The first year of a Graduate School incentive program aimed at rewarding departments that increased their externally funded graduate students concluded with eight departments or research centers receiving $63,000 in temporary funding.
The program, known as the “tuition buy-down” policy, offered $3,500 in temporary funding to departments or research centers on the Pullman campus for each .5 FTE (full-time equivalent) research or project assistants funded on extramural funds in excess of the department’s previous three-year average.
Of the eight units receiving money, four are in the College of Engineering and Architecture and two are interdisciplinary research centers supported by the College of Engineering and Architecture in collaboration with either the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences or the College of Sciences.
While congratulating the departments that earned the incentives, Howard Grimes, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, said the first year of the three-year pilot program could have been more successful.
“People needed to look at their budgets more creatively,” he said. “We expected to give out more money. That’s the bottom line.”
The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, with a three-year average of 10.49 FTE externally funded graduate students, increased to 13.85 FTE. The increase of 3.36 FTE netted the department six tuition buy-downs, or $21,000.
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, with a baseline average of 10.34 externally funded graduate students, saw an increase of 2.22 FTE in 2007-2008, earning four tuition buy-downs or $14,000.
The Materials Research Lab and the Wood Materials and Engineering Lab each increased by 1 FTE and earned $7,000.  Health Policy and Administration, Human Development, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and the Bioengineering
Research Center each increased by .5 FTE and are scheduled to receive $3,500 in temporary funding.