Employee Tuition Assistance Program FAQ

No. When you register for Clemson classes, a report is sent to the Office of Human Resources (OHR) and OHR members then review your eligibility for the benefit and provide you notification of your eligibility.

No, if you are eligible for this benefit, the Employee Tuition Assistance Plan (ETAP) benefit offers a 100 percent waiver of all mandatory academic fees, activity/program fees, differential fees, and lab fees for up to six (6) hours per academic term.

Note, if you exceed the IRS allowable threshold of $5,250 per calendar year, the university is required to establish payroll tax withholdings from your paychecks to offset any tax liability.

Academic terms are spring, fall and summer. Summer courses held throughout the summer are considered one academic term and are restricted to a total of 6 hours.

No, this benefit is not available to your family members, including your spouse or children.

The benefit applies to all undergraduate and graduate courses within programs offered by Clemson University, except the Clemson Study Abroad Program.

No, the benefit can only be applied toward classes and programs available through Clemson University.

In addition to meeting all other eligibility criteria, employees must satisfy 12 consecutive months of employment at Clemson University in a faculty or staff position to be eligible for this benefit. In other words, the employee must have at least 12 consecutive months of employment with Clemson and met all other eligibility requirements as of the last day to add classes for the specific semester the employee wants to use the benefit. Note: To gain eligibility for the ETAP during any summer session, a faculty or staff member must meet the criteria above by the last day to register for a class as determined in the first summer session.

No, it is not permitted for you to hold a graduate assistantship and a full-time faculty or staff position. You would need to choose between the combination of Clemson University employment and classes or the combination of an assistantship and classes.

Special Note – If you are using the ETAP benefit, your faculty or staff employment will always be considered your primary affiliation followed by a secondary affiliation as a student with Clemson University.

Faculty and staff members have the same opportunity to participate in programs of study or courses of study as any other student applying for acceptance, regardless of eligibility for the benefit.

The benefit waives 100 percent of all your mandatory academic fees, activity/program fees, and lab fees for up to 6 hours per academic term.

The benefit does not cover books, supplies, or other non-academic fees. In addition, the benefit does not cover costs associated with tuition over and above six credits per academic term (fall, spring and summer).

Note, if you exceed the IRS allowable threshold per calendar year, the University is required to establish payroll tax withholdings from your paychecks to offset any tax liability. For 2021, the IRS allowable threshold is $5,250.

If you are a graduate student, maybe. Under the current tax code, ETAP benefits valued over $5,250 are taxable for graduate students. If you exceed the $5,250 threshold for the calendar year, the IRS requires the University to establish payroll tax withholdings from your paycheck to offset any tax liability. Tuition paid for undergraduate courses is not taxable.

Tax regulations require the University to report and withhold at the time the benefit is earned and qualified as taxable. Once your benefit exceeds the IRS allowable threshold of $5,250 for the calendar year, the University is required to establish payroll tax withholdings from your paycheck to offset any tax liability.

Direct your ‘taxable value’ inquiries to Dionne Simmons in Accounting Services (864-656-1816/dionnes@clemson.edu).

Your specific tax withholdings are determined by your course load, total course cost, and enrollment periods.

Please use the Employee Tuition Assistance Program Calculator on the ETAP website. The calculator is easy to use, and it populates the advance withholding form.

The advance withholding form is a specialized form for ETAP participants to use to establish early payroll tax withholdings based on your anticipated ETAP benefit.

Submit the form to Payroll@clemson.edu.

You will not be required to reimburse Clemson for a semester’s courses if you become ineligible after courses begin. However, your benefit does not continue if you become ineligible (separate or move to a position no longer eligible for the benefit) before a semester’s courses begin.

OHR will notify Student Financial Services on your behalf. No further action is required by you.

Please contact Student Financial Aid (864-656-2280/finaid@clemson.edu).

Employees who have questions regarding registration should contact Clemson Registration Services (regserv@clemson.edu/864-656-2305).

Contact HR

Clemson University 
Office of Human Resources

108 Perimeter Rd,
Clemson, SC 29634

Phone: 864.656.2000
Fax: 864.656.4672

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