IV:05:05 Student Fee Discount for Spouses and Dependent Children of Employees

I. GENERAL STATEMENT

MTSU, in accordance with Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) policies, considers it appropriate to assist regular full-time and regular part-time employees (faculty, administrators, and support staff) by providing a student fee discount for their spouses and dependent children when enrolled in undergraduate courses at TBR institutions and University of Tennessee (UT) institutions.  The purpose of this policy is to establish the provisions for fee discounts up to 50% of the undergraduate fee and all mandatory student fees payable at the time of registration. These mandatory student fees include maintenance fees, registration fees, tuition, debt service fee, online course fees, RODP fees, service charges, student activity fee, general access fee, student government fee, and technology access fee.  The mandatory student fees do not include the application fee, off-campus facilities fee, or any special course fees.  For-credit course work attempted through one of the programs in this policy must be through an institution accredited by one of the Regional Accrediting Organizations recognized by the Council for Higher Education (www.chea.org).  The program is available subject to funds being budgeted and available.

II. ELIGIBILITY

A. The following groups will be eligible under this program:

1. Regular full-time employees are eligible for a student fee discount for their spouses and dependent children who have been admitted to any of the institutions in the TBR or UT system as undergraduate students through standard admission procedures.  Spouses and dependent children of regular part-time employees who have one or more years of continuous service within either system working a minimum of fifty percent (50%) time shall receive a pro rata discount based on the employee’s percentage of employment.  (Part-time employees with temporary service immediately preceding regular service shall receive credit for such service if they are eligible for leave accrual adjustments.)

2. Spouses of employees having 10 or more years of continuous full-time service within the TBR system immediately preceding retirement or death are eligible for the fee discount for 5 years from the date of death or retirement of the employee whichever shall occur first.  Dependent children of such employees are eligible for the fee discount through age 26.

3. Spouses of employees with less than ten years of full-time continuous service within the TBR system immediately preceding retirement or death are eligible for the fee discount for two years from the date of death or retirement of the employee, whichever shall occur first.

4. Dependent children of employees having less than 10 years of full-time continuous service immediately preceding retirement or death are eligible for the fee discount for two (2) years from the date of death or retirement of the employee, whichever comes first.  The fee discount is only available for dependent children age 26 and under.  However, in accordance with T.C.A. § 8-50-115, dependents under age 24 at the end of the two-year period become eligible for a 25% discount if the parent:  (1) died while employed full-time (effective May 31, 1997) or (2) was killed on the job or in the line of duty while a full-time employee.

Example 1:  A dependent is 24 years of age when an employee with less than 10 years of service retires/dies.  The dependent is eligible for the 50% discount for two (2) years or through age 26, whichever comes first.  Since he/she is 26 at the end of 2 years, no additional benefit is available under T.C.A. § 8-50-115.

Example 2:  A dependent is 18 years old when an employee dies with less than 10 years of service.  He/she is eligible for a 50% discount for two (2) years.  Since he/she is 20 when the two-year period expires; the dependent is then eligible for a 25% discount through age 23.

5.   Spouses of employees who had 10 or more years of regular continuous part-time service immediately preceding retirement or death are eligible for the fee discount on a pro rata basis for two (2) years from the date of death or retirement of the employee.  Dependent children of such employees are eligible for the fee discount for two (2) years from the date of death or retirement of the employee.  The pro rata discount will be based on the employees’ percentage of employment at the time of retirement or death.

B. Spouses and dependent children must be admitted to the TBR or UT institutions, through standard admission procedures.

C. For purposes of this policy dependent children shall be defined as:

1. The employee's natural children 26 years of age or under;

2. The employee's stepchildren, provided such children are 26 years of age or under;

3. The employee's legally adopted children who are 26 years of age or under; or

4. Any other individuals who are 26 years of age or under and living in a parent/child relationship with the employee, such as children of deceased parents who are being raised by a grandparent who is a TBR System employee.

The institution, at its discretion, may require satisfactory proof of the relationship or criteria qualifying an employee's dependent for eligibility under this program.

D. Benefits provided by the Veterans’ Dependents’ Post Secondary Education Program are greater than those provided by the Student Fee Discount for Spouse and Dependent Children of Employees Program.  Therefore, dependents receiving such benefits are not simultaneously eligible for benefits from this program.  (See Section IV. Veterans’ Dependents’ Post-Secondary Education Program of the TBR Guideline B-062 Other Educational Assistance Programs for complete information regarding rules and regulations.)

Example:  A female employee has an eighteen (18) year old son whose father died while serving in the U.S. military during a qualifying period of armed conflict as defined in the Veterans’ Dependents’ Post Secondary Education Program.  The dependent has been approved for monetary benefits under that program.  As a result, he is no longer eligible for benefits under the Student Fee Discount for Spouse and Dependent Children of Employees Program.

III. DISCOUNT

A. Discounts of 50% of the undergraduate maintenance fee and mandatory student fees are available for dependents of full-time employees; discounts for dependent children and spouses of eligible part-time employees are prorated based on percentage of time worked.

B. The discount shall not be applicable to other fees, i.e., application for admission fees, applied music fees, lab fees, books and supplies, parking fees, dormitory charges or meal plans.

C. The amount of the discount shall be rounded to the nearest dollar.

D. The request needs to be submitted two weeks prior to enrollment on TBR Request for Fee Discount for Spouse and/or Dependent form.

E. Courses

1. The student fee discount for eligible spouses and dependent children shall be applicable only to undergraduate courses at TBR and UT institutions.

2. Eligible spouses and/or dependent children may enroll in any number of courses up to and including full-time study.

3. Correspondence or non-credit courses are not eligible, except at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.  If the spouse or dependent child is receiving Title IV Financial Aid, the employee must notify the Financial Aid office.  The amount remaining after financial aid and the discount rendered under this program may be paid in accordance with the provisions of TBR Guideline B-070 Deferred Payment Plan, provided a Deferred Payment Plan has been implemented at the institution the employee’s spouse/dependent is attending.

4. Auditing a course is allowed if the course is a credit course.

IV. ACCOUNTING

The institution where the person is an employee shall account for the chargeback as an employee benefit to indicate that the employer is paying the cost for the benefit of the employee.  The charged institution shall remit the tuition fees to the institution providing instruction as maintenance income.

V. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

A.  The employment status of the employee on the first day of classes for each term in which the spouse and/or dependent enrolls shall be used to determine eligibility and the amount of the student fee discount for his or her spouse and/or dependent children; a change in employee status after the first day of classes shall not affect eligibility for the fee discount for that term.

B.  For employees who meet eligibility requirements after the first day of classes in which the spouse and/or dependent enrolls, the discount will be available at the beginning of the next term.

C.  The institution shall be responsible for certifying employee eligibility for fee discounts under this policy.

D.  Employees who are on leave of absence with pay will retain eligibility under this policy; the employee’s percent of employment immediately prior to the effective date of the leave of absence shall determine the amount of the student fee discount.

E.  Employees who are on leave of absence without pay are not eligible under this policy unless the leave of absence (a) is due to an on-the-job injury, (b) complies with the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, or (c) is approved by the institution to permit the employees to engage in teaching or other job related activities intended to increase their efficiency as employees.  Examples are activities such as student teaching or internships that are required parts of a degree program being sought.

F.  If a regular employee also qualifies under this policy as an employee’s spouse or dependent child, other fee waiver and staff development provisions for employees shall take precedence.

G.  Employees are responsible for notifying the Human Resource Services office of any changes in eligibility.

VI. TAXATION OF EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

Undergraduate and graduate course tuition, up to $5250 per year, paid by the Tennessee Board of Regents institutions and the University of Tennessee System for their employees is eligible for exclusion from the employees’ gross annual income, in accordance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 127.

Revisions: December 5, 1985; December 17, 1998; August 20, 2003; January 25, 2011; November 14, 2014.

Cross-references: T.C.A. §8-50-115; TBR Guideline B-062 Other Educational Assistance Programs; TBR Guideline B-070 Deferred Payment Plan;  Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 127.