Tuition waiver benefit won’t see wide expansion this year

Administrators plan to more closely study the issue in the next fiscal year
By Staff

Following months of consideration, CU administration has determined that the tuition waiver benefit for faculty and staff will largely remain unchanged for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Faculty and staff governance groups this past year had intensified the call for expansion of the benefit, most notably as it applies to dependents. The only change is at CU-Boulder, where the 10 percent tuition benefit for dependents is doubling to 20 percent; that announcement came in January.

Further change is possible for the 2017-18 fiscal year, given that campus and system chief financial officers and chief human resources officers plan in-depth studies of the issue.

A lingering sticking point for the campuses: transferability, which members of Faculty Council and Staff Council advocated for throughout the recent review of the benefit. Currently, system employees are alone in being able to choose at which campus they may use the tuition waiver. Employees at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus are limited to using the benefit at CU Denver.

The studies planned for next year will aim to more closely quantify the financial impact to each campus and system administration. They also will examine the number of CU employees with a dependent enrolled at another campus. Administrators also aim to gauge how many faculty and staff who are not currently using the benefit would choose to do so if and when changes are implemented; the studies also will consider who might take advantage of the program beyond the immediate future, such as five or 10 years out.

“We understand how important this issue is to our faculty and staff, so we are going to continue to look at ways we can improve the tuition benefit,” said Kathy Nesbitt, vice president of employee and information services.

Faculty Council Chair John McDowell informed council members of the development in an email sent earlier this week.

“While we had hoped for a more robust tuition benefit going forward, we are seeing some progress,” McDowell wrote. “The planned studies should provide more quantifiable information about the financial impact of programs and the potential for expansion.”

Nesbitt is scheduled to speak at today’s meeting of the Faculty Council, noon-3 p.m. on the fifth floor of 1800 Grant St., where the tuition waiver benefit will be a topic of discussion.