Updated September 2010
The College wishes to advise tenure-track faculty at all ranks that they can apply for and accept distinguished, competitive, outside research fellowships. To facilitate this, Departments and Programs in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts will offer salary supplements to fellowships with stipends that provide for less funding than the faculty member's nine-month salary. The fellowship stipend must be at least 25% of the 9-month annual salary. The supplement may be received for a maximum of one academic year. The Topping-Off Award (TOA) will be equal to the difference between the regular salary during the year of the leave and the fellowship stipend.
The College will continue to pay the faculty member's usual health benefits and TIAA-CREF on the amount of the supplement, but not on the fellowship unless the fellowship allows the University to administer the funding. If so, a PAF should be completed for the amount of the fellowship. The grant will be charged the fellowship and benefits, causing a deficit. At the end of the time period, the deficit should be moved to the College fringe benefits project grant. This will allow the faculty member and the University to contribute towards TIAA/CREF on the amount of the fellowship.
The Top-Off Award will operate in the following manner:
- Not all fellowship awards will qualify for a TOA. Since resources are limited and the TOA is intended to supplement the most distinguished fellowships, please check with your department on qualifying fellowships. TOAs are at the discretion of the approving department.
- The TOA supplement is paid by the approving department.
- The fellowship must be at least 25% of 9-month salary to qualify for a TOA.
- In most cases, NIH and NSF awards do not qualify for the TOA program.
- You are only eligible for one TOA in a five-year period.
Top-Off Award Procedure
- When a faculty member receives a prestigious fellowship that has an award amount less than the academic year salary rate, and wants to request a Top-Off (TOA), the faculty member, through his/her department/program, starts the process by preparing the following materials.
- Leave Request Form with the Scholarly Activity Leave (SAL) section checked,
- Copy of the sponsor's fellowship award letter (this must be a prestigious externally sponsored fellowship award),
- Leave worksheet signed by the faculty member.
- The department/program should do a preliminary check making sure that the request is eligible under the Scholarly Activity Leave (SAL) and Top-Off Award (TOA) guidelines. The materials then are forwarded to the appropriate Divisional Associate Dean. If the department/program is unwilling to pay the TOA, the request should not be forwarded.
- The Divisional Associate Dean will review and make a recommendation to the Executive Committee for its approval. Upon Executive Committee approval, the department will prepare an award letter (see template) with a copy of the signed Leave Request form.
Recipients of some of these fellowships may also be eligible for a $3,000 Faculty Fellowship Enhancement Award from the Rackham Graduate School. Please contact them directly for more information.