Merit and Professional & Scientific Tuition Reimbursement Program FAQ

What is the tuition reimbursement program?
What are the eligibility requirements for the program?
What changes to the application process have been made?
How many credits are allowed each year?
Can credits be carried over from one term to the next?
What expenses are covered by Tuition Reimbursement?
What does reimbursement from the program cover?
My coursework is scheduled during my regular work hours; how does that work?
For ISU coursework, do staff members still have to pay for all the mandatory fees?
What other fees could I expect to pay that aren't covered by the Tuition Reimbursement Program?
What is the maximum reimbursement per credit hour for the Merit and P and S staff Program? (up to 4 credits per term)
Is tuition Reimbursement considered taxable income?
When does the application to the program open?
When are the academic terms?
Can I take an individual course without being enrolled in a degree program?
Do I have to be enrolled in a degree program or can I just take a class?
Can I enroll in the Tuition Reimbursement before I register for classes?
What programs are not available under The Program?
What programs are available under the Program?
Why can we not use tuition reimbursement for other training, like certification training or continuing education?
Is there an Employer Reimbursement Deferment Plan?
What is the benefit of the Employer Reimbursement Deferred Payment Option?
Do qualified staff members in the program take advantage of courses offered here at ISU?
How do I apply for Tuition Reimbursement?
What if I can't find the Tuition Reimbursement Link?
I don't think I am eligible for the Program until after classes start in the upcoming term, when can I apply for the Program?
Are family members eligible to apply for Tuition Reimbursement
Why can we not use tuition reimbursement for family members?
How are applications awarded?
Can I be denied reimbursement from the Program?
I've applied for the Program, now what?
I need to update something on my application, how do I do it and how long do I have to complete it?
How do I update courses if they changed after I have submitted them?
What happens if I am unable to complete my course during the term?
For non-ISU (external) coursework, what do I do when I get my final grades in order to be reimbursed?
What happens when my ISU employment ends?
How does the reimbursement take place?

What is the Tuition Reimbursement Program (The Program)?

Tuition Reimbursement is a benefit that will reimburse the program cost of tuition for courses taken at Iowa State University by eligible Merit or Professional & Scientific staff members. Employees that choose not to attend Iowa State University would be reimbursed at the ISU Resident tuition rate for both undergraduate and graduate level courses (they will not be paid at the differential program tuition rate), or at the rate of the institution they are attending, whichever is the lesser cost.

Exclusion:This program is not available to Faculty, Affiliate members, or Temporary/Term employees.

What are the eligibility requirements for The Program?

In order to be eligible for Tuition Reimbursement you must have successfully completed one year of service at Iowa State University and be in a non-temporary position appointment of at least twenty (20) hours per week and must maintain continuous employment at ISU through the duration of the course. Termination of ISU employment prior to completion of a course will result in disqualification and the opportunity for the reimbursement will be rescinded, unless the termination is the result of layoff or death.

An employee may receive other financial aid from sources other than non-Program University funds, (ie., assistance such as scholarship aid, GI funds, departmental contributions, etc.), however, the Program will only reimburse the remaining tuition-only costs as indicated on the official receipt of payment and will not exceed 100% of the tuition cost.

You must be accepted and maintain the same academic standards as any other applicants or students, and must comply with all student rules and regulations. Certain waiting periods may apply. It is your responsibility to apply to the school of your choice, enroll in classes, and pay any service fees or any incidental expenses that may be incurred and you must also complete the tuition reimbursement application.

The staff member must complete the coursework with a grade of no less than a “C” grade for undergraduate credit and no less than a “B” grade for graduate credit or documented equivalent grade under a different grading system. If an “I” for incomplete or “N” for faculty have not submitted the grade, the staff member has one year from the course end date to complete their research and submit a grade to UHR. 

What changes to the application process have been made?

The Program is increasing the reimbursement from the current three (3) credit maximum to four (4) credit maximum tuition reimbursement per semester. While reimbursing Iowa State University coursework at the actual cost of tuition for the program in which the employee is enrolled, non-ISU course tuition will be reimbursed at the in-state resident tuition rate. The website has been redesigned along with the application process. The application is found by logging into AccessPlus and navigating to the employee tab.

The application enrollment time periods are also changing. Previously the application periods followed the Academic calendar for enrollment. Now, the application period is open for 10 weeks prior to the start of classes at ISU and will close the Friday evening before the term starts.

How many credits are allowed each year?

Tuition Reimbursement eligible employees are allowed up to four (4) credits of tuition reimbursement per term, for a total of 12 per calendar year. The summer is counted as one semester for Program purposes, although individual schools may divide it into a number of sessions for course scheduling (ISU has 2 summer sessions with a maximum total of 4 credits being taken between both sessions).

Credit limits stated may be superseded by a policy of a particular college, division or department that permits more or perhaps fewer credits. You may want to verify with your college or department if there are any restrictions for taking coursework, (i.e. during scheduled work hours, flexing hours to accommodate coursework, etc.).

Can credits be carried over from one term to the next?

No, unused credits cannot be carried over to the next term and future credits cannot be borrowed against.

What expenses are covered by Tuition Reimbursement?

Tuition Reimbursement covers up to 100% of Iowa State University’s Resident Undergraduate or Graduate rate per credit, up to four (4) credits, as outlined in each year’s tuition rate schedule for coursework NOT taken at Iowa State University. This rate schedule can be found at http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/. The Tuition Reimbursement will cover up to 100% of the differential tuition cost for coursework taken at ISU for the enrolled program not to exceed 100% of the tuition only cost. You are responsible for all other expenses such as textbooks, lab fees, technology fees, or special fees for admission in some graduate areas, service fees, or any other incidental expenses. Additional possible fee charges can be located at http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/othfee.

You must meet the programs minimum requirements for earned grades in order to receive the reimbursement. By completing the application process through AccessPlus you are agreeing that you will be liable to pay for the tuition cost should you not meet the required grade and any fees incurred during that time.

What does reimbursement from the program cover?

The program is for qualified tuition-only costs, expenses for books and additional fees are not covered under the Program.

My coursework is scheduled during my regular work hours; how does that work?

Class attendance must be arranged so that it doesn’t interfere with the staff member’s ability to carry out regular position responsibilities or assignments. Class attendance cannot not be counted as regular work time. Neither additional compensation nor compensatory time is allowed for class attendance or for course-related activities occurring outside regularly scheduled hours of service.

For ISU coursework, do staff members still have to pay for all the mandatory fees?

Yes, staff members participating in the Program are still required to pay for all ISU mandatory fees.

What other fees could I expect to pay that aren’t covered by the Tuition Reimbursement Program?

The information related to possible fees that you would be responsible for can be found on the Tuition & Fees website or by visiting http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees

http://financialaid.iastate.edu/cost/expenses-estimator.php

http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/exceptions

http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/feeinfo

http://www.financialaid.iastate.edu/

http://catalog.iastate.edu/tuitionfees/

http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/othfee

http://www.ir.iastate.edu/FB15/PDF/Tuition%20and%20Mandatory%20Fees%202014-2015.pdf

http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/scf

http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/tuition-adj

What is the maximum reimbursement per credit hour for the Merit and P&S staff Program? (Up to 4 credits per term)

Location/Degree TypeSemesterUndergraduateGraduate
ISU - Most CourseworkFall '17/ Spring '18$311$497
Non - ISU (All Courses) Reimbursement MaxFall '17/ Spring '18$311$497
ISU - ArchitectureFall '17/ Spring '18$370$572
ISU - BusinessFall '17/ Spring '18$394$601
ISU - EngineeringFall '17/ Spring '18$409$572
ISU - ASTFall '17/ Spring '18$333$506
ISU - Professional (Vet Med)Fall '17/ Spring '18N/A$933

Is Tuition Reimbursement considered taxable income?

Whether the Tuition Reimbursement benefit is taxable is based upon the Program in which you are enrolled, according to IRS regulations. In general, one does not have to pay income tax on Tuition Reimbursement benefits for undergraduate degree programs for yourself. 

Under IRS regulations, up to $5,250 per year of graduate Tuition Reimbursement benefits for employees are non-taxable. This means the first $5,250 of your graduate tuition costs will not be taxed. Anything over $5,250 will be considered taxable income, and the tax on the value of the benefit will be withheld from your paycheck.

Tuition reimbursement will not be subject to tax withholdings if below the annual IRS limits. Reimbursements above this limit will be treated as taxable income and will be reported on the staff members Form W-2 (Box 1).

When does the application to the The Program open?

The application periods will open to those that are eligible 10 weeks prior to the start of classes at ISU: 

Approximately the first week in November for the Spring Term 
Approximately the first week in March for the Summer Term
Approximately the second week in June for the Fall Term

When are the academic terms?

For Iowa State University – the official academic year is defined by the Registrar’s office in the official University Academic Calendar. It typically begins in mid-August with the start of the Fall term and ends late July – early August with the end of the summer term.

Can I take an individual course without being enrolled in a degree program?

Eligible staff members may take coursework at an accredited post-secondary institution under the Program without pursuing a degree or certification. The application process remains the same.

Do I have to be enrolled in a degree program or can I just take a class?

No, you are not required to be in a degree seeking program to be approved for tuition reimbursement and graduate students may take undergraduate classes that are not related to their program and still be eligible. (Please check for cost of tuition before completing your application as some universities charge at the student’s status level (graduate or undergraduate) not at the course level. 

Can I enroll in the Tuition Reimbursement before I register for classes?

Yes, applicants may complete their application prior to registering for a course. They are, however, expected to register for the course listed on their application.

If coursework is taken at ISU – once the term starts the information will be provided by the Registrar’s office and any updates will be automatically provided to our office.

It is also the applicant’s responsibility to ensure their information is correct for Non-ISU courses listed on the application. If there is a course change, the applicant must report the change by updating their application. If corrections are not completed within the application before the edit/drop deadline – even with meeting other requirements, if the coursework name/number do not coincide with grades submitted, reimbursement may be denied.

What programs are not available under The Program? 

Currently, the Program does not reimburse for short courses, workshops, or conferences. These are ineligible unless such work carries credit by an accredited post-secondary institution and provides a grade. There are also courses that are not eligible due to course grading limitations, meaning that they must be taken for and receive a grade for credit while meeting the minimum requirements for the registered level of undergraduate or graduate.

Courses taken on a Pass/No Pass basis, auditing a class, testing out of a class and taking GR ST 600 are not eligible due to the same grading restrictions.

What programs are available under the Program?

Employees may receive full or partial reimbursement for diploma programs, and approved work-related courses. Certificate programs at accredited schools are also eligible while meeting the minimum requirement for the registered level.

ExclusionsTuition Reimbursement is not available for Continuing Education Hours (classes) for license renewal or certification/re-certification; Courses taken on a Pass/No Pass basis; and/or auditing a class, testing out of a class and those taking GR ST 600 are not eligible due to not receiving an A or B grade).

Why can we not use tuition reimbursement for other training, like certification training or continuing education?

ISU encourages continued learning. The policy states that tuition reimbursement must be used for college credit courses offered by Iowa State University (ISU) or other accredited post-secondary institutions. Note: Certifications or other courses that are deemed to be a requirement of an employee’s position must be funded by the department in which they work.

Is there an Employer Reimbursement Deferment Plan?

Iowa State University offers a deferment option for employees. With successful enrollment in the deferment plan prior to the beginning of each semester, all applicable charges will be due 30 days after grades are presented. To enroll in the Employer Reimbursement Deferment Plan please complete our online form found on AccessPlus in the following location: AccessPlus>Student tab>Account/U-Bill>Empl Reimb Defer 

There is a non-deferrable $35 fee that will be assessed to the U-Bill after successful enrollment into the Employer Reimbursement Deferment Plan. The fee will be due at the beginning of each semester.

Employer Reimbursement Deferment Plan Semester Due Dates:

Fall: January 20th

Spring: June 20th

Summer: September 20th

Employees will need to submit a tuition reimbursement request prior to the posted deadline, via AccessPlus>Employee tab>Tuition Reimburse, and obtain approval through University Human Resources. For additional information about eligibility requirements and semester application periods for the Program please visit University Human Resources’ website: http://www.hrs.iastate.edu/hrs/tuitionreimburse

Please note that Accounts Receivables we will not be contacting University Human Resources for confirmation of enrollment.

Tuition reimbursement is limited to tuition for up to four (4) college credits per ISU semester

Employees will be responsible for payment of any non-deferred charges on their U-Bill in accordance with statement due dates

For more information, contact Holly Hohanshelt in the Accounts Receivable Office at (515) 294-4786 or hho@iastate.edu

What is the benefit of the Employer Reimbursement Deferred Payment Option?

The deferred payment agreement allows ISU students who qualify for the Program the option of deferring their u-bill until the end of the given semester. UNI students can also take advantage of the billing option when coordinated through the UNI Accounts Receivables office.

Do qualified staff members in the Program take advantage of courses offered here at ISU?

Yes, a large majority of staff members in the Program take courses at ISU and a small percentage take courses at other accredited post-secondary institutions. It varies by term, but averages 72.25% of participants take courses at ISU.

How do I apply for Tuition Reimbursement?

ISU employees must apply for Tuition Reimbursement online through the Access Plus system under the Employee tab and process requests for themselves. This is a self-service area available to employees. To find the Tuition Reimbursement System, log on to https://accessplus.iastate.edu, click on the Employee tab, then locate the Tuition Reimbursement link on the left side of the page.

Applications must be completed through AccessPlus –

The actual application process is only available during the 10 weeks prior to the start of the first session of the semester at ISU. The past application records will be available for viewing at any time, however application submission will not be available during non-enrollment periods.

This application process only creates a record with UHR for the class reimbursement, it does not apply, enroll or register you for classes or in a program.

You must still apply for degrees at the institution of your choice and programs eligible following the same academic standards as any other applicants or students, and must comply with all student rules and regulations.

Upon successful submission of the application, you should receive an email verifying it has been received.

What if I can't find the Tuition Reimbursement Link?

If the link to the Tuition Reimbursement System is not displayed under the Employee Tab within Access Plus, please verify that you’ve completed the prerequisite of one year of continuous employment at ISU. If you believe you are an eligible Merit or Professional & Scientific staff member, please email tuitionreimbursement@iastate.edu or contact University Human Resources at (515) 294-4800 for more information.

Note: If the link is not appearing within Access Plus, the eligibility requirement for the year of service has not been completed. This Program is not available to temporary, affiliate or faculty members.

I don’t think I am eligible for the Program until after classes start in the upcoming term, when can I apply for the Program?

Once you’ve successfully completed one (1) full year of employment at ISU, the link within AccessPlus found within the Employee tab will appear. You must be able to enroll in the program before it closes and classes start. If the link is unavailable, you will need to wait until the next program enrollment period starts.

The program is available to current Iowa State University (ISU) Merit and Professional & Scientific (P&S) staff members holding a non-temporary position appointment of at least twenty (20) hours per week. The Merit and P&S staff members also must have successfully completed at least one (1) year of continuous non-temporary University service (benefits eligible position) by the course start date.

Are family members eligible to apply for Tuition Reimbursement?

No, the Program is only available to current ISU Merit and Professional & Scientific employees. 

Why can we not use tuition reimbursement for family members?

Consistent with Iowa Code chapter 70A.25, educational assistance is limited to state employees and does not provide tuition benefits to family members of employees. 

How are applications awarded?

The program is dependent upon budgeted Program funds for each of the three designated semester periods: Fall Semester; Spring Semester and Summer Semester. If funding is not sufficient to cover all pending application, they will be funded based on the institutions priority as follows:

Priority System

1st Priority - Iowa State University
2nd Priority - Other Regent Institutions
3rd Priority - Institutions of Higher Education with a Partnership Agreement with Regent Institutions
4th Priority - Other Accredited Institutions

Can I be denied reimbursement from the Program?

Although this rarely happens, reimbursement can be denied for failing to meet the Program requirements. Some examples might include, but not limited to, failing to meet the grade requirements, termination of a staff member’s Iowa State University employment, incorrect coursework listed during application process that was not updated by applicant.

If the employees position ends and they gain employment as a Graduate Student or Post Doc the request is considered a disqualified request as they receive partial to full payment of tuition by the hiring department.

I’ve applied for the Program, now what?

Completing an application is not a guarantee of tuition reimbursement. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that an application has been completed through AccessPlus process by the semester application deadline (the day before classes start at ISU).

ISU registration records for coursework will be updated automatically by the Registrar’s records.

Non-ISU coursework must be provided and monitored by the applicant to ensure the information provided is correct and that it is “Complete”.

Once grades have been submitted by the University for ISU courses or by the employee for Non-ISU courses they will be verified and if approved, will be sent to the Accounts Receivables office on campus. Direct deposit is the best way to receive the reimbursement. If there is an outstanding University bill, the reimbursement will be applied to that bill first. If the balance is currently zero, the reimbursement will go to your bank account by direct deposit.

I need to update something on my application, how do I do it and how long do I have to complete it?

You would need to go into AccessPlus and under the employee tab, locate the Tuition Reimburse link. Locate the term that can still be edited (there should only be one). Edits are generally able to be made during that current term (Spring – Early March; Summer – Early July; Fall – Mid-October) dates may fluctuate – please check the academic calendar found at University Academic Calendar. Make the appropriate changes and be sure that you hit the Submit application button at the bottom or the changes will not be saved. 

How do I update courses if they changed after I submitted them?

If you are taking your classed at ISU there isn’t anything that you need to do.

If you are taking Non-ISU classes, you will need to amend your application. This is a self-service process that can be accessed at any time between the time you submit your application the first time and the designated edit/drop deadline set by the university.

Review the application in Access Plus under your employee tab and then by going into the Tuition Reimburse link.

What happens if I am unable to complete my course during the term?

All coursework must be started during the semester or session indicated on the tuition application and must be completed within one year of the course start date.

For non-ISU (external) coursework, what do I do when I get my final grades in order to be reimbursed?

Please submit a copy of your final grades (documentation must show institution name, course(s), grade, and dates of course (term to apply towards) and a copy of an official receipt showing the tuition only cost for the course without fees to UHR. Hard copies may be submitted to: Tuition Reimbursement Program, ATTN: Connie Sabin, 3810 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Rd, Ames, Iowa 50011. Both documents must have the staff member’s name included on the document. PDF document format will be acceptable when submitting to UHR. If submission is provided in this manner, please send by email to: tuitionreimbursement@iastate.edu

What happens when my ISU employment ends?

Termination of a staff member’s ISU employment prior to the completion of the course will be considered disqualification from the Program and reimbursement payments will not be processed, unless termination is the result of layoff or death. 

How does the reimbursement take place?

Applicants are notified via email of the progress of their applications. Complete award approval will not occur until the end of the term when grades have been turned in. ISU coursework will be awarded first. Non-ISU coursework will be awarded if required minimums have been met based on the Priority System, established by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

Disclaimer

Final approval of eligibility for tuition reimbursement is made by the University Human Resources office and does not register or enroll any staff member in the requested course, nor does it guarantee admission as a student to Iowa State University. Staff are individually responsible to apply for admission to the university of their selection and for receiving academic advisement. Submitting an application for the Program does not guarantee approval.


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