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Policy 603.4

Contents

1 Introduction

1.1 The systematic and planned development of employee knowledge and skills is essential to effective University operations. Therefore, employees at Appalachian State University are encouraged to continue their education, job training and professional development. In support of this, the University has established several programs to help employees continue their education and learning.

1.2 This publication describes the:

  1. policies
  2. procedures
  3. processes and
  4. taxable employee benefits

1.3 Associated with the following professional development programs:

  1. Educational Leave
  2. Tuition Waiver and
  3. Academic Assistance

2 Scope

3 Definitions

4 Policy and Procedure Statements

4.1 Program Comparison

4.1.1 Educational Leave may be taken in conjunction with the Tuition Waiver or Academic Assistance programs.

4.1.2 The difference between the Tuition Waiver and Academic Assistance programs are outlined below:

When… Then… and Then…
the course is within the UNC system tuition and fees are waived up front the Tuition Waiver program is used.
the course is outside of the UNC system tuition and fees are reimbursed after successful completion of the course the Academic Assistance program is used.

4.2 Requesting a Tuition Free Course

4.2.1 Appalachian State University employees who are full-time or 3/4 time and participate in a retirement plan may take two courses per year (1 per semester)on a tuition-free basis provided that such enrollment does not interfere with normal employment obligations. The course may be taken at any one of the member institutions of the University of North Carolina .

4.2.2 Summer Sessions - Employees are not permitted to take courses on a tuition-free basis during the Summer Session.

4.2.3 Procedure Steps - Procedures for Appalachian State University employees enrolling in a tuition- free course on the local campus

4.2.4 Necessary Form - Prepare Application for Faculty/Staff Tuition Waiver:

  1. Obtain Application for Faculty/Staff Tuition Waiver form from Human Resource Services.
  2. Fill out the three part form as illustrated by Human Resource Services sign and date.
  3. Take form to supervisor for her or his signature to certify that enrollment in the course will not conflict with employment obligations.
  4. Have form signed by the department head or chairperson of the department where the course is being offered. This approval certifies that the applicant has been found academically eligible to enroll in the course and that there is space available.

4.2.5 Completion of the tuition-free course form does not register you for classes. This form merely pays your tuition. Registration must be accomplished as indicated below.

4.2.6 Registration at Appalachian is accomplished by using a TELEPHONE REGISTRATION SYSTEM (identified by the acronym TRS). It is a computerized system that allows you to register for classes by using a TOUCH TONE telephone. (A touch tone telephone has a specific tone assigned to each key. Rotary and other pushbutton telephones will NOT operate the system).

4.3 How do I get access to the system?

4.3.1 Access to the Telephone Registration System is granted by use of the nine digit Student Identification Number (normally the student's Social Security Number) and a Personal Identification Number (PIN). The PIN is expressed in four digits and is initially set to the day and month of the student's birthdate (e.g., a student born on the 22nd of March would have his or her PIN set as 2203 ). The PIN can be changed by contacting the Registrar's Office.

4.3.2 Degree Seeking Students - Contact Dean of your college.

4.3.3 Non-Degree Students (Special Students)

  1. Undergraduate - Contact the Admissions Office
  2. Graduate - Contact the Graduate Office

4.3.4 If registering for an independent or individual study, have department chairperson where course is offered, prepare a Special Course Form. The Special Course Form must then be signed by the dean of the appropriate college. This, too, should be done well in advance of registration.

4.3.5 Register for class during the regularly scheduled registration period.

4.4 Procedures of Appalachian State University Employees Enrolling in a Tuition-Free Course at One of the Other Campus

  1. Prepare Application for Faculty/Staff Tuition Waiver as instructed by procedure steps above for courses taken at Appalachian State University.
  2. Take form to the enrolling institution to be endorsed by the appropriate person.
  3. Follow procedures pertaining to enrollment according to those adopted on that campus.
  4. Return one copy of the completed form to Human Resource Services at Appalachian State University.

4.5 Procedure for Employees From Other Campuses Enrolling in a Tuition-Free Course at Appalachian State University

  1. Local registration procedures must be followed.
  2. Tuition-free form must be signed by the department head of the department where the course is being taught.
  3. A copy of the form must be delivered to the Appalachian State University Controller's Office to denote official approval to take the course on a tuition-free basis.

4.6 Educational Leave with Pay

4.6.1 State's Policies

4.6.1.1 This outlines the State’s policies relative to providing leave with pay for professional development. Any full-time permanent employee may be granted leave with pay during normal working hours for additional training in a career-related course of instruction to upgrade knowledge and skills.

4.6.2 Approved Courses

4.6.2.1 Courses taken must be related to the particular job the employee holds, or may be courses which would prepare an employee for professional development. The employee’s department head has the responsibility to determine if a course is job related. This training may include:

  1. refresher courses
  2. academic courses and
  3. commercial courses

4.6.3 Maximum Amount

4.6.3.1 Leave with pay may not exceed actual time for classroom instruction in one such course during the semester or quarter of instruction and a reasonable amount of time for travel to and from the institution and place of employment.

4.6.3.2 To request Educational leave with pay, use the Application for Faculty/Staff- Tuition Waiver form.

4.6.3.3 To access the Application for Faculty/Staff Tuition Waiver form, use a computer with internet access and follow the steps outlined below:

Step Action
1. Type www.hrs.appstate.edu in the web browser
2. Click Forms
3. Click Employee Relations
4. Look for Application for Faculty/Staff Tuition Waiver
5. Click either Adobe or Word to open the form in the software of your choice.
6. Depending upon which software your chose, follow the steps below:
If then and then
the form is opened in Adobe click Highlight Fields in the yellow status bar above the form click in the fields to complete then print the form
the form is opened in Word click in the fields to complete the form print it

4.6.4 Continuation of Benefits

4.6.4.1 An employee on Educational Leave with pay continues to earn full annual and sick leave credits as well as time toward increments and other benefits to which full-time permanent employees are entitled.

4.7 Extended Educational Leave without Pay

This outlines the State’s policies relative to providing Extended Educational leave without pay for professional development.

4.7.1 Extended Educational Leave

4.7.1.1 Extended Educational Leave without pay may be granted to employees during normal working hours for additional training in a career related course of instruction better equip them for the performance of duties and responsibilities. Employees must be:

  1. part-time permanent
  2. probationary or
  3. provisional

4.7.2 Approved Courses

4.7.2.1 Courses taken must be related to the particular job the employee holds, or may be courses which would prepare an employee for professional development. The employee’s department head has the responsibility to determine if a course is job related. This training may include:

  1. refresher courses
  2. academic courses and
  3. commercial courses

4.7.3 Maximum Amount

4.7.3.1 The maximum amount of leave without pay is twelve (12) months. In the event that more time is requested, an exception must be approved by the:

  1. Department Head
  2. Director of Human Resource Services and the
  3. State Personnel Director

4.7.4 Conditions

4.7.4.1 Before taking any leave without pay, earned vacation leave, if any, must be exhausted.

4.7.4.2 Sick leave balances (deficit or credits) if any, will be reinstated if the employee returns by the end of an authorized leave without pay period.

4.8 Taxes and Fees

The purpose of this is to outline the policies related to taxes and fees associated with the Tuition Waiver program.

4.8.1 Taxable Benefits

4.8.1.1 Certain graduate level courses taken through the Tuition Waiver program have been declared taxable by the IRS.

4.8.1.2 Waiver forms will be reviewed each year on March 15th and September 15th to determine if the amount is taxable. If so, the tax will be deducted from the employee’s April or October gross pay (labeled “special tax” on the pay stub).

4.8.2 Additional Fees

4.8.2.1 Any course-related fees above and beyond the normal tuition and fees must be paid by the employee.

4.8.3 Application Fee

4.8.3.1 The initial ASU application fee will be waived for ASU faculty and staff.

4.8.4 Billing

4.8.4.1 At the beginning of each academic term, faculty and staff enrolled in courses through the Tuition Waiver program will be assigned a University Post Office Box. Any mail related to registration or billing will be sent to this box during the semester.

4.8.5 Late Fee

4.8.5.1 Any ASU employee enrolled in a tuition free course must ensure that their completed Tuition Waiver form is processed no later then ten (10) days following the first day of registration. If processed after that time, the employee is responsible for paying a late fee.

4.8.6 How Decided

4.8.6.1 The University Controller will determine if the individual employee’s assistance is taxable or non-taxable.

4.9 Tuition Waiver

The Tuition Waiver program is provided to help Appalachian State University employees maintain and improve their knowledge, skills and abilities directly related to their present job, classification series, or career advancement opportunities for State service.

This lists the policies for Appalachian State University employees who wish to participate in the Tuition Waiver program.

4.9.1 Approved institutions

4.9.1.1 NC General Statute provides for a waiver of tuition and fees for faculty and staff employed within the UNC system under certain conditions at any one of the following UNC campuses:

  1. Appalachian State University
  2. East Carolina University
  3. Elizabeth City State University
  4. Fayetteville State University
  5. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State Univ.
  6. North Carolina Central University
  7. North Carolina School of the Arts
  8. North Carolina State University
  9. University of North Carolina at Asheville
  10. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  11. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  12. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  13. University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  14. University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  15. Western Carolina University
  16. Winston Salem State University

4.9.2 General policy

4.9.2.1 Tuition and fees will be waived for any full time faculty and staff member wishing to enroll in up to three (3) courses within the UNC system between July 1 - June 30. Courses may be taken during the employee’s work day as long as it does not interfere with normal employment obligations.

4.9.3 Employee participation

4.9.3.1 Any permanent full-time or ¾-time employee who works a minimum of nine months per year may participate. Eligibility policy-To be eligible for participation, the employee must meet the academic requirements for admission to the course and there must be space available for enrollment in the course.

4.9.4 Approval Policy

4.9.4.1 Eligible participants must obtain approval from their immediate supervisor when the course is scheduled during normal working hours to ensure that enrollment in the course will not interfere with the satisfactory performance of their normal employment obligations.

4.9.4.2 The Tuition Waiver form will document approval from the employee’s:

  1. supervisor
  2. department head/chairperson and
  3. Human Resource Services

4.9.5 Course Policy

4.9.5.1 ASU employees may take courses during normal working hours that are job-related and/or intended to prepare them for a promotional opportunity or career change within the University or service within the state. ASU staff employees may also take courses that are not job-related. The employee’s immediate supervisor will work with them to schedule make-up time when the course interferes with normal employment obligations.

4.10 Tuition Waiver Process

This document explains who is involved in the Tuition Waiver program and what their role is.

4.10.1 Process for UNC Constituencies

4.10.1.1 When an ASU employee wishes to enroll in a course at any of the UNC constituent campuses, they must follow the Tuition Waiver policy and process for that institution (see their website for details).

4.10.1.2 Additionally, the employee must submit a copy of the institution’s completed Tuition Waiver form to:

  1. Student Accounts in John E. Thomas Hall and
  2. Human Resource Services in Founders Hall

4.10.2 Process for ASU

4.10.2.2 The Tuition Waiver process involves the following people and actions.

Who Does What
Employee
  • Meets with supervisor to discuss course enrollment
  • Enrolls and is accepted in UNC course
  • Downloads and completes Tuition Waiver form,
  • Retains a file copy, and
  • Gives form to supervisor
Employee's Supervisor
  • Approves with his/her signature on the Tuition Waiver form, and
  • Gives form to Department Head/Chairperson
Employee's Department Head/Chairperson
  • Approves with his/her signature on the Tuition Waiver form,
  • Submits a copy of the form to Human Resource Services,
  • Submits the original form to Student Accounts
Human Resource Services Files the form to track participation
Student Accounts Processes request for Tuition Waiver

4.11 Tuition Waiver: Procedures

This document outlines the procedures for participating employees, supervisors and department head/chairpersons to follow.

4.11.1 Employee Procedure

4.11.1.1 To participate in the Tuition Waiver program at ASU, an employee will follow the steps listed below.

Step Action
1. Talks with his/her supervisor about enrolling in a university course
2. Enrolls and is accepted
3. Logs on to www.hrs.appstate.edu and
  • clicks on Forms, then
  • clicks on Employee Relations, then
  • clicks on Application for Faculty/Staff Tuition Waiver, then
  • clicks Print
4. Completes the Tuition Waiver form.
5. Retains a file copy
6. Submits the form to their supervisor for review.
7. Participates in the course.

4.11.2 Supervisor Procedure

4.11.2.1 The supervisor’s procedures for supporting the employee’s interest in participating in the Tuition Waiver program at ASU are outlined below:

Step Action
1. The employee and supervisor discuss the following relative to enrolling in a university course:
  • eligibility
  • participating universities
  • if the course is job-related or not
  • hours of the course, and
  • make up time if necessary
2. Make a note of the conversation on the employee’s work plan.
3. Review the Tuition Waiver form and follow the instructions below:
If then
you approve sign the form
you disapprove meet with the supervisor to discuss
4. Retain a file copy
5. Send the original, approved Tuition Waiver form to the Department Head/Chairperson for approval.
6. Note your calendar to follow up with the Department Head/Chairperson to ensure the process is continued.

4.11.3 Department Head/Chairperson Procedure

4.11.3.1 When the department head/chairperson receives the Tuition Waiver form from the supervisor, he/she follows the steps listed below.

Step Action
1. Review the form and follow the instructions below:
If then
you approve sign the form
you dissaprove meet with the supervisor to discuss
2. Make two (2)copies of the form; one for a file copy, and the other to be sent to Human Resource Services in Founders Hall
3. Send the original form to Student Accounts in John E. Thomas Hall

4.12 Requesting Tuition Refund

Policy - Any full-time or half-time permanent SHRA employee may be considered for reimbursement of expenses for a career related course. Reimbursement may not exceed actual expenses.

Tuition refunds are made only after satisfactory completion of course work.

4.12.1 Procedure Steps

4.12.1.1 After receiving evidence of satisfactory completion of course work, prepare an Application For Educational Assistance, PD Form 136.

4.12.1.2 Take the completed Application For Educational Assistance and the following supporting documents to Appalachian State University Human Resource Services:

  1. A copy of the canceled check or a receipt from the school attended
  2. Evidence of satisfactory completion.

4.12.1.3 Human Resource Services files a copy of satisfactory completion of course work in the employee's personnel file and forwards the request and documentation to the University Controller.

4.12.1.4 Controller's Office then prepares a refund check to the employee.

4.12.2 Additional References - See also:

Human Resource Services, Policy Statement 15, Educational Opportunities

4.13 Academic Assistance Policies

4.13.1 Overview

4.13.1.1 The Academic Assistance program may also be known as Tuition Reimbursement, or Educational Assistance.

4.13.1.2 It is provided to help Appalachian State University employees maintain and improve their knowledge, skills and abilities directly related to their present job or classification series.

4.13.1.3 This lists the policies for Appalachian State University employees who wish to participate in the Academic Assistance program.

4.13.2 Purpose

4.13.2.1 The purpose of the Academic Assistance program is to improve employee’s current job skills.

4.13.3 Approved Institutions

4.13.3.1 Academic Assistance may be used to pay for courses taken at any accredited institution. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. colleges and universities outside the UNC system,
  2. high schools,
  3. business schools,
  4. correspondence schools,
  5. community colleges,
  6. private schools, or
  7. technical schools.

4.13.4 General Policy

4.13.4.1 Tuition and fees may be reimbursed for any full time faculty or staff member wishing to enroll in up to three (3) courses outside the UNC campus system between July 1 - June 30.

4.13.4.2 Courses may be taken during the employee’s work day as long as it does not interfere with normal employment obligations.

4.13.4.3 Employees may take advantage of the Academic Assistance program for courses:

  1. mandated by law or regulation for their job,
  2. to obtain or maintain certification, and/or
  3. to obtain or maintain licensure.

4.13.5 Funding Policy

4.13.5.1 The University’s decision to approve educational assistance is based on the availability of funds, and the State’s maximum allowable annual reimbursement amount. Qualified participants will be reimbursed up to $200 per course.

4.13.6 Employee Participation

4.13.6.1 Any permanent full-time or ¾-time employee who works a minimum of nine months per year may participate.

4.13.7 Eligibility Policy

4.13.7.1 To be eligible for participation, the employee must meet the academic requirements for admission to the course and there must be space available for enrollment in the course.

4.13.8 Approval Policy

4.13.8.1 Participants must obtain approval from their immediate supervisor when the course is scheduled during normal working hours to ensure that enrollment in the course will not interfere with the satisfactory performance of their normal employment obligations.

4.13.8.2 The Academic Assistance form will document approval from the employee’s:

  1. Supervisor,
  2. Division Head,
  3. Training & Development Manager,
  4. Budget Officer, and
  5. Human Resource Services Director.

4.13.9 Course Policy

4.13.9.1 ASU employees may take courses during normal working hours as long as it does not interfere with normal employment obligations.

4.13.9.2 Courses for Academic Assistance must be job-related and/or intended to improve the employee’s current job:

  1. knowledge,
  2. skills, and
  3. abilities.

4.14 Academic Assistance:Process

This document explains who is involved in the Educational Assistance process and what their role is.

4.14.1 Process

4.14.1.1 The Educational Assistance Process is outlined in the table below:

Who Does What
Employee
  • Meets with supervisor to discuss course enrollment and obtain approval
  • Downloads Educational Assistant Application from hrs.appstate.edu
  • Completes Sections I and II of an application for each course and submits to supervisor
Employee's Supervisor
  • Reviews and approves application with his/her signature
  • Retains a file copy
  • Submits the form to the Director of Human Resource Services Director of Human Resources
Director of Human Resources
  • Reviews and approves application
  • Returns the original form with signature approval to the employee
  • Retains a file copy
Employee Upon receipt of approved HR form:
  • Pays for and completes the course
  • Within 30 days of course completion, fill out Section III of the original application
  • Submits application, receipt and official final grade(s) to Director of Human Resource Services
HRS Budget Manager
  • Retains a file copy
  • Submits the application to the Foundation for reimbursement
The Foundation
  • Approves and
  • Sends to the Controller’s Office
Controller’s Office
  • prepares a reimbursement check and mails it to the Employee

5 Additional References

6 Authority

7 Contact Information

8 Original Effective Date

9 Revision Dates