Are you thinking about ways to improve your job skills – like getting a better understanding of how budgeting can improve management, or maybe you want to improve your design skills? Or did watching Tarzan this summer make you curious about what’s happening in contemporary Africa? Did seeing Ghostbusters inspire you to think about how popular culture shapes the way we think about gender?
Now is the time to sign up for a Spring semester class using the Tuition Waiver Program. As the Office of Human Resources presented at a recent Employee Forum meeting, this program enables eligible employees—permanent employees working 30 hours or more a week—to waive tuition for up to three eligible classes per academic year. During the academic year, employees may use the tuition waiver at any UNC system school except the NC High School of Science and Math, but waivers for Summer Sessions are more restricted.
You can use the tuition waiver to develop your professional skills:
- Take stand-alone courses to build skills in particular areas: maybe a stats course would enrich your ability to conduct assessment for your unit or a language course help you serve your program’s clients more effectively. The School of Media and Journalism offers a “Multimedia Bootcamp” for a crash course in shooting and editing video.
- Use the tuition waiver to accrue credits and complete requirements before formally enrolling in a degree program: whether you are pursuing a bachelor’s, a master’s, or a PhD, some programs allow (or even encourage you) to take credits before you start paying tuition. Most of these requirements are set by individual programs, so you should contact the program directly to find out more.
- Pursue a certificate that enhances your professional profile. For example, one employee earned a Certificate in Technology and Communication to take on new job responsibilities. Unfortunately, there is not a comprehensive list of all the certificate programs the university offers, but individual program pages will have that information.
The Tuition Waiver Program can also enable you to follow up on your personal interests in a formal academic setting. Whether you want to learn more about the way the human mind works or principles of local government, UNC offers courses on every subject you can imagine. If UNC Chapel Hill does not offer the course, one of the other system universities may offer the course, online or in the classroom.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- If you claim the tuition waiver, the value of the waiver could count as taxable compensation and all tuition waiver amounts are reported to Payroll for taxability purposes. Consider how that additional compensation may impact your taxes.
- The tuition waiver covers student fees, but it does not cover the cost of books, lab fees, or other course-specific fees.
- If the course is during your regular work hours, you will need to seek your supervisor’s approval before enrolling. Luckily, there are lots of ways to make taking a work-time class possible. The University’s policy allowing flexible work arrangements is one such option.
- Not all courses are eligible for the tuition waiver, especially receipt-supported courses.
HR’s webpage on the Tuition Waiver Policy provides detailed guidelines to applying for the waiver. First, you must apply for admission to the program through which you want to take courses. Then, complete the paperwork to apply for the tuition waiver. After you have secured the waiver, you must then enroll in the course itself. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to meet all deadlines and for HR to process the relevant paperwork.
Several offices are working together to create an online form and submission process; they hope it will launch during the Spring 2017 registration window.