Frequently Asked Questions

Check to find the answers to your questions about the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) programs and activities. You can search by category or key words. You can also send us your questions or website feedback here. We will respond to your requests based on the best available scientific evidence and research from our Agency.

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Training-Related Expenses may be used to help defray costs such as staff salaries. However, such charges must meet the tests of allocability, necessity, and reasonableness.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) interprets and implements the tax laws. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) takes no position on the status of a particular taxpayer, nor does the Agency have the authority to dispense tax advice.

Refer to the HHS Grants Policy Statement (PDF), which pertains to AHRQ grantees—Taxability of Stipends under Part II, Terms and Conditions of Award, Supplementation of Stipends, Compensation, and Other Income.

Examples of requests requiring prior approval include but are not limited to:

  1. Changes in scope (e.g., changes in number and types of positions supported).
  2. Use of unobligated balances to support another student. (Note: No requests can be made to use unobligated balances that have not been officially filed in an annual financial status report.)
  3. Rebudgeting of trainee costs (tuition and stipend) to appoint another student.
  4. Appointment of interim or new Program Director/Principal Investigator must be requested in writing, with accompanying rationale and biosketch for the requested candidate.
  5. Leave of absence exceeding 45 days.

No prior approval is needed for:

  1. Rebudgeting of travel funds and training-related expenses (TRE) into other categories; however, please note that these funds cannot be used to provide additional stipend beyond the level to which a student/trainee is entitled.
  2. Rebudgeting into or within tuition, stipend and fees; however, please note that these funds cannot be used to provide additional stipend beyond the level to which a student/trainee is entitled.

Generally, when you vacate a slot within a given year of appointment, a new student cannot be appointed to the vacated slot and unused funds are to be reported as unobligated. In exceptional circumstances if the position is vacated early in the appointment year and the program can demonstrate that sufficient funds from the current award year are available to fully-support an additional student, AHRQ will consider a formal, written request from the grantee institution to fill the vacated slot.

As with all prior approval requests, the request is to be endorsed by an an authorized institutional official and submitted to the assigned Grants Management Specialist named on the most recent Notice of Award. Approval is not guaranteed. In order for AHRQ to consider the request, a specific person has to be named to fill the vacated slot, the slot may not be "to-be-named." The newly identified person will initially be appointed for the time remaining to complete the planned program of training. The request must include a statement assuring that the individual will be immediately reappointed in the subsequent year.

The Notice of Award will indicate the anticipated number of predoctoral and postdoctoral T32 trainee slots that AHRQ hopes to support in future years. Prior to the due date for submitting the noncompeting continuation application, the assigned AHRQ program official will be in contact with the grantee regarding the actual number of trainee slots that may be requested.

Excerpt from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Grants Policy Statement:

"Recruitment Costs: Allowable subject to the conditions and restrictions contained in the applicable cost principles. These costs may include help-wanted advertising costs, costs of travel by applicants for interviews for prospective employment, and travel costs of employees while engaged in recruiting personnel. Grant funds may not be used for a prospective trainee's travel costs to or from the recipient organization for the purpose of recruitment. However, other costs incurred in connection with recruitment under training programs, such as advertising, may be allocated to a grant-supported project according to the provisions of the applicable cost principles."

A payback agreement is required only if the appointment is your initial 12 months of postdoctoral NRSA support. If you received any other NRSA postdoctoral support that totals 12 months, on either another training grant or fellowship, a payback agreement is not required.

Public Health Service (PHS) funds may not be used to supplement a NRSA stipend. Furthermore, the trainee must devote full-time effort to the NRSA program. Conditions of the employment may not interfere with, detract from, or prolong the trainee's approved NRSA training program.

No. Pre-award costs are not allowable charges for either stipends or tuition on institutional training grants since stipends and tuition costs may not be charged to the grant before the trainee appointment is actually made.

Each U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) operating division deals with this issue differently. Generally, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) expects grantees to rebudget to accommodate this type of change within the total amount already awarded, due to AHRQ's limited funding availability. The grantee may submit a formal, written request for additional funds to cover the higher stipend level; however, if NRSA funds for the given Fiscal Year have been exhausted, the request will not be approved.



Ask a question, report a problem, or give us your opinion about a specific AHRQ program.