Do faculty members get bonuses similar to industry such as cash bonus, stock bonus, profit sharing, commission sharing, and tips? Or only for teaching more courses?

  • 1
    stock bonus — Unless you are taking a job at ITT Tech or similar, I don't think this will be an option. Could you clarify if you are talking about for-profit or non-profit institutions?
    – Mad Jack
    May 24, 2015 at 18:07
  • I assume non-profit institutions
    – Thomas Lee
    May 24, 2015 at 18:54
  • 1
    In a certain country the ministry of education offered cash prizes for a while for each paper published in a high impact factor journal.
    – Szabolcs
    May 24, 2015 at 20:20

3 Answers 3


Since most faculty members are employed by non-profit institutions, there is little in the realm of corporate benefits that directly carries over for all faculty members.

However, there can be some carryover if faculty have intellectual property which has been licensed through the university to a corporation. In such cases, they usually share in whatever revenues the university receives from the corporation.

  • 1
    It would be somewhat trivial for universities in the US to pay bonuses to PIs of large grants out of the indirect cost/overhead they charge to granting agencies. Nevertheless, I don't think it's ever done.
    – Bill Barth
    May 24, 2015 at 22:23
  • @Bill Barth: There's a lot of freedom for an institution to spend the overhead money they get from a PI's grant. However, there is certainly not unlimited freedom. Paying the PI extra would a clear violation of those rules for most funding agencies.
    – Buzz
    May 25, 2015 at 0:14
  • @Buzz, to my knowledge, that needs a citation, but I'd be happy to know about it.
    – Bill Barth
    May 25, 2015 at 2:15
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    The Code of Federal Regulations at §200.414 limits indirect costs to facilities and administration. Moreover, §200.403 says that the same kinds of costs cannot be charged as both direct and indirect. My understanding is that both these sections are interpreted as forbidding direct payment to individuals involved in a federally funded project out of indirect costs.
    – Buzz
    May 25, 2015 at 3:00
  • @Buzz, good call. It's a good thing that money is fungible, then. I withdraw the suggestion of using IDC and suggest that universities could use other funds which they offset with IDC.
    – Bill Barth
    May 25, 2015 at 12:01

In addition to the other good answers, it is also possible to make additional money by consulting and other activities. In the US, faculty are often hired for 9 months out of the year. They can make up their salary for the other three months in a variety of ways. New faculty often receive some sort of startup package which they can spend in a variety of ways including hiring students and postdocs or paying their own summer salary. Grant funds won from a government agency like the NSF or industry can also be used to pay summer salary (though the NSF limits you to 2 months on their dime without special permission). Faculty can also sign up to teach more classes in order to pay themselves in the summer.

If the faculty member chooses to take their 9-month base salary in 12 monthly payments over the year, which is pretty common, then any additional summer salary payments they receive might look like a bonus in some sense.

Now, any awards that are made to the institution or extra classes that are picked up, do not generally allow the faculty member to increase their annual/monthly salary, just to fill in the months between 9 and 12. However, under many 9-month contracts, your summer months are effectively your own. A professor might take on an industry consulting gig for 3 months over the summer completely separate from their university appointment. Depending on the field, this might come at a substantially higher monthly rate, thereby allowing the prof to pad their salary.


In general no. Faculty are salaried employees with no bonus structure. Faculty often can work "overtime" where a department may allow a staff members to commit 110% or even 120% of their time by teaching additional classes, taking on additional administrative work, or conducting additional research. In some cases universities offer bonuses for jobs well done. These are tiny (e.g., 100 USD) compared to most industry bonuses.

There are also bonuses that are not directly paid to the staff member. Teaching releases and additional discretionary funds are often provided as a reward for a job well done (generally large amounts of grant capture).

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