that use a market driven rate rather than charging regular tuition rates. In addition, these programs do not have GA lines, nor can we provide tuition remission for grad students in these programs. If PIs want to include graduate students from any of these programs on their grants, they can be paid only on an hourly basis, and their total compensation will be less than the typical GA stipend. If PIs want the student to receive grant-funded tuition remission, the amount will be limited to the standard in-state tuition rate and the PI must include full in-state tuition on their grant budgets. No tuition for students in any of these programs can be charged to the tuition fee waiver account or any other university account, unless the student is a dependent of a Miami employee.


As part of a benchmarking exercise during strategic plan formulation, the research office learned that as recently as five years ago, most universities in our research expenditure bracket in Ohio and in the Midwest made it a common practice to waive fully both in-state and out-of-state tuition on grants that included a stipend for a graduate research assistant. Last year, as the research office updated its strategic plan, the same benchmarking exercise demonstrated that nearly every university that had, five years ago, been waiving full tuition was now expecting principal investigators to cover at least a portion of tuition on smaller grants and to cover full in-state tuition on major grants (i.e., those with budgets ≥$250,000 per year). This change means that Miami's practice of waiving full tuition made us an outlier. The new policy aligns our practices to national norms.

As a result of the benchmarking and program review, beginning in 2019-2020, Research & Sponsored Programs staff started asking some PIs to include partial tuition on their grants. On June 4, Jim Oris, then-Vice President for Research & Innovation, held an online forum with over 30 attendees to discuss a possible change in policy. Provost Osborne subsequently approved the change to take effect July 1, 2020.

The percentage calculation

Nearly all universities consider an NIH R01 grant the standard for a “major grant” and require grant budgets to cover the full cost of in-state tuition for their graduate research assistants. Typically, an R01 uses a modular budget that allows up to $250K in direct costs per year.

Using this same standard – an NIH R01 grant with a modular budget (i.e., $250K per year) – full in-state graduate tuition for a single research assistant was calculated as a percentage of the annual direct costs. Assuming full time graduate enrollment of 9 hours during each fall and spring and 3 hours during summer, for a total of 21 credits per calendar year, full in-state graduate tuition for a single research assistant amounts to 4.3% of $250K*. The fairest approach is to apply the 4.3% standard evenly across all grants that include stipends for GAs, as an offset to the cost of tuition. In cases where the 4.3% does not cover full in-state tuition, the remaining in-state tuition will be waived, as will the full out-of-state surcharge.

*Calculations use the in-state tuition rate for graduate students that was in effect at the time the policy was approved by the provost.

Contact us: tuition waivers

Anne Schauer
Director of Research & Sponsored Programs
102 Roudebush Hall