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Policy 1405
Faculty-Staff Waiver of Tuition Program for Degree-Seeking Course Work at JMU

Date of Current Revision: December 2015
Primary Responsible Officer: Director of University Business Office
Secondary Responsible Officer: Director of Human Resources

1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to outline the university’s waiver of tuition program for degree-seeking course work at James Madison University in support of the university’s commitment to employee personal and professional development.

2. AUTHORITY

The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia section 23-164.6; 23-9.2:3. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.

STATE OR FEDERAL STATUTE AND/OR REGULATION
Refer to Internal Revenue Code section 61,127 and 132(d). Internal Revenue Code Section 132(d) allows employees to exclude job-related educational expenses from an employee’s income as a working-condition fringe benefit. The exclusion is generally available for any form of educational instruction or training that improves or develops the job-related capabilities of the employee.

3. DEFINITIONS

Degree-Seeking Course Work
A faculty or staff member who has 13 or more JMU credit hours when applying for waiver of tuition through this policy is considered degree seeking.

Differential Tuition
An additional charge over and above what the university charges.

Non-Degree-Seeking Course Work
A faculty or staff member who has 12 or less JMU credit hours when applying for waiver of tuition through this policy is considered non-degree seeking. Refer to Policy 1402.

4. APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to full-time and part-time faculty and staff, and emeritus faculty and staff. It does not apply to student employees or graduate assistants.

Military Science members may enroll in credit courses pursuant to this policy. This policy also applies to Clinical faculty members and Cooperative Education Partners in the Teacher Education Program who meet the criteria outlined in section 5.1.11.

5. POLICY

In support of the university's commitment to employee personal and professional development, full-time and part-time faculty and staff, emeritus faculty and staff, Military Science members, Clinical faculty members, and Cooperative Education Partners in the Teacher Education Program may enroll in JMU credit courses of instruction and have current tuition, including differential tuition or tuition deposit fees, waived within the terms of this policy.

The decision to pursue a JMU degree is a valuable privilege and benefit, and represents a plan to commit a great deal of time to study and course work. Before approving a request for degree-seeking waiver of tuition, the supervisor of the faculty or staff member applying for waiver must:

  • Affirm that the faculty or staff member has consistently demonstrated high job performance and should consider continued high job performance as a requirement for continued use of this policy to pursue the JMU degree.
  • Review the plan for degree attainment with the faculty or staff member, particularly as it relates to any flexibility in work schedules that may be required.

The taxability or non-taxability of tuition waivers is based on Internal Revenue Code and is subject to change.

5.1 Eligibility

The following eligibility guidelines and restrictions apply:

5.1.1 Full-time instructional and administrative & professional faculty are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for two courses and one lab per semester after one year of employment.

5.1.2 Full-time classified employees are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for two courses and one lab per semester after satisfactorily completing their 12-month probationary period. 

5.1.3 After two semesters of teaching, adjunct faculty are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for one course and one lab in any semester in which they have an active teaching assignment, or in any semester that begins within six months of the last day of their teaching assignment.

5.1.4 Part-time administrative & professional faculty and quasi non-teaching, salaried (QNT) employees are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for two courses and two labs per calendar year (limited to one course and one lab per semester) in any semester in which they are actively employed by the university.

5.1.5 Wage employees who have been continuously employed for at least two years and who have worked at least 2,000 hours over the course of the previous two years are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for two courses and two labs per calendar year (limited to one course and one lab per semester) beginning with the semester after the two-year anniversary is reached.

5.1.6 Wage employees who are nine-month employees (the job mandates a break in employment) are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for two courses and two labs per calendar year (limited to one course and one lab per semester) after their two-year anniversary. To be eligible, they must have worked at least 2,000 hours over the course of the previous two years. They are only eligible for a waiver of tuition for courses taken during the time they are actively working.

5.1.7 Recurring non-teaching, salaried (RNT) employees and part-time salaried, non-teaching (PTS) employees are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for two courses and two labs per calendar year (limited to one course and one lab per semester)  during any semester in which they are actively employed.

5.1.8 Emeritus faculty and staff are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for two courses and one lab per semester upon being granted emeritus status.

5.1.9 Military Science members are eligible to apply for a degree-seeking waiver of tuition for two courses and one lab per semester.

5.1.10 Clinical faculty members and Cooperative Education Partners in the Teacher Education Program who earned 300 tuition exchange units may use the waiver to enroll in any three-credit-hour course at JMU, except for courses with an Outreach Programs (OP) section, where space is available, and with approval from the Education Support Center.

5.1.11 Chart depicting eligibility:

1405 Waiver of Tuition for Faculty and Staff Degree-Seeking Course Work

Employee Type

Eligible for Waiver?

How Much?

When?

Other Criteria?

Full-time Instructional Faculty

Yes

2 Courses, 1 Lab per semester

After 1 year of employment

None

Full-time Administrative & Professional Faculty

Yes

2 Courses, 1 Lab per semester

After 1 year of employment

None

Full-time Classified Employees

Yes

2 Courses, 1 Lab per semester

After satisfactorily completing 12-month probationary period

With contributor rating at 12  months

Adjunct Faculty

Yes

1 Course, 1 Lab
In any semester they have an active teaching assignment

After 2 semesters of teaching, or any semester that begins within 6 months of the last day of their teaching assignment

None

Part-time Administrative & Professional Faculty

Quasi Non-teaching Salaried Employees (QNT)

Yes

2 Courses, 2 Labs per calendar year (Limited to 1 Course, 1 Lab per semester)

Any semester in which they are actively employed

None

Wage Employees

Yes

2 Courses, 2 Labs per calendar year (Limited to 1 Course, 1 Lab per semester)

After 2 years of continuous employment
Any semester in which they are actively employed

Worked at least 2,000 hours in the 24 months prior

9-Month Wage Employees (job mandates a break in service)

Yes

2 Courses, 2 Labs per calendar year (Limited to 1 Course, 1 Lab per semester)

After their 2 year anniversary
Any semester in which they are actively employed

Worked at least 2,000 hours in the 24 months prior

Recurring Non-teaching Salaried Employees (RNT)

Part-time Salaried Non-teaching Employees (PTS)

Yes

2 Courses, 2 Labs per calendar year (Limited to 1 Course, 1 Lab per semester)

Any semester in which they are actively employed

None

Emeritus Faculty

Yes

2 Courses, 1 Lab per semester

Upon being granted emeritus status

See policy

Emeritus Staff

Yes

2 Courses, 1 Lab per semester

Upon being granted emeritus status

See Policy

Military Science Members

Yes

2 Courses, 1 Lab per semester

Any semester in which they are actively associated with the university

See Policy

Clinical Faculty Members and

Cooperative Education Partners

Yes

1 Course (any 3 credit hour course except  those with an OP section)

Upon earning 300 tuition award units

Space available only

Upon approval from the Education Support Center

5.2 Limitations

5.2.1 Employees enrolled in the iMBA program may have:

  • Tuition waived for two courses in blocks one and three
  • Tuition waived for one course in each of blocks two and four

5.2.2 Waiver of tuition is not authorized for private vocal or instrumental instruction, or for non-credit courses.

5.2.3 Approval to register for a course and receive waiver of tuition is not authorized for courses offered during normal working hours, except when the signing authorities have determined that the following criteria are met:

  • The course relates directly to the individual's assigned duties or is required for a degree-seeking student.
  • Absence from work to attend classes does not exceed a total of four working hours per week regardless of whether one or two courses are taken per semester.
  • Courses taken for personal development and not related to an individuals’ assigned duties or the needs of the university should be taken outside of normal working hours.
  • Exceptions may be granted at the supervisor’s discretion provided an employee makes up missed work time or uses leave time.

5.2.4 Occasionally, a course may require an extended leave of absence. This applies to such courses as practicums and internships. Tuition may be waived for such courses with supervisor and Dean/AVP approval of the leave of absence and if the employee returns to work following the completion of the course.

5.2.5 An employee who resigns from employment or is terminated for cause while a course is being taken will be responsible for the full payment of all tuition and associated fees, regardless of whether a waiver of tuition has been approved for the course.

5.2.6 Waivers can be used for employees who are fully accepted into the Adult Degree Program. Waivers can also be used for employees who are fully accepted into a Certificate Program or a Degree Program if space is available and with approval from Outreach and Engagement.

5.2.7 Waiver of tuition provided by this policy does not apply to the fee for the GRAD 597 course. This course is considered a placeholder and does not apply towards degree progress or requirements, and no academic work is required. 

5.2.8 The Board of Visitors has approved a special tuition rate for online courses as outlined below:

  • An employee taking an online course that the employee has the option of taking in a classroom setting (at the standard tuition rate) will not have 100% of tuition waived. Instead, tuition will be waived up to the standard in-state rate.
  • An employee taking an online course that is not a required element of the particular degree program will not have 100% tuition waived. Instead, tuition will be waived up to the standard in-state rate.
  • An employee taking an online course that is only offered online and is required for the completion of the degree will have full waiver of tuition.
  • An employee taking an online course that has been required by his/her supervisor will have full waiver of tuition for that course.

The employee will be responsible for payment of the remaining balance in the event the request for waiver of tuition for an online course does not qualify for full waiver. 

6. PROCEDURES

Persons seeking a waiver of tuition for courses taken under this policy will:

6.1 Prepare the Request for Waiver of Tuition.  Careful review and early submission of the Request for Waiver of Tuition is strongly recommended.

6.1.1 The following is an exception to the required signature approvals on the Request for Waiver of Tuition form:

  • Emeritus faculty and staff who are not employed by the university must have their Request for Waiver of Tuition signed by the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee.
  • Wage employees who are eligible for two courses and two labs per calendar year must have the signature of their dean or AVP on each Request for Waiver of Tuition as one of the three required signatures.

6.2 Human Resources will verify that the employee qualifies for degree-seeking waiver of tuition and will then forward all processed Requests for Waiver of Tuition to the University Business Office for final processing and approval of the waiver to be applied to the employee’s account.

6.2.1 Human Resources will forward a copy of all approved Request for Waiver of Tuition forms related to:

1. Emeritus Faculty
2. Emeritus Staff
3. Military Science Members
4. Clinical Faculty Members
5. Cooperative Education Partners

to Accounting Technology for processing of required tax forms (e.g., 1099) in compliance with applicable Internal Revenue Code.

6.3 Tuition waivers will only be processed after the university’s semester census date.

6.4 Taxable waivers are subject to state and federal withholding and social security and Medicare taxes and are based on the employee's taxable income. 

6.5 In the event the employee requests waiver of tuition for a course that does not qualify for full waiver under this policy, the employee will be responsible for payment of the balance of the tuition not waived. The employee receiving  a balance due bill after submitting a Request for Waiver of Tuition will have his/her account adjusted by the number of courses for which he/she qualifies.

6.6 The employee will be emailed a copy of the Request for Waiver of Tuition processed by Human Resources to retain for his/her records.

6.7 Annually, the University Business Office will provide Payroll Services a listing of persons, including amounts, who received waiver of tuition under this policy. This listing will be used by Payroll Services and Accounting Technology in determining taxability as required by applicable Internal Revenue Code.

6.8 Annually, Payroll Services will collect the appropriate taxes from each employee’s or affiliate’s student account who exceeds the exempt limit for non-job-related waivers of tuition. The employee's W-2 will include taxable waivers.

6.9 Accounting Technology will issue the required tax forms (e.g., 1099) to those individuals who are not issued W-2’s.

7. RESPONSIBILITIES

It is the responsibility of the employee and his/her supervisor to ensure that the requirements of the policy have been followed.

It is the responsibility of the employee to know and understand this policy.

Human Resources will verify the employee’s relationship with the university and approve the request for waiver of tuition based on eligibility requirements and ensure that the guidelines of this policy have been addressed.

Human Resources will track waiver requests to identify job-related courses.

The University Business Office is responsible for applying approved Requests for Waiver of Tuition to the employee’s student account.

Payroll Services is responsible for collecting the appropriate taxes from each employee’s or affiliate’s student account annually when the employee exceeds the exempt limit for non-job related tuition waivers.

8. SANCTIONS

Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.

9. EXCLUSIONS

Application fees, special course or departmental fees, and readmission fees are to be paid by the employee.

This policy does not apply to nor address classes or courses taken at an institution other than JMU. For information about such courses, see Policy 1401-Reimbursement for Work-Related Education or Training from an External Source.

Waiver of tuition does not apply to individual courses offered through Outreach and Engagement or other self-supporting programs.

Waiver of tuition does not apply to the fee for the GRAD 597 course. This course is considered a placeholder (a course with no academic course work required which is used only to retain continuous enrollment in the graduate program) and does not apply towards degree progress or requirements.

Student employees and graduate assistants are not eligible for waiver of tuition.

Employees of outsourced service providers such as Aramark, Follett, and Pitney Bowes are not eligible for waiver of tuition.

10. INTERPRETATION

The authority to interpret this policy rests with the President and is generally delegated to the Director of the University Business Office and the Director of Human Resources.

Previous Version: November 2011
Approved by the President: February 2008