NSTP — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The NSTP allows eligible ladder-rank and in-residence academic appointees holding at least 50 percent faculty appointments, to voluntarily contribute external funding resources toward their Total UC Salary (TUCS). The TUCS rate consists of the faculty member’s Scale-Based Salary (SBS) (including off-scale) plus a Negotiated Salary Component (NSC) that may not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the SBS. Full-time deans, full-time administrators, Senior Management Group members, and faculty already participating in, or eligible to participate in the Health Sciences Compensation Plan (HSCP) may not participate in the NSTP.

To participate, the faculty member must submit a completed request and continue to meet all other normal University obligations of teaching, research, and service. The request will be reviewed by a Senate Review Committee; the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel (VPAP) has final approval authority.

The following acronyms are used throughout this FAQ:

  • NSTP – Negotiated Salary Trial Program
  • SBS – Scale-based Salary [an individual’s regular scale salary rate, plus any off-scale]. This does NOT include administrative stipends.
  • NSC – Negotiated Salary Component [the salary component beyond the SBS that must be negotiated annually]
  • TUCS – Total UC Salary [this is the salary rate, consisting of the participant’s SBS plus the NSC]
  • CPO – Chief Personnel Officer

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Guidelines for Participants

Compensation, Summer Salary, Administrative Stipends

1. If I participate in the NSTP, will I be able to obtain summer salary?
Summer salary and the NSTP are independent programs, and the NSTP does not impact a faculty member’s decision to obtain summer salary.  If a faculty member chooses to participate in the NSTP, he/she may elect the number of months’ salary that best works in accordance with their funding amount and source.  Summer ninths are paid as a percentage of the TUCS rate.

Example: Professor X’s SBS is $90,000/academic year.  She has sufficient and eligible external funding (grants and unrestricted gifts) to participate in the NSTP at the maximum rate of 30 percent.  Professor X is in good standing with regard to all criteria.  Professor X currently pays herself two summer ninths through a grant, but can afford to pay herself an additional ninth through unrestricted gift funds.  What is her TUCS rate if she participates in the NSTP?

Non-NSTP compensation
Scale-based salary$  90,000.00
Summer salary (2 mos.)$  20,000.00 (SBS/9 x 2)
Total Pay$110,000.00

NSTP compensation
Scale-based salary$  90,000.00
Negotiated Salary Component$  27,000.00 (SBS x .30)
NSTP Total UC Salary (rate)$117,000.00 (TUCS = SBS + NSC)
Summer salary (3 mos.)$  39,000.00 (TUCS/9 x 3)
Total Pay$156,000.00
2. If I participate in the NSTP, will I be eligible to receive an administrative stipend (if applicable)?
Participating faculty may receive administrative stipends.  Stipends may not be used to determine a faculty member’s SBS, nor may they be used to cover any portion of the NSC.  If a faculty member receives an administrative compensation in the form of summer-ninths, the participant may augment the summer ninth up to the TUCS rate by using their eligible, external funding.
3. What happens to a negotiated salary if there is a range adjustment, retroactive merit increase, salary adjustment, or any other change to the faculty member’s scale-based salary during the ensuing academic year?
The TUCS rate may not change during the agreement period.  Salary increases negotiated as part of a retention offer will become effective on July 1 of the following year.  If an NSTP participant’s salary is raised after July 1 due to a general range adjustment or cost of living adjustment (COLA), the NSC will be reduced and the covered compensation increased, so that the TUCS remains the same.
4. May I take paid leave while on the NSTP, and what effect does it have on my TUCS?
Sabbatical leave and other leaves with pay may be taken while participating in the NSTP.   Leave will be granted at the TUCS rate in effect during the leave period.
5. What happens if I plan to take unpaid leave during the academic year?
Faculty participating in the NSTP must participate for the entire year, or from July 1 to June 30.  Thus, if you plan to take unpaid leave at any time during the year of participation, you should not apply to participate in the NSTP.  If you decide to take unpaid leave after your NSTP participation has begun, your NSTP approval may be rescinded, and you may be asked to repay all NSC funds paid to you from the start date of your agreement.  Contingency funds may not be used for NSC repayment.
6. May I use start-up or overhead recovery funds to cover contingency fund obligations?
State funds (19xxx) may not be used to cover any portion of the NSC.  Overhead recovery funds and other specific state fund sources may be used to cover contingency fund obligations.
7. What happens if I unexpectedly lose funding during the academic year of a negotiated salary or I become ill and cannot carry out the expected activity? How will unforeseen events be managed?

Schools/Units are responsible for managing funding of the NSTP, and must cover the negotiated salary.

The UCI Implementation Procedures require Schools/Units to establish a contingency fund at a minimum rate of 10 % (ten percent) to ensure coverage of such unforeseen obligations.  Schools/Units may establish a higher rate for the contingency fund at their discretion.  In the example above, Professor X’s contingency fund obligation is $2,700.00, or 10 percent of $27,000.00 (NSC).

In the first year, we do not expect that contingency fund will be fully funded; the goal is to gradually grow the fund through each year of participation.  A recommended goal is to achieve a steady state contingency fund amount of ~ 30%, or 10%/year for three years.

8. If the Dean establishes a contingency fund and there is a surplus, what happens to the surplus?
The Dean must discuss any such use with the relevant Faculty Executive Committee.  The Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor must approve use of any contingency fund surplus.

Application Procedure

9. How do I participate in the NSTP?
Faculty who wish to participate in the NSTP must complete a NSTP Compensation Request.   You must be in compliance with all applicable UC policies, procedures, and training requirements, including: Patent Acknowledgment, Sexual Harassment Education, Training, Outside Professional Activities, and Lab Safety Training.  Please consult with your local CPO, Department Chair, and other School personnel for assistance in determining your compliance status.
10. What information do I need to include with my Compensation Request?

Compensation requests consist of three parts, and must include a completed Requestor’s form, Fund Manager Certification form, and Department Chair approval form.

Paper submissions will not be accepted.  Incomplete requests will be returned to the requestor.

11. Whom should I consult with in my School about my NSTP request?
Before submitting a request for compensation, you should first consult with your fund manager(s), to ensure that you have sufficient funding for your request.  Next, you should consult with your Department Chair regarding your fulfillment of departmental commitments and expectations.  You should also consult with your School Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator to determine whether you are in compliance with required training, and if not, to coordinate steps for becoming compliant.  Finally, you should consult with your CPO if you have any other questions regarding processing your request.
12. What are the deadlines for submitting my forms?
Compensation requests must be completed, internally vetted and approved, and submitted electronically to Academic Personnel by no later than 5 pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.  Your School will have earlier deadlines for submission of your Requestor form, in order that they have sufficient time to complete the Fund Manager Certification form and the Department Chair approval form.

Eligibility and Participation

13. Who can participate?
UCI ladder-rank and in-residence faculty, holding at least 50 percent faculty appointments, and who do not belong to any excluded categories, may participate in the NSTP.  Participants must possess external funding consonant with their requests, and must meet good standing requirements.
14. May Faculty Members with Part-Time Administrative Appointments Participate?
Faculty members with part-time administrative appointments may participate in the NSTP; however, the percentage of the part-time professorial appointment will be used to determine the SBS, resulting NSC and TUCS.

Example:  Professor X’s SBS is $90,000/academic year.  Professor X’s academic appointment has been reduced to 75 percent because she currently holds a 25 percent administrative appointment for which she is compensated at the rate of $130,000/year.  Professor X has sufficient and eligible external funding in the form of grants and unrestricted gifts to participate in the NSTP at the maximum 30 percent rate.  Professor X is in good standing with regard to all criteria.  Professor X currently receives two summer ninths through a grant.

Non-NSTP compensation
Scale-based salary (professorial)$  67,500.00 ($90,000 x 0.75)
Scale-based salary (administrative)$  32,500.00 ($130,000 x 0.25)
Summer salary (2 mos. Research)$  20,000.00 (SBS-academic/9 x 2)
Total Pay$120,000.00

NSTP compensation
Scale-based salary (professorial)$  67,500.00 ($90,000 x 0.75)
Scale-based salary (administrative)$  32,500.00 ($130,000 x 0.25)
Negotiated Salary Component$  20,250.00 (SBS-academic x .30)
Summer salary (2 mos. Research)$  26,000.00 (TUCS rate is 100 percent professorial SBS + NSC,
or $90,000 + $27,000 = $117,000/9 x 2)
Total Pay$146,250.00
15. Will faculty who participate in the NSTP be relieved of teaching or service responsibilities?
No.  Participating faculty must be in “good standing,” which means they must be fulfilling, and continue to fulfill their normal teaching and service responsibilities.   Please refer to the UCI implementation procedures for details on how good standing criteria is met.
16. I’d like to reduce the size of my research staff; will this prevent me from participating in the NSTP?
Not necessarily.  NSTP participants must continue to fulfill research support responsibilities and staffing (e.g., postdocs and staff research positions).  Participants may not terminate the employment of supported staff in order to increase available funding for an NSC.  Proposed layoffs connected any fund source used to support an NSTP request or under the control of an NSTP requestor, will be subject to additional review.
17. I’d like to support fewer graduate students this year. Will this impact my chances for obtaining approval to participate in the NSTP?
Possibly.  NSTP participants must continue to fulfill support obligations for current and incoming graduate students, including those for tuition and benefits, and graduate student employment.  Participants must document how they will fulfill those obligations, and explain reductions in research support and/or deviations from prior year funding.   Significant changes will subject a request to additional scrutiny.
18. Does the NSTP comply with OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, which governs award of federal contracts and grants?
On December 26, 2014, the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) released new federal regulations: “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, & Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.” The NSTP was designed to comply with the predecessor regulations found in OMB Circular A-21. To do so, effort for salaries charged to sponsored projects funded by Federal sources must be accurately and appropriately calculated and certified, and may not exceed 100%.


19. How do I determine how much funding I need to participate?
You should consult with your fund manager to determine the limits of your available funding and the NSTP 30 percent cap.  You should also take in to consideration your projected expenditures during the year of participation, as well as additional costs of participation, such as summer salary, incremental increases on summer salary, and benefits costs.
20. What types of external funding resources may I contribute to my SBS through the NSTP?
External resources are any fund source that are not State-appropriated general funds (19xxx), UC general funds, Chancellor Fellow’s funds, Opportunity funds, Overhead Recovery funds, student tuition funds, or other internal sources.  These funds may not be used to support any portion of the NSC.  External funds may include extramural grant funds, endowment or gift income, professional degree fees, self-supporting degree fees, and contract and grant support.   Funds must be verified/in hand prior to June 30 of the current fiscal year, stable, and sufficient to cover related benefit costs.
21. May I utilize multiple fund sources to cover the NSC?
Yes.  In the aggregate, funding must be sufficient to cover NSC and incremental costs resulting from NSTP participation (contingency fund obligation, benefits, etc.) for the agreement period, or from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
22. May I use Overhead recovery funds to cover the NSC?
State funds (19xxx) may not be used to cover any portion of the NSC.  Overhead recovery funds and other specific state funds sources may; however, be used to cover contingency fund obligations.

UCI does not consider Faculty Start-up funds as an appropriate source for NTSP payments for at least two reasons:

  • They do have a state fund characteristic.
  • Campus units earn and manage Faculty Start-up funds in various ways based on the campus allocation model and so not all faculty or departments have consistent access or purview for Faculty Start-up funds and making them a funds source for NTSP is likely to create inequities.
23. What if I believe my grant will be approved, but I don’t expect to hear from the grant agency until July 1st?
The NSTP requires that funds be available, and “awarded and deposited to a UCI account prior to June 30 of the current fiscal year” in order to be considered for the following year’s negotiation.  This means that the award must be “in hand”.  UCI-approved pre-award spending will not be considered “an award in hand” for purposes of the NSTP.

Proposal Evaluation and Review

24. I have sufficient external funding to participate in the NSTP and can document the same; is that enough?
Please refer to question 11, above.  You will still need to complete the NSTP Compensation Request, along with supporting documentation from your fund manager and department chair.
25. What happens if I request a particular amount, but my fund manager approves/recommends a lower amount?
We strongly recommend that all NSTP requestors meet with their fund managers to engage in a thorough review of all fund sources and expenditures against the same to ensure that you have a complete financial picture of available resources.  Your fund manager is expected to have the best vantage point to determine your available funding, along with access to supporting data and records.  Fund managers play a very important role in helping to ensure that external resources are managed effectively and that fund overages do not occur.  Fund managers are required to sign off on all NSTP requests, and should never be placed in a position that could compromise their ability to engage in conservative financial administration.  We urge NSTP participants to have regular and candid discussions with fund managers and other knowledgeable department personnel, such as MSOs and Department Chairs, to obtain a full and accurate determination of your available funding.  Because of the extensive accounting practices required by the University and funding agencies, financial assumptions should be supported by empirical evidence to prevent misunderstandings or overpayments.  For example, if you wish to request a 30 percent NSC, but your fund manager advises that you should only request 15 percent, you and your fund manager should review the relevant accounts to determine the basis of the discrepancy and to reach a mutual understanding on the appropriate NSC to request.
26. What factors go into making a determination of good standing?
The following will be considered in determining whether an NSTP requestor is in good standing:  (i) whether there was satisfactory advancement at the last on-cycle review, (ii) whether the requestor has fulfilled their approved teaching load, (iii) whether the requestor has fulfilled obligations to provide research support (including to graduate students), (iv) whether the requestor has fulfilled appropriate University service obligations; (v) whether the requestor’s research contracts and grants are current with regard to reporting requirements; and (vi) whether the requestor has complied with all University reporting and training requirements (including laboratory safety).
27. Who is responsible for verifying that good standing criteria have been met?
It is the expectation that every faculty member who submits a request does so in good faith that they are in good standing with regard to the criteria set forth above.  Faculty seeking to participate in the NSTP should review their compliance with all relevant guidelines before submitting a request.  The submission process requires that they verify that they have met all good standing requirements.  Your department chair will be asked to verify your good standing regarding teaching, research supervision and service.  In addition, an Academic Senate NSTP Review Committee will review requests to determine whether good standing criteria have been met.
28. Do campus rules regarding conflict of interest and conflict of commitment apply differently to faculty participating in the NSTP?
No, those rules continue to apply in exactly the same way. If, for example, part of the negotiated salary is based on overload teaching in a self-supporting program, the appropriate number of consulting days must be forfeited in accordance with APM 025.
29. What are the possible reasons for a request to be denied?
Possible reasons for a request to be denied include insufficient funding, non-availability of resources (i.e., fund will arrive after July 1, 2018), or good standing criteria not met.
30. Will the NSTP affect the SBS (including off-scales) for participating faculty?
No.  SBSs will not change as a result of the NSTP.
31. Will the NSTP affect participation in the UC Retirement Program (UCRP)?
For participating faculty, the NSC is not considered “covered compensation” for purposes of UCRP. Only the scale-based portion of the faculty member’s salary is considered “covered compensation” for UCRP, and figures into the calculation of retirement benefits.

Background, Metrics and Post-Audit Review

32. Is the NSTP in place on all campuses?
No.  The NSTP is a trial program, requested by the UC Systemwide Provost.  The NSTP is in place only at the Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego campuses.
33. Why were Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego selected for the trial?
The extremely high cost of living in certain regions of Southern California — especially Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties — has made it extremely difficult to recruit and retain faculty at these campuses.   The NSTP represents an effort to create compensation incentives for faculty without placing additional strain on limited State budget resources.
34. What is the duration of the trial?
Phase one of the NSTP began on July 1, 2013. Phase two of the NSTP will be effective July 1, 2018. A comprehensive review at the end of the third year of phase two will assess whether and to what extent NSTP has advanced University goals and whether it should be added to APM policy or terminated. In addition, the Systemwide Provost may suspend the systemwide trial program on June 30 of any year.  The UCI Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor may suspend the NSTP for some or all schools on June 30 of any year.
35. How does the NSTP differ from a Health Sciences Compensation Plan (HSCP)?
In many ways, the NSTP resembles the HSCP, with both sharing the concept of a negotiated salary component.  Unlike the HSCP, NSTP participation is voluntary.  Likewise, faculty who elect to participate in the NSTP are not required to contribute all outside income (e.g., consulting).  Faculty members may not participate in both the NSTP and the HSCP.  Faculty members with more than a 50 percent appointment in an HSCP eligible program must participate in the HSCP.
36. Which UCI Schools/Units will participate?
The following Schools/Units have reported their intent to participate in the NSTP:

  • Claire Trevor School of the Arts
  • Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences
  • The Paul Merage School of Business
  • School of Education
  • The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
  • School of Humanities
  • Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
  • School of Law
  • Sue & Bill Gross School of  Nursing
  • Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • Program in Public Health
  • School of Social Ecology
  • School of Social Sciences
37. How can I learn more about the NSTP on campus?
Information regarding the NSTP can be found on the Office of Academic Personnel website at http://www.ap.uci.edu/salary/nstp/index.html.  Background information regarding the pilot may be found on the Systemwide Academic website at http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/underreview/NegotiatedSalaryPlan_Pilot_Packet4Review.pdf.   You may also contact your local Chief Personnel Office (CPO), or Academic Personnel at acadpers@uci.edu
38. How will the program be monitored on campus?
On behalf of the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor, the VPAP will collect data on participating departments with regard to (i) funding – i.e., tracking how NSTP external funding is being utilized by type, and use of NSTP funds; and (ii) demographics of NSTP participants, including but not limited to faculty rank and step, gender, race/ethnicity; salary, including off-scale, summer-ninths, and negotiated amount; teaching loads; graduate student and post-doc support by department and individual.  In addition, information may be collected as yet identified issues that pertain to the effectiveness of the NSTP.
39. How will the NSTP be evaluated?

The trial program, whose initial five year pilot began in FY 2013-14 as phase one has been approved for phase two for an additional four years beginning July 1, 2018. Three types of data will be collected by UCOP in a series of reports to allow adequate review of the program:

  • Basic Data (people, funding, faculty responsibilities);
  • Data on recruitment, retention, and review, and
  • Survey data involving queries to faculty, academic administrators, and CAP members on their level of satisfaction with the NSTP.

There will be a full review at the end of the third year of phase two.  Based on a thorough evaluation of the trial, the Office of the President will assess and to what extent NSTP has advanced University goals and whether it should be added to APM policy or terminated in consultation with Senate and Academic leadership.

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