Employee Policies Manual Policy Index
 

Wilkes University Tuition Benefits

Wilkes University encourages employees to further their education and pursue academic enrichment by providing employees with tuition benefits for undergraduate, graduate and doctorate credits. Members of Administration and Faculty and their spouses, same-gender domestic partners, and dependent sons and daughters are immediately eligible for these benefits upon hire. Full-time staff employees and their spouses, same-gender domestic partners, and dependent sons and daughters are eligible upon completion of ninety (90) calendar days of service. All faculty, administration, staff and their spouses, same-gender domestic partners and dependent sons and daughters must obtain prior approval from the respective Dean before qualifying for tuition remission for doctorate courses.

A dependent is defined in accordance with Federal Government Financial Aid Regulations. Dependent status is determined according to criteria set in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), except that a student who is determined independent solely due to enrollment in graduate level courses will still be eligible as a dependent for tuition remission purposes. Please contact the Human Resources Department for information on establishing eligibility based on same-gender domestic partnership.

To qualify for tuition remission:

  • Full-time staff employees and their spouses, same-gender domestic partners, and dependent sons and daughters are subject to the University’s academic standards/ policies and are required to meet all admissions requirements.
  • Prior to qualifying for tuition remission, employees, spouses, same-sex domestic partners, and dependents who do not already hold a Bachelor's degree must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by May 1 of each year BEFORE registering for courses. This application determines eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs.
  • Employees, spouses, domestic partners, and dependents must also supply the Financial Aid Office and/or PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency) with requested information to process financial aid. If employees, spouses, same-sex domestic partners and/or dependents qualify for financial aid, grants and/or scholarships, the qualified amount will be applied toward tuition cost. The balance will be remitted by the University.
  • Students who qualify for tuition remission will not be eligible to receive any other institutional grant(s) or scholarship(s). Dependent students receiving tuition remission, who do not demonstrate financial need, are ineligible for student employment.
  • Employees, spouses, domestic partners, and/or dependents intending to register for a course must complete a tuition benefits application form prior to the beginning of each semester. Forms may be downloaded from the Wilkes Website (HR forms). Failure to complete a tuition benefits application form may result in loss of benefits.
  • Upon request, the appropriate documents (e.g., adoption documents, birth certificates, federal income tax return) must be furnished to the Financial Aid Office.

Employees are strongly encouraged to take courses during times other than their normal working schedule. Employees may not register for a course that is scheduled during their normal working hours without prior supervisory approval. Supervisors must first consider the impact on departmental workload before granting approval.

Upon resignation or involuntary termination from Wilkes University's employment, tuition remission benefits will cease at the end of the semester in which the employee resignation/termination is effective and the employee and/or dependent(s) is enrolled.
The following are not covered by the tuition benefit policy:

  • Course fees
  • Book expenses
  • Room and board
  • Study abroad
  • Study tours
  • Continued Learning or other non-credit courses
  • Inter-institutional Agreements contingent upon payments to a host institution
  • Any taxation that may apply.

The University, at its sole discretion, may use payroll deductions to recover any unpaid fees or charges related to the list above.
Employees, spouses, same-sex domestic partners, and dependents are permitted to audit courses.

TUITION TAXATION
Federal Tax - Approved eligible expenses for doctorate, graduate and undergraduate level courses up to $5250.00 per calendar year will not be considered federal taxable income to the employee. Based on IRS regulations, this tax exemption does not apply to employees' spouses or dependents. Employee spouses or dependents pursuing degrees at the undergraduate level only are exempt from federal income tax.

State Tax - Employees, their spouses and dependents pursuing degrees at the doctorate, graduate and undergraduate level at Wilkes University will not be subject to Pennsylvania personal income tax. Eligible expenses paid to employees, spouses and dependents pursuing degrees at other educational institutions are subject to Pennsylvania personal income tax and withholding.

Local Tax - Employees, their spouses, and dependents pursuing degrees at the doctorate, graduate and undergraduate level at Wilkes University will not be subject to local tax. Eligible expenses paid to employees, their spouses and dependents pursuing degrees at other educational institutions are subject to local tax and withholding. For additional information on Tuition Benefits see Policies #382 (King's College) and # 383 (Misericordia University).

DEATH OR TOTAL DISABILITY
In the event that an employee separates from service with the University due to death or total disability, tuition remission benefits will be available as provided in this section.
Former Employee . In the case of separation of service due to total disability, the former employee shall be entitled to full tuition remission benefits provided to employees under this policy. Tuition remission benefits will be available only if the former employee matriculates in a degree program within two years of the date of separation from service, and only for the five calendar years beginning with the date of matriculation.

Spouse/Domestic Partner . In the case of separation from service due to death or total disability, the spouse or same-gender domestic partner of the former employee who is at that time matriculated in a degree program at the University and is receiving tuition remission benefits shall receive continuing tuition remission benefits consistent with this policy until the earlier of completion of the degree program or the expiration of four calendar years following the date of the former employee’s separation from service.

College-Age Dependent Child . In the case of separation from service due to death or total disability, any dependent (as defined in this policy) who is a child of the former employee and who is at that time matriculated in a degree program at the University and is receiving tuition remission benefits shall receive continuing tuition remission benefits consistent with this policy until the earlier of completion of the degree program or the expiration of four calendar years following the date of the former employee’s separation from service.

Dependent Child Not Yet College Age . In the case of separation from service due to death or total disability, any dependent (as defined in this policy) who is a child of the former employee (and any child who no longer qualifies as a dependent by reason of the death of the former employee), and who has at the time of separation from service has not earned a high school diploma, will qualify for the receipt of tuition remission benefits following graduation from high school, provided that:

  • The former employee had completed at least 1 year of full time service with the University prior to separation from service; and
  • The dependent child elects to receive tuition remission benefits during the period beginning with the awarding of the high school diploma and ending on the child’s 22nd birthday; and
  • The dependent child meets the admission requirements of the University.

A dependent child who elects to receive tuition remission benefits following graduation from high school shall receive benefits consistent with this policy until the earlier of completion of the degree program or the expiration of five calendar years following matriculation.

In all cases involving the awarding of tuition remission benefits due to the death or total disability of a former employee, the terms of such award shall be communicated to the beneficiary (former employee, spouse/domestic partner, or dependent child) in writing. This document shall serve as a description of the terms and conditions associated with the award of tuition remission benefits, and shall supersede any future changes made by the University to tuition remission benefits made available to former employees and other beneficiaries.

Policy No. 381Effective Date: 1/1/2005 Revision Date: 10/2011