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Salary Savings Incentive Policy for Unclassified Academic Staff


This policy describes the acceptable uses of state salary savings from an unclassified academic staff member's budgeted salary that is made available when a portion of the state salary is replaced by external sponsored project salary from a funding agency, foundation, or corporation.

Applies to: 

KU Lawrence and Edwards campus unclassified academic staff eligible for PI or co-PI status on external sponsored research projects.

Policy Statement: 

Funding sources for the support of unclassified academic staff can vary greatly. The salary for some positions is expected to be entirely funded from external sponsored research projects. Other positions receive a fixed percentage of state salary funding with the expectation that salary contributions from external sponsored projects will make up the remaining percentage of the salary funding.

The salary savings referred to in this policy is only the portion of the annual state-funded salary that a principle investigator (PI) or co-PI covers by obtaining external sponsored project funding. The portion of PI or co-PI salary contribution that is expected, based on the stated conditions of the appointment, to come from external sponsored projects is not considered part of the salary savings covered by this policy.

State funding salary savings from unclassified academic staff positions may be used for a variety of professional purposes at the discretion of the supervising unit. Uses may include the following:

  • Student support
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Space and renovation
  • Summer salary for the faculty member
  • Travel
  • Professional expenses
  • One-time bonus payments based upon merit

Supervising units will develop specific policies identifying the percentage allocation of salary savings among the unit, and the individual unclassified academic staff member involved. Each agreement will be documented in writing. The policies may put appropriate limits or restrictions on the various ways the funds can be used. Salary savings can be a good way to help the research staff members provide bridge funding for projects during a hiatus between grants. All university responsibilities and related financial obligations (including funding of any unit budget shortfalls and service obligations for the unclassified academic staff member) required to support the project must be met before salary savings can be used on behalf of the unclassified academic staff member for other purposes. In addition, the unclassified academic staff member must have a meritorious record in research, service and, if applicable, teaching.

In the case of bonus payments, the supervising unit may establish written criteria for one-time bonus payments based upon merit. Such bonus payments will be made through the University’s additional pay process and will not affect the individual’s base salary. A bonus payment, no matter what the source of funding, will be in addition to the unclassified academic staff member’s established base salary for that year. An unclassified academic staff member may be eligible for a bonus payment only once each fiscal year. Unclassified academic staff members may receive bonus payments in consecutive years, but each such payment will require a separate consideration. The receipt of a bonus payment in one year does not guarantee or imply any subsequent bonus payments, nor will it be used for purposes of salary adjustments for subsequent years.

Requests to grant a bonus payment should be forwarded to the responsible Associate Vice Chancellor in the Office of Research. If the request is endorsed by the Vice Chancellor for Research, the application will be forwarded to the Office of the Provost for final approval.


Office of Research

Approved by: 
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Friday, June 21, 2013
Effective on: 
Friday, June 21, 2013
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

It has long been the practice for unclassified academic and faculty equivalent staff members who have external sponsored projects from funding agencies, foundations, or corporations to “buy out” a portion of their state salaries, with the state salary savings generated being used for a variety of professional purposes. This policy statement codifies existing practices and assigns to the supervising units the responsibility of developing policy statements that clearly describe the percentage allocations of state salary savings among the supervising unit and the unclassified academic staff members. It also sets parameters for use of salary savings as bonus payments. This policy mirrors the similar Salary Savings Incentive Policy for Faculty.


Student support: This may include fellowships, scholarships, GTA/GRA/GA appointments, and/or tuition sponsorship.

salary savings, buy out, bonus payments, salary release
Change History: 

02/06/2020: Updated Contact section
10/01/2018: Updated Contact section.
01/18/2018: Updated Contact section.
06/16/2014: Updates to reflect accurate title of 'Office of Research,' and optimal formatting; Campus field updated to include Lawrence and Edwards (previously not displayed).
06/21/2013: Prior to approval, this policy was circulated to deans, directors, department chairs, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee for review and comments. No changes were requested by these groups. The vice chancellor for Research and the vice provosts for Faculty Development, and Administration and Finance subsequently recommended approval of the policy to the provost.

Financial Categories: 
Cash Management & Investments
Personnel: Faculty/Academic Staff Categories: 
Research and Sponsored Projects Category: 
Research and Sponsored Projects

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