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Course Buy-Outs and Overage/Summer Support Policy


Office of the Provost

Final Pratt Policy:

Full-time Faculty and Chairs Course Buy-Outs & Overage/Summer Support from Sponsored Research and/or Partnerships


 To enable full-time faculty and department chairs to conduct sponsored research and/or partnership which may warrant paying for a reduction in teaching workload (faculty) or overage/summer pay (faculty and chairs) to accomplish their research activity.

I. Course Buy‐out Policy
  1. Pratt Institute recognizes there may be circumstances when a substantial scholarly/ research activity warrants a reduction in teaching workload to accomplish the activity.
  2. Pratt recognizes that a “course buy‐out” may be warranted in such circumstances. “Course buy‐out” involves using external research and/or partnership grant funds to pay for a course release, so that someone else can be paid to teach the course.
  3. Research and/or partnership grant funds to cover a “course buy‐out” for a 3‐credit course are calculated to be 10% of a full‐time faculty member’s base salary + fringe. If the course in question is a full‐day (six or more hour) studio course, then 20% of base salary + fringe is required to fund a “course buy‐out.”
II. Course Buy‐out Procedures
  1. Pre‐Grant Award Procedures
    • To request a grant‐funded “course buy‐out,” a full‐time faculty member should fill out the Provost’s Office Proposal Routing form, which requires a description and project budget. The course release should be budgeted for in the proposal, which should also indicate in which semester(s) the release will be needed. The form materials should be sent to the department chair and then on to the Dean for approval, and then to the Provost’s office for approval.
  2. Post‐Award Procedure
    • If a grant application is awarded to the faculty member, the Research and Strategic Partnerships team will assist with completing the release time form for the semester or year, and calculate the course buyout amounts within grant application budgets. Please see page 3 of this policy for additional information and instructions.
III. Overage/summer Support Policy
  1. For the summer months, faculty or department chairs are eligible to be paid from research and/or partnership grants up to 20% of their base salary as “summer salary” in the form of a stipend.
  2. If a faculty member performs work on a research and/or partnership project in addition to his or her normal duties at the school during the academic year, he or she may draw from the grant overage compensation of up to 20% of base salary in the form of a stipend.
  3. Individuals to be supported must ensure that the external research and/or partnership sponsor allows grant funds to go toward overage support/summer salary and at the percentage that Pratt allows. Should there be a lower percentage, the policy of the sponsoring organization supersedes this policy. And note, the research and/or partnership grant’s budget must also include fringe benefits (at the fringe rate for stipends) in addition to the required salary percentages to be paid.
  4. Any overage compensation may also be used to pay Course Buy‐Outs if the terms of the research and/or partnership grant permits and the funds are available.

Grant-Funded Course Buy-Out Procedures

Course buyouts are a process by which full-time tenure track faculty are given release time to conduct research for externally grant-funded projects. They are granted to faculty whose teaching responsibilities do not allow them to devote enough time to their externally grant-funded research activities. The incentive for a course buyout to the department is that external funding if awarded will return a portion of the faculty salary back to the department that would otherwise be funding the faculty member to teach. The returned funding is added to the department’s part-time faculty budget lines (as directed by the department) to cover teaching replacement costs.

These procedures serve as a guide to department chairs, deans, and academic administrators to help the research and strategic partnerships team process grant-funded course buyouts through the release time process, and to stay in compliance with external funder terms and conditions. Only faculty that receive external grant funds for research will be considered.

Pre‐Award Procedures

Faculty members who want to pursue grant-funded course buyouts or overage compensation/summer salary must first discuss the matter with their department chair before submitting any grant applications. The faculty member must then complete a proposal routing form (attached), which requires a project description and budget. The course release or overage compensation/summer salary and fringe should be budgeted for in the proposal, including which semester(s) the release will be needed. For approvals, the form materials should be sent to the department chair first, then to the dean, and then to the provost’s office for approval.

Post‐Award Procedures

If a grant application is awarded to the faculty member, the research and strategic partnerships team will assist with completing the release time form for the semester or year, and calculate the course buyout amounts within grant application budgets.

To initiate the process, the research and strategic partnerships team will contact the department chair to complete the top portion of release time form (attached).

The department is responsible for providing the following information:

  • Provide the department’s GL account number and object codes for full-time and part-time staff. The account number is the fund type (2), the 4digit unit number, and 5-digit object code i. E. (2_ _ _ _ 71102). The department is also responsible for completing the remaining information for the faculty member. The reason for the release time will be a course buyout. Please include any other important information as required by the form.

Research and Strategic Partnerships are responsible for the following process:

  • Using the completed release time form, the team will process 1) a PAF to charge the related grant account and 2) submit a budget transfer of the portion of the faculty’s salary, which is equivalent to the amount of the course buy-out approved in the external grant award, from the departments fulltime salary line to part-time salary line, making the fulltime faculty members salary whole.

To complete the process, send the approved release time form (for course buyouts), along with any approved grant award documents to Jennifer Leao (jleao@pratt. edu) for processing.

Note: Whenever possible, release time forms for course buy outs must be submitted before the beginning of the semester to allow lead time of three to four weeks for approvals, budgeting funds to the grant account, and transferring salary savings to the department’s part-time faculty or stipend budget lines.

Pratt Institute Proposal Routing Form