1. Union Home
  2. Offices & Services
  3. Human Resources
  4. Benefits
  5. Tuition Benefits for Employees

UNION COLLEGE TUITION BENEFIT PROGRAM (March 15,2013)

(for employees signing appointment or employment letters after July 1, 2011)

The following Tuition Benefit Program is offered to employees who sign appointment or employment letters after July 1, 2011. For those who signed appointment or employment letters on or before July 1, 2011, the previous program of record will remain in force (Faculty/Staff Children’s Scholarship Program, contained in the 2010-2011 Faculty, Administrators, and Staff Manuals). 

The Tuition Benefit Program offers benefits to eligible full-time employees for the following:

  • Full-time undergraduate enrollment at Union College or another accredited institution, for eligible dependent children.
  • Part-time enrollment at Union College and/or the Union Graduate College for employees, their legally married spouses, domestic partners, and their eligible dependent children.

The goal of the full-time tuition benefit is to minimize, to the extent possible, financial barriers to higher education for the dependent children of Union’s employees.  The goal of the part-time tuition benefit is to support the educational goals and encourage professional development of eligible participants.

Tuition Benefit for Full-time Enrollment of Dependent Children

The full-time tuition benefit applies to a dependent’s enrollment as a full-time matriculated student at Union or at an accredited college, university or program (listed in the US Department of Education database of accredited institutions) for a bachelor's degree, or as a full-time matriculated student in a two-year junior or community college. The benefit applies for four years of full-time undergraduate study (8 semesters, or 12 trimesters, or 12 quarters, etc.). Full-time enrollment in a summer term is counted for the purposes of this four-year limit unless the courses are taken at Union College or the Union Graduate College under the part-time tuition benefit.  In cases where both parents are employees of the College, one scholarship for full-time study will be given per child per academic year.  The tuition benefit for full-time study is based on, and may only be applied to, “core” tuition charged by the institution attended, not to room and board or other fees or charges, even if they are characterized as “tuition-like” or otherwise “constituting tuition.”

The amount of scholarship available is a function of the published tuition at the school attended (or for attendance at Union, the full tuition figure minus the average financial aid grant), a $6,000 “first-dollar” benefit that does not require any employee contribution, and a stated cost-share of the remaining tuition balance.  The first-dollar amount paid by Union is intended to cover the typical full tuition expense for a New York State resident attending a baccalaureate degree-granting institution within the SUNY system.

Tuition Benefit Amount to Attend Union College

For a dependent attending Union College full-time as a matriculated undergraduate student, the tuition benefit received will be the total of 1.) the first-dollar amount of $6,000, and 2.) the average financial aid grant, and 3.) 50% of the remaining balance to Union’s full tuition figure.

Below is a sample calculation of the tuition benefit to attend Union under the hypothesis that Union’s tuition is $40,000, the average financial aid grant is $12,000, and the student is receiving a tuition-specific award (from an outside source) of $2,000.

Hypothetical tuition at Union College………….....................$40,000

Tuition benefit pays first-dollar amount…………...............….$  6,000

Tuition benefit pays average financial aid grant……............$12,000

Balance is $40,000-($6,000+$12,000) = $22,000

Tuition benefit pays cost share (50% of $22,000)  $11,000

Total tuition benefit = $6,000+$12,000+$11,000 = $29,000

Tuition-specific award (from outside source)……...............$  2,000

Employee tuition responsibility:                              $  9,000

The amount of the tuition benefit for attendance at Union, when combined with all other “tuition-specific” awards (e.g., TAP, ROTC, etc.), may not exceed the total tuition at Union. If the total of Union’s tuition remission benefit and all other “tuition-specific” awards exceeds the amount of Union tuition, the tuition benefit will be reduced accordingly.

Tuition Benefit Amount to Attend Institutions Other Than Union College

The full-time tuition benefit to attend other accredited institutions pays a first-dollar amount of $6,000 per year (or the tuition of the school, if lower) without any employee contribution. If the tuition at the institution attended is more than the first-dollar amount, then the tuition benefit additionally pays 50% of the remaining tuition balance, up to an annual maximum of 45% of Union’s tuition for that year.

Below are sample calculations of the tuition benefit amount to attend another institution under the hypothesis that Union’s tuition is $40,000, the first-dollar amount is $6,000, the maximum benefit for the year is $18,000 (45% of Union’s tuition of $40,000), and the student is receiving a tuition-specific award (from an outside source) of $2,000.

  1. Tuition at school attended is $5,500
    (First-dollar amount of $6,000 is more than the full tuition)
    Tuition-specific award (from outside source)………$  2,000
    Total tuition benefit                                =   $  3,500
    Employee tuition responsibility:                  $        0
  2. Tuition at school attended is $15,000
    Tuition benefit pays first-dollar amount……………....$  6,000
    Balance is $15,000-$6,000=$9,000
    Tuition benefit pays cost share (50% of $9,000)…$  4,500
    Total tuition benefit = $6,000+$4,500     =  $10,500
    Tuition-specific award (from outside source)..…….$  2,000
    Employee tuition responsibility:                  $  2,500
  3. Tuition at school attended is $28,000
    Tuition benefit pays first-dollar amount……………....$  6,000
    Balance is $28,000-$6,000=$22,000
    Tuition benefit pays cost share (50% of $22,000)..$11,000
    Total tuition benefit = $6,000+$11,000     = $17,000
    Tuition-specific award (from outside source)………..$  2,000
    Employee tuition responsibility:                   $  9,000
  4. Tuition at school attended is $44,000
    Tuition benefit pays first-dollar amount……………....$  6,000
    Balance is $44,000-$6,000=$38,000
    50% of balance would be…………………...…….........… $19,000
    Tuition benefit is the maximum allowed under hypothetical $40,000 Union tuition and 45% maximum                                  =   $18,000
    Tuition-specific award (from outside source)…...….$  2,000
    Employee tuition responsibility:                   $24,000

For a dependent attending an institution other than Union, the employee will be required to provide an invoice from the institution attended, along with documentation from that institution’s financial aid office as to the total amount of “tuition-specific” scholarships and grants (if any) that the dependent is receiving.  In cases where the student is not receiving any such tuition-specific awards, a letter from the financial aid office to that effect will satisfy this requirement. The amount of Union’s tuition benefit award plus any other tuition-specific awards (e.g., TAP, ROTC, etc.) may not exceed the actual tuition at the institution attended. If necessary, Union’s tuition benefit will be reduced so that the recipient receives no more than full tuition for that year in tuition-specific awards. The tuition benefit is payable in installments, and the checks will be sent directly to the institution attended, for credit against the dependent's tuition charges.

Guidelines and Procedures for Full-time Enrollment Tuition Benefit

Provisions to Determine Employee Eligibility

  • To be eligible, employees must have been employed by the College on a full-time basis for the seven years prior to the beginning of the academic term for which the tuition benefit is being requested.
    • Time worked in short-term or adjunct positions (e.g., summer or seasonal help) does not count towards the seven-year accrual.
    • Sabbatical leaves for faculty are considered full-time employment and count towards the seven-year accrual.
    • Approved medical leaves (including family medical leaves) and short-term disability leaves are considered full-time employment and count towards the seven-year accrual
    • Leaves of absence for winners of prestigious grants are not considered interruptions of employment, and they may count towards the seven-year accrual, if the leave is determined to be benefits-eligible under the guidelines of the Faculty Manual.
  • Full-time faculty on ten-month contracts, and other full-time employees in ten-month positions who start employment by September 10 of the academic year in which they begin service, become eligible upon completion of seven academic years of full-time service, without having to wait until the actual service anniversary date.
  • Two faculty members who share a position of at least 1.0 FTE and are legally married or in a domestic partnership with each other are considered to be one full-time employee for the purpose of eligibility and service accrual.
  • Except as noted below, the employee must be an active full-time Union College employee during the period for which the tuition benefit is requested, or be on an approved benefits-eligible leave of absence not to exceed one year.  If an employee ceases to be eligible for the tuition benefit (e.g., the employee leaves the College or goes to part-time status), then the child’s eligibility ceases at the end of the child’s current academic term.
    • Retirees, as defined by College policy, continue to be eligible for the tuition benefit, provided that they meet the other employee eligibility criteria of the policy.
    • Employees who become permanently disabled while in active service of the College, and who due to their disability are unable to work for Union or another employer, continue to be eligible for the tuition benefit, provided that they meet the other employee eligibility criteria of the policy.
    • Employees who die while in active service of the College continue to be eligible for the tuition benefit, provided that they meet the other employee eligibility criteria of the policy.
  • Tenured or tenure-track faculty, the President’s senior staff members, and the President will receive service credit towards Union’s seven-year eligibility requirement for all prior full-time service at a college or university.

Provisions to Determine Dependent Eligibility

Children of Employees:  Four criteria are applied to determine dependent eligibility for children of the employee. To receive the full-time tuition benefit, the applying child must:

  • be the employee’s child (biological child, legally adopted child or child placed for adoption, foster child or a child subject to a legal guardianship court order); and
  • have been in a child/parent relationship with the employee for at least as long as the seven-year eligibility period for the full-time benefit; and
  • be under age twenty-four at the beginning of the academic term for which the benefit is being requested; and 
  • be claimed as a dependent (qualifying child or qualifying relative) on the employee’s or the employee’s spouse’s or domestic partner’s latest federal or New York tax return, and have been so claimed for at least five of the seven years prior to the initial request for the benefit, OR if there are years in which the child has not been so claimed, documentation will be required for those years to demonstrate that the employee is/has been subject to, and complied with, a requirement to provide educational support or child support, or has some type of joint/partial custody arrangement with specified visitation rights. (The requirement for continued dependent status of the student is waived for a deceased or permanently disabled employee.)

Children of Employee’s Spouse or Domestic Partner:  Four criteria are applied to determine dependent eligibility for children of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner.  To receive the full-time tuition benefit, the applying child must:

  • be the employee’s spouse’s child or employee’s domestic partner’s child (biological child, legally adopted child or child placed for adoption, stepchild, foster child or a child subject to a legal guardianship court order); and
  • have been in a child/parent relationship with the employee for at least as long as the seven-year eligibility period for the full-time benefit; and
  • be under age twenty-four at the beginning of the academic term for which the benefit is being requested; and
  • reside in the employee’s household and be claimed as a dependent (qualifying child or qualifying relative) on the employee’s, employee’s spouse’s, or employee’s domestic partner’s latest federal or New York tax return, and have been claimed as a dependent (qualifying child or qualifying relative) on the employee’s, the employee’s spouse’s, or the employee’s domestic partner’s federal or New York tax return for at least five of the seven years prior to the initial request for the benefit.

The employee must provide the relevant documents (birth certificate, legal papers, tax returns, etc.) showing that the above criteria are satisfied prior to the initial request for the benefit. The age requirement must be met at the beginning of each academic term for which the benefit is being requested.

Tuition Benefit for Part-time Enrollment at Union College or the Union Graduate College

Full-time employees of Union College, their legally married spouses, domestic partners, and their dependent children may take courses at Union College or the Union Graduate College as part-time students.  Eligibility begins with the first day of full-time employment.  Special fees or other costs associated with tuition-free courses are not covered. 

  • A full-time employee may enroll in up to two Union College or Union Graduate College courses per term free of tuition charges, as long as the courses are not in conflict with the employee's work schedule. The employee may enroll in a maximum of four tuition-free courses per academic year (July to June) under this benefit.
  • Legally married spouses, domestic partners, and dependent children of full-time employees and their spouse/domestic partner may enroll as part-time students in up to three Union College or Union Graduate College courses per academic year (July to June) free of tuition charges. Dependent children receiving Union’s tuition benefit for full-time study, whether at Union College or elsewhere, may use the part-time benefit at Union College or the Union Graduate College, during the summer term only, without any reduction in the benefit for full-time study.

If an employee ceases to have full-time employment status at Union College while the employee, spouse, domestic partner, or dependent child is enrolled in courses under the part-time tuition benefit, then the benefit ceases upon completion of courses then in progress.

Provisions to Determine Dependent Eligibility

Children of Employees:  Three criteria are applied to determine dependent eligibility.  To receive the part-time tuition benefit, the applying child must:

  • be the employee’s child (biological child, legally adopted child or child placed for adoption, foster child or a child subject to a legal guardianship court order); and
  • be under age twenty-four at the beginning of the academic term for which the benefit is being requested; and
  • be claimed as a dependent (qualifying child or qualifying relative) on the employee’s, employee’s spouse’s or employee’s domestic partner’s latest federal or New York tax return, OR, if the child was not so claimed, documentation will be required to demonstrate that the employee is subject to, and is complying with, a requirement to provide educational support or child support, or has some type of joint/partial custody arrangement with specified visitation rights.

Children of Employee’s Spouse or Domestic Partner:  Three criteria are applied to determine dependent eligibility.  To receive the part-time tuition benefit, the applying child must:

  • be the employee’s spouse’s or employee’s domestic partner’s child (biological child, legally adopted child or child placed for adoption, stepchild, foster child or a child subject to a legal guardianship court order); and
  • be under age twenty-four at the beginning of the academic term for which the benefit is being requested; and
  • reside in the employee’s household and be claimed as a dependent (qualifying child or qualifying relative) on the employee’s, employee’s spouse’s or employee’s domestic partner’s latest federal or New York tax return.

Married Spouses of Eligible Employees: Married spouses of eligible employees are eligible for the part-time tuition benefit. A legally-executed marriage certificate will be required in order to document eligibility.

Domestic Partners of Eligible Employees:  Domestic partners of eligible employees are eligible for the part-time tuition benefit. Union College’s Affidavit of Domestic Partnership and Financial Interdependence, with supporting documentation appropriate to the criteria used for the affidavit, will be required in order to document eligibility.

The employee must provide the relevant documents (birth certificate, legal papers, tax returns, etc.) showing that the above criteria are satisfied prior to the initial request for the benefit. The age requirement must be met at the beginning of each academic term for which the benefit is being requested.

Administration and Miscellaneous

This program is administered by the Vice President for Finance and Administration, or other administrators of the College as designated by the Vice President for Finance and Administration. 

For determination of individual tax liability, the participants in this program are encouraged to consult a qualified tax advisor, at the participant’s expense, for applicability of Internal Revenue or New York Tax Law.

While Union College intends to continue these benefit programs indefinitely, the College reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to change the eligibility requirements or any other part of the program, or discontinue any of the benefits described herein.