228.1 Tuition Benefits for Faculty and Staff

Created by: Stephanie Ferguson on 10/12/2005
Category: 2 - Student Life; 20 - Awards/Honors/Scholarships
 
Originator: Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, Academic Admin., Faculty Status Committee
Current File: 228.1
Adoption Date: 04/20/2011
Reviewed for Currency: 04/20/2011
 
Replaces File: 228.1
Date of Origin: 07/28/1975
 
Classification: Faculty; Personnel
 
In Archive? 0


228.1 Tuition Benefits for Faculty and Staff

 

A. Background

The University recognizes the desirability of providing assistance for the education of employees and their dependents and seeks to encourage and assist such education at Furman and other schools.

 

B. Policy

1. For eligible faculty and staff, the University provides tuition benefits for dependent children who are offered admission to the following programs:

a. Furman University Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

b. The Associated Colleges of the South Exchange Program (as available)

c. Tuition Exchange, Inc. (as available)

d. Tuition Scholarships to accredited undergraduate two-year or four-year college or universities (up to a specified amount)

2. The University provides tuition benefits for eligible faculty and staff and dependent spouses of eligible faculty and staff who are offered admission to Furman University’s undergraduate or graduate programs.

3. The University provides a Job-Related Tuition Reimbursement Benefit to eligible staff members who attend accredited colleges or universities other than Furman University. The University will provide a partial tuition reimbursement for job-related courses that have been pre-approved by the department manager and Human Resources.

 

C. Guidelines

1. Eligible faculty are defined as those with an employment agreement of three-fourths time or more and with at least two years of continuous University service. Eligible staff are defined as those who work a minimum of thirty hours per week for at least nine months each year with at least two years of continuous University service. Faculty and staff who began their employment with Furman on or before September 1, 2011, as well as all ROTC faculty are exempt from the two year service requirement. Family leave and sabbatical leave are not considered to interrupt continuous service under these guidelines.

2. Tuition scholarships are based on tuition charges identified in the University's catalog or other official University publications. The scholarship does not include non-tuition charges such as student government fees, room, board, books, application fee, residence hall damage deposits, student insurance, applied music, lab fee, graduation fee, activity fees, late enrollment, ROTC deposit, courses taken on an audit basis, and other special charges related to enrolling in the University.

3. A dependent spouse is defined as one who is legally married to the employee and meets the IRS definition of spouse or is a domestic partner, which requires the completion of an Affidavit on file in Human Resources. Domestic partners will be eligible for the tuition benefit on a taxable basis only (the value will be added to the employee’s W-2 form).

4. A dependent child is defined as one who is either a biological child, a step-child, a legally adopted child, or a child for whom the employee has legal guardianship. Eligible dependent children are considered those who rely on the faculty or staff member for more than one half of their financial support for the calendar year and are qualified to be claimed as dependents for federal tax purposes in accordance with Internal Revenue Code guidelines. In addition, dependent children will not be eligible for tuition benefits after they reach twenty-four years of age. If the dependent child reaches twenty-four years of age during a semester in which he/she is already enrolled, he/she will continue to receive the tuition benefit for the remainder of that semester. This benefit will cease at the end of that semester.

The dependent child of a domestic partner will be eligible for tuition benefits, on a taxable basis only (the value will be added to the employee’s W-2 form), if he/she relies on the faculty or staff member for more than half of his/her financial support for the calendar year. Human Resources will require that the faculty/staff member certify that the dependent child qualifies under IRS guidelines or under the guidelines of the Affidavit for Domestic Partners.

IRS regulations regarding the dependent’s income, support, relationship, and custody status will be used in determining the eligibility of dependent children.

The University will comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state regulations regarding the applicable taxation of tuition reimbursement proceeds.

5. Employees who want to take courses during their normal working hours must obtain approval from their supervisor before registering for such courses. Adjustments to work schedules may be required.

6. If an eligible faculty or staff member’s employment is terminated, whether at his/her own initiative or at the university’s, his/her eligible dependent child or spouse will continue to receive tuition benefits for the current semester or term.

7. If a faculty or staff member with ten or more years of continuous service dies or becomes disabled,

a. his/her child is eligible for tuition benefits until the child reaches twenty-four years of age, provided the child was a dependent (under Guideline 4 above) at the time of death or disability, and

b. his/her dependent spouse (as defined in Guideline 3 above) is eligible for tuition benefits for ten years after the death or disability, unless the dependent spouse enters upon a new marriage or domestic partnership, at which time the benefits will terminate.

However, for faculty and staff who began their employment with Furman on or before September 1, 2011, only five years of continuous service are required under this guideline, and the eligibility of a dependent spouse is not limited in duration or terminated by a new relationship.

8. If a faculty or staff member retires after reaching the age of fifty-five and has ten years of continuous service, and if the sum of his/her age at retirement and his/her consecutive years of service at Furman is at least seventy-five, the retiree, his/her dependent children, and his/her dependent spouse may receive tuition benefits after the retirement, subject to the requirements of Guidelines 3 and 4 above. Faculty and staff who began their employment with Furman on or before September 1, 2011, are exempt from the requirement that the sum of age and years of service amount to at least seventy-five.

9.Furman Undergraduate Program (available for employee, spouse or dependent children)

a. The University provides Furman tuition benefits to eligible dependent children, spouses, and employees who are admitted through the Office of Admission for the Furman Undergraduate Program as degree-seeking students. Eligible dependent children, spouses, and employees admitted to Furman as non-degree, special or transient students may receive tuition benefits for classes taken for credit at Furman for purposes that do not lead to a degree as long as space is available and they have received permission to enroll from the instructor.

b. Eligible dependent children who are admitted to Furman in a special student classification (secondary levels from grades 7-12) as non-degree students may receive the tuition benefit for classes taken for credit on a space-available basis. Additionally, prior to registration, the admitted dependent child must receive permission from the instructor and the department chair.

c. Tuition benefits do not cover audited courses.

d. The student is responsible for payment of all fees above tuition required by the University. The Office of Financial Aid will assist applicants in completing the appropriate need-based financial aid applications for additional types of aid including South Carolina Tuition Grants. To facilitate this process, each dependent child or spouse enrolled or to be enrolled at Furman must apply for a South Carolina Tuition Grant by filing the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FAFSA) prior to June 30. The South Carolina Tuition Grant can be applied to tuition and the SGA fee only. If the dependent child or spouse receives a South Carolina Tuition Grant, Furman will provide the tuition benefit equal to tuition plus the SGA fee minus the amount of the tuition grant award. Should the Tuition Grant be discontinued, this provision will be no longer be in effect.

e. Should the eligible dependent qualify for a merit or talent-based scholarship from Furman University, the amount of the tuition benefit from Furman will be reduced by the amount of that scholarship. Additionally, should the eligible dependent receive a scholarship/grant that is designated for tuition from an entity other than Furman University, the amount of the tuition benefit from Furman will be reduced by the amount of that scholarship/grant. Faculty and staff who began their employment with Furman on or before September 1, 2011, are exempt from this provision.

10. Furman Graduate Program (available for employee, spouse or dependent child)

The University provides Furman tuition benefits to eligible dependent children, spouses, and staff who are admitted through the Office of Graduate Studies as long as they are taking courses to obtain:

- initial certification,

- add-on certification,

- recertification credit, or

- a graduate degree.

The application fee and graduation fee must be paid by the student.

11. Associate Colleges of the South (ACS) and Tuition Exchange, Inc. Programs (available for eligible dependent children only).

a. The Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) program provides tuition benefits as available to member institutions. Participating institutions are listed on the ACS website www.colleges.org.

b. The Tuition Exchange, Inc. program provides tuition benefits to a number of colleges, as available. The list is updated annually and should be reviewed annually by the student/parent for the status of schools and restrictions/limitations. The list can be found on the Tuition Exchange, Inc. website www.tuitionexchange.org.

c. Eligibility in the exchange programs requires that the dependent child meet the admission requirements and be pursuing his/her first undergraduate degree full-time during the regular school year (not summer school). Once accepted, the dependent child must make satisfactory academic progress to retain the grant. The tuition benefits are not guaranteed due to possible restrictions or limitations that may be applied by a participating school.

d. Faculty or staff members must obtain ACS or Tuition Exchange, Inc., forms from the Office of Financial Aid and, where required, must apply for need-based financial aid at the college or university where their dependents intend to pursue degrees.

e. Once admitted, students are eligible to continue in the ACS or Tuition Exchange, Inc., program until they complete eight semesters or the equivalent, or until they fulfill the requirements for their first undergraduate degree, whichever occurs first. Continuation of tuition benefits in these programs is not guaranteed due to possible restrictions or limitations that may be applied by participating schools.

12. Tuition Benefits to Attend Other Schools (dependent children only)

a. Dependent children who choose to attend an accredited undergraduate institution other than Furman or the schools in the ACS or Tuition Exchange programs are eligible for Furman University tuition assistance as long as they are full-time students pursuing their first associate or bachelor’s degree. Contact Human Resources for the assistance amount.

b. The purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance towards the dependent's receipt of an undergraduate degree at a two-year or four-year accredited college or university. No provisions are made for dependent children to do work beyond a single four-year undergraduate degree.

c. The tuition grant will pay tuition only up to the maximum amount of the award per academic year. The maximum award amount will cover study for eight semesters or the equivalent, or until the dependent fulfills the requirements for his/her first bachelor’s degree, whichever occurs first.

d. To obtain a tuition award, the employee must complete the top portion of the Furman University Tuition Grants Program form each year for four-year colleges or each term for two-year colleges and return it to Human Resources. Upon verification by the institution regarding the eligible tuition amount, payments for tuition will then be made directly to the college or university.

e. If the dependent child chooses to go to a private college in South Carolina, he or she must apply for a South Carolina Tuition Grant with the assistance of the Office of Financial Aid. The South Carolina Tuition Grant would provide funds in addition to the award given by Furman.

f. Tuition awards can be used for either full-time or part-time summer school attendance. Awards for partial year attendance will be made on a pro-rated basis.

13. Job-Related Tuition Reimbursement Program (staff only)

a. The Job-Related Tuition Reimbursement Program is available to full-time staff who attend accredited colleges and universities other than Furman University. The program provides partial reimbursement for courses that improve employees' ability to contribute to the University in their current positions or enhance their chances for advancement to another position within the University.

b. Eligible courses include (1) job-related courses which apply to career opportunities available at the University, (2) courses that lead to an associate, undergraduate or graduate degree, provided the degree is related to opportunities within the University, and (3) "long-term" courses to obtain occupational certifications that relate to job opportunities at the University.

c. Furman University will reimburse a limited amount toward tuition fees upon satisfactory completion of the course with at least a "C" grade. Contact Human Resources for this amount.

d. Prior to enrollment, the staff member must complete the request for course approval section of the Job-Related Tuition Reimbursement form and submit the completed form to the department manager and Human Resources. Only pre-approved courses will be eligible for reimbursement. Once approved, the employee must register and pay for the course in advance, complete the course and retain the receipt and the grade record. The class should be scheduled during non-working hours.

e. To receive reimbursement, an employee must submit the reimbursement section of the Job-Related Tuition Reimbursement form and must send a copy of the receipt and the grade record to Human Resources for processing. A check will be forwarded within two weeks from the date the form is received by Human Resources.

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