Support Staff Policies & Procedures

Support Staff Educational Assistance Program Policy & Procedures

Last Updated August 24, 2018

Policy

The University provides financial assistance to help employees achieve educational and career development goals.

Applies to:

1. Benefits for union employees:

The benefits level for regular, union, support staff employees shall be set forth in the applicable collective bargaining agreements through this policy may provide additional information. If the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement conflict with this policy, the applicable collective bargaining agreement prevails.

2.  Benefits for non-union employees (e.g. nurses, confidential employees, community directors, MSU Extension employees, etc.) whose primary workplace is on the Main East Lansing campus or within the state of Michigan**:

Tuition will be waived/reimbursed as follows for credit courses for up to fourteen (14) credits per MSU academic year (16 credits for AP confidential) upon successful completion of the course(s). A grade of 2.0 or better (or "CR" - credit) is required for reimbursement of a credit course.

a. For undergraduate credit courses taken through MSU, the tuition fee up to one hundred percent (100%) of the MSU undergraduate maximum tuition rate per credit taken.

b. For graduate credit courses taken through MSU, the tuition fee up to fifty percent (50%) of the MSU undergraduate maximum tuition rate per credit taken.  

c. Tuition from a Michigan-based accredited educational institution (other than MSU) will be reimbursed for up to fourteen (14) semester credits at the rate of up to fifty percent (50%) of the MSU undergraduate maximum level tuition rate per credit taken.

d. Reimbursement for credit courses taken through primarily online institutions and non-Michigan based institutions shall not be covered.

e. Registration fees, course fees, lab fees, any other incidental fees, books and other course materials charged by the institution are the responsibility of the student.

f. If the employee is covered by benefits such as scholarship or fellowship aid, government aid, GI benefits, or similar assistance, waiver/reimbursement will be made only for that portion of the tuition which exceeds the amount of those benefits.

g. This benefit is limited to a single degree at each degree level(Associate, Bachelor, Master, or Doctorate) during employment with Michigan State University.

**For employees whose primary assigned workplace is outside the state of Michigan, the following additional provision applies: Tuition for a non-Michigan based accredited educational institution, in the state, territory, or district in which the employee works (for these purposes the District of Columbia and the State of Virginia will be viewed as a single geographic unit) will be waived/reimbursed for up to fifty percent (50%) of the non-MSU institution’s applicable tuition rate not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the applicable MSU tuition rate per credit taken.

3. Maximum courses/benefits:

a. Where only non-credit courses are taken in the academic year: job-related courses from an approved institution/program, with reimbursement not to exceed $800 per academic year.

b. Where only credit courses are taken in the academic year: the maximum value of the educational assistance benefit is equal to the dollar equivalent of 14 semester credits or 20 term credits per academic year at the level of the benefit used by the employee in that year (Refer to Section 2 above). (AP confidential may take 16 semester credits per academic year).

c. Where both credit and non-credit courses are taken in the academic year: the maximum value of the educational assistance benefit (credit and non-credit combined) is the same as in Section 3.b. above.

d. Tuition costs in excess of these amounts, registration and other incidental fees are the employee’s responsibility.

4. Eligible types of courses:

a. Job-related pertaining to employee's current work or in preparation for a higher level MSU position,

b. Degree-related, or

c. Career/professional development-related, reasonably pertaining to an employee's stated goals at MSU.

5. Which institutions are covered: Credit courses may be taken from those institutions accredited by generally recognized accrediting agencies and/or listed in the Educational Directory of the U.S. Department of Education. Credit courses taken through online only and/or non-Michigan based schools, shall not be covered, except where specifically provided for. Non-credit courses may be taken from any employer-approved institution/program.

In addition, for the benefit of United States military veterans and active or reserve duty service men and women, the Educational Assistance Program recognizes institutions approved under such government training programs as the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (see www.gibill.va.gov)

6. Employer approval: All employees are required to obtain employer approval prior to the start of any credit or non-credit course taken through the Educational Assistance Program. Employer approval is contingent upon authorization of the course by the employee's supervisor and final approval by MSU Human Resources. For 324 employees, employer approval is contingent upon authorization by the Director of Power and Water and final approval by MSU Human Resources.

Audited or visited courses are not eligible for educational assistance.

7. Tuition waiver: All MSU credit courses approved for Educational Assistance and billed through Student Fees, Sponsored Aid and Fellowships (including Lifelong Education courses) will be processed as tuition waiver. This benefit allows the employee to waive the fee per credit amount they are eligible for at the time of registration.

a. Tuition waiver is available for all eligible employee groups.

b. If an employee drops a course, the waiver is reversed and the student is billed and responsible to pay for any balance due.

c. If an employee does not successfully complete a course (a grade of 2.0 or better) for which waiver funds have been received, the amount of tuition waiver will be reimbursed to the University through payroll deduction.

8. Tuition reimbursement:

a. Non-MSU credit courses: Upon completion of a non-MSU credit course, the employee must submit proof of successful course completion (a copy of their grade of 2.0 or better) and proof of cost (a billing statement) to MSU Human Resources using the Educational Assistance system in the Enterprise Business System portal. Reimbursement for successfully completed courses will be direct deposited provided the employee has MSU payroll direct deposit.  If not, a check will be issued and sent to the employee's work address on record.

b. Non-credit courses: Upon completion of a non-credit course, the employee must submit proof of successful course completion (a copy of a certificate signed by the instructor, or the Non-Credit Course Certification of Successful Completion form available through Human Resources), and proof of cost (a receipt) to MSU Human Resources using the online Educational Assistance system in the Enterprise Business System portal. Reimbursement for successfully completed courses will be direct deposited provided the employee has MSU payroll direct deposit. If not, a check will be sent to the employee's work address on record.

9. Taxation: Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 127 provides an exemption of up to $5,250 in a tax (calendar) year for graduate-level, degree-related courses reimbursed/waived through employer educational assistance programs. The benefit includes tuition and matriculation fees, if such fees are also provided. Any amount of the benefit in excess of the $5,250 exclusion for degree-related graduate-level courses is considered taxable income. Waived fees for MSU courses are considered received at the time courses begin at MSU. Reimbursed fees for courses taken at other institutions are considered received at the time the reimbursement check is issued. Once the receipt of benefits over the $5,250 exclusion is determined, appropriate tax withholding will be made and the amount will be added to the employee's gross wages. 

10. Eligibility requirements: To apply for the benefit, eligible employees must meet the following criteria:

a. Be admitted to an approved institution

b. Meet the minimum requirement of 12 full-time equivalent (FTE) service months (324 employees are eligible the first day of full-time continuous employment), and

c. Must be an active employee when the course begins to qualify for tuition waiver or reimbursement.

 11. Eligibility effective date: Educational Assistance benefits become available the day the employee accumulates 12 FTE service months (324 employees are eligible the first day of full-time continuous employment).

Educational Assistance Instructions: MSU Credit Courses

Educational Assistance Instructions: Non-MSU Credit Courses

Educational Assistant Instructions: Non-MSU, Non-Credit Courses

 

Back to the Support Staff Policies & Procedures

©