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Tuition Waiver/Employee Educational Options/Rules

POL 05.05.03

Tuition and Fees Waiver Policy for Faculty and Staff


Authority: Chancellor


  • First issued:  October 2001
  • Revised: December 18, 2006
  • Last Revised: July 3, 2018

Related Policies:


Additional References:


Contact Info: Office of Human Resources (910.521.6279)



1.1 The University of North Carolina system provides professional and personal development for university employees (faculty, staff and administration).


1.2 The purpose of the Tuition and Fees Waiver program is to provide an opportunity for an eligible employee to have the tuition and fees waived for a course taken at any of the constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina system. The waiver of tuition and fees for faculty and staff shall be limited to three (3) courses per academic year. Participation is voluntary and courses may be taken for professional, career development or for personal interest.




2.1 North Carolina General Statute section 116-143, authorizes the Board of Governors to provide a waiver of tuition and fees for faculty and staff under certain conditions. The Board of Governors exercised that authority and delegated to the President the authority to issue rules and regulations to implement the waiver of tuition and fees. The President issued regulation 1000.2.2.1, which permits each institution to establish a tuition and fee waiver policy by action of the Board of Trustees. This policy is established under that authority.


2.2 The policy and procedures described herein apply to all permanent, benefits eligible employees who work thirty (30) or more hours per week. This program is also available to all permanent employees of any institution of the University of North Carolina, including the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the University of North Carolina Health Care System, and to employees under military or civilian orders in campus ROTC programs.


2.3 The policy applies to all courses, undergraduate and graduate, taken at UNCP as well as other institutions that are a part of The University of North Carolina system. Application or pre-registration procedures may differ among the UNC institutions. The tuition and fees waiver may be used to take a course at any campus of the University of North Carolina. Faculty and staff members exercising this privilege are subject to the rules of the individual institutions.


2.4 The waiver is applicable to courses that are audited, as well as those taken for academic credit. It is the employee’s responsibility to be familiar with and to comply with applicable procedures at the institution the course is waived.


2.5 Tuition (defined herein to include tuition and regular student fees as established by the enrolling institution) may be waived for up to three (3) courses (not to exceed four credit hours per course) per academic year and are available during any semester with appropriate management approval. The tuition and fees waiver applies to summer school. The maximum courses that may receive tuition and fees waivers are three (3) per academic year.


2.6 Enrollment in courses should occur during the employee’s non-working hours and should not interfere with the employee’s normal employment obligations.  If a course is directly related to an employee’s job requirement and/or is a requirement for completion of a degree, the Vice Chancellor and/or Dean may authorize an exception (limited to one exception per semester). Employees must maintain permanent, benefits eligible status of 75% time, thirty (30) hours per week, or more for the entire semester, during which the course is taken. If an employee’s work schedule changes to less than thirty (30/75%) hours per week during the period of attendance, or if the employee separates from permanent employment during the period of attendance, the employee will be billed for all or part of the tuition for the entire semester even if he/she officially withdraws from the course, as provided in the policies and procedures established by the Division of Finance and Administration, Controller’s Office, and Bursar’s Office of the enrolling institution.


2.7 An exception must be documented in a written plan which describes how the missed work time will be made up, either by working a flexible schedule and/or by using accrued leave.  If the course(s) allowed is taken off campus, the hours away from the work place shall not exceed the hours required to take the same or similar course on campus. If additional time off is required, it shall be documented in the written plan as flexible work hours or reported as leave.


2.8 The employee must maintain minimum scholastic requirements, as stated in the enrolling university’s academic catalog, to participate in the tuition and fees waiver program.


2.9 Application for tuition and fees waiver must be made at least two (2) weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. The application must be approved by the employee's supervisor, the appropriate department head, and the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. Tuition and fees waiver forms (waiver form) submitted for approval after the course begins will not be approved.


2.10 Employees are eligible for tuition and fees waiver even if they are eligible for and are receiving non-repayable financial aid (Pell Grant, Scholarship, etc.).


2.11 Tuition and fees waiver is not granted for other course related expenses such as transportation, graduation, laboratory, registration, materials, examinations, supplies, textbooks, or any other special fees.


2.12 If a participating employee does not continue in eligible employment status throughout the entire semester during which the tuition and fees waiver had been requested, the following conditions shall apply:


2.12.a. If the participating employee wishes to continue course enrollment, the employee/student shall be responsible for the full amount of the in-state or out-of-state tuition and fees for the total number of credit hours, which will be charged to the student’s/employee’s account, OR


2.12.b. If the participating employee withdraws from course enrollment immediately coincident with the discontinuation of their eligible employment status, the employee/student shall not be held responsible for the tuition and fees, OR


2.12.c. If the participating employee’s employment ends due to reduction-in-force (RIF) [SHRA employee] or for budgetary reasons [EHRA] prior to the completion of the course, this payment requirement shall not apply. This exception does not apply to the end of a time-limited or term position.


2.13 Tuition waived is considered reportable taxable compensation subject to social security, federal and state tax withholding if the value of the benefit exceeds the IRS established limits. Depending upon prevailing tax laws, for each calendar year, the tuition benefit amount over the IRS threshold will be reported as income on the employee’s W-2 form.




3.1 Prior to applying for tuition and fees waiver for a course, the employee must apply to the university and be accepted by the Admissions Office of the institution offering the course of study. It is the employee's responsibility to meet admission requirements for enrolling or re-enrolling in the institution.


3.2 The UNCP Tuition and Fees Waiver Application form is available from the Office of Human Resources or on the OHR website. If enrolling at another UNC institution, applicant may be required to provide an original form.  The employee will need to complete the form and submit for approval, according to the instructions on the waiver form.


3.3 The waiver form must be approved by the immediate supervisor/manager and the appropriate department head/vice chancellor prior to submitting it to the Office of Human Resources for approval and processing.  If the employee is taking a course at another UNC institution, the Office of Human Resources will send the approved tuition and fees waiver form to the employee. The employee must submit the form to the enrolling institution.


3.4 Upon receipt of the waiver form, a Human Resources designee will review it to determine that the eligibility requirements for this tuition and fees waiver are met by the employee. If the individual is eligible for tuition and fees waiver, Human Resources will retain an original copy of the authorized form, return a copy to the employee, and send a copy to the UNCP Bursar’s Office.  If the employee is ineligible for tuition and fees waiver, the application form will be returned to the employee through the appropriate department head.


3.5 Employees taking classes at UNCP will register for courses in accordance with instruction for the program under which the employee is admitted (or pre-register if currently enrolled). After receiving the semester's billing statement, the employee should review the billing statement to ensure the tuition and fees waiver was applied appropriately and/or contact the Bursar’s Office if a discrepancy is discovered.


3.6 Employees who decide not to take a course for which they have registered are required to follow the established procedures for withdrawal from the class, as outlined in the enrolling university's academic catalog.


3.7 If the employee is enrolling at another UNC institution, an original waiver form (or similar form required by the respective institution) shall be returned to the employee.  An original copy of this form shall be filed with UNCP's Office of Human Resources.  All contact with other UNC institutions shall be between the applicant (employee) and the enrolling institution.