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Changes to F&A Rate for State of Tennessee

Beginning August 24, 2017, proposals submitted to State of Tennessee agencies for projects in which the prime source of funding is from a federal source will be budgeted for using the University’s federally negotiated F&A rates.  The State has recently updated their award terms and conditions to include language indicating if a subcontractor requests their negotiated F&A rate the State will honor that rate.  Additionally, under the Uniform Guidance regulations, pass through entities of federal funding are required to allow subcontractors to charge their federally negotiated rate.  A significant portion of the University’s State of Tennessee projects funding include Federal flow through.

This change will not impact any existing funds or proposals that have already been reviewed and submitted by the Office of Sponsored Programs.  This change will impact any new proposals submitted for new projects or that add additional funding to existing projects.

If you have any questions, please contact David Smelser, Assistant Director, at

2017-18 Graduate Tuition and Health Insurance Rate

Every year, the University of Tennessee updates the rates for graduate student tuition and health insurance. The rates for the 2017-18 academic year became effective August 1 and should be used when preparing budgets for sponsored projects.


The new tuition rate for graduate students for the 2017-18 academic year is $626 per credit hour or $5,622 per semester. The schedule of Maintenance, Tuition, and Fees can be located at: For graduate students on a project, only the maintenance fee is charged to the sponsor. University Graduate Assistants (GA), Graduate Research Assistants (GRA), Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA), and Graduate Teaching Associates (TA) who are employed at least 25% time (10 hours per week) on university payroll records receive certain tuition and/or maintenance fee waivers.

Health Insurance

Every graduate student employed at least 25% time (10 hours/week) as a GA, GRA, and/or GTA will automatically be enrolled in the Graduate Student Employee Insurance Program with premiums paid by the employing department. The graduate health insurance rate for the 2017-18 academic year is set to $157 per month or $1,884 per year.  The health insurance rates are located:

Annual Increase Recommendations

OSP recommends a yearly increase of 6% for maintenance fees and 8% on graduate student health insurance when preparing budgets for externally funded projects. These rates are based on historical data and can be documented for a sponsor if requested to provide a justification of the rate. Being able to quickly provide this justification will help reduce the time required to negotiate awards with external sponsors.

If you have any questions on the current rates or inflation recommendations, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at



Documentation Required When Subcontractors are Included in Proposals

Working with subcontractors on a grant requires an additional process when it comes to completing your proposal. Follow these helpful guidelines to ease the process.

When submitting a proposal involving external collaborators, the university needs to obtain institutional and project information from these collaborators. The following information is required to be received from the subrecipient’s Office of Sponsored Programs (or equivalent).

  1. Statement of work
  2. Budget
  3. Budget justification
  4. Subrecipient Commitment Form (and Appendix A when sponsor follow PHS FCOI regulations)

Recently, the Federal Demonstration Partnership has created an Expanded Clearinghouse. For institutions that have provided their institutional information to the Expanded Clearinghouse, they are not required to complete the Subrecipient Commitment Form. For these institutions, their Office of Sponsored Programs (or equivalent) can submit the following information via email:

  • Statement of work
  • Budget
  • Budget justification
  • Subrecipient PI name:
  • Performance location:
  • Subaward amount:
  • Amount of cost share contributed
  • If human subjects are involved (Yes / No)
  • If animal subjects are involved (Yes / No)
  • Office of Sponsored Programs contact
    • Name:
    • Email:
    • Phone:

The university also needs to receive any documentation required by the sponsor (e.g. biosketch, current & pending form, facilities statement, etc.). These documents are never required to be provided by the subrecipient’s Office of Sponsored Programs (or equivalent).

If you should have any questions related to the process of gathering subrecipient documentation, please contact David Smelser, assistant director of sponsored programs, (

Guidance for Budgeting Postdocs on Proposals to External Sponsors

Due to the changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act regulation, we wanted to provide guidance regarding budgeting postdocs who are currently below the $47,476 salary rate since most of the proposals submitted at this time would not be funded until after December 1, 2016. This guidance is for budget development purposes only and does not provide any indication of how the FLSA regulation may be implemented at UT Knoxville since those details are still being discussed.

At this time, we recommend for any individuals in a postdoc position who are currently paid under the FLSA salary threshold of $47,476  to budget the base salary for these individuals at $47,476 and use a 51% rate for their fringe benefit calculation. This guidance should also be used for any postdoc positions where the individual has not been identified on the proposal budget.

If you have any questions regarding this proposal budget guidance, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 974-3466.

NIH Salary Cap Effective Jan. 10

NIH announced the new salary cap level of $185,100 which became effective on January 10, 2016.  The salary cap applies to NIH grants and cooperative agreements.  Please refer to Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-059 for more information.

To stay up-to-date on NIH issues, events, and funding opportunities, subscribe to the UT NIH Research Community by contacting Jennifer Webster ( You can also find a list of NIH resources on the Office of Research and Engagement website at

Mercer to Join Office of Research and Engagement

Jean Mercer will join the Office of Research and Engagement as assistant vice chancellor for research and director of the Office of Sponsored Programs on January 4, 2016.

Jean MercerMercer has extensive experience in research administration in higher education, most recently serving as the director of grant services in the Office of Research Administration at Indiana University. While there, she supervised and reviewed the processing of all grant and contract applications to external agencies and the receipt of awards and contracts from these organizations, instructed and advised faculty and staff on proposal preparation, and supervised a staff of thirty. Mercer also helped implement a new grant administration software.

“We are so delighted to have Jean join the ORE team,” said Taylor Eighmy, vice chancellor for research and engagement. “She brings a depth and breadth of leadership experience to ORE. She led a very large sponsored programs office at a very large, complex research university. Her acumen and collaborative approach will be apparent on day one.”
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