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FAQ: Employee Tuition Programs

1. Am I eligible for the Vanderbilt tuition benefit for myself or my spouse?
You are eligible for this benefit if:

  • You have completed three months of continuous full-time employment in a regular or term position here at Vanderbilt. The completion of those three months must be accomplished prior to your course registration.

For Faculty related details please refer to the Faculty Manual.

Note: Vanderbilt temporary employees are not eligible for this benefit.

2. How does Bridging affect the education assistance program?
Tuition assistance is an exception to the general requirements of Bridging. When an employee has a break in service longer than three months, he/she must build three continuous months of employment again before becoming eligible for the benefit. A change from full-time to part-time status or termination of employment constitutes a break in service.

3. How many terms and credit hours can I receive the benefit for myself or my spouse?
You and your spouse can receive the benefit for one course per term (semester/quarter), with a limit of three courses per academic year. The "academic year" is the period beginning with fall through the following summer term. The benefit will cover one three-hour course per term (four hours if there is a required lab).

4. Are there other limitations to the benefit?

  • The benefit is limited for spouses to only classes attended at Vanderbilt.
  • The spouse cannot be seeking a degree and cannot be enrolled as a full-time student.
  • When applying to Vanderbilt, staff and spouse are subject to the same competitive admission standards as other applicants to Vanderbilt.

5. As an employee, how do I know if the college or university I am attending is approved for the benefit?

  • If the college or university you are attending is accredited and offers courses earning academic credit hours that are applicable to a degree, it is most likely eligible.
  • Schools and programs not covered would be Technology Centers; trade schools; and diploma, certification, and license programs. If you have a question about the eligibility of a school, please contact Human Resources or email the Tuition Team.
  • When you submit your first form for the benefit, a review will be made and you will be contacted if the school does not meet the necessary criteria.

6. Which classes are eligible for this benefit?

  • For you as an employee, any classes offered for academic credit as part of an associate, baccalaureate, or post-graduate degree are eligible for the benefit.
  • For your spouse, classes taken here at Vanderbilt that are not leading to an associate, baccalaureate, or postgraduate degree are eligible for the benefit.

7. Can a class be audited at Vanderbilt for no college credit?
You or your spouse can audit one class per semester at Vanderbilt for no college credit with the written permission of the class instructor and your supervisor. For more information, see the Faculty/Staff Members page on the University Registrar website.

8. How do I request the Vanderbilt tuition benefit for myself or my spouse?

  • Complete a Tuition Benefit for Myself or My Spouse form for each term you wish to receive the benefit. The second page (applicable only to staff) will determine if your course is job-related. You must submit the form(s) when you or your spouse are registering for classes.
  • If you are attending a college or university other than Vanderbilt, you will also need to submit a Request for Reimbursement of Tuition Expenses form. Please do so after you have completed the course and before you begin the next course. At that time, you must also include:
    1. An itemized invoice or account summary statement from the school which outlines the tuition charge not inclusive of fees. This does not include credit card receipts, bank statements, and financial aid statements.
    2. A grade report from the school which indicates your successful completion of the course (a passing grade of "C" or above).

9. Will the benefit pay for costs or fees other than tuition?
The benefit contributes only toward the cost of tuition. Registration fees, books, and other expenses are not eligible for the benefit.

10. What is the tuition benefit if I attend Vanderbilt?

  • For employees attending Vanderbilt, the benefit will provide a 70% discount of your tuition cost for one three-hour course per term.
  • For spouses, the benefit will provide a 47% discount on one class attended at Vanderbilt per semester, which will be taxable to the staff member.
  • These discounts will appear on the student's account.

11. What is the tuition benefit if I attend another college or university?
For employees, the benefit will reimburse 70% of your tuition cost for one three-hour course per term. Upon submitting the Request for Reimbursement form, staff members who attend a college or university other than Vanderbilt will be reimbursed on a future payroll check.

12. Am I required to pay taxes on this benefit?

  • Courses which are determined to be job-related are not taxable to the employee.
  • Courses which are not job-related are taxable to the employee only after the benefit exceeds the IRS limit of $5,250 in a calendar year.
  • The tuition discount for your spouse is taxable to you and is included on your W2. A line item entitled "Taxable Tuition" will be reflected on your payroll check and the appropriate tax will be deducted from your pay.

13. How do I determine if a course is job-related?
If it:

  • helps meet the primary requirements of the employee's job;
  • prepares the employee for new responsibilities in the current job; and/or
  • prepares the employee for a position for which he/she is being considered.

Other tuition questions? Contact the Human Resources.


Revised May 5, 2017