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Improving Doctoral Experiences on External Awards


To define a baseline level of support for doctoral students who are funded by external awards and to define how KU may supplement funding awards that do not meet the baseline requirement.

Applies to: 

Doctoral students and faculty on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses

Policy Statement: 

Statement of Intent

The University of Kansas strongly encourages graduate students to cultivate skill and success in securing external funding. To support such efforts, the Office of Graduate Studies provides funding through Improving Doctoral Experiences on External Awards (IDEEA) to supplement eligible grant, fellowship, traineeship, or other external awards that support doctoral students.

Subject to funding availability, supplemental support will be provided as follows when the policy criteria are met.

Supplementing Award Packages

IDEEA provides supplemental funding when an eligible external award or granting agency prohibits or does not provide one or more components of the university’s defined baseline support. For eligibility criteria, see Requirements of External Funding Applications.

The IDEEA supplement is intended to ensure that externally supported doctoral students receive a baseline level of support, regardless of whether that support is delivered in the form of a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA), Graduate Assistantship (GA), fellowship, or traineeship. Doctoral support should be structured as a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), GRA, or GA whenever allowable, as this employment provides greater access to benefits.

Baseline Support

The University expects that a funded graduate student’s minimum support will be equivalent to the following package.

  • Stipend or salary payments equivalent to the academic-year minimum established annually by the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty
  • Tuition remission for up to nine (9) hours in fall and spring and up to six (6) hours in summer until the student completes eighteen (18) post-comprehensive hours, and thereafter one (1) dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour in fall, spring, and summer, unless higher enrollment levels are required by the award
  • Payment of required course fees for up to nine (9) hours in fall and spring, up to six (6) hours in summer, or up to one (1) hour for students who have completed eighteen (18) post-comprehensive hours. The Office of Graduate Studies may, in limited cases, provide funding for tuition in excess of 9 credit hours for students who are pre-comp and enrolling in regular coursework. To be funded, the course load must be documented as a requirement in the academic catalog and necessary for satisfactory progress to degree.
  • Payment of 100% of required campus fees for up to three (3) credit hours

Proportional Supplements

IDEEA supplements external funding in proportion with the amount of the baseline graduate salary paid by the qualifying external award. Doctoral students whose baseline salary or stipend is fully funded by qualifying external projects will receive priority consideration for IDEEA supplement funds.

Priority 1: Full Awards

If the funder provides a salary or stipend equal to or greater than the baseline above but pays less than 100% of the other benefits listed above, IDEEA will supplement the remaining costs up to the baseline level.

Priority 2: Partial Awards

If the funder provides a salary or stipend less than the baseline above, the award is considered a partial award. In order to qualify for an IDEEA supplement, a doctoral student with a partial award must secure a commitment from their home academic department or employing unit to provide match funding up to or beyond the baseline support package outlined above. In such a case, IDEEA will provide tuition support proportional to the percentage of the baseline salary or stipend provided by the external funder.

For example: If a doctoral student secures a qualified fellowship that provides 50% of the baseline minimum salary but no other benefits, the student must secure match funding from the home academic or employing department in order to qualify for an IDEEA supplement. Once that happens, IDEEA will support 50% of the tuition, 50% of the required course fees, 50% of required campus fees for up to 3 credit hours, and 50% of the scholarship funds to defray insurance premium costs. The matching department will provide the remaining 50% of the baseline salary (or more) as well as the remaining 50% of the tuition, required course fees, three hours of required campus fees, and insurance premium scholarship funds.

Student Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an IDEEA supplement, doctoral students must meet all of the following criteria. 

In addition, doctoral students must have one of the following. 

  • A GRA appointment at 0.50 FTE or higher lasting the full semester or summer for which an IDEEA supplement is requested 
  • A combination of GRA, GTA, and GA appointments with a total FTE of 0.50 or higher lasting the full semester or summer for which an IDEEA supplement is requested
  • A fellowship, traineeship, or equivalent award lasting the full semester or summer for which an IDEEA supplement is requested

Students are limited to a maximum of ten (10) semesters of combined support from either Tuition Assistance Pool (TAP, prior to 2022) or IDEEA (2022 or later).

Requirements for Funding Sources

External Funding Applications

Faculty and doctoral students seeking external awards must ensure that their applications, to the fullest extent allowable by the funder, request and budget for the baseline support outlined above.

If a grant and/or granting agency permits full payment of the baseline support package, then students supported by that grant or agency are not eligible for supplementation by IDEEA. In this scenario, if the full university baseline support was not originally budgeted in the grant, the grant must be re-budgeted or any remaining baseline support must be identified from alternative sources.

If re-budgeting the current year is not allowable, a faculty member may seek a one-time exception to allow IDEEA supplementation. If granted, such an exception will require the faculty member to participate in training on preparing grant budgets and to re-budget the award in the next allowable year, when applicable.

Eligibile Funding Sources

Doctoral students whose funding support originates with the following are eligible for IDEEA supplementation.

  • Federal programs (e.g., NIH, NSF, DOE, NEA)
  • State programs (e.g., the Biodiversity Institute, the Institute for Policy and Social Research, the Kansas Geological Survey)
  • Professional and philanthropic societies (e.g., American Chemical Society, American Heart Association)
  • Non-profit organizations (e.g., National Sporting Library and Museum)
  • New Faculty Research Development Fund award (NFRD), regardless of the funding source used to provide the NFRD award

Ineligible Funding Sources

Doctoral students are not eligible for IDEEA supplementation if their funding comes from the following.

  • Commercial entities:
    • A GRA position funded by industry, business, or commercial partnerships is not eligible for tuition/benefit support from IDEEA and is expected to have the full amount of baseline support (see above) provided by the awarding entity. 
  • State dollars:
    • State funds are ineligible. A GRA, GA, or fellowship paid entirely from startup funds, release funds, shrinkage, or other departmental funds (i.e., funds originally budgeted for another purpose) is not eligible for the tuition and benefit supplement provided by IDEEA. Research Excellence Grants and KU Center for Research (KUCR) GO grants are also ineligible, because they are discipline-specific or not campus-wide initiatives. The state-funded General Research Fund (GRF) managed by KUCR is also ineligible.
    • Departments using state dollars to “match” a partial external award may be considered for supplementation, upon review by the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies. Departmental match funds using state dollars must make up 50% or less of the total baseline support level.
  • KU Endowment Association (KUEA) funds:
    • Unless KUEA is solely serving as the administrator of an external award (e.g., a grant from the NEA that is administered through KUEA instead of KUCR), a GRA paid entirely through KUEA funds is not eligible for tuition and benefit supplementation by IDEEA. KUEA funding is expected to provide the full amount of baseline support outlined above without supplementation by IDEEA. 
  • Overhead support:
    • A GRA position paid entirely from returned overhead funds is not eligible for tuition or benefit supplemental support by IDEEA.
  • Any funding source deemed ineligible for support using State of Kansas funds.


Students who are enrolled in a KU Lawrence Campus (KULC) doctoral program and who are employed as a GRA on the KU Medical Center (KUMC) Campus are eligible for IDEEA supplementation, as long as the student and funding source meet the requirements. The student’s KULC academic department should submit the IDEEA request and include proof of the qualifying GRA appointment on the KUMC campus.

IDEEA supplements are provided once each semester. The Office of Graduate Studies will collect requests for IDEEA supplementation in advance of each semester. In order to receive priority consideration, IDEEA supplement requests for the following semester will be due to the Office of Graduate Studies by the final Fridays in June, October, and March.

Incomplete requests will not be considered. Late requests may be considered at the Vice Provost’s discretion, as funding allows. 

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 
Requests for an exception will only be considered for funding sources that meet both of the following: 
  • prestigious funding sources of a scope and/or duration that constitute a significant impact on the KU research and training mission (e.g., programmatic funding). 
  • funding that prohibits an employee/employer relationship for graduate students.  
No exceptions will be granted to the list of eligible funding sources or student eligibility criteria.
Requests must be sent by the P.I. to the Office of Graduate Studies and should provide details of the exception requested and the external award’s potential impact on KU’s research mission. All exceptions are documented below:  

Graduate Studies
213 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Effective on: 
Thursday, March 10, 2022
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
doctoral student, external award, external funding, supplemental support, fund, funding, support
Change History: 

08/10/2023: Added GRF to ineligible funding sources and added exceptions to baseline support section and to exclusions and special circumstances.
05/03/2022: Baseline Support section updated per General Counsel's recommendation.
03/10/2022: New Policy published in the Policy Library.

Student Life Categories: 
Financial Assistance

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