Human Resources Information Center

Introduction

The Tuition Waiver Program offers eligible employees free tuition and fees for up to three courses per academic year (defined as fall semester, spring semester, and the summer sessions that follow) at any of the 17 institutions within the UNC System. Courses may or may not be job-related - there are no restrictions on the field(s) of study. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Did you know only 4% of eligible employees at App State are using the Tuition Waiver program as of 06/15/22? Help us spread the word about this valuable employee benefit by sharing the URL to this site. (smile)


Philosophy

The Tuition Waiver program supports App State's commitment to employee performance, engagement, and retention by providing a tool for professional development and career growth.  It also supports strategic organizational development of competencies and behaviors needed to achieve the University's mission, vision, and values. 


Policies

In accordance with North Carolina General Statute 116-143(d) the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina has enacted The UNC System Policy Manual and Code, Chapter 1000.2 on Tuition Waivers, and issued administrative regulations (10002.2.1[R] governing the waiver of tuition and fees. The policy and regulations permit each constituent institution to waive tuition and fees at their discretion and to establish policies and procedures consistent with this regulation. 

Employing Institution - As the employer of record, App State is responsible for managing the tuition waiver application policy and process including verification of eligibility, obtaining the manager's approval, and tracking usage.

Enrolling Institution - Any one of the constituent institutions within the UNC System in which the employee is enrolled and receiving academic credit and to which tuition/fees would be paid if not covered under tuition/fee waiver. The enrolling institution is responsible for managing the student experience including enrollment, registration, degree requirements, student account activity, and the academic calendar (e.g. registration and drop/add deadlines) as well as enforcing the tuition waiver policies and processes for students therein. 

Eligible Employee - The Tuition Waiver Program is available to eligible students defined as:

  • full-time, permanent faculty, EHRA, SHRA, and ROTC employees on their first day of work who are regularly scheduled to work 30 hours or more each week, 9 months of the year or longer;
  • meet normal work obligations and continue permanent employment status for the entire semester during which the course is taken;
  • have been admitted to the UNC-system school and registered for course(s); and
  • complete the full schedule of normal work obligations. 
  • It is also available to law enforcement officers with a probationary, time‐limited, or permanent appointment employed 20 or more hours per week on a continuing basis, regardless of eligibility for participation in either the North Carolina Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) or the UNC Optional Retirement Program (ORP). Temporary staff, including student temporary staff, are not considered law enforcement officers for purposes of this regulation. 

Employee/Student - The employee of the Employing Institution and the student of the Enrolling Institution is responsible for following the App State tuition waiver process and policies as well as finding and following the academic calendar and tuition waiver policies, processes, and procedures established by the enrolling institution.

An approved tuition waiver may be canceled if the course is dropped or withdrawn from BEFORE the drop/add deadline of the enrolling institution. (Click here for more information.) 

Eligible employees, defined as full-time, permanent, faculty, EHRA, SHRA, and ROTC employees of the UNC System may use up to three (see exception below) tuition waivers each academic year (defined as fall, spring and summer semesters) throughout their employment when they:

  • Are regularly scheduled to work 30 hours or more each week, 9 months of the year or longer,
  • Meet normal work obligations and continue permanent employment status for the entire semester during which the course is taken, and
  • Have been admitted to the UNC-system school and registered for course(s).

(blue star)Exception: Law Enforcement Officers employed at constituent UNC System institutions or affiliated entities, excluding student employees who are working as part‐time law enforcement officers, may use an unlimited number of tuition waivers per academic year.

App State Courses - No more than two waivers may be used during either the fall or spring semester, and only one waiver may be used between spring commencement and the first day of classes for the following fall semester as pictured in the table below. 

Options

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Summer Semester

A2 waivers1 waiver0
B1 waiver2 waivers0
C1 waiver1 waiver1 waiver
D2 waivers01 waiver
E02 waivers1 waiver


IMPORTANT

Each institution within the UNC System is entitled to establish its own policy on tuition waiver usage by semester.  You must find and follow the academic calendar and tuition waiver policies and procedures established by the enrolling institution. Contact the Student Accounts/Bursar's Office, Registrar's Office, or the degree program director of the enrolling institution to learn more about the academic calendar, tuition waiver policies, and where to send your approved waiver for processing.

TIP

Employees who wish to take more than three courses during the academic year may want to explore the Tuition Reimbursement program.

Approved Tuition Waiver requests must be submitted no later than the Drop/Add deadline of the enrolling institution. 

IMPORTANT

Please note that each institution within the UNC System is entitled to establish its own policy on tuition waiver usage by semester.  You must find and follow the academic calendar and tuition waiver policies and procedures established by the enrolling institution. Contact the Student Accounts/Bursar's Office, Registrar's Office, or the degree program director of the enrolling institution to learn more about the academic calendar, tuition waiver policies, and where to send your approved waiver for processing.

The tuition waiver program is available to full-time, permanent faculty, EHRA, SHRA, and ROTC employees on their first day of work as long as they meet the criteria listed below.  Eligible employees may take courses that are, or are not job-related - there are no restrictions on the field(s) of study. 

  • Regularly scheduled to work 30 hours or more each week, 9 months of the year or longer,
  • Meet normal work obligations and continue permanent employment status for the entire semester during which the course is taken, and
  • Have been admitted to the UNC System school and registered for course(s).

Any course, graduate certificate program, distance education, and extension program offered by one of the 17-campus UNC system that earns academic credit is eligible for tuition waiver. 

NOT ELIGIBLE

Continuing education workshops and seminars that provide continuing education units (CEU) are not eligible for tuition waiver.

If you register for a course through UNC Online, you may not use the Tuition Waiver program to pay for it. (Please note, UNC Online is NOT the same as UNC Chapel Hill online courses, or online degree programs within the UNC System)

The tuition waiver program waives (not pays) some student fees required for the course(s) in which the employee has enrolled as well as the tuition charged for credit instruction, regardless of when the instruction occurs or by what means it is delivered. Since money does not actually changes hands, staff/faculty members who use tuition waiver are not generating income to support student facilities or services such as UREC, Student Health Center, etc. Use of these and other student facilities and services must be paid for out of pocket. 

App State's Tuition Waiver policy waives the:

  • $200 enrollment deposit for App State courses (click here for more information).  
  • Admission Fee for undergraduate applicants (click here for more information). 


IMPORTANT

the waiver of fees for an employee may be limited according to institutional policy determined by the board of trustees of each institution. The Enrolling Institution may adopt a policy that specifies under what circumstances if any, the employee/student may receive a waiver of fees and a waiver for receipts‐supported courses. Therefore, the employee/student is advised to find and follow the academic calendar and tuition waiver policies, processes, and procedures established by the enrolling institution. 

If you do NOT live in North Carolina when your application for tuition waiver is approved, your tuition will be waived at the out of state rate.

If/when your residency CHANGES to North Carolina AFTER an approved tuition waiver is applied, please contact the Office of Student Accounts to discuss options. 

If you DO live in North Carolina, in accordance with N.C.G.S. 116-143.1(m), permanent full-time employees of App State, as well as spouses and children of such, who are legal residents of NC qualify as residents for tuition purposes even if they have not maintained legal residency for the required 12 consecutive months prior to residence classification. In other words, an employee of the UNC System who is a legal resident of North Carolina qualifies as a resident for tuition purposes irrespective of the length of legal residency in the state.

For more information about NC residency, visit the Residency web-page

Undergraduate courses covered by tuition waiver are NOT taxed. 

  • Qualified tuition reduction is the amount of any reduction in tuition provided to an employee of an organization for education below the graduate level at a university.  Gross income shall not include any qualified tuition reduction in accordance with IRC §117.  Specifically, IRC §117(d)(2) states that any qualified tuition reduction provided to an employee of an educational institution for undergraduate courses is excludable from gross income.  

Graduate courses covered by tuition waiver that are valued under $5,250 are NOT taxed.  

  • Under IRC §127(a), graduate level tuition waivers provided by a university to its employees are excludable from taxation in the amount up to $5,250 per calendar year if the tuition waivers are provided as part of an educational assistance program described in IRC §127(b). 
  •  Under IRC §117(d)(5), in the case of graduate students who are engaged in teaching or research activities at the educational institution, tuition reduction for graduate level education is considered qualified tuition reduction.  This section applies only to teaching and research assistants who are graduate students and not faculty or staff engaged in research or teaching.
  • Tuition waiver or reduction provided over $5,250 is considered a taxable fringe benefit for income tax purposes, unless the education is necessary for the employee to maintain or acquire skills necessary for current employment or the education meets an explicit requirement by the employer, law, or regulations and, therefore, would qualify as a deductible business expense under IRC §162 had the employee paid the tuition out of pocket.

The table below provides guidance on account codes used to code employee education.


CODE

EARNS ACADEMIC CREDIT?


TAXABLE?


EMPLOYEE EDUCATION DEFINED AS

739510YESNO if  < $5,250Tuition Waiver and Tuition Reimbursement for Undergraduate AND Graduate level courses
739520YESYES if > $5,250Tuition Waiver and Tuition Reimbursement for Graduate level courses ONLY
739530NONO Conferences, seminars, training, workshops, etc.

Process

Stage Description

Explore Options

2

Apply to the University

  • Submit an application to the university of your choice through their admissions process and get accepted.
  • Find and follow the established tuition waiver policies, procedures, and academic calendar of the enrolling institution. Unfortunately, some institutions have elected NOT to accept tuition waivers for certain courses/programs (e.g. UNC-Chapel Hill Executive MBA program, MBA@UNC, MPA@UNC, MPH@UNC, Masters of Accounting, and or study abroad courses.)
  • Meet with your manager to discuss your plans. If the class you want to take meets during your regular work day, work with your manager to create an alternate work schedule, if possible
3Register for course(s)
4Submit the completed App State Tuition Waiver Application to the enrolling institution

Frequently Asked Questions


Key Contacts


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