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SECTION 800

SECTION 800                HUMAN RESOURCES

POLICY 803.1407          TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Mission Statement & Purpose
As part of its mission statement the University System of Georgia and Georgia Perimeter College  are committed to "the recruitment, hiring, and retention of the best possible faculty, staff and administration." The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is committed to creating a more educated Georgia. Both of these commitments extend internally, as well as, externally. As part of its desire to meet its employees evolving needs, the University System of Georgia (USG) has established an educational assistance program, the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). The purpose of TAP is to foster the professional growth and development of its eligible employees.

Section 802.18, Career Development, and Section 802.20, Tuition Assistance Program, of The Board of Regents Policy Manual contain the system-wide policy guidelines for this program.

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Registration
Each "teaching institution" will establish its TAP employee registration period. This period will begin immediately after the end of the "teaching institution's" regular student registration period. The specific dates for the employee registration period at each "teaching institution" are listed at www.usg.edu/admin/humres/benefits/tuition/. TAP enrollment is granted on a space-available basis.  At Georgia Perimeter College an employee using TAP must register during the employee registration period.  An employee who registers during normal student registration will not be eligible for tuition assistance.  At Georgia Perimeter College, the employee registration period will be published as part of the schedule of classes.

Please note that at Georgia Perimeter College, all employee registrations, payments and tuition waivers must be processed during the employee registration period.  Classes for which fees have not been paid or waived will be purged during the regular purge for that term.

University System of Georgia (USG) Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Registration Form
There is a single University System of Georgia TAP registration form. The TAP registration form is located at www.usg.edu/admin/humres/benefits/tuition/.

Work Schedule Arrangements
To the extent possible, no employee should take a course(s) that would require him/her to be absent from work during regularly scheduled work hours. If attendance in an approved TAP course requires that an employee be absent from his/her assigned workstation during normal work hours, various accommodations may be possible, depending upon the needs of the unit/department and of the employee. The supervisor must certify that the employee's participation in TAP will not adversely affect departmental services, or, result in undue hardship for other employees. Alternate work arrangements will only be granted at the discretion of the immediate supervisor. Supervisors are encouraged to make a reasonable effort to find an appropriate work schedule accommodation.   At Georgia Perimeter College,  employees may request approval to take courses that are held during their regular work hours if ALL of the conditions below are met:

1.      The course is not conducted at any time outside of the employee’s working hours.

2.      There is no acceptable substitute held outside of the employee’s work hours.

3.      The employee’s supervisor must verifiy thet his/her attendance will not have a negative effect on the department’s services or activities.

4.      The employee must claim annual leave or make up the classtime taken during work hours.  All make up time for staff employees must be within the same workweek.

Tax Implications for Participants
The federal government currently allows up to $5,250 annually, in employer-provided educational assistance benefits, to be "tax free" to TAP participants. This applies to both undergraduate and graduate-level courses. This "tax free" exemption currently applies through 2010. An employee must generally pay taxes on employer-provided educational assistance benefits in excess of $5,250. This amount will be included in your wages (Box 1 of your Form W-2). A tax professional should be consulted for further information concerning taxable tuition.

Ineligible Programs
Employees may not enroll in certain programs or courses of study under the TAP policy.

Those ineligible programs, or courses of study, include academic courses in the following professional schools: dental, law, medical, pharmacy, veterinary, or executive/premiere or comparable graduate school programs. Other ineligible programs, or courses of study, include: workshops, seminars, continuing education courses, management development programs, special examinations for admissions to degree programs, or private consultant refresher courses to take examinations such as C.P.A. certification, admissions examinations, and related types of programs or classes. Support for these types of programs, may be provided by departmental policies.

Appeals
An employee may not appeal any institutional decision regarding the TAP program to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia or to the President of Georgia Periemeter College. Each USG institution will utilize its internal review process to review TAP application denials.  At Georgia Perimeter College, an employee cannot appeal a decision based on schedule/work hour conflicts as they relate to departmental services or eligibility.  It your request is not approved for other reasons, you may appeal the decision to the Campus Provost or Vice President, whichever is appropriate.  The appeals process must be complete prior to the employee registration period.  The appeal must be in writing and clearly state why the course should be allowed.  The Provost/Vice President must notify the employee of their decision within 5 working days of the receipt of the appeal.  If the appeal is approved, all supporting documentation must be attached to the TAP application form and forwarded to the Human Resources Department.   

University System of Georgia TAP Coordinators
The name, title, address, e-mail address, telephone number, and FAX number for each institutional TAP Coordinator may be found at www.usg.edu/admin/humres/benefits/tuition/.

TAP Program Regulations

Eligibility
The tuition assistance program is available to full time benefits-eligible employees of the USG who have successfully completed at least six (6) months of employment in a benefits-eligible position, as of the date of the TAP application deadline for the desired academic semester.

Process

·         An employee will be required to go through the regular student admissions process, prior to applying for TAP; and

·         An employee must complete a TAP application for each semester in attendance.

·         An employee must have the approval of the department manager and the Human Resources Department.  In addtion, space must be available in classes. 

·         An employee must agree to satisfactorily complete the course(s) and show evidence of completion. 

Maximum Credits

·         An employee may seek approval to enroll in up to eight (8) academic semester credit hours for each of the three designated semester periods: Fall Semester, Spring Semester, and Summer Semester.

TAP Application Deadlines

·         The following University System of Georgia TAP application deadlines will apply to all University System of Georgia institutions: (If any of these dates fall on a holiday or on a weekend, the application deadline will be the last business day prior to the dates identified.)

Fall Semester              July 15th
Spring Semester         November 15th
Summer Semester      April 15th

Distance Learning and Web-Based Courses

·         TAP participants may enroll in distance learning and web-based courses offered by the University System of Georgia. If the tuition for these courses is greater than the System-approved normal tuition amount, USG institutions may elect to waive only that portion of the tuition that does not exceed the System-approved normal tuition amount. An employee will be responsible for paying the remainder of the tuition cost.

Grade Requirements

·         An employee must receive a grade of "C", or better, in each approved TAP course. The employee must furnish a copy of his/her grade(s) to the TAP Coordinator of the "home institution".

·         An employee who receives a grade of "D", or below, in an approved TAP course will be ineligible to participate in the program for one semester. In an instance such as this, the TAP participant will not be personally responsible for repayment for this course.

·         An employee, who receives an "Incomplete" in an approved TAP course, will have until the end of the following semester to complete the coursework and submit his/her final course grade to the TAP Coordinator of the "home institution". An employee must do this to continue participating in the TAP program the next academic semester.

Other Restrictions and/or Conditions

·         TAP is a supplemental educational assistance employee program. An employee who is eligible for Pell Grants must apply his/her Pell Grant monies toward tuition and fees before receiving a TAP waiver.

·         If an employee withdraws from an approved TAP course prior to its completion, the employee will be ineligible to participate in TAP for one semester.

·         Eligibility for TAP participation does not guarantee admission into all University System of Georgia degree programs:

An employee must follow the policies and procedures of the "teaching institution" in which he/she enrolls to be formally accepted as a TAP participant for limited-slot enrollment programs. Upon receiving approval to participate in a limited-slot enrollment program from the "teaching institution", the course(s) should be listed on the TAP application.

·         Participation in the TAP program does not guarantee continued employment with the University System of Georgia.

TAP Program Procedures

Responsibility

Required Actions

Employee

1. Completes and signs the TAP application (available on line at www.usg.edu/admin/humres/benefits/tuition/).
2. Submits the TAP application to his/her immediate supervisor for review.

Immediate Supervisor

3. Promptly reviews the TAP application and advises the employee if his/her request is approved or denied.

Immediate Supervisor & Employee

4. If an approved TAP course(s) is scheduled to meet during an employee's regularly scheduled work hours, the immediate supervisor will advise the employee if his/her work hours must be rescheduled; or, if the employee's class hours must be reported as annual leave (if available).

Immediate Supervisor

5. Signs the approved TAP application and forwards the original document to the TAP Coordinator of the employee's home institution by semester deadlines:

Fall Semester              July 15th
Spring Semester          November 15th
Summer Semester      April 15th

Immediate Supervisor & Employee

6. Each retains a copy of the approved TAP application for departmental and personnel files.

TAP Coordinator of the Home Institution

7. Verifies employee eligibility and grants "home institution" approval. Notifies the TAP Coordinator of the "teaching institution" within ten (10) business days of the application deadline.

TAP Coordinator of the Teaching Institution

8. If the TAP participant enrolls in a limited-slot academic class at a "teaching institution", the TAP Coordinator of the "teaching institution" will advise the TAP Coordinator of the "home institution" if the employee will be accepted as a class member.

Employee

9. Registers for TAP course(s) during the designated employee registration period of the "teaching institution". (Please see www.usg.edu/admin/humres/benefits/tuition/.)

Employee & Immediate Supervisor

10. If a desired course(s) is filled before the employee registration period, the employee may receive approval from his/her immediate supervisor to enroll in an alternate course(s). The employee will be required to notify his/her "home institution" TAP Coordinator in writing or by e-mail of this decision, and, the employee will be required to notify his/her immediate supervisor of the change.

Employee & TAP Coordinator (Home Institution)

11. The employee must submit a copy of his/her final grade to the TAP Coordinator of the "home institution" to continue participation in the TAP program.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia reserves the right to change this program, with or without notice.

TAP Program Definitions

Full Time Employee
A full time employee is an employee who has a 1.0 FTE (full time equivalent) work commitment.

Home Institution
The location where the employee conducts the major portion of his/her work and/or research is considered the "home institution". The "home institution" must be located within the State of Georgia.

Exceptions:

1.      The home institution for an out-of-state employee is the employing institution located within the State of Georgia.

2.      The home institution for a University System Office employee is the institution at which he/she is admitted as a student.

Limited-Slot Enrollment Program
A limited-slot enrollment program is a degree program for which there are a limited number of spaces allowed in the program, and, for which there may be additional criteria required (such as work experience in a related field).

Student Fees
TAP participants are identified as faculty or staff, and, their status as a student is secondary in all considerations, including student fee waivers.

The following fees are waived by all USG institutions for TAP attendees:   tuition, student late registration fee, student technology fee, student health insurance fee, student activity fee, and student athletic/recreation fee. TAP attendees, whose student health fee, student activity fee, and athletic fee are waived, are ineligible for the services sponsored by these fees unless the fees are paid separately.

Other student fees and charges, as defined by the "teaching institution", are not waived for TAP attendees. Such student fees must be paid as required by the course or institution (e.g., transcript, graduation, exam and testing fees, and lab fees).

Teaching Institution
The "teaching institution" is the University System of Georgia institution at which a TAP participant has met the admissions requirements and is approved for enrollment in an academic credit course(s).

Tuition Assistance
Tuition assistance is the waiver of tuition and the waiver of certain fees (Please see Student Fees). Tuition assistance requires an approved TAP application and space availability within the course(s) and/or degree program of the institution

 

Revised to reflect mandatory Board of Regents policy changes, 11/1/04

 

Policy title changed from Tuition Remission & Reimbursement to Tuition Assistance Plan, 11/1/04