Policy Number: 432

Policy Suffix:

I. General Policy

Applies to: Faculty and Staff Who Are Eligible for Benefits

Rice University's success in executing its mission and achieving its ambitious goals significantly depends on excellent faculty and staff performance. To recruit, retain and develop an excellent staff, Rice University strives to:

  • Provide high-quality career-related professional development opportunities to increase staff effectiveness in current positions and to support career progression;
  • Provide career opportunities across schools and divisions;
  • Build a pipeline of well-qualified internal and external candidates prepared to fill vacant positions; and
  • Ensure that Rice managers are accountable for effectively directing, evaluating, recognizing, developing and compensating their staffs.

Rice University's tuition reimbursement program, as outlined below, supports the university's goal of faculty and staff development.

Employee eligibility

All benefits eligible faculty and staff may apply for tuition reimbursement. Staff must have successfully completed their six-month probationary period in order to receive reimbursement. Eligibility for tuition reimbursement ceases when the employee is no longer benefits eligible or terminates employment.

Course eligibility

The objective of the tuition reimbursement program is to financially support courses which improve Rice employees' performance in their current positions and/or provide skills and knowledge that will assist Rice employees in career progression at Rice. Decisions on whether the course should be eligible for reimbursement should be based on whether the course meets this objective.

The following courses at institutions outside of Rice are likely to meet these criteria and be eligible for tuition reimbursement:

  1. General Education Development courses (GED) - Test preparation courses for General Education Development (GED) or High School Equivalency, and the associated testing fees. Preparation courses taken online or in-person are eligible. Courses and exam must be recognized by the Texas State Board of Education/Texas Education Agency.
  2. Any undergraduate course taken for credit toward the completion of an undergraduate degree.
  3. An undergraduate or graduate level course at a degree-granting institution, not taken for credit, or a graduate level course taken for credit toward the completion of a graduate degree, which will improve Rice employees' performance in their current positions, and/or provide skills and knowledge that will assist Rice employees' career progression at Rice.

The following courses at Rice University are likely to meet this objective and be eligible for tuition reimbursement:

  1. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies: Job-related and career-related courses in the Foreign Language Program and in the ESL Communications Skills Program, and other job-related or career-related professional development courses.
  2. Jones Graduate School of Business Executive Education: Job-related and careerĀ­related courses.
  3. Rice Summer School courses.

While there is no limit to the number of courses that are eligible for reimbursement during the fiscal year, the maximum total reimbursement per employee per fiscal year is $2,500.

Courses specifically excluded from reimbursement under this program are workshops, seminars, conferences, institutes, and courses at non-degree granting institutions.

Benefits eligible employees are also eligible for tuition waiver (with or without academic credit) and audit for certain Rice University courses. Please consult the Tuition Waiver and Auditing Courses policy No. 409.

Application and reimbursement

The employee must provide a completed application for tuition reimbursement, which substantiates the eligibility of the course for tuition reimbursement, to his or her supervisor. The supervisor will verify the course's eligibility for reimbursement with regard to the objective above, and indicate approval by signing the application. Supervisors should consult with Human Resources on any questions concerning course eligibility for reimbursement. The employee must forward the signed application to Human Resources via campus mail (MS-92), or by email to benefits@rice.edu for final approval and authorization of university funds before the start date of the course. The employee will receive a copy of the approved application.

Employees will be reimbursed for 75 percent of course tuition and mandatory fees, up to the $2,500 fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) maximum per employee, upon submitting proof of payment of tuition and fees and successful completion of the course to Human Resources. If the course has been taken for credit, the employee must earn a grade of C or higher to be reimbursed.

Employees will be reimbursed for 100 percent of the cost of GED/High School Equivalency preparation courses and associated testing fees upon completion, up to the $2,500 per fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) maximum per employee upon submitting proof of payment. Only these courses and fees are reimbursed at 100 percent.

Applications are located: http://people.rice.edu/HR Forms.aspx

Income tax information

The determination of whether tuition reimbursement is taxable income to the employee will be made by applying applicable IRS tax codes and dollar limits. In general, tuition reimbursements under this policy are not subject to income tax.

Scheduling courses

Courses should normally be taken after working hours. However, if the course is taken during normal working hours, the employee must have the approval of his or her supervisor. The employee may be required to make up the time devoted to classes taken during working hours.\

Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy should be referred to Human Resources.

See Also:

Tuition Waiver and Auditing Courses at Rice
Tuition Remission for Dependents

Signatures

David W. Leebron, President

Policy History

Supersedes

Policy No. 432-98

Revised

January 15, 1998

Updated

January 1, 2016