Graduate Research Assistant Tuition

Learn about Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) tuition as part of a sponsored project at Columbia University.


In addition to salary, GRAs are also provided with tuition remission, which is an allowable charge to federal and most other research grants as a direct cost. Unless further limited by specific agency policy, the University has set the maximum tuition chargeable to sponsored projects at 50% of the University’s full resident tuition rate for graduate students as published for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The current tuition remission rate is available from Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA).

Tuition charges are assigned to research grants and other funding sources in proportion to the GRA’s salary allocation during the nine-month academic year. For example, if during the period September through May, a GRA’s salary is funded 25% by grant A and 75% by grant B, the GRA’s tuition remission is allocated to those funding sources in the same percentage as the GRA’s salary.

With respect to GRAs funded in whole or in part by National Institutes of Health (NIH), that agency has established a funding cap that limits the amount it awards for a combination of GRA salary and tuition remission. The cap varies from year to year, and the cap in effect at the time the proposal is submitted applies to the entire life of the competitive segment of the project (i.e., there is no escalation factor in the proposal budget for increases in this cost category over the life of the competitive segment). Similarly, the tuition amounts charged to NIH grants are based on the cap in effect at the time the award is made.

While most agencies permit tuition remission charges, some agencies or particular awards may have restrictions that limit or preclude charging their grants for these costs. For example, the American Cancer Society does not permit charging any tuition remission to its awards.

Still have questions?

Visit our Service Center.