Incentive Program for Graduate Student Support on Externally-Funded Research Program

Currently Paused

The Office of Research and Innovation and the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs previously established a program to help offset the cost of non-resident tuition for graduate students supported on externally-funded grants. Recent analysis has indicated the need to expand this program in order to increase the engagement and support for graduate students in externally funded research and creative scholarship, while promoting the submission of external research funding proposals across Western Michigan University. This program aims to provide support for both in-state and out-of-state students, as many funding sources do not cover tuition or provide full tuition. Faculty must request funds prior to submission of grants as defined below, effective August 15, 2018. These internal funds are provided if the external grant is awarded.

Application Form

The following parameters provide the context for eligibility and application to the program:


  • Externally-funded research project proposals submitted by faculty and staff that recover facilities and administrative costs at the full rate (currently 51 percent), at the approved off-campus rate (currently 24 percent) when applicable and approved; or the maximum rate published by the sponsor.
  • The student associate/assistant must be funded by the sponsor in the proposal requesting the grad student support, at a minimum, according to the annual stipend schedule published by the Graduate College at no less than one-half time (10 hours per week) across the academic year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use this program for doctoral students with candidacy, for master's-only programs, or advanced master's degree seeking students, to achieve the maximum benefit of the program for the student's and the faculty member's research program.
  • Funds will be provided for a period of one year, are non-transferable, and must be requested again if a grant is resubmitted.

Contact the Associate Director of Research and Sponsored Programs in ORI at least one month in advance to discuss if a specific grant is eligible. 

Available resources

Faculty may request funds equivalent to either two credits of tuition for two semesters (fall and spring) or funding support on an hourly basis equivalent to two summer sessions in the form of a stipend. If the principal investigator requests funding equivalent to a stipend for the summer session, student enrollment should not be required as this award will only fund the student. Up to two students can receive support from this program per grant submitted. 


  • No later than 15 working days prior to the proposal submission deadline, the Pl shall request participation in the program by completing the application form and submitting it with a draft budget. The department chair or unit director will be required to approve the request, which will then be forwarded to the associate dean for research, or relevant representative in the Dean's Office. Upon approval, the Dean's Office will forward the request to the appropriate Research Program Officer in ORI. For staff in non-academic units, the form will need to be approved by the immediate supervisor and the unit vice president.
  • The Vice President for Research and Innovation (or designee) will review the request and provide a decision to the Pl within five business days, with copies to the relevant administrators.
  • The Pl should work with their assigned ORI research program officer to develop the proposal budget accordingly.
  • The contribution for the tuition remission (equivalent to two credit hours/per semester for two semesters) or stipend for two summer sessions will be documented in the appropriate cost share section (sponsor required and/or WMU volunteered) on the proposal approval form, known as the PAF, and will be managed through the applicable post-award process.
  • Failure to meet the 15-working day deadline to request participation in this program OR meet the ORI proposal submission policy (the 7, 5 and 2 day deadlines for all proposal materials) will result in disqualification from the program.
  • Individual student fellowships or grants that are essentially only support for a single student are not eligible.

Effective June 29, 2020 due to COVID-19: A PI can request participation in the program if they re-budget a current awarded research grant or contract (if allowable by the sponsor) to cover a student to the same extent required at the time of proposal.  The PI needs to complete the application form following the same approval process and submit it with a draft revised budget including the name of the student.

This program is subject to the availability of funds and may be discontinued at the discretion of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Final funding decisions will be determined by ORI with priority given to projects that recover facilities and administration costs at WMU's full negotiated rate as appropriate to the sponsor and provide funding for pre-doctoral appointees. 

Downloadable version