Fiscal Policy and Salary Cap Guidance for 2017


Now that the NIH fiscal year 2017 budget is signed into law, NIH published its final fiscal policy and salary cap guidance for this year.

In general, NIH will restore reductions to non-competing continuation awards made this year while we were operating under a pending budget (continuing resolution).  Additional details on fiscal operations, including specific funding strategies for ICs and any exceptions, will be posted at the NIH funding strategies page.

The salary cap remains unchanged from the interim guidance published in March. The direct salary limitation follows Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale, which was previously set at $185,100, and increased to $187,000 effective January 8, 2017. This means that for awards issued in previous years that were restricted to Executive Level II, including competing awards already issued in fiscal year 2017, grantees may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level as long as:

  1. adequate funds are available in active awards; and
  2. the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary.

See NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-17-087 for details on the salary cap, and NOT-OD-17-086 for guidance on NIH fiscal policy.

Have questions about your specific award(s)? Contact the Grants Management Specialist identified on your Notice of Award.



  1. I noticed that the Executive Level II salaries are increasing effective 1/1/18. Have the new 2018 rates been updated yet, or are they going to stay at the current rate of $187,000?

    1. In general, if the grant is still active and in a no-cost extension, then the most recent salary cap would apply from its associated effective date onward. Please note that NIH will not provide any additional funds to cover an increase to the salary cap. However, if a recipient has flexibility in other categories of their grant budget, they may prebudget to meet the amount of the current salary for an individual with an institutional base salary at or above that amount without the need for prior approval from the awarding NIH Institute or Center.

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