Tuition Remission Plan

 

Effective Date January 1, 2016
Last Updated June 15, 2018
Plan Administrator Martha Peugh-Wade, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Plan Owner Anjie Massey, Director of Employee Benefits
Plan Contacts Tuition Remission Email

The University of San Francisco (the “University”) has established a Tuition Remission Plan (the “Plan”) for the purpose of providing opportunities for educational and personal development for eligible employees enrolled in University courses for credit. Spouses, Registered Domestic Partners (RDPs), and tax dependent children of employees may also be eligible to receive tuition remission benefits under the Plan.

I. Definitions

Term Definition
Applicant A University employee who has applied for tuition remission benefits on his or her behalf or on behalf of his or her spouse, RDP, or tax dependent child.
Benefits The value of University tuition provided under the Plan. Plan Benefits are limited solely to the value of tuition and do not include additional course fees, books, materials, lab costs, and other incidental costs.
Participant Any individual receiving Benefits under the Plan, including an eligible University employee and/or his or her spouse, RDP, or tax dependent child.
Plan Administrator The Associate Vice President, Human Resources.

II. Administration

The Plan shall be administered by Human Resources. Any Benefits provided under the Plan must be approved in advance by Human Resources (see Section VI., Submission of Tuition Remission Form). Other University departments or offices are not authorized to approve the furnishing of the Benefits described in this Plan.

The Plan is subject to such obligations as the University may have undertaken with respect to certain employee constituencies. The University reserves the right to discontinue or change the Plan at any time. Nothing in the Plan shall be interpreted as implying a contract of employment. Receipt of Benefits does not imply or create any right of continued employment with the University. Neither the Plan Administrator nor any member of Human Resources or other University department or individual authorized to perform administrative duties for or on behalf of the Plan shall be liable for any act done in furtherance of those duties or any determination made in good faith.

No right or Benefit provided under this Plan is subject to alienation, anticipation, sale, assignment, pledge or encumbrance, and any attempt to effectuate any of the foregoing is void.

III. Eligibility for Benefits

Full-time faculty and administrative staff and part-time faculty in the Preferred Hiring Pool (PHP) are eligible for Benefits as are their spouses, RDPs, and children who qualify as tax dependents under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Certain restrictions may apply. For example, there may be a waiting period before Benefits eligibility commences. Additional restrictions may apply for unionized faculty and staff as set forth in the applicable labor agreement between the University and the union. Student employees and their spouses, RDPs, and tax dependent children are not eligible to receive Benefits under this Plan.

Addendum A refers to a Tuition Remission Plan Eligibility table, which summarizes the eligibility requirements by employee group and is incorporated herein by reference.

Benefits are not available for audited programs or courses taught by non-University faculty, including certain online programs. Benefits are available for both undergraduate and graduate programs; however, some programs may be excluded from Benefits eligibility if they are classified as impacted. A list of impacted courses is compiled by the Office of Strategic Enrollment Management each spring for the following academic year and made available to the University community. The current list of impacted programs may be obtained from Human Resources or by visiting the Tuition Remission Courses web page.

Additionally, Benefits are not available to an otherwise eligible Participant for courses for which the Participant registers after the date indicated as “Census Date” for the course on the University’s Academic Calendar or the Tuition Remission Taxation Calendar, available on the tuition remission tax information web page. If an eligible Participant chooses to enroll in a course after such date, the Participant will be personally responsible for the cost of such course.

Employees must be in full-time employment status (or otherwise eligible faculty in the PHP) before the first day of classes for the semester or term in which tuition remission is requested.

The provision of Benefits is subject to the condition that classes will not interfere with work requirements and that there will be no interruption, due to time conflict, in the performance of duties for the position to which the employee was originally hired. An employee’s supervisor may make an exception to this rule by means of a temporary adjustment to the employee’s work schedule but not the total hours worked. This approval must be in writing and signed by the supervisor in order to be effective. Any request for a modified work schedule must be submitted to the employee’s supervisor prior to the first day of classes for any semester or term in which a modification is sought, or it will not be considered.

An otherwise eligible employee who is on a University-approved leave of absence will be eligible to receive Benefits for the duration of such leave of absence.

To receive Benefits for an undergraduate or graduate program as an eligible tax dependent child, the child must be the employee’s IRC qualified tax dependent or the qualified tax dependent of the employee’s spouse/RDP at the time of matriculation and during the entire period of time the child is receiving Benefits. Eligible children include the following:

  1. Unmarried natural and adopted tax dependent children of an employee,
  2. Unmarried tax dependent children and stepchildren of an employee’s spouse/RDP, and
  3. Tax dependent children for whom the employee is the legal guardian.

IV. Required Documentation

In order to verify the relationship between an employee and his or her spouse, RDP, or tax dependent child, an employee may be required to submit supporting documentation such as tax returns, adoption papers, birth certificates, marriage and proof of domestic registry, and other relevant documents when requested by the University. For more information, please refer to the Tuition Remission Additional Documents table on the Tuition Benefits web page.

V. Admissions and Academic Eligibility Requirement

Eligibility for Benefits is determined on a semester-by-semester basis. An employee, spouse, RDP, or tax dependent child must qualify for admission to the school offering the courses sought. Eligibility for Benefits does not guarantee admission to any academic program. The application and admissions process, fulfillment of the stated requirements, and payment of requisite costs, including course fees, books, materials, lab costs, and other incidental costs, are the Applicant’s responsibility. Benefits apply only to the cost of tuition.

If a student is eligible for the tuition remission benefit and also qualifies for and receives a University scholarship, the student is not eligible to use both to cover tuition costs.

Eligible Participants receiving Benefits must remain in strict compliance with all academic, financial, and other University policies, as well as those policies imposed by their school pursuant to the Participant’s course of study. Such policies are subject to change at the sole discretion of the University or school. Failure to comply with academic, financial, and other University policies may render the Participant ineligible for Benefits for a current and/or future semester or term. Such ineligibility will continue for as long as it is necessary for the Participant to attain compliance. During any period of ineligibility, the Participant will be responsible for all costs associated with his or her education.

VI. Submission of Tuition Remission Form

A completed Tuition Remission Form must be submitted to Human Resources during the application filing period announced for each semester or term. The Tuition Remission Form can be submitted to Human Resources even if the Applicant has not received an admission decision from the University. Benefits shall not be approved retroactively for any courses taken in a prior semester or term.

VII. Taxation of Tuition Remission Benefits

The value of any taxable Benefits provided to an employee or his or her spouse, RDP, or tax dependent child will be added to the employee’s wages subject to withholding of federal and state income and employment taxes (e.g., social security, Medicare, disability, etc.) during the semester in which the classes are taken. Applicable withholding taxes will be deducted from the employee’s regular wages. If the employee’s earnings are insufficient to cover the total amount of withholding or if the employee is no longer employed by the University, the individual will be required to reimburse the University for any unpaid taxes related to the taxable Benefits.

Benefits provided under the Plan may be taxable depending on several factors set forth in the IRC. In general, Benefits furnished to an employee or his or her spouse, RDP, or tax dependent children for undergraduate courses are not taxable.

Benefits for graduate-level courses taken by an employee or his or her spouse, RDP, or tax dependent children are generally taxable. However, the first $5,250 of graduate Benefits provided to an employee will be excluded from the individual’s taxable income each calendar year under the University’s IRC Section 127 Plan. This exclusion applies only to graduate courses taken by the employee and not his or her spouse, RDP, or tax dependent children.

Previous to the 2017 fall semester, an employee receiving graduate tuition remission benefits may have been granted a tax waiver in excess of $5,250 when the required conditions set forth in IRC Sections 132(a) and (d) were met.

Beginning with the 2017 fall semester, the university will no longer allow tax waivers for graduate programs under its tuition remission policy, except as noted below:

  • Any employee currently enrolled in a graduate program and receiving an approved tax waiver for that program will be exempt from this change and will continue to receive the tax waiver as long as he/she remains in the same program and in his/her current position.
  • An exempt recipient may be subject to an additional tax waiver eligibility review if he/she changes positions, provided the exempt recipient remains enrolled in the same graduate program for which he/she previously received a waiver.
  • If an exempt recipient takes a leave from his/her current graduate program, the exempt status will remain only for the period of time allowed to complete the graduate degree.
  • If an exempt recipient changes graduate programs or begins a new graduate program, he/she will be taxed on the tuition remission benefit for the different program.

Tuition remission benefits provided to University employees who enroll in graduate-level programs in the 2017 fall semester or thereafter will be treated as taxable income, and the University's payroll system will withhold the applicable taxes according to the University's taxation integration calendar, which is posted at the bottom of the Tuition Remission Tax Information web page.

The University will continue to apply the annual $5,250 exclusion amount available under section 127 of the IRC. Employees applying for Benefits are encouraged to obtain professional advice from their personal tax adviser.

VIII. When Benefits End

Eligibility for Benefits under the Plan will end when a Participant is no longer employed in an eligible position, as described Addendum A, or separates from the University for any reason. Eligibility will also end when a child no longer qualifies as an IRC tax dependent under the terms of the Plan. A Participant must meet and maintain all applicable terms and conditions for students attending the University. This includes, but is not limited to, fulfillment of admissions requirements, maintaining an acceptable academic standing, satisfactory personal conduct, and payment of all required fees, expenses, and applicable withholding taxes.

If a Participant becomes ineligible for Benefits after classes have started for a particular semester or term, the Participant will continue to receive Benefits until the end of that semester or term.

IX. Claims Review Procedure

An Applicant who believes that he or she has been denied Benefits may file a written request for such Benefits with Human Resources detailing the basis of his or her claim.

Human Resources will notify the Applicant regarding the receipt of his or her claim and reply to the claim within ninety (90) calendar days of receipt. This 90-day period may be extended for an additional period of 90 calendar days for reasonable cause. If the Applicant’s claim is denied, in whole or part, Human Resources will provide a written response to the Applicant setting forth:

  1. The specific reason for the denial;
  2. References to pertinent Plan provisions on which the denial is based;
  3. A description of any additional information or material that the Applicant may be required to submit in support of his or her application, as well as an explanation why such information or material is deemed necessary;
  4. Information on the appeal procedures to follow if the Applicant wishes to submit the claim for review by the Plan Administrator; and
  5. A statement of the time limits for requesting review as hereafter set forth.

Within sixty (60) calendar days from receipt of the written response described above, the Applicant may appeal Human Resources’ determination by submitting a written request to the Plan Administrator. The Applicant and his or her duly authorized representative, if applicable, shall be afforded an opportunity to review pertinent documents and submit written comments for consideration by the Plan Administrator. If no review is requested within the 60-day period, Human Resources’ determination shall be final and binding.

The Plan Administrator will review Human Resources’ determination within 60 calendar days of receiving the Applicant’s request for a review. After consideration of all materials submitted by the Applicant, the Plan Administrator will issue a written opinion setting for the specific reasons for his or her decision, including references to those Plan provisions on which the decision is based. This 60-day time period may be extended due to special circumstances, in which case the Plan Administrator will so notify the Applicant and will issue a written decision as soon as possible but no later than one hundred and twenty (120) calendar days from receipt of the initial request for review. The decision of the Plan Administrator shall be final and binding on the University and the Applicant.

X. Miscellaneous

This document sets forth the entire Plan and is effective as of January 1, 2016.

The Plan document supersedes any prior tuition remission plan documents. In the event of any conflict between the terms contained in the Plan document and any statements concerning the University’s Tuition Remission Plan made in other written materials or publications, this document controls.

Questions or requests for additional information about the Plan may be sent by email to tuitionremission@usfca.edu or by phone to (415) 422-2442 during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Questions may also be sent by mail to Human Resources, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.

Revision History

January 1, 2016 Effective Date
September 9, 2016 Revised
September 30, 2016 Converted from PDF into web page
May 12, 2017 Revised information regarding tax waivers

Appendices

Addendum A: Tuition Remission Plan Eligibility

Employees and their spouses, Registered Domestic Partners (RDPs), and tax dependent children receiving Benefits under the Tuition Remission Plan must maintain the same academic standards required of other students to remain eligible for tuition remission. Individuals receiving Benefits are considered students for all issues related to admissions, registration, add/drop refund policy, fee assessments, financial holds, program minimum requirements, and related matters.

Please visit the Tuition Remission Eligibility web page and refer to the table that summarizes the eligibility requirements for each employee group authorized to participate in the Tuition Remission Plan.