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EDUCATION ASSISTANCE


The UCAR Education Assistance program is intended to assist eligible employees in maintaining and improving, through formal education and training, the professional and technical skills necessary for their future job advancement. The program is funded from UCAR's benefits pool.

Employee Eligibility

All employees with appointments of more than six months are eligible to participate, with the exception of Visitors, Casuals and Student Assistants. Eligible part-time employees may participate in the program with benefits proportionate to their appointments. Post-doctoral fellows are eligible to take only individual courses. Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) tuition is covered 50%.

Qualifying Courses and Programs

In general, undergraduate, graduate and vocational course work from accredited universities, college and public vocational schools may be approved. Courses must be taken for the purpose of increasing the employee's effectiveness in his/her present job or to improve one's potential for career development and advancement at UCAR. Course work leading to a GED will also be accepted in the program.

Correspondence courses and courses sponsored by professional societies for which a grade is received may also be approved, as long as they meet the other requirements for eligibility. Audit courses are not eligible for education assistance.

Work related seminars and workshops, when approved, are funded by the employee's laboratory/program, not by the Education Assistance program.

Qualifying Grades

A certificate showing course grades must be provided to Human Resources upon completion of each course. A grade report must be received prior to the approval of any additional coursework. A grade slip, transcript or note certified by the instructor will be accepted. If a grade from the last course paid through the Educational Assistance Program has not been received by Human Resources, the employee may be responsible for paying for any additional course work. The employee must receive a grade of "C" or higher for undergraduate courses, and "B" or higher for graduate courses for continued eligibility in the Education Assistance program. A "certificate of completion" is acceptable for those vocational courses which do not issue grades.

When necessary and if an employee earns an insufficient grade, the employee may be eligible for continued education assistance by reimbursing UCAR for the course, or by repeating the course at his/her own expense and achieving a satisfactory grade.

Program Application

Employees wishing to enroll in and be reimbursed for eligible courses or a degree program should discuss their plans with their supervisor. The employee completes the Education Assistance program form(s), secures necessary approvals, and submits the completed form(s) to Human Resources. The Individual Course Application form must be completed for each course throughout a degree program.

Human Resources will review the application for qualifying criteria and discuss with the applicant any questions or concerns and/or notify the employee of approval. Human Resources will forward approved requests to Budget & Finance for payment. Approximately two weeks should be allowed for this process.

Tuition Payments and Refunds

Full tuition costs and non-waivable fees (not including books, supplies or special materials) for approved courses are paid in advance upon the submission of the approved Education Assistance forms. Checks are made payable to the named institution and given to the employee for payment, or to the employee if for reimbursement. Tuition fees for correspondence courses are normally paid by the employee and are eligible for reimbursement upon completion of the correspondence course. Fees may be advanced if requested; however, any amount above $500 will be recovered through a payroll deduction schedule agreed upon by the employee and UCAR.

An employee receiving an “Incomplete” for a course must reimburse UCAR, unless lack of completion was due to unavoidable work-related circumstances, for example unplanned extended field project travel.

An employee terminating employment with UCAR while receiving financial assistance will be required to reimburse UCAR the amount of tuition, prorated over the remainder of time for course completion. Reimbursement will not be required for an employee terminated due to a Reduction in Staff.

Education assistance reimbursement may be taxable income. Under current IRS guidelines, reimbursement of less than $5,250 per calendar year is considered nontaxable income for non-job-related education and all job-related education, as determined by Human Resources via an Employee Tax Certification form.

Employees are responsible for completing Education Assistance forms, including the Employee Tax Certification form, securing necessary signatures, and submitting the completed forms to Human Resources. Please contact Human Resources for additional information on UCAR's Education Assistance program.

Time Allowances

Employees participating in the program may request paid education time to attend classes. Requests must be made, in advance, to the employee's supervisor and are subject to approval by the supervisor. Paid education time may be approved only if the classes occur during the employee's normal work time and there are no options to attend the class during non work time. Up to five hours per week, not to exceed 156 hours per calendar year may be used for this purpose. Additional time off from work (more than five hours per week or more than 156 hours per year) will not be considered paid education time.

***PLEASE NOTE*** Educational Assistance Program benefits will be taxed according to the following schedule:

Taxable: All non-job related educational assistance GREATER THAN a combined total of $5,250 per calendar year
Non-Taxable: All job-related (as determined by Human Resources) per Employee Tax Certification

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December 2010