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

Date of Current Revision: November 2011
Responsible Officer: Director, University Business Office Secondary Responsible Officer: Director, Human Resources

1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to outline the university's tuition waiver program for degree seeking coursework at JMU in support of the university's commitment to employee development and fulfillment.

2. AUTHORITY

The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia section 12-164.6;23-9.2:3. The board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.

3. DEFINITIONS

Non-Degree Seeking Coursework
An individual applying for tuition waiver through this policy is considered non-degree-seeking if the total number of JMU credit hours earned, to include the credit hours represented by the course that is the subject of the current tuition waiver application, is 12 or fewer. In short, a faculty or staff member taking credit hours 1 through 12 at JMU is considered non degree-seeking. Non degree-seeking tuition waiver applications are addressed in Policy 1402 and are not considered in this policy.

Degree Seeking Coursework
An individual applying for tuition waiver is considered degree-seeking if the total number of JMU credit hours earned, to include the credit hours represented by the course that is the subject of the current tuition waiver application, is 13 or more. In short, a faculty or staff member taking credit hours 13 and up at JMU is considered degree-seeking.

4. APPLICABILITY

Except where noted, this policy applies to full time employees, wage or part-time employees, and emeritus faculty and staff.

ROTC employees may enroll in credit courses pursuant to this policy.

Clinical faculty members and Cooperative Education Partners in the teacher education program who have earned 300 tuition exchange units may use the vouchers earned to enroll in any 3 hour credit course at JMU, except for courses with an "OP" section, where space is available with approval from the Education Support Center.

5. POLICY

In support of James Madison University's commitment to the continued professional and personal development of employees, full and part-time faculty and staff, non-student wage employees and emeritus faculty and staff may enroll in James Madison University credit courses of instruction and have normal tuition or tuition deposit fees waived subject to the review and approval of their supervisor and 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 coursework. Before considering and approving an application for degree-seeking tuition waiver, the supervisor of the faculty or staff member applying for waiver must:

  • Affirm that the faculty or staff member has demonstrated consistently 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 with the faculty or staff member the plan for degree-attainment, particularly as it relates to any flexibility in work schedules that will be required.

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

5.1 Eligibility

The following eligibility restrictions and guidelines apply:

5.1.1 Full-time faculty and staff may apply for degree-seeking tuition waiver after one year of employment. In addition, full-time classified staff must have completed their probationary period to apply for degree-seeking tuition waiver.

5.1.2 Emeritus faculty and staff are eligible to apply for degree-seeking tuition waiver upon being granted the emeritus designation.

5.1.3 Full-time faculty members who are not under a summer teaching contract are eligible to apply for degree-seeking tuition waiver for courses taken during the summer semester(s) upon the approval of their supervisor and dean in the form of signatures on the tuition waiver form.

5.1.4 Part-time faculty members are eligible to apply for degree-seeking tuition waiver after two semesters of teaching and then for courses taken in any semester in which they have an active teaching assignment or in any semester that begins within six months following the last day of their last active teaching assignment. However, part-time faculty must have the signatures of both their supervisor and dean on the tuition waiver form whenever applying for tuition waiver.

5.1.5 Generally, non-student wage employees are eligible for two courses and two labs per calendar year.

5.1.6 Non-student wage employees are eligible for a degree-seeking tuition waiver after 2000 hours of employment and may apply for another tuition waiver after each subsequent 1000 hours. However, a wage employee's eligibility for waiver is not cumulative. Once a waiver is issued, eligibility will not exist again until the employee has worked another 1000 hours. (See exceptions below.)

(Example: A wage employee has worked 2425 hours since becoming employed or since the issuance of a previous tuition waiver. The employee is eligible for waiver. However, once a waiver is issued, the 2425 hours are 'zeroed out' and the wage employee must work an additional 1000 hours to be eligible for a subsequent waiver and then another 1000 hours to be eligible for another waiver, etc.)

5.1.7 Non-student wage employees, who have been continuously employed for at least two (2) years and who have worked at least 2000 hours over the course of the previous two (2) years, are eligible to have tuition waived for two courses and two labs per calendar year (one course and one lab per semester) each calendar year beginning with the semester after the two-year anniversary is reached.

5.1.8 Non-student wage employees, who are nine-month employees, (the job mandates a break in employment) are eligible for a waiver for two courses and two labs per calendar year (one course and one lab per semester) after their two-year anniversary. To be eligible they must have worked at least 2000 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.

5.1.9 Employees classified as 'part-time non-teaching' are eligible to apply for degree-seeking tuition waiver for one class and one lab in any semester in which they are employed by the university. Typically, these employees are research assistants, computer lab assistants, etc.

5.1.10 Part-time administrative & professional faculty members are eligible for a waiver for two courses and two labs per calendar year in any semester in which they are employed by the university.

5.2 Limitations:

5.2.1 Applicants who are full time faculty or staff or emeritus faculty or staff may have tuition waived for up to two courses and one lab each semester and per summer.

5.2.2 Applicants who are part-time instructional faculty or part-time administrative & professional faculty may have tuition waived for up to one course and one lab each semester and per summer.

5.2.3 Employees enrolled in the iMBA program are allowed the following waiver limitations:

5.2.3.1 Tuition waived for two courses in quarters 1 and 3

5.2.3.2 Tuition waived for one course in each of quarters 2 and 4

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

5.2.5 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.

And

Absence from work to attend classes does not exceed a total of four working hours per week regardless of whether one or two classes are taken per semester.

Note about summer classes: Courses taken in May session and in the summer are generally longer in duration than courses in other semesters. Employees may request an exception to the above requirement from their supervisor. If approved by the supervisor, this exception must be noted on the tuition waiver form.

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

5.2.6 Emeritus faculty and staff who are not employed by the university must have their application for tuition waiver signed by a representative from the Provost.

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

5.2.8 This waiver does not apply to individual courses offered thru Outreach and Engagement or other self-supporting programs, except as provided by university policy. 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.

5.3 Important Note Concerning Online Courses

The Board of Visitors has approved a special tuition rate for online courses.

If the online course could be taken in a standard classroom setting (at the regular tuition rate)

or

If the online course is not required for a particular degree program and not required by the supervisory the amount of tuition waived will not exceed the standard in-state per credit hour tuition rate.

Examples:

  • 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% of 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 tuition waiver.
  • An employee taking an online course that has been required by his or her supervisor will have full tuition waiver for that course.

6. PROCEDURES

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

1. Prepare the Waiver of Tuition Form.

2. At a minimum, both the supervisor and reviewer must approve the application for degree-seeking tuition waiver by signing the waiver form. Non-student wage employees must have the signature of their AVP or Dean on each Request for Waiver of Tuition as one of the required signatures.

3. Human Resources will affirm that the employee qualifies for degree-seeking tuition waiver and will then forward the processed Waiver of Tuition Form to the University Business Office for final processing and approval of the waiver to be applied to employee account. Tuition waivers will only be processed after the university's semester census date. Employees receiving a balance due bill after submitting a tuition waiver will have their accounts adjusted by the amount of the tuition waiver for which they quality.

4. Employees will be emailed a copy of waiver processed by HR to retain for their records.

5. Early processing of the Waiver of Tuition Form is strongly encouraged.

6. Taxable waivers are subject to state and federal withholding and social security and Medicare taxes and are based on the employee's taxable income. At the end of each semester, the University Business Office will provide Payroll Services a listing of employees that have received more than $5,250.00 (the amount generally exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Code Section 127).Payroll Services will collect the appropriate taxes from each employee at the end of the semester in which the employee exceeds the exempt limit for non-job related tuition waivers. Employee's W-2 will include taxable waivers.

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 regarding online courses. In the event that the employee is requesting tuition waiver 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.

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 James Madison University. For information about such courses, see policy 1401 - Tuition Reimbursement.

Employees of 'affiliates' such as Aramark, Follett or Pitney Bowes are not eligible for tuition waiver.

10. INTERPRETATION

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

Previous Version: December, 2009
Approved by the President, February 2008

Index of Terms
Tuition
Tuition waiver