Tuition benefit exclusion unfair to Boulder families

The CU Connections news story “Tuition benefit likely to be expanded in April” (Feb. 2) discusses how an expansion of the tuition waiver benefit for CU employees is “on track.” It outlines how the “expansion” will permit employees to transfer their nine-credit tuition waiver benefit to their dependent child, spouse or domestic partner. A fact sheet describing the new benefit rules states that an “employee may use or distribute the nine credit hours to eligible dependents” and, for dependents, the “credits are to be taken on the campus where the employee works.” Fine and dandy, this sounds great. I work for CU-Boulder and my daughter is a full-time student at the Boulder campus.

But hold on, all is not as it seems in the Emerald City. There are exceptions to the benefit, and there’s a big and glaring one for employees of CU-Boulder. It reads “a full-time student on the Boulder campus cannot utilize the tuition benefit during the fall or spring semesters.” In other words, the dependent child, spouse or domestic partner of a CU-Boulder employee can only utilize the benefit if they are less than a full-time student or desire to take classes during the summer. Too bad, CU-Boulder employees, if you have a full-time student attending any CU campus, they are basically ineligible for this tuition benefit.

Why does this seem like blatant discrimination against the employees and students of CU-Boulder? Can this benefit be viewed as fair and equitable when students attending other CU campuses can fully utilize it if their parent works at the same campus, but CU-Boulder students cannot? I would pose that CU views this as a way to expand the tuition benefit without making it available to the dependent children, spouse or domestic partner of most CU employees. As advertised, the expanded tuition benefit looks great, but sadly only a small number of CU employees will actually be able to benefit from it, and probably next to none who work at the Boulder campus.

Dale Hurst
Research Associate