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Education Benefits At Another Institution

Help to pay for education outside Cornell that supports your job.

Tuition Aid

The Tuition Aid program provides tuition assistance for coursework not available at Cornell which contributes directly to improving knowledge or skills related to your job. Tuition Aid is a partial reimbursement program that can apply to classes towards a degree program or job-related workshops/courses. Coursework does not have to be college-level, but institutions must be accredited through the American Council on Education.

Reimbursement is for tuition only. Payment is not provided for books, registration fees or other associated costs. The university will reimburse a percentage of tuition expenses at a fixed rate per credit hour or equivalent for approved course(s) upon course completion. 

You may use a combination of tuition aid and the part-time study benefit, but the total number of credits for reimbursement cannot exceed four per semester.

Quick Facts

  • Eligibility*: One year of full-time employment, or three years of part-time employment
  • Credit Limit: 4 credits per semester, 8 for academic year. Aid can also be used for job-related workshops or certificate programs.
  • Class Subject: Must be job-related
  • Supervisory Involvement: Supervisor’s approval is required
  • Grades: You must achieve a grade of C or better to receive reimbursement.
  • Pay: Class time is only considered time worked if the class is not available outside your normal work day. The Tuition Aid benefit is intended to be used for classes taken outside a normal work day.

Application Process

Tuition Aid Application

  1. Discuss with your manager or supervisor

    Your first step is to discuss your goals with your immediate supervisor. You will need the endorsement of your immediate supervisor, your supervisor’s manager, and the dean or executive officer for tuition reimbursement.

  2. Complete the Tuition Aid Application

    The Tuition Aid application must be submitted prior to the start of the course.

  3. Complete your course and submit documentation

    Once you have completed your course and received your grade, submit a copy of your approved application with the required documentation: proof of completion of coursework with a grade of “C” or better, and a tuition receipt.

Program Details

Eligibility*

Eligibility must be met on or before the first day of classes for the semester in which you apply for funding.

Eligible for 4 credit hours per semester, 8 credit hours per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30)

  • Full-time employees or non-professional academic staff and faculty members, who do not hold voting status on any college, university, or graduate faculty, and have satisfied one year of full-time service.
  • Part-time employees who have satisfied three years of service (or fulfilled one-year full-time service before moving to a part-time job of no less than 20 hours per week).
  • Temp with benefits (appointment for more than one year) may enroll in classes after one year if the appointment continues to span that academic semester.
  • Family medical leave, if the eligibility requirement was satisfied before the leave.

Eligible for 6 credit hours per semester

  • Layoff if eligibility requirement was satisfied before layoff, a maximum of 12 credit hours for the one-year layoff period. Courses enrolled in during a layoff do not need to be job-related.
  • Short-term disability  if eligibility requirement was satisfied before disability; 6 credit hours/semester for the  duration of disability.
  • Long-term disability  if eligibility requirement was satisfied before disability; 6 credit hours/semester while on LTD status.

Not eligible for the Tuition Aid benefit:

  • Employees of County Cooperative Extension offices
  • Employees on position leave or university leave
  • Temporary employees with appointments of less than one year
  • Retirees
  • Terminated employees

Limitations

  • Partial reimbursement for the cost of tuition only; books, registration fees, exams, and other associated costs are not covered.
  • Courses must be job-related.
  • Courses do not need to be taken for credit, or as part of a degree program. Accredited workshops, certificate programs, and online courses are eligible.

Release Time

You will be granted release time only when courses are unavailable at times other than scheduled work hours (i.e., evenings or weekends). Since the coursework being pursued is job-related, there is no requirement to make up time spent in class or in travel to and from the class if classes occur during regular working hours. For classes that are encouraged by a supervisor and only available during your normal work day, time away from work would be considered time worked. If you attend a course occurring at times other than your regular work hours, no paid leave is permitted.

Tuition Reimbursement

You are required to pay for classes at the time of enrollment. The Tuition Aid reimbursement will be awarded after any Tuition Aid Program or scholarships for tuition have been applied. The combination of TAP, tuition scholarships and Tuition Aid cannot exceed the cost of tuition. To be eligible for reimbursement, you must:

  • Remain enrolled through the completion of the course and receive a grade of “C” or better
  • Provide an official grade report reflecting a grade of “C” or better and a tuition receipt to Benefit Services, 395 Pine Tree Road.

If you are enrolled in classes at Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3)/BOCES or SUNY Empire State College:

  • You can request that your approved tuition aid be deferred until completion of the course by checking the box above your signature on the application.
  • You must pay your portion of the tuition cost to TC3/BOCES or SUNY Empire State College when you enroll.
  • Upon completion of the class(es), TC3/BOCES or Empire State College will submit a list of grades for all Cornell employees to Benefit Services. Payment will be remitted to TC3 or Empire State College for all grades of C or better or to BOCES for employees who completed 75% of class time. If you do not meet those requirements, you will be billed by TC3/BOCES or Empire State College.

The Tuition Aid Program will cover an approved job-related course at an accredited institution for up to four (4) credit hours (or equivalent) per semester, and eight (8) credit hours per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) at a reimbursement rate of $166.40 per credit hour, and a maximum of $665.60 per semester for the 2023-24 academic year.

*If you are uncertain of your eligibility status for this benefit, please contact your HR representative to review.