At UWM, tuition reimbursement is primarily governed by UW System Administrative Policy SYS 210, Educational Assistance for Faculty & Staff. There are also relevant policies specific to University Staff (SYS 1240, Job-Related Coursework and Training) and to Faculty and Academic Staff (S-54, Tuition/Fee Reimbursement Program for Unclassified Employees).
SYS 210 provides the rules governing tuition reimbursement.
Reimbursement is available to all Academic Staff and Faculty that hold appointments of half time or greater. University Staff employees must hold project appointments or appointments with an expectation of continued employment. Temporary employees, Employees-in-Training (i.e. Research Associate, Postdoctoral Fellow) and Student Help are not eligible.
Requests for reimbursement must be initiated by the employee, and approved by the Appointing Authority. A Request for Authorization to Reimburse Employee’s Fee/Tuition Form must be completed and approved prior to the beginning of the course work or training.
- Number of Credits
No more than one course, up to five (5) credits, or a training equivalent in any academic term (e.g., a semester, summer session or an equivalent) should be reimbursed.
The policy does not require reimbursement at 100% of the tuition/fees paid and approvals may be denied for budget constraints.
Courses may be taken at any state accredited public or private higher educational institution or WTCS institution, although enrollment at UW System institutions is encouraged. Courses taken at other than UWS institutions shall be limited to the rate for an equivalent course at UWM.
Segregated fees may be waived or reimbursed.
- Eligible Coursework
Reimbursements are available for job-related and for career-related courses:
- Job-related: Credit and noncredit, undergraduate or graduate level noncredit or training that is required by the University, or by law or regulations, to maintain salary, status or current position (if the requirements serve a business purpose of the University), or taken to maintain or improve skills required in the employee’s present work.
- Career-related: Undergraduate and graduate level courses and professional development courses which will qualify an employee for advancement. Courses for personal enrichment do not qualify.
Examples of courses that may qualify include:
- Courses that provide knowledge and skills directly related to maintaining or improving current job skills.
- Courses mandated by law or regulation in order for the employee to retain the job.
- Courses directly related to the profession in which the employee is currently working, current classification or classification series.
- Courses that provide for career development within the University including those which are a necessary elective for completion of such degree.
Assistance may be denied in cases where management determines that neither the course nor the degree pursued is of sufficient benefit to the UW.
- Tax Consequences
Reimbursement for career-related undergraduate and graduate courses is subject to the tax provisions of IRC 127 (26 U.S. Code §127, Internal Revenue Code §127 Educational Assistance Programs). Generally, educational expenses qualifying as job related are not reportable by the University as income to the employee. Educational expenses reportable by the University as income to the employee may result in tax withholding on employee paychecks.
Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees at UWM
UWM Policy S-54 Tuition/Fee Reimbursement Program for Unclassified Employees provides some additional guidance for Academic Staff, Faculty and Limited Appointees at UWM.
Academic Staff holding probationary, indefinite or fixed term appointments of 50% time or greater are potentially eligible for course reimbursement. Fixed-term employees on short-term contracts (typically temporary replacements) are not eligible.
The employee must submit the request prior to the start of the semester, and the request must be approved by the office of the Dean or Division Head before the course begins.
Employees will be reimbursed upon successful completion of the course, submission of a fee/tuition receipt and evidence of successful completion of the course work (grade report or certification of completion).
The Chancellor may authorize exceptions to the rules of S-54 on a case- by-case basis subject to UWSA policy.
- Number of Credits
No more than one course, up to five (5) credits, or a training equivalent in any academic term (e.g., a semester, summer session or an equivalent) will be reimbursed.
Course requests for non-UW institutions will be approved only if the program or course is not available at UWM. Reimbursement for private institutions will be limited to the tuition at UWM. If the tuition is lower than UWM’s, the lower tuition rates would apply.
Approval is dependent upon the availability of funding. Requests may be granted at a full or partial reimbursement rate.
- Eligible Coursework
The course must be beneficial to both the University and the employee in terms of increased knowledge, abilities and skills. This may include:
- Courses that relate directly to improving or maintaining job skills;
- Courses mandated by law or regulation in order for the employee to
retain the employee’s job;
- Courses directly related to the employee’s current profession; or
- Courses that provide for career development within the University.