Human Resources

Employee Degree Program FAQs

Quick Facts:
  • Eligibility: one year full time; must be eligible on or before the first day of classes of the semester you apply for
  • Credit Limits: enroll for up to 8 credits per semester; two semesters of more than 8 credits are permitted. Note: The EDP defers to the registration guidelines of the Graduate School.
  • Degree Major: job-related or Cornell career-related
  • Taxes: undergraduate support is not taxable; graduate support is taxable (first $5,250 in calendar year is tax-free)
  • Supervisory Involvement: supervisor’s approval is required
  • Pay: class time is considered time worked
Frequently Asked Questions:

Applying for the EDP Program

Is there a deadline to apply? Submit your EDP application to Benefits Services at least three weeks before the start of classes to allow time for processing and registration as EDP status.

Will previous credits from another school transfer toward my Cornell degree? Transferable credits are the decision of the college to which you apply.

How many credits am I allowed to transfer to Cornell? Cornell accepts a maximum of 60 credits toward an undergraduate degree. Grad students need to check with the Graduate School regarding transferable credits.

I have an undergraduate degree. Can I get another one? If you already have an undergraduate degree, whether or not from Cornell, you are encouraged to pursue a graduate degree. Contact Student Services if you have questions or special circumstances.

Do I have to take classes every semester? No, but you do have to stay in touch with your college to let them know your plans.

How long do I have to complete my degree? There is no timeframe for completion of a degree through the Employee Degree Program. You have an open-ended graduation date to complete the degree at your own pace. MBA programs with Johnson Graduate School of Management are exceptions.

Do I have to take the SAT, GRE/GMAT? This is a decision of the college or graduate school to which you apply.

EDP and Your Employment at Cornell

Do I need to get my supervisor’s permission to register for classes each semester? Yes. Because job responsibilities can change over time, you must receive your supervisor’s approval for classes each semester.

Do I have to reduce my work status to part-time if I register for more than 8 credits? EDP participants need to remain at no less than 50% time if reducing their work status to register for more than 8 credits.  Reduction of work status is not mandatory but graduate students need to discuss this with the Graduate School.  EDP defers to the Graduate School requirements with regard to registering for credits.

As an employee, can I study for a degree at Cornell and not use the EDP? No. In order to get release time for classes you have to be enrolled in the EDP.

Is my department charged for my courses? No. Each benefits-eligible position pays a benefit rate on that position. These funds pay for the educational benefits.

Is there a requirement that I must stay at Cornell for a certain amount of time upon completing a degree in the EDP? No.

Taxes and the EDP

How much of the EDP taxed? Only graduate (not undergraduate) degree support is taxed. The amount which exceeds $5,250 in a calendar year is considered your taxable income.

How is the tax calculated? The semester’s tuition is divided by 12, and multiplied by your number of credits. Once this sum has reached $5,250, the office of Benefits Services will send an email alerting you that you have taxable income, and that all future coursework in that calendar year will be taxable.

Will the tax be withheld from my paycheck? Yes. Payroll will withhold the taxes from your paychecks during the semester in which your support exceeds $5250; with the exception of the Cornell Executive MBA, Metro NY or the MBA Americas Program, which withhold the taxable amount from the award, rather than your paycheck.

What is a 1098T form? The 1098T is a statement of tuition billed and scholarships/grants issued. More information