Employee Tuition Waivers and Financial Aid

Faculty and staff may be eligible for tuition waivers for credit courses, in accordance with Board of Regents Policy, Chapter 6, Section 6-13. Employees must be employed on a half time basis or more to be eligible for tuition waivers at any campus for a maximum of six credits per semester. Spouses and domestic partners of members of bargaining unit 07, 08, 87 and 88 may also be eligible for tuition waivers.

The value of this tuition waiver may be taxable to the employee. Tuition waivers are not taxable for employees and employee spouses for education below graduate level based on the student’s classification at the time of registration.

Those seeking tuition waivers must register after the normal student registration period, during the late registration period designated for faculty and staff at the campus where the course is offered. Employees must secure the authorization from their respective supervisors for any adjustments to work schedules.

Tuition waivers may not be used to waive course fees, nursing and dental hygiene clinical fees, lab fees, professional fees, or special funded courses which have insufficient revenue to cover costs. A non-refundable, non transferable administrative fee will be assessed for each summer session term. If enrolled at multiple campuses, you will be assessed an administrative fee for each campus.

Effective with the Fall 2009 term, tuition waivers must be posted on-line or manually by a campus cashier to the Banner SIS no later than the last day of the 50% refund period for the term for which the waiver is being used. Tuition waivers presented after this date will not be processed.

Financial Aid

Federal, state, and institutional policies require that adjustments be made to a student’s financial aid award if the student receives additional resources not reflected in their Financial Aid Award Offer. Students who receive such additional resources (e.g., outside scholarships, VA educational benefits, assistantships, stipends, employer reimbursement, employee tuition waivers, vocational rehabilitation benefits, etc.) are required to notify the Financial Aid Office immediately. The Financial Aid Office will then determine if the student’s aid must be adjusted. Students (and affected employees) using an employee spouse or employee domestic partner tuition waiver are responsible for reviewing tax withholding consequences of this benefit prior to accepting aid.

The taxability of tuition waivers is governed by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 117.

Taxability of Tuition Waivers to Employees

Tuition waivers are not taxable for employees for education below graduate level. However, for employees enrolled in graduate level courses, tuition waivers may still be non taxable if the education helps to maintain or improve employment skills, or is required to keep the job, salary level, or the current status. If the education enables the employee to meet the minimum qualifications for a job, or qualify for a new trade or business, then the tuition waiver is taxable.

Withholding of Taxes for Employee Tuition Waivers

The determination of taxability of a tuition waiver for graduate level courses as described above is left to the employee since the value of the tuition waiver is not included in the employee’s gross income and is not reported as wages.

Taxability of Tuition Waivers to Employee Spouses

Tuition waivers are not taxable for employee spouses for education below graduate level based on the student’s classification at the time of registration.

Taxability of Tuition Waivers to Employee Domestic Partners

The value of tuition waivers afforded to domestic partners for education at any level is taxable to the University employee.

Withholding of Taxes for Employee Spouse & Domestic Partner Tuition Waivers

The value of the tuition waiver, if applicable, will be included in the employee’s gross income and reported as wages or other compensation on the employee’s W2 and is subject to employment taxes. Taxable amounts will be transmitted through the State Payroll System. These taxable amounts will increase the employee’s Federal, State and FICA taxable income and will generate additional withholding assessments against gross payroll wages. These payments are not payroll payments, but serve to increase taxable income and are defined as Wages-in-Kind. The Employee’s Earnings Statements and the annual W-2 Statements will therefore reflect taxable income and withholding amounts related to both payroll wages and wages-in-kind.

Tax withholding for employee tuition waiver benefits will be processed on the pay dates below:

  • For waivers posted between November 1st and April 15th, withholding will occur on 5/20;
  • For waivers posted between April 16th and August 15th, withholding will occur on 9/20;
  • For waivers posted between August 16th and October 31st, withholding will occur on 12/05.

In general, inclusion of this tuition waiver benefit as one lump sum to wages is in compliance with rules set forth by the Internal Revenue Service. However, should the lump sum be large enough to cause a substantial tax withholding in decreasing the employee’s pay check, the University may consider allocating this lump sum into different pay periods. Hence, if an employee’s taxable benefit amount is greater than the employee’s regular gross semi-monthly payroll amount, the taxable benefit amount will be split between 2 pay periods, the designated pay date shown above and the next following pay date. Please consult with your tax advisor if you have further questions.