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Policies and Procedures

4.75 Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program

PURPOSE

The purpose of the Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program (hereinafter referred to as Program) is to encourage continual learning and educational development by providing tuition reimbursement to eligible Merit and Professional & Scientific staff for coursework taken from an accredited post-secondary institution.

POLICY STATEMENT

Tuition Reimbursement may be made available for courses offered by the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) or other accredited post-secondary institutions. The program is available to Merit and Professional & Scientific staff members holding a non-temporary position appointment of at least 20 hours per week and having at least one year of active University service contiguous to the current appointment. The qualified tuition-only reimbursement for undergraduate credit courses provides one hundred percent (100%) of the tuition-only cost for the course without exceeding UNI’s resident tuition rate. The number of undergraduate awards will be determined by the amount of funding allocated for the Program each year. The qualified tuition-only reimbursement for graduate credit provides no less than ninety percent (90%) and up to one hundred (100%) percent coverage without exceeding UNI’s resident tuition rate. The number of graduate awards and percent covered will be determined by University funding availability. A staff member may qualify for up to twelve (12) credit hours of approved study per fiscal year, not to exceed six (6) credit hours in a single academic semester or term under the Program.

PROCEDURE

The Program is administered by the Human Resource Services (HRS) Director, or designee (hereinafter referred to as HRS Director). The policy statement and the following conditions will serve to guide the administration of the program.

A. Funding

The Program will be administered within budgeted funds. Program funding will be reviewed and a revised allocation request will be submitted by the HRS Director to the Vice President for Administration & Financial Services in advance of the beginning of each fiscal year. The Program is the sole University source for tuition reimbursement and associated costs of study. Neither tuition nor other associated costs can be supplemented by other University or UNI Foundation funds.

B. Eligibility Requirements

A staff member’s Program application will be considered only if the staff member:

  • Has at least one year of continuous service and is working at least 20 hours per week in a non-temporary capacity by the course start date.
  • Meets the regular academic and admission requirements of the institution where courses are being taken.
  • Does not have any outstanding financial obligations to UNI.
  • Is not on academic probation or suspension at UNI or at the institution offering the course.
  • Submits an annual application to HRS no later than July 1.

C. Program Requirements

  • Staff who receive approval for a Program award are required to submit a Semester Request form identifying their registered courses. The form must be received by HRS no later than the first day of class. Revised forms will be accepted after this date, but cannot apply for additional credits.
  • Merit staff members’ course of study must have a relationship to the employee’s UNI position duties and/or requirements leading to the development of skills and/or knowledge needed by the institution or another State Agency, unless the employee is pursuing an undergraduate degree.
  • Professional & Scientific staff members’ course of study must have a relationship to the employee’s position duties at UNI and/or requirements leading to the development of skills and/or knowledge needed by institution, unless the employee is pursuing an undergraduate degree.
  • A Staff Tuition Reimbursement (hereinafter referred to as Reimbursement) will only be awarded if class attendance can be arranged so that it does not interfere with the staff member’s ability to carry out regular position responsibilities or assignments.
  • Class attendance may not be counted as regular work time. Neither additional compensation nor compensatory time is allowed for class attendance or for course-related activities occurring outside regularly scheduled hours of service.
  • Reimbursement may be awarded for University and other approved correspondence or guided independent study. The coursework must be completed within one year from the date the reimbursement application was approved.
  • The staff member may receive other financial aid from sources other than non-Program University funds, however the Program will only reimburse the remaining tuition-only costs as indicated on the official receipt of payment.
  • Reimbursements for short courses, workshops, conferences, course audits, etc., are not authorized under the Program unless such work carries credit applicable toward a degree or certification.
  • The staff member must complete the approved coursework with a grade point of no less than 2.0 (“C” grade) for undergraduate credit and 3.0 (“B” grade) for graduate credit on a 4.0 grading system or equivalent grade under a different grading system.
  • The staff member must maintain continuous employment at UNI for the duration of the course in order to be eligible for tuition reimbursement through this Program. Termination of UNI employment prior to completion of an approved course will result in disqualification and any reimbursement award for those credits will be rescinded, unless termination is the result of layoff or death.
  • Staff members must maintain employment at UNI or another State Agency for one month per credit hour after the satisfactory completion of the course, unless termination is the result of layoff or death. Number of credit hours is based on the approved Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program Semester Request form(s) for the most recent term.

D. Pre-Application

Prior to applying for the Program the staff member must:

  • Review the requirements of the Program and determine if they are eligible.
  • Meet with their supervisor or department head to discuss their interest and reasons for pursuing the proposed course of study.
  • If pursuing a graduate degree, Merit staff members must demonstrate the relationship of the proposed course of study to the employee’s position duties at UNI and/or requirements for developing skills and/or knowledge needed by the institution or another State Agency.
  • Professional & Scientific staff members pursuing a graduate degree must demonstrate the relationship of the proposed course of study to the employee’s position duties at UNI and/or requirements for developing skills and/or knowledge needed by the institution.
  • Verify they meet the academic and admission regulations of the institution where the proposed courses are offered.

E. Annual Application

Staff members are required to complete a new application for each year of participation in the Program. Staff members must:

  • Complete the Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program Annual Application (available in the Forms Repository) and submit it to their supervisor and department head for approval.
  • Ensure the completed and signed application is received by HRS prior to July 1st for the upcoming academic year.

F. Awards

  • Final approval will be given by the HRS Director after reviewing eligibility and program requirements.
  • Once approved, awards will be made within the limits of budgeted program funds. Staff members who previously received the Reimbursement are not guaranteed an award in subsequent years.
  • Priority for awards will be as follows:
  • 1st Priority – Regents institutions; institutions of higher education with a partnership agreement with Regents Institutions or the University of Northern Iowa; and other accredited institutions in Iowa.
    • If needed, priority within this level will be based on “benefits eligible” years of service.
  • 2nd Priority – Out-of-state United States accredited institutions.
    • If needed, priority within this level will be based on “benefits eligible” years of service.
  • HRS will inform the staff members of whether they have been awarded the Reimbursement and the initial amount of Reimbursement in a timely manner.
  • If after being awarded Reimbursement a staff member does not meet the grade requirement of the Program, the amount awarded for tuition for those course credits will be deducted from the total credits awarded on their annual application.
  • If a staff member has been denied funding due to lack of budgeted funds and additional funds subsequently become available because another awardee has not met the grade requirement, withdraws from the courses, or is disqualified from the Program, their application may be reassessed for eligibility. Selection among any eligible staff member applications will be based on the same priorities as stated above.

G. Semester Request

  • If a staff member is awarded the Reimbursement, they will need to complete the Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program Semester Request form (available in the Forms Repository) no later than the first day of class. The staff member must complete the form and submit it to their supervisor and department head for approval. The completed and signed request form must be received by HRS prior to course start date.
  • The HRS Director will review and approve the request form to ensure it substantiates the original application request. If the request form is properly completed and all eligibility requirements are met, the HRS Director will approve the form.
  • Failure to properly complete the request form disqualifies the staff member for reimbursement that semester or term.

H. Payment

  • For UNI coursework:
    • Final grades will be obtained by HRS from the UNI Registrar’s Office. If awarded other financial aid, only the remaining tuition-only costs will be reimbursed. Employer Reimbursement Deferred Payment
    • The staff member who enrolls for UNI courses may request deferred payment by completing the Employer Reimbursement Deferred Payment Agreement form. The enrollment fee will be waived.
    • Reimbursement will be applied directly to the staff member’s U-Bill as part of Financial Aid after verification of achievement of the required course grade.
  • For external coursework:
    • Reimbursement will be provided following submission of both evidence the course has been completed with achievement of the required grade and a receipt showing the tuition-only cost for the course. Both the grade report and the receipt must be submitted to the HRS office within thirty (30) days following the completion of the course.
    • If awarded another type of financial aid, only the remaining tuition-only costs will be reimbursed. An Accounts Payable disbursement will be issued electronically to the staff member’s bank account.
  • Termination of a staff member’s UNI employment prior to the completion of the course will be considered a disqualification from the Program and payments will not be processed, unless termination is the result of layoff or death.
  • Termination of a staff member’s UNI employment prior to their commitment to maintain employment at UNI or another State Agency for one month per credit after the semester or term end date will be considered a disqualification from the Program, unless termination is the result of layoff or death. The disqualified staff member will be required to pay UNI one hundred percent (100%) of the most recent tuition reimbursement.
  • Tuition reimbursement will not be subject to tax withholdings if below the annual IRS limits. Reimbursements above this limit will be treated as taxable income and will be reported on the staff member’s Form W-2 (box 1).

Human Resource Services, approved July 1, 2011.

President’s Cabinet, approved July 14, 2011.