Last Revised: 31 January 2020

Refer Questions to: Director, Financial Services

Scope

This policy applies to full-time and part-time (20 hours per week or more or at least half time) regular status faculty, teachers, and staff in all offices and divisions of Gallaudet University unless specifically covered by collective bargaining agreements made between Gallaudet University and certified bargaining agents.

Policy

Gallaudet University encourages employees to continue their formal education and provides financial aid for approved coursework. The educational assistance program is designed to promote career advancement at the University and to enable employees to contribute more effectively to Gallaudet's programs and services. Educational assistance is provided for tuition and mandatory fees (those required of all students at the time of registration), only at institutions other than Gallaudet University.

This policy shall constitute a separate educational assistance program with respect to education assistance within the meaning of section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code that does not exceed $5,250 per year.  The program is provided for the exclusive benefit of University employees to a group that does not discriminate in favor of employees who are highly compensated employees (within the meaning of section 414(q) of the Internal Revenue Code) or their dependents.  Eligible employees do not have a choice between educational assistance under the program and other taxable compensation.  Eligible employees shall receive reasonable notice of the terms and availability of the program.

All IRS and U.S. Tax Court rulings regarding withholding and reporting requirements for educational assistance benefits are followed by the University and the University makes no promises or guarantees as to the tax treatment of educational assistance.

  1. Eligibility
    A staff employee must satisfactorily complete the initial probationary period before enrolling in the course(s) for which he/she is requesting reimbursement. A faculty member or teacher may enroll following the effective date of employment. Receipt of the benefit for one course is not a guarantee of continued benefits for future semesters or courses. The University may, at its discretion, deny a request for educational assistance from any employee. The employee must be employed at the University at the time that reimbursement for tuition and mandatory fees would otherwise be due to the employee in order to remain eligible for such reimbursement.
  2. Coursework
    All courses for staff employees should be related to the employee's present position, to a potential position within the University, or to a college degree. Faculty or teacher educational assistance may be used for coursework required for promotion (faculty), track change (Clerc Center teachers) and tenure (faculty) or for training or retraining specifically related to University objectives as determined by the administrative officer.
  3. Reimbursement
    Reimbursement is provided for tuition and mandatory fees, and no other amounts. The employee must pay all required tuition and fees at the time of registration for the course. The University reimburses eligible employees for each course during an academic year up to the amount of Gallaudet's Board-approved full-time U.S. undergraduate student tuition for the same academic year. No eligible employee may receive more than four-times Gallaudet's current academic year undergraduate tuition during his/her lifetime, and no employee may receive more than the actual expenses covered under this policy that the employee has actually incurred (e.g., employees may not receive tuition reimbursement for tuition or fees that were covered by scholarship). Educational assistance is prorated for part-time employees according to the number of hours or percentage of time normally scheduled to be worked at the time of application. Audited course tuition and fees are not reimbursed to the employee.
  4. Accreditation of Educational Institutions
    Colleges and universities must be accredited. Vocational-technical schools should be accredited or certified by a state agency.
  5. GI Benefits
    No reimbursement is made for any portion of a program taken under the provisions of the U.S. Government's Veteran's Educational Assistance Plans.
  6. Courses Taken During Business Hours
    Courses should normally be taken outside of the regular working hours, and should never interfere with performance of Gallaudet work. Requests for flextime or staff annual leave may be approved by the supervisor.
  7. Conditions
    Before the course begins, the employee must submit an Educational Assistance form. Educational assistance is paid to the employee within 90 days after the satisfactory completion of the course and the employee’s complete and timely submission of all required materials. In addition to the educational assistance form (submitted before the course begins), the employee must submit a tuition statement, satisfactory grade report and other documentation requested by the University, as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after course completion. Audited course tuition and fees are not reimbursed to the employee. Educational assistance will not be provided to employees who have outstanding financial obligations to the University, or who have not submitted required materials to Gallaudet, including presenting proof of satisfactory course completion. "Satisfactory course completion" is defined as a grade "C" or better for undergraduate students or as a grade "B" or better for graduate students, or "pass" if under a pass or fail grading system. In the event a grade or pass/fail is not assigned to the course, the recipient of educational assistance must submit a statement from the advisor or school administrator that he/she has successfully completed all course objectives. In the event the course is canceled; the employee withdraws from the course; the employee does not satisfactorily complete the course or does not submit evidence of satisfactory course completion within the specified timeframe; the employee does not abide by the above conditions; or the employee voluntarily leaves the University while the course is in progress or by the time that reimbursement is due to the employee, then the employee will forfeit reimbursement.

In accepting educational assistance, the employee acknowledges and accepts the terms and conditions outlined in this policy. If the employee does not comply or submits falsified or intentionally inaccurate information in order to qualify for educational assistance, the University will take disciplinary action, up to and including discharge from the University, or legal action as needed, including potential implementation of collection procedures if necessary.

Approved by: Gallaudet University Board of Trustees