What is the Employee Tuition Assistance Program?
The Employee Tuition Assistance Program provides reimbursement of tuition for classes taken at Duke or any other higher educational institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools with a physical presence in North Carolina. This program provides reimbursement of tuition for a maximum of three classes per semester or quarter (limit nine courses per calendar year) up to $5,250 per calendar year for full-time employees with at least two years of continuous service.
Who is eligible to apply for the Employee Tuition Assistance program?
You are eligible to apply for the program if you:
- Have completed two or more years of continuous service as a regular full-time employee in a benefits-eligible category
- Are an active full-time (30 hours or more/week) staff member or an active regular full-time faculty member scheduled to work at least 40 hours per week
- Meet the two year service requirement and are actively working on or before the following dates:
- September 1 for fall semester,
- January 1 for spring semester, and
- May 1 for summer school
- Are in good standing with a satisfactory performance record, and your application is approved by your supervisor (and Associate Operating Officer or equivalent for DUHS)
- Are enrolled in direct deposit
What classes can be reimbursed?
To be eligible for reimbursement, courses must meet the following guidelines:
- Must be related to the employee's current job or continued career growth at Duke
- Must provide academic course credit that can be used towards earning a degree
- Must be listed in the institution's course catalogue
- Must be taken at Duke or any other higher educational institution with a physical presence in North Carolina that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Must be documented as part of an employee's professional development plan
- Must be completed with a grade of "C" or better, or "Pass" if a grade is not provided
Courses can be classroom, video-based, distance learning, web based, e-learning, and certain correspondence coursework. ESL (English as a Second Language) courses that are offered through any higher educational institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools are also eligible for reimbursement.
How do I know if a school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools?
A list of schools accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is available online or by calling (404) 679-4500.
Can I use the Employee Tuition Assistance Program for reimbursement of a certificate/certification program?
No, certification programs are not eligible for tuition reimbursement.
Can I use the Employee Tuition Assistance Program for reimbursement of a research course?
No, courses which are solely research are not eligible for tuition reimbursement, even if the course provides credit hours. This includes individual research under the direction of program faculty.
Can I use the Employee Tuition Assistance Program for reimbursement of an online degree course?
Online degree programs are eligible for tuition reimbursement if the program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and it has a physical presence in North Carolina.
Is there a dollar maximum or course maximum that can be reimbursed?
Yes, reimbursement is available for a maximum of nine courses per calendar year with a maximum of three courses taken in any one semester/quarter (i.e. spring, fall, summer). The maximum that can be reimbursed in a calendar year is $5,250. Reimbursement is limited to incurred tuition expenses. Transportation costs, late fees, parking costs, graduation fees, examination fees, textbooks, supplies, registration fees, student fees, and other similar costs are not eligible for reimbursement.
Is there a grade requirement to receive tuition reimbursement?
Yes, the approved course must be successfully completed with a "C" or better in a course where a grade is provided or official documentation from the institution that the course was "Passed" or "Satisfactory" for coursework where a final grade is unavailable. An "Incomplete" is unreimbursable until a final grade is issued.
Will I have to repay the money if I leave employment at Duke?
Participants must agree to remain at Duke for two years following a total reimbursement of $2,500 or more. If you voluntarily terminate employment before completing two years of service after receiving your last tuition reimbursement from Duke totaling at least $2,500, you must repay 50 percent of the amount reimbursed over $2,500. Duke Benefits reviews the two years prior to your last day worked to determine if you have received total tuition reimbursement payments in excess of $2,500. If you have received more than $2,500 in payments during this period, then you must repay 50% of the amount reimbursed over $2,500. Refer to the chart below for an example of the repayment calculation.
Repayment Calculation Example:
Employee's last day worked: April 8, 2012
Two year look back period: April 8, 2010 to April 8, 2012
|Date of Tuition Payment||Amount of Payment|
|May 15, 2009||$3,500|
|December 15, 2009||$1,500|
|May 16, 2010*||$1,750|
|December 16, 2010*||$2,400|
|*Total tuition payments made within two year look back period:||$4,150|
|***Amount to be repaid by employee (50% of $1,650):||$825 ***|
Will I have to pay taxes on the money I am reimbursed?
The benefit is not considered taxable income for most eligible employees. However, according to Internal Revenue Code guidelines, if an employee is enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate level course, any amount reimbursed which exceeds the program maximum in a calendar year ($5,250), will be taxable. Taxability is determined based on the date that the reimbursed payment is issued. Taxes are withheld up front and the employee receives the net amount. There may be instances where reimbursements are issued in a different tax year.
Please note, the year in which the course begins is the year/semester/quarter used to determine tuition reimbursement eligibility.
How and when do I apply?
Application forms are available online or at the Duke Human Resources office at 705 Broad Street. Applicants/Employees are encouraged to submit applications as soon as their class schedule becomes available and prior to the beginning of each semester/quarter for which reimbursement is being requested.
If you are interested in participating in the program, you should first discuss your professional development plan with your supervisor. Once you and your supervisor have approved a course or courses that are related to your current job or will enable continued career growth at Duke and this is documented in your professional development plan, you and your supervisor should complete and submit the application by email, fax, or mail to:
|Mail:||Duke Human Resources
Employee Tuition Assistance Program
P.O. Box 90502
Durham, NC 27705
Phone: (919) 684-5600
How will I know whether my application is accepted for reimbursement?
Duke Human Resources Benefits will send you an approval notification by email within 10 business days after receiving your completed application. The email will state that reimbursement is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the class. The email will also contain a link to the Reimbursement Request Form.
What if I forget to submit my application prior to the first day of class?
Applications that are submitted after the first day of class may not be approved for tuition reimbursement.
How do I get reimbursed?
Effective April 1, 2017 all employees are required to have direct deposit for reimbursement. Once your application has been approved and after you have completed the course, send official institutional documentation of successful completion (a "C" grade or better, "Pass", or "Satisfactory"), proof of the tuition payment (copy of your receipt and copy of the paid bill), and the Reimbursement Request Form by email, fax, or mail to:
|Mail:||Duke Human Resources
Employee Tuition Assistance Program
P.O. Box 90502
Durham, NC 27705
Phone: (919) 684-5600
Is there financial assistance available to help me pay for the upfront tuition cost?
There are many financial aid programs available at schools. For instance, Durham Technical Community College, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University offer loans and in some cases, grants and scholarships to part-time students. More details are available on each of these schools' web sites.
How will a scholarship/grant affect my tuition reimbursement?
If a scholarship/grant is not designated towards tuition and is not greater than the cost of books and fees, then the scholarship/grant has no impact on the Employee Tuition Assistance Program reimbursement.
If a scholarship/grant is not designated towards tuition and is greater than the cost of books and fees, then the amount exceeding the cost of books and fees will be deducted from the Employee Tuition Assistance Program reimbursement.
If the scholarship/grant is designated towards tuition, then the scholarship/grant will reduce the amount of the Employee Tuition Assistance Program reimbursement on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
If more than two courses are being taken, scholarships/grants will be applied towards the cost of the other courses in order for the employee to get the maximum tuition reimbursement for which they are eligible.
If a scholarship/grant is received, the employee is to provide a receipt for the cost of books upon submission of all completed documentation to Benefits.
When should I make a request for tuition reimbursement?
Within 60 days following your successful completion of the course.
Since I don't receive my grades until December for fall semester classes, which year will my reimbursement be applied?
If a reimbursement request for courses taken in the Fall semester is submitted to the Benefits Office after the second week in December, reimbursement may not be issued until January or later of the next calendar year. The reimbursement will count against the calendar year of the Fall course, but since the taxability is determined based on when the reimbursement is paid/issued, this could impact the taxability of future payments during the next calendar year. Please note: The Benefits Office cannot guarantee when reimbursements will be issued.
How long will it take to receive my reimbursement after I have provided the necessary documentation?
Please allow four weeks for reimbursement following the receipt by Duke Benefits of your proof of tuition payment and grade information.
How will I receive my tuition reimbursement money?
Your tuition reimbursement payment will be direct deposited into your account. This will be separate from your payroll deposit. A notice will be sent to you from Employee Travel & Reimbursement once the check has been deposited.
I have completed all of my course work, but I am working on my thesis and am charged tuition. Can I be reimbursed for these tuition charges?
No, thesis or dissertation work is not eligible for reimbursement via the Employee Tuition Assistance Program.
Can I be reimbursed for taking classes out of state?
No, all educational institutions must have a physical or satellite campus located within the state of North Carolina. Because of the number of quality educational institutions in the state and the increased cost of out-of-state tuition, Duke has chosen to limit funding to in-state schools to help extend financial support to more employees. Schools must also be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to ensure the institution's academic credibility.
If I am on a leave of absence, can I participate in the Employee Tuition Assistance Program?
If you are on a leave of absence, you are not eligible to apply or participate in the program. However, if you apply and receive approval to participate in the program prior to your leave of absence and return from your leave prior or on the start date of your class, you would be eligible for reimbursement of tuition upon successful completion of the course. Please Note: When you apply for this benefit, you must be actively working and in a benefits-eligible status. You must also be actively working and in a benefits-eligible status on the date your reimbursement request is submitted. A leave of absence with pay is considered to be actively working. In addition, if you take an intermittent leave of absence and continue to work 30 or more hours per week, you are eligible to participate in the program during your leave of absence.
If you are a regular full-time faculty member who is on a sabbatical leave approved in writing by Duke, you will be considered to be employed as a regular full-time employee. Likewise, if you are a regular full-time faculty member or regular full-time non-faculty employee who is on a long term disability leave approved in writing by Duke, you will also be considered to be actively at work as a full-time employee or faculty member for as long as you are actually receiving benefits under the Disability Program.
Where do I go for more information and the application form?
You can find more information online, by visiting the Duke Human Resources office at 705 Broad Street, or by calling Duke Benefits at (919) 684-5600.