Employee Educational Assistance Program

EMPLOYEE EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Source: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs

  1. I. Background

    This policy outlines the Educational Assistance Program of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. It describes fee/tuition reimbursement policies for authorized coursework for credit and training undertaken by faculty and staff at UW-Whitewater. It does not address coursework or training under the faculty or academic staff professional development programs or employer-directed coursework or training including meetings, conferences and workshops (i.e., training which is paid directly by the employer).

     II. Constraints

    In addition to the policies and procedures set forth in this paper, reimbursement for coursework for credit and training is subject to the following UW System and State rules and regulations:

    •1.            Unclassified Personnel Guidelines #8

    •2.            Internal Revenue Code Section 1277

    •3.            Wisconsin Administrative Code, Department of Employment Relations, Chapter ER 44

    •4.            Wisconsin Department of Revenue Tax Regulations

    •5.            Wisconsin Statutes, s. 230.05(2), Powers and Duties of the Administrator

    •6.            Wisconsin Statutes, s. 230.06, Powers and Duties of Appointing Authorities

     Any financial aid received by the employee specifically for tuition and fees shall be taken into account when determining the amount of assistance for which the employee may be eligible.

    III. Policy

    It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to promote continuing education of faculty and staff.  Employees may be reimbursed for authorized coursework for credit and training within the constraints listed above and within the constraints of allocated budgets. An unclassified employee must have a half-time or greater appointment and a classified employee must have a permanent or project appointment to be eligible for reimbursement.  Classified employees must have an appointment greater than 50% and be off probation. Employees must be in good standing with a history of positive evaluations in all areas of performance to be eligible for reimbursement.  Limited term employees, employees in training and student help are not eligible.

    Request for Authorization to Reimburse Employees Fee/Tuition must be completed with all requisite approvals and signatures prior to the commencement of the course. The form, "Request for Authorization to Reimburse Employee's Fee/Tuition" may be obtained at http://www.uww.edu/adminaffairs/hr/forms/tuitionreimbursementrevised.pdf (sample of form is located on the last page of this policy)

    IV. Eligible Coursework or Training

    A. UNCLASSIFIED AND NONREPRESENTED CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES

    1.   DEFINITION. Only coursework or training which will be beneficial to both the University and the employee in terms of increased knowledge, abilities and skills will be eligible for reimbursement.  Examples of courses which are deemed to benefit both the University and the employee include:

    •a.    courses which provide knowledge and skills directly related to maintaining or improving current job skills;

    •b.    courses mandated by law or regulation in order for the employee to retain the job;

    •c.    courses directly related to the profession in which the employee is currently working, current classification or classification series;

    •d.    courses which provide for career development within the University, including those which are a necessary elective for completion of such degree.

    Coursework or training undertaken at an employee's initiative for self-enrichment does not qualify.  Assistance may be denied in cases where neither the course nor the degree pursued is of sufficient benefit to the University.  (For example, courses that could serve to move an employee toward completion of a degree from a higher education institution from which the college or unit would not recruit employees based on discipline-based accreditation or standards.)

    2. CREDIT HOUR ENTITLEMENT. No more than one course, up to five credits, or a training equivalent in any academic term (e.g., a semester, summer session or winterim) may be reimbursed.  Exceptions may be approved by the Chancellor and Director of Human Resources and Diversity.

    3.   REIMBURSEMENT RULES. Tuition and segregated fees may be fully reimbursable.

    A Request for Authorization to Reimburse Employee's Fees/Tuition must be completed and approved prior to the commencement of the course.

    An employee will be reimbursed only upon successful completion of the course if the employee is still employed at the institution. 

    A classified employee must have a permanent or project appointment to be eligible for reimbursement.

    Reimbursable coursework is that which is taken at any state accredited public or private higher educational institution or technical college institution.  Reimbursement for coursework taken at private institutions shall be limited to the rate of an equivalent course at the home institution or in the case of doctoral work, at the rate of equivalent coursework in equivalent programs in the UW System.

    Budget constraints may limit the amount of coursework authorized for reimbursement.

    4.   MISCELLANEOUS. Normally, the coursework is taken on an employee's own time.  If the employer determines that the needed coursework is available only during the employee's scheduled hours of service, a program of proportional compensatory time may be arranged, provided normal services of the employing unit are not disrupted or impaired.  If compensatory time is necessary, then prior written approval must be obtained from the employee's department chair/director and division administrator/college dean as noted on the Request for Authorization form.

    V.   Funding

     The policy for funding course reimbursement is designed to provide consistent treatment for employees regardless of the department's individual budget status or the funding source for the department. Funding for course reimbursement should be taken from departmental budgets.  Should the departmental budget be insufficient, funding should be drawn from the college.  Should the college budget be insufficient, funding may be requested from central reserves.

    The following three items must be submitted when requesting reimbursement.

    a.   A completed Request for Authorization to Reimburse Employee's Fee/Tuition Form (approved prior to enrollment).

    b.   Evidence of having paid reimbursable fees, a fee receipt.

    c.   Evidence of successful completion of the coursework or training (grade report or certification of completion).

    Requests for reimbursement which do not include all of the above requirements shall be denied.

     B.        EMPLOYEES RECOGNIZED BY UNION CONTRACTS

     Any employees who are currently represented by unions shall abide by the terms in their contracts.  If their contract fails to define terms for education assistance, they shall follow the same policy as above.

     

    APPENDIX A

    UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-WHITEWATER

    EMPLOYE EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

    REQUEST FOR AUTHORIZATION TO REIMBURSE EMPLOYE'S FEE/TUITION

    1.   This form should be completed in full prior to enrolling in the course. The request will be returned to the employee after all approvals have been obtained.

    2.   One form should be completed for each course.

    3.   Upon completion of the course, submit the original signed request with the grade report and fee payment receipt to Financial Services.

    A copy of this form is available at http://www.uww.edu/adminaffairs/hr/forms/tuitionreimbursementrevised.pdf  

    Revised: July 2014

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Whitewater, WI 53190-1790
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