Education Assistance Program
American College of Education recognizes the need and desire to continue professional development and education. The Education Assistance Program encourages and supports employees who want to further their knowledge, skills, and job effectiveness through higher education.
As a member of the ACE community, you have the opportunity to apply to be a student in a degree program at ACE or receive tuition reimbursement from external accredited colleges and universities. Tuition benefits may also be extended to immediate dependents and/or spouses of all ACE employees, including full and part-time faculty.
The policies found here contain all the details including definitions of those who are eligible for the benefits, as well as the approval process. The administration of tuition reduction benefits is the responsibility of the Finance Office in coordination with the Human Resources Department. Participation in the Education Assistance Program does not affect the employee’s status as an “At Will” employee (employment is for an undefined period and is terminable at will be either the employer or employee with or without cause).
ACE Tuition Reduction Policy:
Revised April 28, 2020
American College of Education (“ACE”)
Policy Regarding all Faculty and Staff, and immediate dependents and/or spouses becoming students of ACE.
Terms and Conditions:
All Faculty and Staff who have worked at least six (6) months at ACE are eligible to apply for a reduction of tuition from a degree program at ACE. Immediate dependents and/or spouses may also be eligible. All tuition reduction benefits will adhere to IRS regulations. (See Taxable Benefit Guidelines for additional information).
ES (Employee Student): Full and Part-time Faculty, Staff Member, or immediate dependent and/or spouse who is admitted as a student at ACE.
Staff Member: Any Full-time employee whose position is not Adjunct, Core or Instructional Faculty.
Immediate Dependent: Spouse, domestic partner (must show proof of partnership), or child.
Faculty Member: Full-time Core or Instructional faculty members, as well as Part-time Adjunct faculty members.
Supervisor: The ACE supervisor of a Faculty or Staff Member who individually is seeking to be an ES, or whose Spouse or Dependent is seeking to be an ES.
III. Admission to a Degree Program:
a. Approval: Prospective ES must obtain prior written approval from the Supervisor and the Chief Financial Officer to receive the Tuition Reduction Benefit. A link to the approval form can be found here. The final approval, if granted, will be sent to the ACE Admissions Office as confirmation of approval. Approval document will be uploaded to the ES’s student record.
b. Admission Requirements: Prospective ES must meet admissions requirements of the academic program that ES is applying to and submit all required admissions documents in a timely manner, meeting deadlines required for all applicants.
c. Timing of Admission: Timing of admission is at the discretion of ACE.
IV. Tuition Reduction Benefit:
- All degrees and certification programs
- ES must pay all related fees, including, but not limited to application fee, technology fee, administrative fees, dissertation fees, and degree conferral fees.
- ES is responsible for any other cost of the degree program, such as travel and other expenses to attend a seminar.
- Tuition Reduction Schedule:
100%: Faculty or Staff Member
50%: Immediate Dependent and/or Spouse
4. ES receiving this tuition reduction may not receive any other ACE sponsored tuition reduction (including grant or scholarship) for this program.
B. Taxable Benefit Guidelines:
IRS Section 117 regulations allow for preferential tax treatment for undergraduate-level courses. Undergraduate Tuition Benefit amounts are excluded from the employee’s taxable income.
Tuition benefits will be awarded based on the number of registered credit hours for the term enrolled. The tuition benefit for undergraduate coursework is not taxable to the employee under I.R.C. section 117 (d).
Note: Recipients of tuition benefits for undergraduate studies should consult their tax advisor as to the applicability of federal and state income taxes.
IRS Section 127 allows for the preferential tax treatment of up to $5,250 annually for employee subsidies received/paid toward graduate level tuition, but only for those described in the Eligible Employees and Faculty section. Graduate level tuition subsidies for courses taken by a spouse are treated as taxable income to the associated staff or faculty member, as well as subsidies for graduate-level tuition for an employee above the $5,250 IRS annual limit.
Tuition benefits will be awarded based on the number of registered credit hours for the term enrolled. The tuition benefit for an employee for graduate level coursework is not taxable up to $5,250 per calendar year under I.R.C. section 127. The tuition benefit for spouses and dependent children for graduate level coursework is fully taxable to the employee.
Note: Recipients of tuition benefits for graduate studies should consult their tax advisor as to the applicability of federal and state income taxes.
In accordance with IRS regulations, applicable taxes will be withheld from the employee’s pay at the employee’s normal rate for income and FICA taxes. The employee’s pay notice will include reference to the amount of Tuition Benefit included as taxable income.
For tax purposes, it does not matter which immediate dependent took the graduate-level course, the Tuition Reduction Benefit is an employee benefit. Therefore, the employee is responsible for applicable taxes, and such taxes will be deducted from the employee’s pay.
To the extent that the Tuition Reduction Benefit is taxable under IRS regulations, the Tuition Reduction Benefit will be added to the employee’s taxable income beginning with the payroll cycle following the end of the full refund period for dropping courses.
C. Student Employee Conflict of Interest:
The American College of Education encourages employees to continue to learn. Employees who enroll in an ACE course must meet the admission and academic course requirements established for all students.
To avoid potential conflicts of interest, College employees who are enrolled in one or more ACE courses: complete all course work participation and assignments outside of regular job duties or office hours as defined by their immediate supervisor.
To avoid potential conflicts of interest, College employees and faculty members who are enrolled in one or more ACE courses:
- Will be monitored from time to time to ensure proper access has been maintained. Any abuse of access will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, as well as expulsion from ACE courses.
- Will recuse themselves from any decisions or action regarding courses in their degree program.
- Will complete all course work participation and assignments outside of regular job duties or office hours as defined by their immediate supervisor
Example practices related to the policy:
- Employee will not access a different section and obtain quiz answers for their course.
- Employee will not access course, change grades, or open test/progress monitors/assignments.
- Faculty will not rely on a student-employee for administrative assistance or technical assistance but should be referred to a non-student employee.
V. Other Terms:
- Administration of tuition reduction benefits is the responsibility of the Finance Office in coordination with the Human Resources department.
- The ES must adhere to ACE’s policy concerning Conflict of Interest when enrolled in academic offerings of the college. [Current ACE policy covers: employee support of professor in a current or upcoming course, access to records of current student-peers, restricted access to courses, self-recusal from decision-making regarding the program, completion of course work outside of work hours.]
- The ES tuition reduction ends upon the Staff or Faculty Member’s (as applicable) separation from employment with ACE, regardless of whether the ES is an Immediate Dependent. The ES will receive the benefit for any course that is underway at the time of separation, however no further benefit will be awarded after the termination date. The termination of benefits for an Immediate Dependent may also occur upon separation of the ES from the college or degree program. The Staff or Faculty Member (as applicable) must be employed on the day the term begins, regardless of whether the ES is an Immediate Dependent.
- Continuation of the tuition reduction is dependent on the recipient being a student in good standing and a passing grade according to SAP in all courses.
- The ES is responsible for any tax liability or reporting requirements with respect to the tuition reduction benefits described in the Taxable Benefits Guidelines section.
- This tuition reduction program may be modified by ACE at any time.
- This program is reviewed annually by the President and the executive team; restrictions such as number of recipients who can be enrolled at any one time may be instituted by the President and the executive team at their discretion.
- No refunds or credits will be granted for unused portions of the tuition reduction benefits.
- In no event shall a participant be entitled to receive any benefits under this plan in lieu of cash or any other taxable compensation that he or she might otherwise be entitled to receive from ACE.
- AS A CONDITION TO RECEIVING TUITION REDUCTION, THE ES SHALL REPRESENT THAT HE OR SHE IS NOT RELYING ON ACE OR ITS OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, DIRECTORS, AGENTS OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVES FOR ANY TAX ADVICE REGARDING THIS POLICY OR THE TUITION REDUCTION THEREUNDER.