WWU Standard on Faculty Instructional Releases (Course Buyouts)


Instructional release: When a grant or contract pays for a portion of a faculty member’s time that would have otherwise been spent teaching.

Course credit: The number of credits for a course listed in the University Catalog.

Faculty salary: The 9-month, full-time salary of the faculty member.

Fringe Benefits: Fringe benefits are calculated as a percentage of each individual’s salary.

Negotiated DHHS F&A rate The facilities and administrative rate approved for Western Washington University by the Department of Health and Human Services


Occasionally, more time may be required on the part of a faculty member to execute a sponsored research project than is available to them during an ordinary work week in light of their other University commitments such as teaching. In such cases, the grant may, with certain restrictions, pay the cost of a portion of the faculty member’s salary and benefits, releasing the faculty member from a course they would have otherwise been scheduled to teach. Any instructional release must be pre-approved by the Department Chair and College Dean and be consistent with the terms of the grant or contract as well as University policy. This Standard addresses the method used to compute the cost to the grant of such instructional releases; it does not address policy or process for department or college-level review and consideration of instructional release requests.

Cost Computation

The cost of an instructional release is computed as follows:

Instructional Release Salary = (Faculty Salary)/36 * (# Course Credits) Fringe Benefits = the full fringe benefits costs associated with the Instructional Release Salary Indirect Costs = (Instructional Release Salary) * (WWU DHHS negotiated rate)

Total Cost to the grant = (Instructional Release Salary) + (Fringe Benefits) + (Indirect Costs)


A faculty member is pre-approved by their chair and dean to receive an instructional release from a 4 credit course and the instructional release is allowed under the terms of the grant. Their full- time 9-month salary is $72,000.

Instructional Release Salary = $72,000/36 * 4 = $8,000 Fringe Benefits = $8,000 * 33% = $2,640 Indirect Costs = $8,000 * 52.3% = $4,184

Total cost to the grant = $14,984 Total funds released by the instructional release to the academic unit to cover the cost of a replacement instructor = $8,000 (Instructional Release Salary).