Tuition Reimbursement

Purpose

To provide financial assistance for post-secondary and/or graduate level courses, which are related to the employee's current job or other career related positions in State government.  Applications must be submitted before the appropriate Spring/Fall Cycle of the Tuition Assistance Program.  (See details below.)

Courses must be post-secondary or graduate level to be taken at a properly accredited educational institution.  Non-credited courses, classes or seminars which are job-related may be approved by the Commissioner of Human Resources, whether they are provided at a properly accredited educational institution, or not.  Courses or degree programs must be related to the employee’s current position or another position within Vermont State government.  Mandatory courses that are required by an employee’s Agency/Department are not eligible for assistance under this program.

Eligibility

Only classified employees in the non-management bargaining unit, supervisory bargaining unit as well as managerial, confidential and exempt positions, who have completed original probation by the application deadline, are eligible to apply to this program.  Tuition assistance is also available for Managerial, Confidential, and Exempt employees of the Executive Branch.

Note:  Members of the Corrections and State Police bargaining units and non-management employees in the Defender General’s Office are covered under separate programs and should contact their Department HR Administrator for more information.

Expenses Covered by Tuition Assistance:

Tuition assistance covers tuition only.  Books and fees are not covered.  Depending upon available funds, up to two (2) courses, and a maximum of eight (8) credits may be reimbursed per Cycle (Spring Cycle of Program:  January – June, Fall Cycle of Program:  July – December).  The maximum for the Fiscal Year (July – June) is four (4) courses, twelve (12) credits.  Tuition assistance will not exceed 80% of the actual tuition cost, up to a maximum assistance of $350, per credit.  When combined with other sources of tuition assistance (federal grants or department contribution, for example) the maximum amount of total assistance cannot exceed 90% of the cost for tuition.  

Application Timeframe

The Tuition Assistance Program operates on two Cycles per year.  Spring Cycle (for courses with a START DATE between January 1 – June 30) and the Fall Cycle (for courses with a START DATE between July 1 – December 31).  To determine which of the Tuition Assistance Program Cycles applies to a course, the employee should focus on the “START DATE” of the course, determine which Cycle that date falls within, and apply accordingly.  Examples as follows:

Spring 2018 Cycle:  If a course START DATE is February 1, 2018, that would fall within the Spring 2018 Cycle dates and the Application must be submitted between the dates of November 7, 2017 – November 21, 2017. If the dated postmark is BEFORE or AFTER these dates, the application will not be accepted.

Fall 2018 Cycle:  If a course START DATE is September 10, 2018, that would fall within the Fall 2018 Cycle dates and the Application must be submitted between the dates of May 25, 2018 and June 7, 2018. If the dated postmark is BEFORE or AFTER these dates, the application will not be accepted.

Applications must be submitted well before the “Spring Cycle” or “Fall Cycle” of the Tuition Assistance Program.  However, as indicated, if they are mail date stamped Before or After the submission dates indicated above, they will not be accepted. 

Occasionally, schools have not posted specific information for upcoming courses and employees are not certain how to complete the Application.  In this instance, employees should provide information based on what they expect the facts will be regarding the courses, tuition fees and financial assistance they will be provided from other sources.  If facts change, employees must notify the Tuition Assistance Coordinator at the Department of Human Resources.

Tuition Assistance Application Instructions

The Tuition Assistance Application form and detailed instructions are in the Forms and Documents section of the State of Vermont website.  Employees must complete the first two sections and their Department Approving Authority must complete the third section.

Section I:       Employee Information – Please provide complete home address in addition to other information. 

Section II:      Academic Information - Contains information regarding the school and courses for which assistance is being requested.  Courses #1 and #2 should be completed in the order of employee’s priority in the event that a Lottery is necessary and only Course #1 can be funded.

Section III:     Applicant’s Department - Must be completed, signed and dated by employee’s Department Approving Authority.  Note, mandatory courses that are required by an employee’s Agency/Department are not eligible for assistance under this program.

Mailing Deadline for Application:

The Application must be MAILED to the Department of Human Resources BEFORE the Spring or Fall Cycle of the Tuition Assistance Program.  The dated postmark from the US Postal Service determines whether or not the submission deadline has been met.

                        START DATE of the Course                             US Post Office Postal Mail Date Stamp

                              January 1  -  June 30                                No earlier than November 7  -  No later than November 21

                             July 1  -  December 31                               No earlier than May 25  -  No later than June 7

Mailing Address, via the US Mail:

Tuition Coordinator
Department of Human Resources
120 State Street, 5th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-2505

Note:     Applications sent through pink mail, faxed or hand-delivered CANNOT BE ACCEPTED.

Payment Method

There are two methods for payment of the Tuition Assistance granted to employees:

  1. Prepay Direct to Educational Institution:  The State will prepay its share of tuition directly to the educational institution.  Assistance is contingent upon employee’s successful completion of the course(s). The employee must provide documentation of successful completion of the approved course(s), as well as a financial recap showing charges/payments for the course(s), to the Tuition Coordinator at the Department of Human Resources.  If the course is not successfully completed, the employee must repay the State for all funds paid on their behalf within three months of the course ending.  If the employee fails to register for the course, they must notify the Tuition Coordinator in writing and contact the educational institution to arrange for the funds to be returned to the state.
    If an employee terminates employment prior to course completion, they must repay the State for all funds paid on their behalf within three months of termination.
     
  2. Assistance Directly to Employee:  The state will reimburse the employee directly upon successful completion of the course(s). Employee must provide documentation of successful completion of the approved course(s), and financial recap showing charges/payments for the course(s), to the Tuition Coordinator at the Department of Human Resources.

Lottery Drawing

A Lottery drawing is required when there are not enough funds to cover Tuition Assistance for all courses requested by all applicants.  The Lottery is performed in a two-part process.  First, it is determined if there are enough funds to cover all Course #1 requests.  If there are not enough funds, everyone’s name will be put in a “hat” and drawn out, one at a time.  Funds are allocated in the order that names are drawn.  (Historically, there has been enough money to cover everyone for Course #1.)  If there are funds remaining after all of Course #1 is covered, then the names of everyone that applied for Course #2 will be put into a “hat” and drawn out, one at a time.  Funds are allocated in the order that names are drawn, until funds are depleted.  

Documentation of Successful Completion:

All tuition assistance payments made by the State of Vermont are contingent upon the employee’s successful completion of the course(s).

Upon completion of the course(s), employees must provide a financial recap showing charges/payments from the school as well as proof of their passing grade to the Tuition Coordinator at the Department of Human Resources.  This documentation can usually be found on the School’s Website and can be sent to the Tuition Coordinator via email attachment.  If for some reason an employee does not enroll, or fails to pass the course, the funds must be repaid to the State within three months of course ending date.  If the employee terminates employment before the course is completed, the funds must be repaid within three months of termination.  Failure to return funds or submit required documentation showing successful completion by the due date will result in the debt being sent to the Tax Department for collection.

Common Questions and Answers for the Tuition Assistance Program

Forms and Documents - Tuition Reimbursement