Salary Cap Guidance

Understanding Salary Cap

A salary cap is defined as a maximum amount or rate of compensation for personal services that a sponsor will reimburse the university on a sponsored program. A salary cap is not a limitation on how much a principal investigator can be paid by Case Western Reserve University.  

Current salary cap information is available within Commonly Requested Information.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

DHHS, which includes the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a salary cap that limits the amount of funding the agency will provide for an individual’s salary. The salary cap amount is reviewed annually and is indexed to a specified executive pay level and changes periodically. Review historical annual NIH Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990 - present).  

National Science Foundation (NSF)

There is no salary cap for proposals submitted to NSF. However, NSF’s Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide limits faculty to two months of their salary in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. Faculty paid from multiple NSF grants must not re-budget to pay themselves additional salary. The total amount of salary paid from all NSF grant sources must not exceed two months unless explicitly approved by NSF.

Other Sponsors

Other sponsors may also impose a salary cap so it is important to review the solicitation to determine if your sponsor has a salary cap.