829  Educational Assistance: MTSU Employee Tuition Waiver

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Business and Finance
Responsible Office:  Human Resource Services
Responsible Officer:  Assistant Vice President, Human Resource Services

I. Purpose

This policy outlines the benefit of a waiver of tuition and fees to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) employees.

II. Eligibility

A.  Pursuant to T.C.A. § 49-7-116, all regular full-time employees (faculty, administrators, and support staff) of the Board of Regents, state universities, and University of Tennessee are eligible to enroll in one credit course per term at any State of Tennessee public postsecondary institution, with fees waived for the employee, on a space available basis. Personnel assigned by the military to MTSU through an agreement are eligible to participate in this program. 

B.  The waiver is limited to one class, not to exceed four (4) credits or one hundred twenty (120) clock hours. It may apply for partial payment for classes of more than four (4) credit hours or one hundred twenty (120) clock hours.

C.  The employment status of an employee on the published first day of classes for each term determines eligibility for participation in this program. Any change in employment status after the first day of classes shall not affect eligibility for that term or the amount of assistance received.

III. Fees Paid, Type Course Paid, Number of Hours

A.  This waiver applies to one (1) credit course, graduate or undergraduate, which includes tuition, maintenance fees, debt service fee, technology access fees, online course fees, TN eCampus fees, service charges, and registration fees. Employees are responsible for special course fees, books, supplies, application fees, applied music fees, materials or lab fees, off-campus facility fees, parking fees, traffic fines, and similar fees.  "Term" shall mean any period of time in which a student may receive a grade for the completion of a course. There is a limit of one (1) course per grade session with a maximum of four (4) courses per year. Employees are not eligible for fee waivers at more than one (1) institution per term. 

B.  This waiver applies to courses for credit, although auditing a course is allowed. Employees must meet the regular academic rules and regulations of the institution offering the course. This program does not apply to continuing education or other non-credit courses.

C.  Fees will not be waived for programs for which part-time or course-by-course enrollment is prohibited, as determined by the institutions, or where costs exceed regular for-credit courses. Examples include, but are not limited to, programs of law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.

IV. Payback Provisions

Payback provisions do not exist.

V. When the Participant May Attend

A.  Employees and their supervisors/Department Heads who approve Fee Waiver applications should keep in mind that job performance is paramount and must receive priority.

B.  Courses should be scheduled at times other than during regularly scheduled work hours, unless the use of annual leave or an alternate work arrangement is documented and approved by the supervisor prior to the employee enrolling in the course.

VI. Accounting/Budgeting Provisions

A.  An employee must complete an Application for Fee Waiver form and receive approval from his/her supervisor prior to registering for a course.

B.  If the employee is attending MTSU, the expenditure is charged to employee benefits. If the employee is attending another institution, the institution attended charges the expenditure to scholarships and fellowships. MTSU does not recognize an expenditure when an employee attends another institution.

C.  The University of Tennessee, state universities, and the Board of Regents do not exchange funds between the institutions for employees taking courses.

VII.  Restrictions on Space Available

Enrollment is limited to available space with the intent that tuition-paying students shall not be denied enrollment by an employee using a fee waiver. If applicable, the fee waiver should be used before other forms of educational assistance that may be offered by the institution.

VIII.  Taxation of Educational Assistance Program

A portion of undergraduate and graduate course tuition, paid by the Board of Regents, state universities, and the UT system for their employees may be eligible for exclusion from the employees’ gross annual income, in accordance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Employees should seek assistance from their personal tax consultants on this issue.

Forms:  

Employee Fee Waiver

Employee Fee Waiver Instructions

Revisions: none.

References: T.C.A. § 49-7-116; Internal Revenue code (IRC) Section 127.