Tuition Benefits

Procedure no. IV-7a
Effective date: 01/01/2012
Related Policy: IV-7

Goal: To provide tuition reimbursement or tuition waiver to eligible employees in support of their educational endeavors.  Additionally, spouses, domestic partners, employees’ dependents and domestic partners’ dependents have an opportunity to pursue their education at the university through a modified tuition waiver program.

Administrative Approval
For Staff: Benefits office
For Faculty: Benefits office

Functions Impacted
Human Resources
Payroll >>
Registrar >>
Student Accounts Receivable >>


Detailed Procedures
I. Tuition Waiver at Case Western Reserve University
  1. Eligibility requirements:
    1. Employees with payroll status:
      a.   Faculty with the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Instructor, Instructor, and Lecturer (faculty members who hold adjunct appointments, clinical appointments, and visiting appointments are not eligible) and have an appointment or reappointment letter specifying a salary paid through the university that is 50% or more of a full‑time equivalent salary. 
      b.   Staff who are regular employees who work at least half‑time or more.
      c.   Spouses and domestic partners of employees identified in 1.a. and 1.b. have limited eligibility as defined in Section D.
      d.   Dependent children of employees identified in 1.a. and 1.b. have limited eligibility as defined in Section E.  Dependent children of employees’ domestic partners (employees as identified in 1.a. and 1.b.) have the same limited eligibility as defined in Section E.
    2. Inactive Employees:
      a. Retirees with at least ten years university service and all emeriti faculty are eligible for benefits for themselves and their spouse or domestic partner.
      b. Employees on long term disability are eligible for benefits for themselves and their spouse or domestic partner.
      c. Employees on military leave are eligible for benefits for themselves and their spouse or domestic partner.  
      d. Dependent children of individuals in 2.a., 2.b., and 2.c. above have limited eligibility as noted in Section E.  Dependent children of inactive employees’ domestic partners (inactive employees as identified in 2.a., 2.b., and 2.c.) have the same limited eligibility as noted in Section E.
    3. Employment/appointment must be in effect no later than:
      • August 1 to receive tuition waiver for the fall semester
      • January 1 to receive tuition waiver for the spring semester
      • June 1 to receive tuition waiver for the summer semester
    4. If employment ceases prior to October 15 for fall semester, March 15 for spring semester, July 15 for summer semester, the waiver is revoked and the employee is personally responsible for any balance due to the university.
    5. For part-time employees, tuition waiver is pro-rated based upon Benelect eligibility.  Ex.:  An employee receiving half-time Benelect benefits will have 50% of the allowable credit hours (employees) or tuition amount (spouses, domestic partners, and dependents) and be personally responsible for the balance.
    6. Applicants for tuition waiver must meet the established admission and academic requirements of the school, college, or specific course in which enrollment is sought. Thus, the admissions decision is separate from tuition waiver eligibility.
  2. General conditions:
    1. Waiver is available only for tuition charges.  Any other fees are the personal responsibility of the eligible employee and must be paid in accordance with university policy.
    2. Exclusions:
      1. Certificate programs.
      2. Continuing education courses
      3. Audited courses
    3. Waiver will be granted for courses at affiliated institutions (CIA, CIM) only upon presentation of evidence from the University Registrar that the course is a requirement for a degree granted by the university.
    4. Waiver for students eligible for Ohio Choice Grants, Ohio Instructional Grants, and/or Veterans Benefits will be reduced in accordance with the availability of those funds as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.
    5. Waiver is granted only upon presentation of evidence of acceptance into the course by a representative of the college or school offering the course (normally evidenced by a completed, signed Class Schedule or university bill), subject to the conditions specified in Sections C, D, and E below.
    6. Under certain circumstances, portions of tuition benefits may be taxable income to the employee as stipulated by Federal law.  Please consult the Benefits Office for current information.
    7. Misrepresentation of qualification for tuition benefits may result in permanent revocation of tuition benefits for the employee and any otherwise qualified family members.
    8. Tuition waivers will be granted for the following semester only when the recipient is academically eligible to register.  Students officially registered for the term (e.g., beyond the drop/add deadline) will have expended one semester of waiver eligibility.
    9. Tuition waiver applications must be received by:  September 30th - Fall, February 28th - Spring, July 1st - Summer.  Tuition waiver applications will not be accepted beyond this deadline and the employee is personally responsible for any balance due to the university.
    10. The Benefits Office must be notified immediately when adding or dropping courses.
  3. Tuition Waiver for Employees:
    1. Tuition may be waived in the Fall and Spring Semesters for six credit hours or less and in the Summer Semester for three credit hours or less.
    2. To obtain tuition waiver for any course employees must present the completed CWRU Certification for Tuition Waiver with the supervisor’s signature to the Benefits Office.
    3. If a staff employee does not receive his/her supervisor’s approval for tuition waiver, the staff employee may appeal the decision to Employee Relations.  The appeal must be made before the tuition waiver application deadline.
  4. Tuition waiver for Spouses and Domestic Partners:
    1. Eligibility:
      Employees must have at least one year of service with the university at the beginning of the semester for which a waiver is requested.  Employment with other accredited colleges and universities, or related research experience, can be applied to meet the one year of service requirement.  For spouses, a copy of the marriage certificate must accompany the Certification for Tuition Waiver Form for a first-time waiver.  For domestic partners, a copy of the CWRU signed Affidavit of Domestic Partnership and the Acknowledgement of Domestic Partnership Agreement must accompany the Certification for Tuition Waiver Form for a first-time waiver.
    2. Undergraduate Graduate/Professional Coursework:
      1. If matriculated (i.e.: a degree candidate): the tuition waiver is limited to one-half (50%)  the  undergraduate tuition rate regardless of the level of coursework taken.
      2. If not matriculated, one-quarter (25%) of the undergraduate tuition rate will be waived for the Fall and Spring semesters.
      3. Tuition waiver is not available for summer semester.
    3. Tuition Waiver Benefit Limit:
      1. For full-time study in any degree program(s), the tuition waiver will be available for up to eight semesters.
      2. Waiver may be granted for an equivalent period of part‑time study up to the number of credit hours required to complete the degree program, as defined by the program’s Department and/or School.
    4. If an employee's spouse or domestic partner is also employed by the university, tuition under the spouse or domestic partner provisions is not available. Tuition waiver for employees will apply (Section C).
    5. In the event of divorce or termination of a domestic partnership, spousal or domestic partner benefits will not be available to an ex‑spouse or ex-domestic partner.  If the divorce or domestic partner termination occurs after the semester has already begun, the tuition waiver will continue for that semester only.  Benefits to a new spouse or new domestic partner will be reduced by any benefits already provided to the former spouse(s) or domestic partner(s), regardless of the elapsed time between the two.
    6. The widow/widower or domestic partner of a deceased eligible employee is entitled to tuition waiver privileges for five years after the death or until remarriage or establishment of another domestic partnership, whichever occurs first.
  5. Tuition Waiver for Dependent Children
    1. Eligibility: Dependent children must be:
      1. Candidates for degrees at the university; and
      2. Sons or daughters (either natural or legally adopted); stepsons or stepdaughters; children who are placed with the employee for adoption by the employee and who are members of the employee's household; or foster children who are members of the employee's household and whose principal place of abode is with the employee; or children of the employee’s domestic partner who meet all the requirements in the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership for Certification of Dependent Children, who are included in the listing of Dependent Children on that Affidavit, and who meet all eligibility requirements for Tuition Waiver; and
      3. Under 30 years of age at the beginning of the semester for which the tuition waiver is requested; and
      4. Currently satisfy the criteria for "dependent children" under Internal Revenue Service definitions (see Attachment I).  Children of employees’ domestic partners, as identified above in b., are subject to the same general criteria defined in Attachment I.
    2. Undergraduate Degree Programs:
      Full (100%) waiver if matriculated (i.e.: a degree candidate). No benefit if not matriculated.
    3. Graduate/Professional Programs:
      Half (50%) of undergraduate tuition rate waived if matriculated (i.e.: a degree candidate). No benefit if not matriculated.
    4. Joint or Dual Degree Programs:
      Subject to the limits defined in section I.E.5, tuition waivers for integrated, joint, and dual degree programs are as follows:
      1. For programs that combine study toward a bachelor's degree with graduate or professional study (e.g., Integrated Graduate Studies Program, Senior Year in Professional Studies), a tuition waiver at 100% of the undergraduate rate will be provided until the bachelor's degree is received. If waiver benefits remain after the receipt of the bachelor's degree, a tuition waiver at 50% of the undergraduate rate will be available until the waiver benefit limit is reached.
      2. For programs that combine graduate and/or professional degree programs, tuition waivers at 50% of the undergraduate rate will be available.
    5. Tuition Waiver Benefit Limit:
      1. For full-time study in any degree program(s), the tuition waiver will be available for up to eight semesters.
      2. Waiver may be granted for an equivalent period of part‑time study up to the number of credit hours required to complete the degree program, as defined by the program’s Department and/or School.
      3. Even if both parents are eligible for benefits as members of the faculty or staff, no more than eight semesters of tuition benefits is available to a dependent child.
      4. Tuition waivers paid for coursework from which the student withdraws after that semester’s drop/add deadline count towards the student’s waiver benefit limit.
    6. Tuition waiver for a dependent child will continue for ten years after the death or retirement of the employed parent or until a legal adoption of the child, whichever occurs first.  Under conditions of financial exigency, an extension of this period may be considered.
    7. When a child has received essentially comparable tuition benefits because of his/her parent's association with another institution, the prior benefits the child has received shall be deducted from the eight semesters of tuition benefits available to him/her at Case Western Reserve University.
    8. Tuition waiver is not available to:
      1. Dependent children matriculated at another college or university, or
      2. Dependent children who enroll in special summer programs or individual courses without being matriculated at Case Western Reserve University.
  6. Tuition waiver provisions are summarized in Attachment II.

II. Tuition Reimbursement for employees completing job-related courses at other accredited, degree-granting institutions
  1. Eligibility Requirements:
    1. Faculty with the ranks of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Instructor, Instructor and Lecturer (faculty members who hold adjunct appointments, clinical appointments, visiting appointments are not eligible) and have an appointment or reappointment letter specifying a salary paid through the university which is 50% or more of a full time equivalent salary.
    2. Staff who are regular employees who work half-time or more.
  2. General Conditions: (These are in addition to those specified in Section I.B. of this Policy)
    1. Tuition reimbursement is contingent on appointment or employment as of the beginning of the semester for the course for which reimbursement is sought.  Reimbursement is not available if university employment is terminated before satisfactory completion of the course.
    2. Reimbursement is available for pre‑approved study in job related courses taken at accredited, degree‑granting institutions other than CWRU.  Pre‑authorization must be obtained from the Human Resources Department in consultation with the employee's supervisor, by completing the Tuition Reimbursement form (#HR20050101).
    3. If a staff employee does not receive his/her supervisor’s approval for tuition reimbursement, the staff employee may appeal the decision to the Director of Employee Relations.  The appeal must be made before the tuition reimbursement application deadline..
    4. Tuition reimbursement is available to employees who cannot take advantage of the tuition waiver program for CWRU courses because (a) job related courses are not available at CWRU, and/or (b) the employee cannot get release time for study at CWRU.
    5. Tuition reimbursement will not be available for continuing education courses, seminars, and workshops that are not part of the degree curriculum and are not listed in the institution's regular bulletin at the college or university of choice.
    6. Reimbursement will be processed upon presentation of the official grade transcript (Grade of at least "Pass" or "C") and a copy of the applicable tuition bill from the institution.
    7. Reimbursement is limited to the equivalent of six credit hours per semester (three credit hours during the summer term) with a maximum reimbursement of $2,000 per fiscal year.
    8. Reimbursement will be reduced by veteran's benefits or any other third party funds available to defray the cost of tuition.
    9. Reimbursement covers tuition charges only; other fees are the responsibility of the employee.
    10. Benefits Administration must be notified immediately when adding, changing or dropping courses.