Lifetime Learning

 

Introduction

RIT’s commitment to a quality education is reflected in the variety of education benefits available to employees.  RIT’s education benefits for eligible employees and/or their family members consist of five programs.  Each of these programs is described in this summary, together with the general tax consequences of each.  This information is for regular employees.  Information for adjunct employees is found on the HR website in the Benefits Summary for Adjunct Employees.

The following chart provides a summary of the plans and those regular employees eligible to participate.

Plan Person Where
Tuition Waiver Employee, spouse/domestic partner, children RIT
Tuition Assistance Employee Other colleges/universities
Tuition Exchange Children Participating colleges/universities
Tuition Scholarship Children Other colleges/universities
Center for Professional Development (CPD) Employee CPD-designated vendors and courses

Tuition Waiver

NOTE: The Tuition Waiver information will be updated for semesters in the Spring of 2013

Letter from President Destler With Clarification of Tuition Waiver Changes (2/20/2013)

FAQs for Changes in Tuition Waiver Benefit (last updated 2/21/13)

 

RIT provides a Tuition Waiver benefit – courses taken at RIT – for eligible employees and eligible family members.  Tuition Waiver for regular employees is automatic for credit courses – you do not need to complete an application; you simply register for the class.  For courses taken through the Academic Support Center or the English Language Center, complete and submit to Human Resources the Tuition Waiver Form (available on the HR website http://www.rit.edu/fa/humanresources/ on the forms page or in the HR Department) for each course taken.

Tuition Waiver for eligible family members is automatic for credit courses after you complete and submit on an annual basis (academic year) the Tuition Waiver Form – Family Member Information.  For courses taken through the Academic Support Center or the English Language Center, complete and submit to Human Resources the Tuition Waiver Form (available on the HR website http://www.rit.edu/fa/humanresources/ on the forms page or in the HR Department) for each course taken.

Please be aware that RIT employees and family members who take classes using Tuition Waiver are considered students under the NYS Public Health Law 2165/2167.  Therefore, employees and family members must comply with established NYS and RIT immunization requirements; refer to the Student Health Center website for more detailed information: www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/studenthealth/.

If you are eligible for Tuition Waiver and receiving a Tuition Waiver benefit when your employment ends, the benefit will continue through the end of the term in which you terminate employment.  There will be no Tuition Waiver for the term that begins after your termination from employment.

If a Tuition Waiver is applied to the student account in error, the Waiver will be reversed and the student will owe the full billed amount to the RIT Student Financial Services Office.

Employees

Regular employees are immediately eligible for a 100 percent tuition waiver, unless noted in the Exclusions section below, for undergraduate and most graduate level credit-bearing courses (see Exclusions section below) as well as classes you take through RIT’s Academic Support Center and English Language Center.  If you have questions about whether a particular course is eligible for Tuition Waiver, please contact the Human Resources Department.  The benefit is provided as follows:

  • Full-time employees: up to 12 credit hours per term
  • Extended part-time employees: 9 credit hours per term
  • Part-time employees: 6 credit hours per term

Family Members

RIT also provides Tuition Waiver benefits for eligible family members.  Eligible family members include your spouse or domestic partner and eligible children.  An eligible child is one who is:

  • The natural or adopted child of the employee, the employee’s opposite or same gender legal spouse, or the employee’s domestic partner who is under age 30.
  • Any other child who is under age 30, and
    • for whom the employee is the legal guardian or custodian, and
    • has been the legal guardian or custodian for at least three years prior to the date on which the child begins using the educational benefit, and
    • who resides in the employee’s home, and
    • who is claimed as a tax dependent on the employee’s federal income tax return.

If a child has matriculated in a program and has started taking classes in the program of study before the age of 30, he/she would be eligible for Tuition Waiver to complete that same degree program started (not a different program) through the academic term in which the child attains age of 35.  There will be no Tuition Waiver available beyond age 35 for a child. 

Beginning with the 2013 Summer quarter, a lifetime maximum of 145 credit hours of undergraduate Tuition Waiver benefits will apply for each eligible family member who attends RIT.  The Tuition Waiver benefit is generally for enrollment in a degree-seeking program.  However, we understand individuals may be interested in single courses from time to time.  Therefore, within the 145 credit hours, students may use up to 30 credit hours for non-degree seeking (non-matriculated) course work.  The credit hours for a class that an eligible family members withdraws from or fails, will count toward the lifetime maximum.  These credit hour maximums apply to each eligible family member who receives a Tuition Waiver benefit, including family members of current employees, retirees, Long Term Disability (LTD) recipients, and future employees.

If a family member is enrolled in a degree-seeking program (i.e., matriculated) prior to the Summer quarter in 2013, the new credit hour maximums would not apply for the coursework in the degree-seeking program.

Financial Aid - If the student (you, your spouse/partner or child) is eligible for tuition assistance from other sources, including New York State TAP or another employer, he/she must apply for that benefit (similar to how coordination of medical coverage works).  New York State TAP or other external financial assistance will be applied to reduce the total tuition bill before the tuition waiver is applied.  In the case of RIT scholarships or grants, the Tuition Waiver is applied first, before any other RIT scholarships or grants; in no case will the combination of a Tuition Waiver and RIT scholarships or grant be greater than the full amount of tuition each year.

If your date of hire is prior to January 1, 2006

Tuition Waiver is provided for most RIT undergraduate programs and most graduate programs, provided the student is matriculated in a program, unless noted in the Exclusions section below.  Any student enrolled in an undergraduate program or who takes an undergraduate course after the 2013 Spring quarter, will be subject to the lifetime maximum 145 credit hours and 30 credit hours described above.  If you have questions about whether a particular course is eligible for Tuition Waiver, please contact the Human Resources Department.  The amount of the waiver for eligible family members increases with length of employment.

If you are a regular full-time employee, your eligible family members would receive a

  • 50 percent waiver after one year of service;
  • 75 percent waiver after three years of service; and
  • 100 percent waiver after five years of service.

If you are a regular extended part-time employee, your eligible family members would receive a

  • 37.5 percent waiver after one year of service;
  • 56.25 percent waiver after three years of service; and
  • 75 percent waiver after five years of service.

If you are a regular part-time employee, your eligible family members would receive a

  • 25 percent waiver after one year of service;
  • 37.5 percent waiver after three years of service; and
  • 50 percent waiver after five years of service.

If your date of hire is on or after January 1, 2006

Tuition Waiver is provided for eligible family members after five full years of regular service for most RIT undergraduate programs (i.e., there is no Tuition Waiver for graduate programs), provided the student is matriculated in a program, unless noted in the Exclusions section below.  Any student enrolled in an undergraduate program or who takes an undergraduate course after the 2013 Spring quarter, will be subject to the lifetime maximum 145 credit hours and 30 credit hours described above.  The amount of the waiver for eligible family members after five full years of service is as follows:

If you are a regular full-time employee, your eligible family members would receive a 100 percent Tuition Waiver.

If you are a regular extended part-time employee, your eligible family members would receive a 75 percent Tuition Waiver.

If you are a regular part-time employee, your eligible family members would receive a 50 percent Tuition Waiver.

Exclusions

There are a few exclusions where Tuition Waiver does not apply or where it is modified:

  • Executive MBA program – no Tuition Waiver
  • PhD courses - no Tuition Waiver for family members and a 50% Tuition Waiver for employees, if the employee is matriculated in the PhD program and if the course taken is job-related (as defined by the IRS);
  • Study abroad programs – no Tuition Waiver; payment for study abroad is described below (for more information about study abroad, contact RIT’s Study Abroad Office)
    • RIT Programs (e.g., RIT’s partner universities in Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo) including those which are Faculty-Led: The student will be billed at the published regular full-time tuition rate of the partner university.
    • Affiliate Programs (e.g., SU Abroad and Arcadia): The student will be billed at the published rate of the affiliate university.
    • Faculty-Led Programs with a non-RIT Host University (e.g., the Italian Study Abroad program to Genova, Italy): The student will be billed the regular RIT tuition rate, less a standard dependent discount which will be set annually by the RIT budget office. Currently, the standard discount is 30%.

Taxability of Tuition Waiver

Tuition benefits may be taxable. Generally, all waivers for graduate courses that your eligible family members take are taxable. In addition, if the student is matriculated in a graduate program and takes an undergraduate course as a requirement of the graduate program, the undergraduate course would be taxable as well.

Because of a federal law that provides to employees (not family members) $5,250 per calendar year in graduate educational assistance on a tax-free basis, RIT also has an educational assistance program.

Since there is no dollar limit for the tax-waiver for job-related courses, employees should use the job-related rule, when applicable, to enjoy the maximum favorable tax treatment. Therefore, employees receiving taxable tuition waivers will need to complete a form for each course indicating the following:

  • the course is job-related, or
  • the course is not job-related and they are requesting a tax-waiver under the educational assistance program.

If applicable, the Job-Related Verification Form should be completed and sent to the Human Resources Department no later than the last date to Drop/Add courses.  If HR does not receive a Job-Related Verification Form from you, neither you nor your family members will be able to register for future terms and there will be no future Tuition Waivers until you submit a Job-Related Verification Form

Tax Amount If the benefit is taxable, you will receive a bill from the Controller's Office for the tax amount due. The tax amount includes federal, FICA, and state taxes, and is approximately 40% (can vary based on changes in the tax tables). Your W-2 income will be increased by the amount of the waiver and your taxes paid in for the period (i.e., withheld from your pay) will be increased accordingly. For example, if your eligible family member receives $1,000 in tuition waiver for a graduate course, you would pay to RIT approximately $400 in taxes (which RIT forwards to the government on your behalf) and your W-2 taxable income would be increased by $1,000.

Below is a summary of the taxability rules:

Courses Employees Take

Undergraduate - generally not taxable, but there is an exception. If you are matriculated in a graduate program and take an undergraduate course as a requirement for the graduate program, the course would be taxable (see information in the Graduate section below about tax relief in this case).

Graduate - taxable, unless the course is considered job-related or you have not reached the IRS limit under RIT's Educational Assistance Program. The IRS defines a job-related course as that needed to maintain or improve an employee's current job skills. A course is not job-related if it serves to meet the minimum requirements of a job or is part of a program of study qualifying an individual for a new profession. If you take a graduate course, you need to complete a Job-Related Verification Form. If the course is job-related, your supervisor needs to approve the form. If the course is not job-related, simply complete that section of the form. You can find the form on the HR web page. You should send your completed and approved, if applicable, Job-Related Verification Form to the Human Resources Department no later than the last date to Drop/Add Courses.

Courses Your Spouse/Tax-Dependent Domestic Partner and/or Tax Dependent Child Takes

(a tax-dependent child is one who is claimed as a dependent on your tax return OR the child's other parent's - your ex-spouse's -- tax return)

Undergraduate - generally not taxable, but there is an exception. If the student is matriculated in a graduate program and takes an undergraduate course as a requirement of the graduate program, the course would be taxable and there is no way to waive these taxes.

Graduate - taxable

Courses Your Non-Tax Dependent Domestic Partner and/or NON-Tax Dependent Child Takes

(child is not claimed as a dependent on your tax return OR the child's other parent's - your ex-spouse's - tax return)

Undergraduate - taxable

Graduate - taxable

When Tuition Waiver Ends

If you are eligible for the Tuition Waiver benefit, the benefit for you and your eligible family members will end the last day of the term in which
  • your employment ends (refer to special rules below if employment ends due to retirement, disability or death).
    • If your employment ends and you are eligible for benefits under the RIT Severance Plan, Tuition Waiver benefits would continue under the terms specified in the Severance Plan.
  • you no longer meet the Plan’s eligibility requirements.
  • RIT discontinues the Plan.
In addition to the reasons stated above, if you are eligible for the Tuition Waiver benefit,
  • the benefit for your spouse/partner will end the last day of the term in which you are divorced/terminate your domestic partnership.
  • the benefit for your child will end the last day of the term in which your child no longer meets the eligibility requirements (refer to the Family Member section earlier in this summary).

Tuition Waiver if Employee Retires from RIT

Tuition Waiver benefits continue for an RIT retiree and eligible family members as outlined in this summary.  All Tuition Waiver rules and exclusions that were applicable during employment continue for any Tuition Waivers applied while the employee is an RIT retiree.  In addition, any changes made to the Tuition Waiver benefit after retirement would apply to retirees and their eligible family members.

Tuition Waiver if Employee Approved for RIT Long Term Disability (LTD)

Tuition Waiver benefits continue for a former employee on LTD and eligible family members as outlined in this summary only if the employee has met the eligibility requirements for Tuition Waiver at the time the employee is approved for LTD.  All Tuition Waiver rules and exclusions that were applicable during employment continue for any Tuition Waivers applied while the employee is on LTD.  In addition, any changes made to the Tuition Waiver benefit after LTD begins would apply to those on LTD and their eligible family members.

Tuition Waiver Upon Death

Employee: Tuition Waiver continues for eligible family members as outlined below provided the employee met the eligibility requirements for Tuition Waiver prior to the date of death.

LTD Recipient: Tuition Waiver continues for eligible family members as outlined below provided the LTD recipient met the eligibility requirements for Tuition Waiver at the time the employee was approved for LTD.

Retiree: Tuition Waiver continues for eligible family members as outlined below.

Tuition Waiver continues for the surviving spouse/partner provided the spouse/partner does not remarry/enter a new domestic partnership.  Tuition Waiver continues for eligible children as outlined in this summary.  All Tuition Waiver rules and exclusions that were applicable during employment continue for any Tuition Waivers applied after the employee dies.  In addition, any changes made to the Tuition Waiver benefit after the employee’s death would apply to surviving eligible family members.

 

Tuition Assistance

Regular full-time and extended part-time employees may be reimbursed up to $750 per semester for job-related credit courses taken at accredited colleges and universities. Semesters are defined as 1) September - December; 2) January -April; and 3), May - August. Therefore, the maximum annual reimbursement will be $2,250 ($750 x 3).

Courses taken through RIT's Center for Professional Development (CPD; see details about CPD later in this section) are also considered eligible courses under the Tuition Assistance Plan. You are eligible for one course per semester (with a maximum of $250 per course), with a maximum of two courses per academic year, subject to your supervisor's approval. Simply enroll through CPD and if your department needs financial relief, they may apply for reimbursement via journal entry on the Application for Tuition Assistance.

To apply for Tuition Assistance, complete an Application for Tuition Assistance. Applications for reimbursement must be submitted by June 1 of each academic year for the current academic year. Applications received after this deadline will not be processed.

Tuition Assistance reimbursements are not subject to tax.

Tuition Assistance reimbursements will not be made after you terminate employment. 

When Tuition Assistance Ends

If you are eligible for the Tuition Assistant benefit, the benefit will end and no further reimbursements will be made after
  • Your employment ends, including by retirement, death, or disability;
  • You no longer meet the Plan’s eligibility requirements;
  • RIT discontinues the Plan.

Tuition Exchange

RIT participates in The Tuition Exchange, Inc., a reciprocal scholarship program for children of faculty and staff employed at over 600 participating institutions in the United States. The Tuition Exchange, Inc., a non-profit association, serves higher education by making careers at colleges and universities more attractive. Tuition Exchange (TE) Scholarships are not guaranteed; they are competitive awards and each participating institution sets its own eligibility criteria. Each institution is obligated to maintain a balance between students sent out on the exchange (exports) and students received on the exchange (imports). If this ratio of imports and exports becomes out of balance, RIT may restrict Tuition Exchange Scholarship certifications for RIT exports (children of RIT employees going to other schools).

At RIT, the TE benefit is available to the children (child eligibility as under the Tuition Waiver benefit) of regular full-time employees with at least five (5) years of full-time service on or before the day after Labor Day (Tuesday) in the September of the academic year for which TE application is made. Previous extended part-time service can be counted as one-half a year toward the five (5) year full-time service requirement. Scholarships are for full-time undergraduate study during the regular academic year and are not guaranteed.

Because RIT's import-export ratios are currently favorable, we have increased the current limit of eight semesters to 12 semesters per family; this increase will be reviewed on a rolling five-year basis and may be adjusted accordingly. The base line eligibility continues to be eight semesters per family. If both spouses of a couple work at RIT, they are eligible for eight semesters each, for a total of 16 semesters per family.

Colleges and universities set their own policies and procedures for awarding Tuition Exchange Scholarships. Applying for a Tuition Exchange Scholarship is easy. Follow the normal admissions process for the school(s). In addition, complete a Tuition Exchange Application and Recertification form and submit to the Human Resources Department. HR will certify your eligibility and forward the application to RIT's Tuition Exchange Liaison Officer. RIT's Liaison Officer will certify the application and send it directly to the school(s) considering the candidate.

Make sure you apply for admission and Tuition Exchange by each school's deadline - these deadlines do vary from school to school. For more details on the process and a list of participating schools, check out the Scholarship Award Process on the Tuition Exchange web site (http://www.tuitionexchange.org).

If your child is granted a TE scholarship, you will need to complete the Tuition Exchange Application and Recertification form each spring to recertify the TE benefit for the upcoming academic year. Submit the completed form to the Human Resources Department and HR will certify your eligibility and forward the form to RIT's TE Liaison Officer.

TE certifications will continue through the end of the academic year in which you terminate employment.  TE certifications and re-certifications for the academic year after termination of employment will be revoked.

Click here to obtain the form

Taxability of Tuition Exchange

Generally, TE Scholarships are not taxable.  However, there are certain cases according to the Internal Revenue Code when the TE Scholarship will be treated as taxable income to you.  The scholarship would be taxable if the child:

  1. is your child and is not reported on your or your ex-spouse’s (child’s other parent) tax return;
  2. is your spouse’s child (your step-child) and is not reported on your spouse’s or your spouse’s ex-spouse’s (child’s other parent) tax return; or
  3. is your domestic partner’s or your same gender spouse’s child who is not reported on your tax return. 

If the TE Scholarship is taxable, the RIT Controller’s Office will send you an invoice for the taxes you owe and you must pay RIT; your Form W-2 will be adjusted to include additional income for the TE Scholarship and taxes paid (see details under “Tuition Waiver” in this summary).  If you fail to remit the taxes to RIT by the due date, RIT will withhold the amount due for taxes from your regular paycheck.  Note: you will be billed two times during the academic year, with each bill for one-half of the full annual amount.

If you do not pay the required taxes, your children will not be certified for future Tuition Exchange benefits until you pay the taxes owed.

When Tuition Exchange Ends

If you are eligible for Tuition Exchange (TE), the benefit will end the earliest of the following, as applicable:

  • when your employment ends, including by retirement, as follows:
    • If your employment ends after the receiving school’s academic year has started, TE would end at the end of that academic year and no future TE benefit would be available; RIT would revoke any certification for the subsequent academic year.
    • If your employment ends before the receiving school’s academic year has started, TE would end immediately; RIT would revoke the certification for the upcoming academic year.
    • If your employment ends and you are eligible for benefits under the RIT Severance Plan, TE would continue under the terms specified in the Severance Plan.
  • when your employment ends due to approval for RIT long term disability (LTD) or death, as follows:
    • For any eligible child who is currently receiving TE or who has been approved for TE for the upcoming academic year, the benefit would end when the child has completed his/her degree, or when the child reaches the RIT maximum semesters allowed under RIT’s benefit, or when the receiving school does not approve TE for the child, whichever comes first.  
    • For any other eligible child, TE eligibility would end on the date approved for LTD or death.
  • when you no longer meet the Plan’s eligibility requirements as follows:
    • If you lose eligibility after the receiving school’s academic year has started, TE would end at the end of that academic year and no future TE benefit would be available; RIT would revoke any certification for the subsequent academic year.
    • If you lose eligibility before the receiving school’s academic year has started, TE would end immediately; RIT would revoke the certification for the upcoming academic year.
  • at the end of the academic year in which your child no longer meets the eligibility requirements (refer to the Family Member section earlier in this summary).
  • when RIT discontinues the benefit.

Tuition Scholarship

The Tuition Scholarship program rounds out RIT's Tuition Benefits Program for children of RIT employees (child eligibility as under the Tuition Waiver benefit). Tuition Scholarships are available for all accredited colleges and universities, including state schools and community colleges. Tuition Scholarships are available if the school is not a Tuition Exchange school or if the child is not granted a Tuition Exchange scholarship. A child cannot receive both Tuition Exchange and Tuition Scholarship.

The eligibility rules for Tuition Scholarship are similar to those of Tuition Exchange - available for children of regular full-time employees who have at least five years of regular full-time service prior to the semester for which reimbursement is requested. Previous extended part-time service can be counted as one-half a year toward the five (5) year full-time service requirement. Tuition Scholarships are for full-time undergraduate study during the regular academic year.

Under Tuition Scholarship, RIT will reimburse up to $750 per semester or the net tuition bill, whichever is lower, with an annual maximum benefit of $1,500 per child.

Applications for reimbursement must be submitted by June 1 of each academic year for the current academic year. Applications received after this deadline will not be processed.

Tuition Scholarship reimbursements will not be made after you terminate employment. 

Taxability of Tuition Scholarship

Generally, Tuition Scholarships are not taxable. However, there are certain cases according to the Internal Revenue Code when the Tuition Scholarship will be treated as taxable income to you. The scholarship would be taxable if the child:

  • is your child and is not reported on your or your ex-spouse's (child's other parent) tax return;
  • is your spouse's child (your step-child) and is not reported on your spouse's or your spouse's ex-spouse's (child's other parent) tax return; or
  • is your domestic partner's child who is not reported on your tax return.

Reimbursements will be made through the payroll system as follows:

  • if it is a non-taxable reimbursement, the payment will be non-taxable and will not be part of your taxable earnings - it will simply be a non-payroll reimbursement.
  • if it is a taxable reimbursement, the payment will be taxable, subject to tax withholding, and will be part of your taxable earnings reported on Form W-2.

To apply for Tuition Scholarship, complete an Application for Tuition Scholarship.

When Tuition Scholarship Ends

If you are eligible for Tuition Scholarship, the benefit will end and no further reimbursements will be made after
  • Your employment ends, including by retirement, death or disability;
  • You no longer meet the Plan’s eligibility requirements;
  • Your child no longer meets the eligibility requirements (refer to the Family Member section earlier in this summary).
  • RIT discontinues the Plan.

Center for Professional Development

The Human Resources Department provides training and professional development programs for all employees through RIT's Center for Professional Development (CPD). CPD is a unique resource providing single point access to hundreds of education and training programs from best-in-class providers - both inside and outside of RIT - to help you increase your skills and enhance your career.

Stretch the limits of your professional development and experience our customer-focused approach to supplying the learning resources you need. Get one-to-one instructions about desktop software, initiate fully customized programs to help your department address specific issues, or find something in between. We'll help you get training designed to bring out your best.

Current and future offerings are arranged into six convenient learning clusters:

  1. Diversity/Deaf Culture and Language
  2. Enhancing Faculty/Staff Performance
  3. Leadership and Management
  4. New Faculty/Staff Orientation and Development
  5. Personal Development
  6. Technology/Computer Skills

You can find all available courses on the CPD web site at http://www.rit.edu/fa/cpd/.

Discuss the CPD training opportunities with your supervisor prior to registering directly with CPD. Courses are added on a regular basis, so be sure to check the CPD web site regularly.

Courses taken through CPD are not taxable.

When Eligibility for CPD Classes Ends

Eligibility to take CPD classes ends when
  • Your employment ends employment ends, including by retirement or disability;
  • You no longer meet the Plan’s eligibility requirements;
  • RIT discontinues the Plan.