Employee Tuition Benefit Program

Revised May 2017
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tuition remission is an ACU provided benefit designed to encourage employee participation in higher education. As an element of the total compensation package, this benefit is designed to support progressive levels of academic achievement, in the interest of personal and professional development.


Full-Time Employees and Reduced Full-Time Employees
Upon employment, full-time and reduced full-time employees of Abilene Christian University are eligible to apply for a discount in tuition for courses taken at ACU for up to six hours during any fall, spring and/or the combined summer terms. If classes will take place during employee's scheduled working hours, the employee's supervisor must approve all classes before enrollment. Time spent in class will not be counted as part of the employee's work schedule unless approved in advance by the employee's supervisor and vice president of the employee's area.


Undergraduate
- 100% discount on tuition (effective Fall 2017)

Residential Graduate - 100% discount on tuition (effective Fall 2017)

Online Graduate - 100% discount on tuition after six (6) months of full-time employment with the university. Employee must be in good standing (no active performance improvement plan). Books, materials and other fees are not included in the remission program, and remain financial responsibilities of the employee.


Dependent Children of Full-Time Employees and Reduced Full-Time Employees
For classes taken at ACU, a full-time/reduced full-time employee may apply for a tuition discount for up to thirty-six credit hours for his or her children during the academic year. PLEASE NOTE: Dependent children must meet the definition of a dependent, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. In general, an IRS dependent is an unmarried child who will not reach the age of 24 by the end of the calendar year.

Undergraduate - 100% tuition discount for dependent children enrolling for the first time, Fall 2017. (Beginning Fall of 2018, all dependent children move to 100% tuition discount.)

Residential Graduate - discount not offered

Online Graduate - discount not offered


Spouses of Full-Time Employees and Reduced Full-Time Employees
For classes taken at ACU, a full-time/reduced full-time employee may apply for a tuition discount for up to thirty-six credit hours for his or her spouse during the academic year.

Undergraduate - Tuition discounts are provided to the spouses of all full-time and reduced full-time employees based on the length of employment with ACU.

These tuition discount percentages will be calculated as follows:

1st Year of Employment 25% discount on tuition
2nd Year of Employment 50% discount on tuition
3rd Year of Employment 75% discount on tuition


Residential Graduate - discount not offered

Online Graduate - discount not offered

Benefits for Half-Time Employees

Tuition discounts for education at Abilene Christian University are provided to half-time employees and their dependents based on the length of employment with ACU. Half-time employees are defined as employees who work between 20 and 31 hours a week or who are half-time faculty members.

These tuition discount percentages will be calculated as follows:

1st Year - 4th Year of Employment 0% discount on tuition
5th Year of Employment and thereafter 50% discount on tuition

Half-time employees of Abilene Christian University are eligible to apply for a discount in tuition for courses taken at ACU for up to six hours during any fall, spring and/or the combined summer terms. If classes will take place during employee's scheduled working hours, the employee's supervisor must approve all classes before enrollment. Time spent in class will not be counted as part of the employee's work schedule unless approved in advance by the employee's supervisor and vice president of the employee's area.

Spouses and Dependent Children – For classes taken at ACU, a half-time employee may apply for a tuition discount for up to thirty-six credit hours for his or her spouse and children during the academic year. PLEASE NOTE: Dependent children must meet the definition of a dependent as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.


Limitation of Benefits
______________________________________

Admission Requirements
Eligibility for the benefit does not guarantee admission to the University. Employees and dependents must meet the admissions requirements and be reviewed for admission through the standard process in order to receive the ACU benefit.


Credit Hour and Number of Degree Limitations
For employees, the tuition benefit can be applied to tuition charges for the lesser of 190 attempted credit hours or one baccalaureate degree and one post-baccalaureate degree. For dependents, the tuition benefit can be applied to tuition charges for the lesser of 144 attempted credit hours or one baccalaureate degree.


Refunds for Withdrawals and Repeat Classes
No cash refund of the tuition benefit will be awarded to an ACU employee or to any member of the employee's family for withdrawn courses.

A student may repeat a course one time and still receive the tuition benefit.

Employees, spouses, and children enrolled in a degree seeking programs must maintain satisfactory academic progress to qualify for this tuition benefit.


Additional Institutional Awards
The tuition benefit may only be combined with the Study Abroad voucher for Presidential Scholars and with the following awards for all students: band, orchestra, choral, forensics, valedictorian/salutatorian, National Merit stipend, and athletics scholarships.


ACU Online Degree Programs
Eligibility does not guarantee a specific enrollment (start) term. Employee students will be spread throughout cohorts to maintain a diverse academic environment.

Eligible online programs: Doctor of Education, Master of Education in Instructional Leadership, Master of Business Administration, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, Master of Healthcare Administration (pending SACS approval), Master of Science in Management, Master of Science in Organization Development (Fall I), Master of Arts in Conflict Management and Resolution (Fall I), Master of Education in Higher Education (Fall I), Certificate in Medical Family Therapy, Certificate of Conflict Management and Resolution, Certificate of Conflict Management and Resolution for Educators.


Employee Separation
Eligibility ends with employee resignation and/or termination unless the employee is classified as an official retiree of the university.

When a full-time employee retires from the university, that retiree, his or her spouse, and children will continue to be eligible to apply for the tuition benefit. The amount of such discount shall be based on the university's program for such tuition discounts at the time or times they are awarded.

If a full-time or reduced full-/time employee dies while employed by ACU, his or her spouse and children will continue to be eligible for the tuition discounts as listed for retirees.

 

Taxation of Benefits
_____________________________________

Faculty and staff are responsible for determining the tax effects of the tuition benefit in their individual circumstance. The discussion below is to provide a general description of the possible taxation of benefits but is not a legal interpretation of the applicable regulations.


Taxation of tuition benefit for courses below the graduate level:
Under IRS Code Section 117(d), a college or university may offer a tuition waiver to its current employees, former employees who retired or left on disability, widows or widowers of an individual who died while an employee, widows or widowers of a former employee who retired or left on disability, or dependent children or spouses of any of those individuals. The value of the tuition benefit is excludable from the employee's gross income so long as the education for which the qualified tuition reduction is granted is below the graduate level. If a dependent fails to meet the IRS definition of a dependent, ACU will no longer award the tuition benefit.


Taxation of tuition benefit for graduate level courses:
ACU has an Educational Assistance Plan that qualifies as a plan providing educational assistance to employees under IRS Code Section 127(b)(1). If courses are preparing the employee for a new line of work (i.e. their own personal benefit), this plan enables employees to exclude from income up to $5,250 per calendar year (or such greater or lesser amount as may be subsequently permitted under the IRS Code Section 127) of the value of tuition benefit applied to courses at the graduate level. If courses are being taken for a work purpose (i.e. for professional development, required or for the benefit of their employer), 100% of the benefit can be tax-free. You can review this flowchart to help in determining if the benefit will be taxable or not.

 

Procedure
_____________________________________

For undergrad and residential graduate programs, an application for ACU Abilene must be completed once a year prior to the fall semester. This form may be submitted as early as March but must be submitted before or on the 12th day of class. Failure to do so will result in the loss of this benefit for the current semester.

For online graduate programs, an application for ACU Dallas must be completed once a year prior to the fall semester. This form may be submitted as early as March but must be submitted before or on the 12th day of class. Failure to do so will result in the loss of this benefit for the current semester.