Staff Tuition Scholarship Program Guidelines

I. PURPOSE AND SCOPE

Education is a priority at the University of Houston and an educated workforce is one of the university's most valuable assets. The University of Houston Staff Council researched and proposed a program to provide staff access and support to pursue higher education at the university. With the encouragement of the President of the university, the Offices of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and the Vice President for Administration and Finance secured funding to institute the Staff Tuition Scholarship Program.

The Staff Tuition Scholarship Program is designed to support and encourage employee development through formal education, with a priority on the attainment of baccalaureate degrees and beyond at the University of Houston.

Time off under this Staff Tuition Scholarship Program is part of the College Program release time, which is outlined under MAPP 02.06.01, Section V. Unlike the College Program release time, the Staff Tuition Scholarship Program is only for courses taken at the University of Houston.

II. DEFINITIONS

Regular, full-time benefits eligible employees: A university employee employed to work 100 percent FTE (40 hours per week) for a period of 4-1/2 months or longer.

III. PROVISIONS

A. TIME OFF

    1. Regular, full-time benefits eligible university employee may be granted time off from work to attend a maximum of three (3) semester hours each full semester at the University of Houston. Courses taken under this program shall be either related to the employee's job, related to a degree program in which the employee is enrolled, or provide for career development at the university.

    2. Employees are encouraged to take classes at times that accommodate the departmental work schedule. The classroom time required to complete the course may not be charged against the employee. Employees will report the class time on their timesheet as time worked. Employees cannot be required to take the class during their lunch hour or to make up the time.

    3. The employee's primary responsibility is to their job. An approved application represents a department's commitment to time off for course attendance. The employee is obligated to his/her job responsibilities during the work hours when the course is not in session.

    4. Supervisors may request to see proof of enrollment and completion of courses.

    5. College Program time off cannot be used for study purposes.

    6. Employees may not take advantage of time off for both the Staff Tuition Scholarship Program and the College Program. During the weekday, employees may take a maximum of 3 hours per semester.

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

    1. Courses taken under this program shall be either related to the employee's job, related to a degree program in which the employee is enrolled, or provide for career development at the university. These scholarships will be awarded on a first-come-first-awarded basis. There are no guarantees.

    2. Career paths at the university frequently cross departmental lines, and formal education may be a deciding factor in promotion decisions.

    3. The same application form for time off is also used for the Scholarship Program. Appropriate approvals must be obtained on the application. Approval of the first line supervisor is needed for work scheduling decisions in order to provide time off to attend class. The department head’s approval is necessary because of their overall personnel responsibilities.

    4. The costs beyond the scholarship for fees and books are the responsibility of the employee.

    5. Requests to take courses at other universities, including other system components will not be approved.

    6. Qualifying employees must not be on probation (6 months for non-exempt employees and 12 months for exempt employees), as well as performance probation, nor can they owe a debt to the university.

IV. EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for the tuition scholarship:

A. Supervisors are encouraged to make a good faith effort to accommodate requests for participation in the Staff Tuition Scholarship Program. This may require re-scheduling or cross training. Applications may be denied in some situations; for example, when two employees in a small office request the same class time. An alternative is to alternate semesters for participation.

B. Employees must also obtain pre-approval using the Staff Tuition Scholarship Program Application form. The employee must complete the forms, have their supervisor approve them and submit them for signature to Human Resources prior to the beginning of class.

C. Faculty, benefits-eligible teaching assistants, adjunct faculty and all non-benefits staff working less than 100% FTE are not eligible for the scholarship.

D. Qualifying employees must not be on probation (6 months for non-exempt employees and 12 months for exempt employees), as well as performance probation, nor can they owe a debt to the university. The employee is required to go through the regular admission processes and meet the relevant university admission requirements including meeting semester application and credential deadlines. It is the employee’s responsibility to apply for admissions to the university and be accepted in sufficient time to attend that semester before the scholarship will be issued.

V.GUIDELINES FOR SCHOLARSHIP

A. Only University of Houston for-credit courses (a maximum of three hours per semester) are eligible for this scholarship.

B. The maximum scholarship amount is $1200 per semester (excluding summer sessions).

C. A Staff Tuition Scholarship Program Committee, which will consist of representatives from the Office of Human Resources, Staff Council, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, and the Office of Student Financial Services, will be appointed to evaluate the program each year to determine its success and establish the actual dollar amounts paid on funding. This committee will also approve scholarship amounts for the next fiscal year.

D. An employee receiving external governmental funding may only submit expenses not covered by the external-funding agent. Any exception to this policy must be approved in advance by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost or designee and will be paid outside of the Institutional Tuition Scholarship Funds.

E. All credits to the employee/student’s account shall be made through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. This scholarship credit will be applied to the employee/student’s account maintained by Student Financial Services. In the event an employee has withdrawn or dropped a course, they will be billed for the portion of the refund that would result from the staff scholarship. Therefore, the monies that result from a withdrawal or drop must be returned to the scholarship fund.

F. The scholarship credit will be applied to the employee/student’s account in the normal hierarchy of payments as currently exists with the Student Financial Services Office.

G. The Department of Human Resources and Scholarships and Financial Aid will verify each semester the employees applying for the scholarship program are employees in good standing with the university.

VI. REVIEW AND RESPONSIBILITY

Responsible Party: Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Review: Every three years, on or before August 31

VII. APPROVAL

John M. Rudley, Vice President for Administration and Finance
Jay Gogue, President
Date of President's Approval: 08/05/04

VIII. REFERENCES

System Administrative Memorandum 02.A.26 – Employee Development and Training