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Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program (STRP)

Educational Assistance Programs

Details

 

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STRP

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Program Summary

The Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program (STRP) supports employee development by providing partial or full reimbursement of tuition costs for courses meeting requirements of undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Individuals must be enrolled in a degree program to qualify for assistance.

STRP Application (Revised 04/2014)
STRP Reimbursement Form

Expanded STRP Benefit: STRP now covers staff on fixed-term appointments who have completed one year of service, along with textbooks, supplies and equipment expenses required for courses taken at eligible institutions.

Allowable Expenses

  • STRP assistance is allowable for undergraduate or graduate education leading to a degree.
  • The employee must be admitted to a degree program.
  • The allowance is limited to regular tuition, general recurring fees and required books, supplies and equipment.
  • An employee may not receive reimbursement under the Staff Training Assistance Program (STAP) and STRP for the same course or program.
  • Some of the fees and materials that STRP will not reimburse include:
    • books or course materials that are not required
    • tools, equipment, or supplies (other than textbooks) that you can keep after completing the course of instruction
    • certificate programs
    • room and board
    • courses taken through correspondence
    • laboratory breakage fees
    • tutoring fees
    • auditing fees
    • special fees for specific courses
    • late fees
    • transportation and parking
    • expenses at any United States institution that are not normally included in the basic tuition fees by Stanford University, the University of California or the California State Universities.

Eligible Institutions

Payments under STRP will be made to accredited United States colleges and universities listed in the current edition of "Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education" published by the American Council on Education.

FAQs

Overview of STRP

Q. What is the Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program?

A. Stanford's Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program supports employee development by providing partial or full reimbursement of tuition costs and for books, supplies, and equipment required for courses meeting requirements of undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Eligible employees must be enrolled in a degree program to qualify for assistance.

Q. I already have a bachelor's degree. Will STRP help me get a master's degree?

A. Yes, assuming you have met the eligibility requirements, your supervisor approves of your plan if you require time away from work, and you are enrolled in a degree program. Employees without a current degree, or who have a partial degree, are also eligible for STRP to complete a degree.

Q. What policy governs STRP?

A. STRP is included in the University's Administrative Guide Memo 22.11, entitled “Staff Development Program.” From the HR web site https://hreap.stanford.edu/ click the Guidelines & Policies link under the “Details” menu, then the link to Administrative Guide, Section 22.11.

Q. What's the difference between STAP and STRP?

A. While both programs exist to support employee development, STAP (Staff Training Assistance Program) is for non-academic skills training or knowledge development courses that are either related to your current job or a career development effort undertaken with the approval of your supervisor. STRP, on the other hand, is specifically to encourage employees to pursue obtaining a college degree (undergraduate or graduate). STRP also has to be approved by your supervisor if your course of study requires you to take time away from your job.

Q. What amount of my eligible college expenses will STRP pay?

A. The maximum STRP reimbursement is $5,250.00 per fiscal year. Unused STRP funds do not carry over to the next fiscal year.

Q. I don't work full time but want to finish getting my bachelor's degree. Am I eligible?

A. Yes, part-time employees are eligible for STRP; the benefits are prorated based on the amount of FTE (full time equivalent) that you work (e.g., 50% time equals 50% STRP fund eligibility).

Q. Do I pay the tuition at my college and get reimbursed by STRP?

A. No. STRP pays your college or university directly on your behalf, so that you are not liable for taxation of the funds as personal income.

Q. What if I have to drop out after the quarter or semester has started, or I don't get a good grade on a course?

A. STRP policy states that you are required to repay tuition that was paid by STRP to an institution on your behalf if you received a grade of D or F, or Fail (if a Pass/Fail course), or if you withdraw from a course after the tuition was paid unless the institution refunds the payment directly to STRP.

Q. How would anyone know if I failed a course?

A. You must provide evidence of satisfactory completion no later than four weeks after each course is completed. Satisfactory completion is defined as a grade 'C' or better, or pass grade in a pass/fail course. Evidence may be in the form of:

  • An official grade card
  • A transcript from the institution

Evidence of satisfactory completion must be provided to the Educational Assistance Programs office:

  • Email: stanford.strp@stanford.edu
  • Fax: 650-723-7669
  • ID mail: EAP/8443

If your course requires supervisor approval, you must also provide evidence of satisfactory completion to your supervisor.

Q. What happens if I do not provide evidence of satisfactory completion of my course(s)?

A. If you do not provide evidence of satisfactory completion within four weeks after course completion, no further STRP payments will be issued and any future applications will be put on hold until your grades/transcripts are received.

Q. I am receiving STAP funds for a training course. Can I also get STRP for a degree program?

A. Yes, as long as the training course is different from your academic pursuit, as the policy states: An employee may not receive reimbursement under the Staff Training Assistance Program (STAP) and STRP for the same course or program.

STRP Benefits

Q. I know STRP pays a maximum of $5,250.00 each fiscal year (9/1-8/31), but my college has an academic year that starts in August. Because I used the maximum for last year's tuition, how can I make sure that my STRP benefits that begin 9/1 are used so that I don't go over the maximum?

A. This is a common situation, since many institutions have differing fiscal and academic years. As long as tuition payment is not required by your institution until after Stanford's fiscal year has begun, the fiscal year maximum should not affect your STRP eligibility.

Q. My institution requires me to pre-pay my tuition in order to enroll at the beginning of my program, so I can't wait to have STRP pay the institution directly. What will happen?

A. This does occasionally happen, and if so, once you apply to STRP and your eligibility is confirmed, you will be asked for proof of payment. Once proof of payment is received, you will be reimbursed directly. Then, an authorization letter will be issued for subsequent tuition invoicing and payments.

Q. My eligible college expenses are more than the STRP maximum; can my department help pay my tuition?

A. There may be tax issues that you'll have to research, but yes, departments are allowed to help employees with tuition costs. Departmental reimbursement is at the department's discretion and is determined on the basis of available departmental funds for training. Talk with your supervisor about any departmental assistance possibilities.

Q. What type of expenses are allowable under STRP?

A. The allowance is limited to regular tuition, general recurring fees and required books, supplies, and equipment. Proof of payment and proof that these additional expenses are required must be submitted for reimbursement to the EAP office.

Q. How do I submit the cost of my required books to the EAP office?

A. Submit the course syllabus indicating required books; include the proof of payment either on the receipt or separately (i.e. credit card receipts, copy of cancelled check. Submit your request for reimbursement to: EAP Office, 3160 Porter Drive, Suite 240, Palo Alto, CA, 94304-8443 or send to the STRP email: stanford-strp@stanford.edu

Q. What types of expenses are not eligible?

A. Here is a partial listing of fees and materials that STRP will not pay:

  • books or course materials that are not required
  • certificate programs
  • room and board
  • laboratory breakage fees
  • tutoring fees
  • auditing fees
  • special fees for specific courses
  • late fees
  • transportation and parking
  • expenses at any United States institution that are not normally included in the basic tuition fees
    by Stanford University, the University of California or the California State Universities

Eligibility

Q. When am I eligible for STRP funds?

A. To be eligible for STRP funds, employees must be a continuing regular or fixed term staff member (working a minimum of 50% time). Employees must have completed one year in a benefits- eligible, ongoing, regular position. STRP assistance is prorated for regular staff working less than full-time. In addition, staff must not be receiving financial assistance from other sources that would duplicate STRP assistance (i.e. scholarships, grants, departmental funds).

Q. Can I attend any college?

A. The institution must be accredited, as payments under STRP will be made to accredited United States colleges and universities listed in the current edition of "Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education" published by the American Council on Education (ACE). You can review a copy of this publication at http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/.

Tax and Financial Aid Issues

Q. Will I be taxed for STRP funds paid to my college for a bachelor's degree?

A. For academic courses below the graduate level at a tax-exempt educational institution, up to $5,250 of STRP or departmental assistance can be excluded from an employee's gross income under section 117 and/or 132 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Q. How can I find out about tax issues related to STRP funds?

A. Employees must seek tax counsel on their own, such as through a professional tax firm or tax attorney. This is important to do, because generic tax information may or may not apply to your specific situation, so you are advised to seek information based on your current circumstances.

Q. I plan to apply for financial aid at my college since the tuition is way higher than the STRP maximum. Will I qualify for financial aid if I'm receiving STRP?

A. STRP benefits could affect other financial aid benefits. Contact the Financial Aid Office at the college, university, or institution to be attended for more information. Again, this is specific to your circumstances so you are advised to seek financial aid information from your institution.

How and When to Apply

Q. How does the STRP application process work?

A. Once you are accepted into a degree program by an accredited institution, submit your completed STRP application. Your eligibility is reviewed by the Human Resources Educational Assistance Programs office in Human Resources, and if approved, an authorization letter is issued to you. You are responsible to get the authorization letter to your institution, because it includes detailed information as to how the institution is to invoice and subsequently receive tuition payment for your tuition.

Q. Where can I find the application?

A. The STRP application can be found on the Educational Assistance Programs web site http://hreap.stanford.edu/ in the section “Program Summary”. You may also pick up the application on campus at 320 Panama Street – Bambi Modular, Stanford, CA 94305-4160. Be sure you have completed each section carefully and get your supervisor's signature (if you need to take time away from your job to go to school). Missing information will delay processing of the application. Submit your completed application to the Educational Assistance Programs office in University Human Resources, 3160 Porter Drive, Suite 250, Palo Alto, CA 94304-8443. You can fax the completed application to (650) 723-7669, send in ID mail to EAP/8443 or place it in the secure EAP drop box located at the Bambi Modular. (SLAC employees must submit completed applications to: SLAC, Mail Bin 11, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025.)

Q. My degree program will last several years; do I just apply once at the beginning?

A. No. You must reapply every year so that your continued eligibility can be verified.

How to Get More Information

STRP is overseen by the Educational Assistance Programs office in University Human Resources, located at 3160 Porter Drive, Suite 250, Palo Alto, CA 94304-8443. Telephone: (650) 723-0657. Email stanford-strp@stanford.edu

The University policy for this program is set forth in the Administrative Guide, Section 22.11. Call (650) 723-0657 or email stanford-strp@stanford.edu if you have further questions.