831  Educational Assistance: Student Fee Discounts for Spouses and Dependent Children of MTSU Employees

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

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) considers it appropriate to assist regular full-time and regular part-time employees (faculty, administrators, and support staff) of MTSU by providing a student fee discount for their spouses and dependent children when enrolled in undergraduate courses at Board of Regents, state universities, and University of Tennessee institutions. The purpose of this policy is to establish the provisions for fee discounts up to fifty percent (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, TN eCampus fees, service charges, student activity fee, general access fee, student government fee, and technology access fee. 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. The program is available subject to funds being budgeted and available.

II. Eligibility

A.  The following individuals 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 Board of Regents, state universities, or University of Tennessee system as undergraduate students through regular admission procedures. Spouses and dependent children of regular part-time employees who have one (1) or more years of continuous service within the three (3) systems 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 ten (10) or more years of continuous full-time service with the University immediately preceding retirement or death are eligible for the fee discount for five (5) years from the date of death or retirement of the employee, whichever shall occur first. Dependent children age twenty-six (26) and under of such employees are eligible for the fee discount.

3.  Spouses of employees with less than ten (10) years of full-time continuous service with the University 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 shall occur first.

4.  Dependent children of employees having less than ten (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 twenty-six (26) and under. However, in accordance with T.C.A. § 8-50-115, dependents under age twenty-four (24) at the end of the two (2)-year period become eligible for a twenty-five percent (25%) discount if the parent: (1) died while employed full-time; or, (2) was killed on the job or in the line of duty while a full-time employee.

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

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

5.  Spouses of employees who had ten (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 Board of Regents, state universities, or University of Tennessee institution through their regular admission procedures.

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

1.  The employee’s natural children twent-six (26) years old or under;

2.  The employee’s stepchildren, provided such children are twenty-six (26) years old or under;

3.  The employee’s legally adopted children who are twenty-six (26) years of age or under;

4.  Any other individuals who are twenty-six (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 University employee.

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

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 Veterans’ Dependents’ Post-Secondary Education Program section in Policy 643 Educational Assistance: Veterans' Dependents, State Retirees, Disabled, and Elderly Persons Program 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 up to fifty percent (50%) of the undergraduate maintenance fee (for undergraduate level courses only) 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, off-campus facilities fee, applied music fees, materials/lab fees, special course fees, books, 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 (2) weeks prior to enrollment on a MTSU 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 Board of Regents institutions, state universities, or University of Tennessee 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.

4.  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 the Installment Payment Plan, Policy 644 Installment Fee Payment Program.

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

IV. Accounting

MTSU 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 institution providing instruction should record the revenue 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/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.  MTSU 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 MTSU to permit the employee to engage in teaching or other job related activities intended to increase their efficiency as an employee. 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 Human Resource Services of any changes in eligibility.

Forms:  

Request for Fee Discount for Spouse and/or Dependent

Revisions: none.

References: T.C.A. § 8-50-115; Policy 643 Educational Assistance: Veterans' Dependents, State Retirees, Disabled, and Elderly Persons Program;  644 Installment Fee Payment Program; Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 127.