Education reimbursement per individual is limited to an annual fiscal year maximum of $3,500 for full time, benefit eligible employees, and a lifetime maximum of $20,000. Expenses eligible for reimbursement include tuition, fees and books related to the specific credit course being taken.
Any reimbursements in a calendar year that exceed the allowable IRS taxable benefit (currently $5,250) will be added to the employee's taxable income reported on their IRS form W-2.
Western will comply with IRS rules regarding taxation of tuition reimbursement funds. The Internal Revenue Code Sec. 127 addresses the annual allowance for tax-free tuition. Please consult your tax advisor for any advice regarding taxation of tuition reimbursement.
In order to qualify for tuition reimbursement, the employee must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:
- The employee must receive approval from Human Resources with input from their immediate supervisor and complete an Education Reimbursement Agreement before beginning a program or taking individual courses.
- The employee must be a full-time, benefit eligible employee and have completed at least one year of continuous, full-time employment at Western prior to the beginning of the course or program. Limited term employees are not eligible unless the position becomes continuous. Should that occur, the time of employment in a limited term capacity will be applied to the one year requirement.
- The employee must have satisfactory job performance in their current position.
- The individual must be a current employee when the course is completed.
- The employee must earn at least a grade of a C or Pass for undergraduate credits or at least a B or Pass for graduate credits.
- Benefit eligible faculty that have been hired without the degree required by the Higher Learning Commission, and are required to complete a degree within an agreed upon timeframe, are eligible for tuition reimbursement based on the terms outlined above (one year of continuous, full-time employment requirement is waived).
In order to qualify for education reimbursement, the credit course or courses for which the reimbursement is requested must meet all of the following criteria:
- must be provided by a regionally accredited college or university
- are directly related to the staff member's current assignment or will improve that individual's ability to perform more responsible assignments within the College
- are scheduled outside the employee's regular working hours; or if scheduled during the employee's normal working hours, the employee makes satisfactory advance arrangements with their immediate supervisor to make up the time missed
Tuition Reimbursement Agreement
As a condition of education reimbursement, the employee must agree that if he or she voluntarily leaves the College or is terminated, the employee will repay the College the full amount of any education reimbursement received during the 18 month period preceding the employee's termination date. Repayment will not be required in situations where the employee's position is eliminated. An Education Reimbursement Agreement must be signed prior to beginning a program or taking individual courses in order to be eligible to receive education reimbursement.
The employee must submit to the Business Office a completed Education Reimbursement Request form along with an unofficial transcript or grade report, and evidence of payment of tuition (invoice or fee statement clearly identifying charges and payment). Reimbursement requests shall be submitted within 30 days of completion of the course or as soon as grades are made available. Payment will be processed and applied to the fiscal year based on the date the reimbursement check is issued.