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Human Resources | Employee Handbook: Part VIII

Part VIII: TUITION ASSISTANCE

General Provisions for Applicability to Employees Taking Courses

Credit Bank

Tuition Benefits for Spouses/Dependents of Staff

As you know, Trinity provides certain undergraduate and post-graduate tuition assistance benefits for eligible employees, spouses and dependents. The policy governing availability of these benefits is found in Part VIII of the Employee Handbook.

Under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, certain types of tuition assistance benefits can be provided on a tax-free basis. This means that the amount of the tuition assistance you receive would not be treated as income for you, and you would not owe taxes on it.

To enable employees to realize these tax advantages, Trinity provides two types of tuition assistance benefits: one is under a plan offered in compliance with Internal Revenue Code § 117(d), and the other follows Internal Revenue Code § 127.

The following explains the requirements of these two sections as they pertain to Trinity’s tuition assistance program. It explains the conditions under which these benefits can be received on a tax-free basis.

Internal Revenue Code § 117(d)

Benefits provided by this plan are available only for undergraduate courses. They can be provided to employees, spouses and dependents of employees. There is no maximum amount of benefits beyond which it becomes taxable income.

Internal Revenue Code § 127

Benefits provided under this plan for both undergraduate and graduate courses. However, only employee are eligible to receive benefits from a § 127 plan. Also, the maximum tax-exempt amount that can be received from a § 127 plan is $5,250. Amounts received above this figure will be treated as taxable income.

Please note that these two plans are provided to maximize your ability to receive tuition assistance on a non-taxable basis. Your eligibility for benefits and the amount of those benefits are governed by the provisions of the Employee Handbook. Trinity is free to modify any of these provisions at any time.

Information about these plans is not provided as tax advice to you. If you have any questions about your tax liability for tuition assistance that you, your spouse or your dependents receive, you should take them up with your own tax adviser.

Because Trinity believes that a higher education is an important component of personal and professional development, Trinity provides employee tuition assistance for courses taken at Trinity as described below. Employees, their spouses and dependent children who meet the academic and employment policy requirements described below are eligible to apply for tuition assistance benefits, which are calculated according to a tuition credit bank plan (see the end of this section). Tuition assistance is a valuable benefit. A single baccalaureate degree in 2001 dollars is valued at $60,000.

Eligible employees are all full-time staff and faculty. Eligible employees may use the tuition assistance credits to enroll in baccalaureate courses after six months of employment. To use the tuition credits in graduate programs, the waiting period is one year.

Trinity does not guarantee the absolute availability of the benefits described below in any given semester, and Trinity reserves the right to change, reduce or eliminate tuition benefits at any time. The Academic Vice President may cancel any course in which the number of students participating as part of the tuition benefits plan exceeds the number of students paying regular tuition, and any course with fewer than ten students enrolled will normally be canceled in any case. Conversely, if enrollment in any course exceeds the enrollment cap, students enrolled on tuition benefits will be placed on the waiting list first in order to accommodate paying students.

Degree and certificate programs implemented after May 1, 2001, are not included in the tuition benefits coverage unless specifically designated as part of the program.

Participation in an academic program under this section does not entitle the employee to change his or her hours of work, and in all cases, the responsibilities of the employee’s position and the employment needs of the College come first. Trinity may deny benefits under this section when the course or degree program that the employee desires to take conflicts with the employee’s job responsibilities.

All employees who expect to benefit under this section are required to apply for any and all available federal and state assistance and grant aid; such aid will be credited against this tuition benefit.

For employees who have been on Trinity’s staff prior to January 1, 2002, the provisions of this section may be adapted to ensure that these new provisions do not interrupt an educational program already in progress. Individual employees who believe that these new provisions may have an adverse impact on their programs of study already underway should meet with the director of Human Resources no later than January 1, 2002, to develop an individualized plan to ensure completion of their programs. Any employee who does not meet the January 1 deadline relinquishes the opportunity to adapt the provisions of this section to his or her individual case.

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General Provisions for Applicability to Employees Taking Courses

  1. All tuition benefits apply only to tuition for courses offered at Trinity College.  Laboratory and other additional fees must be paid by the employee.
  2. The employee/student must meet admission requirements and is subject to all academic rules, regulations, and fees.
  3. Employees may not take classes during normally scheduled working hours.  Any exception to this policy must have prior approval by both the department supervisor and the Director of Human Resources.
  4. Because of the demands of the workplace, employees may not take courses or programs that require internships, student teaching, or other extended absence during the workday.  Exception to this policy must be petitioned to the Director of Human Resources and approved by the President.
  5. In the event of termination of employment or transfer to an ineligible status, the employee/student becomes ineligible for tuition benefits.  Financial adjustments will be made on the student’s account on a pro-rated basis through the end of the course period.
  6. Employees may take courses on a space available basis.
  7. A tuition assistance application must be completed and have appropriate approval signatures prior to the start of the semester. A tuition assistance application must be completed for each semester.
  8. Employees will be responsible for any tax liabilities in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations.

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Credit Bank

Employees earn tuition assistance benefits based on years of employment with Trinity, and these benefits constitute a ‘credit bank’ against which the employee may draw benefits so long as he or she is employed with Trinity. The credit bank is extinguished when the employee no longer works at Trinity. Credit bank accumulation is as follows:

# of Years of Employment
# of Credits Earned Per Year of Employment Total Accumulation at the end of the period
1-3 24 72
4-6 30 162
7-10 36 270
10+ 40 384 maximum (3 BA degs.)

Personnel employed with Trinity prior to January 1, 2002, will have their prior years of service credited toward this credit bank, and prior tuition benefits will also be debited from the bank.

The accumulated credits apply only to the tuition of the employee or covered dependents or spouse, and may not be transferred to any other individual.

Once the accumulation is used-up, the credit bank is not renewable.

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Tuition Benefits for Spouses/Dependents of Staff

Spouses and legally dependent children of Full-Time Staff are eligible for tuition benefits as follows:

General Provisions:

  1. All tuition benefits apply only to tuition for courses offered at Trinity College. Laboratory and other additional fees must be paid by the employee.
  2. The student/spouse must meet admission requirements and is subject to all academic rules, regulations, and fees.
  3. In the event of termination of employment or transfer to an ineligible status, the employee/student becomes ineligible for tuition benefits. Financial adjustments will be made on the student’s account on a prorated basis through the end of the examination period.
  4. Spouses and dependents may take courses on a space available basis.
  5. A tuition assistance application must be completed for each semester with appropriate approval signatures, prior to the start if the semester.
  6. A dependent child must be the natural or legally adopted child or step-child of the employee. The child must be legally dependent upon the employee for support as defined by the Internal Revenue Service statutes. The employee must provide supporting documentation.
  7. This benefit shall not apply to legally separated or divorced spouses.
  8. All spouses and dependents are required to apply for any and all available federal and state assistance and grant aid and such aid will be credited against this tuition benefit.he accumulation is used-up, the credit bank is not renewable.

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Trinity College reserves the right to interpret or change the policies stated in this Handbook as the need arises. This document is not a contract.

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