||To be eligible for assistance, the employee must be a
regular full-time, ¾-time, half-time, or benefits-eligible temporary employee
who has completed at least six months of employment.
Employees who enroll in courses prior to the end of the
six-month period will be eligible for reimbursement if employed longer than six
months. They are not eligible for
|Education Assistance Which Qualifies for Reimbursement
||Educational assistance shall be defined as follows:
Studies may be either individual courses or programs leading to a degree or marine license upgrade. Courses that may not be work-related but are required for a degree, and the degree program meets the above criteria, may be reimbursed.
- Job related studies from which knowledge can be gained that will enhance performance in a significant portion of the employee’s present position.
- Career related studies that prepare for advancement in one’s current field or a field in which the employee may reasonably be expected to work at the Institution.
|Acceptable Schools and Courses
||Acceptable under this plan are regular courses offered for
credit at accredited schools, colleges, and universities; courses credited
toward a high school diploma or equivalency certificate; correspondence
university extension courses; and Ship Operations-approved schools for license
MIT/WHOI Joint Program courses may be available to eligible
employees upon their acceptance as a Special Student. There is a separate application procedure for
Special Student status, which is handled by the Academic Programs Office.
Professional seminars and workshops do not
qualify. Certain categories of training
offered in intensive short courses, which may be required by the employee’s
department, do not fall under this policy, but may be covered by the
||Reimbursable costs include tuition, fees and books, but does not include transportation costs or fees for late or deferred payment of tuition.|
The maximum amount reimbursable for tuition, fees and books in a calendar year (January – December) is $5,250 and may be adjusted periodically. A semester of study falling mainly in one year is attributable to that year. This limit is prorated based on status at the time of study. This proration of benefits does not apply to course materials.
To be reimbursed for a course, evidence of satisfactory completion (grade report) must be submitted. Satisfactory completion means a grade of C (or equivalent) or better for an undergraduate course, and B or better for a graduate course. If no grade is given for a course, a certificate or letter from the school indicating satisfactory completion should be provided.
Upon submission of the reimbursement request form (see application procedure) to the Human Resources Office, payment will be made through the Controller’s Office within fourteen working days.
Special arrangements for reimbursement of partial costs for correspondence courses may be made where the course lasts longer than six months.
||Prepayment of an amount up to $1,500, but not to exceed 50% of the tuition, fees and books, can be arranged by way of a payroll advance for all approved courses. The employee will be required to sign an agreement stating that, if the conditions for reimbursement are not met as outlined above, the amount advanced will be settled by way of immediate payroll deduction. If an employee will not be completing a course within one year of receipt of the prepayment, then s/he must provide in writing the circumstances for the delay and expected date of course completion. Without this application for extension, the prepayment will be settled by way of immediate payroll deduction. |
|Taxability of Benefits
The taxability of tuition reimbursement is subject to the existing provisions of Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code. Employees should be advised to obtain tax counsel as to the reportability and deductibility of educational expense reimbursements. Generally, educational expenses qualifying as job-related are not reportable as income to the employee.
||If the course of study falls under a taxable
category as defined in the Internal Revenue Code, WHOI is required by law to withhold
federal income taxes for these tuition assistance benefits. If taxable benefits are received, federal,
state, and Social Security (FICA) taxes will be withheld from the employee’s
reimbursement check. Federal and state
income taxes will be withheld based on the employee’s current withholdings on
file in the Payroll Office. FICA taxes
will be withheld at the rate in effect during the year payment is received. Taxable benefits will be reported as part of
annual income on the employee’s W-2 statement.
|Leave of Absence for Educational Purposes
||Employees are normally expected to arrange to attend classes
that do not conflict with normal working hours.
If a course is available only during working hours, a full-time employee
may arrange for absences not to exceed eight hours per week. Such absences must be approved in advance by
the Department Chair or Administrative Manager as appropriate, who must also
approve the arrangements to make up the absences. The employee will remain on full-time status,
accruing fringe benefits accordingly.
If the time absent cannot be made up and does not
exceed 20 hours per week, the employee may request up to 20 hours per week as
unpaid Educational Leave and still be eligible for full assistance under this
plan. Upon approval of the leave by the
Department Chair or Administrative Manager and the appropriate member of the
Directorate, the employee’s status will change to half or ¾-time, with accrual
of fringe benefits accordingly. Upon
completion of the course, the employee’s status will revert to full-time (See
also, Extended Leave of Absence Policy).
||Application for Employee Education Assistance must be made
in advance of enrollment in the course or program that the employee is
requesting assistance. A standardized
form (available from the Human Resources Office) is to be used. This form requires information about the
course or program the employee is planning to follow, an itemized budget
showing the full cost and requested amount, and a supporting statement from the
Upon completion of the form and submission to the Human
Resources Office, a copy of the application will be returned to the employee
indicating the decision. If approved,
the employee will retain the copy and submit it along with evidence of
satisfactory completion to obtain reimbursement. If prepayment is requested and approved, the
Human Resources Office will arrange for the necessary advance.
All requests will be processed through the Human Resources
Office, which will be responsible for developing a budget, maintaining records,
recommending updates in the policy, and final approval of payment(s).
|When Benefits End
||If an employee leaves WHOI, no reimbursement to
the employee will be payable. If the
employee received a prepayment, the amount advanced will be settled by way of
immediate payroll deduction. If an
employee is laid off, reimbursement for courses which commenced prior to the
layoff will be made when courses are successfully completed.