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Office of Human Resources

Employee Tuition Assistance Program

Clemson University is committed to attracting, retaining, rewarding and developing top talent, and the University understands the importance of higher education with respect to career development. The goal of the Employee Tuition Assistance Program (ETAP) is to encourage professional growth, enhance employee performance and support employee career development. As external market conditions and internal budgetary constraints allow, Clemson University will support the ETAP. Employees participating in the ETAP must coordinate their class times with their direct supervisors.

ETAP Policy

  • How to Access the Benefit

    All employees who register for classes are automatically screened for ETAP eligibility and are no longer required to apply to ETAP in order to receive the benefit. The following includes information on how a faculty or staff member should proceed to take advantage of the Employee Tuition Assistance Benefit.

    Step I: Elect Academic Programs/Independent Courses

    • Faculty and staff members can use the benefit to complete a degree, to take classes as a special student and/or to audit a class.
    • It is the responsibility of the faculty or staff member to apply to and be admitted to a specific academic program within the applicable admission period or establish special student status as a non-degree-seeking student.
    • The tuition assistance benefit is independent of any application process needed to be accepted into an academic program at Clemson University. Faculty and staff members are asked to contact the academic program of their choosing to discuss the program’s application requirements. The University Registrar’s Office is also available for assistance.
    • The tuition assistance benefit does not guarantee acceptance into any program or class. Faculty and staff members have the same opportunity to participate in programs of study as any other student applying for program acceptance and/or course of study.

    Step II: Register for Classes

    • After being accepted into an academic program, faculty and staff members are asked to register for classes per the instruction of their program.
    • Registering for classes will trigger the Office of Human Resources (OHR) to review the employee’s eligibility for the benefit.

    Step III: Await Communication from OHR

    • It is the intent of OHR to provide applicants confirmation of their eligibility to utilize the benefit, 1) no earlier than the date the applicant’s bill is available through IROAR for the semester in question, and 2) no later than the last day to register for classes for the semester in question.
    • OHR reserves the right to provide the applicant updated information regarding the applicant’s eligibility for the benefit should OHR receive new or updated information at any time.
    • It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor his or her student bill in IROAR to ensure the benefit has been applied.
  • Program Benefits

    The ETAP provides a 100-percent waiver for graduate and undergraduate education courses for up to six (6) credit hours per academic term to vested employees. Academic terms are considered fall, spring, and summer.

    The program benefit covers 100 percent of most mandatory academic fees, activity/program fees, differential fees, and lab fees for up to six (6) hours per academic term; books, supplies or other non-academic fees will be the faculty or staff member’s responsibility. Faculty and staff members are also responsible for the cost of tuition over and above six (6) credit hours per semester.

    The ETAP does not provide financial support for the following:

    • Admissions and application fees
    • Course fees not applied to the IROAR student bill including but not limited to, material fees, licensing fees, etc.
    • Study abroad fees
    • Orientation fees
    • Independent study fees and applied lesson fees through Performing Arts
    • Courses through the Center for Corporate Learning
  • Program Eligibility

    To gain eligibility for the ETAP, a faculty or staff member must meet the following criteria by the last day* to register for the class for the semester in which the benefit is being applied:

    • Employment status of 75 percent time (minimum 30 hours per work week) in a regular FTE, temporary grant or time-limited position,
    • Employment status at Clemson University for twelve (12) consecutive months, and
    • Employment status in good standing in relation to conduct and job performance.  An employee who has received disciplinary action or who has received a warning notice of substandard performance or similar circumstances in the last year is not eligible to participate in the ETAP.

    *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.

  • When Eligibility Ends

    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.

  • Program Scope

    Assistance offered through the ETAP:

    • Is available to eligible faculty and staff members and does not provide assistance to their dependents.
    • Applies to all undergraduate and graduate courses within programs offered by Clemson University, except the Clemson Study Abroad Program.
    • Does not need to include career-related courses.
    • Is not subject to time restrictions, however, programs of study may require completion in a certain amount of time.
  • Scheduling of Courses

    Faculty and staff members can enroll in day and/or evening courses. Scheduled class times and course work must not interfere with the performance of job duties and responsibilities; however, supervisors are encouraged to allow flexible schedules when possible. If courses are taken during normally scheduled work hours, faculty and staff members should discuss the possibility of a modified schedule with their supervisor. A modified work schedule on behalf of a participating faculty or staff member should accommodate the course schedule and still allow the faculty or staff member to meet all job expectations. See the Office of Human Resources Workweek policy for more details on adjusting work schedules.

  • Potential Tax Liability

    Undergraduate Level Classes

    Undergraduate ETAP participants are not taxed on this benefit.

    Graduate Level Classes

    Per IRS publication 15-B, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that the graduate tuition benefit is not excluded from the income of employees. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires the taxation, via your paycheck, of any tuition assistance, which is provided to an employee enrolled in a graduate program and in excess of the $5,250 threshold per calendar year. Further, the IRS requires the University to establish payroll tax withholdings from your paychecks to offset any tax liability. If it becomes necessary to establish tax withholdings, the faculty or staff member will be notified by the University of the taxable income to be included in each paycheck and the subsequent tax impact. ETAP participants can modify the pace at which they approach a graduate program to remain within the permitted $5,250/calendar year tax-free educational assistance.

    New ETAP participants should consider using the Employee Tuition Assistance Program calculator to estimate your taxable income, number of withholdings and withholding amounts based on your specific information. Existing ETAP participants will be reminded of this option in January each year.

  • Support for Participants

    To assist participants in their journey, Clemson University is committed to providing ongoing guidance and support. So that the University can provide you optimum support, please refer to this list below to direct your inquiries:

    ETAP Support
    Inquiry Contact
    General Program Questions Ask-HR
    Payroll Deductions / Annual Tax Liability / 864-656-4670
    Student Financial Services / 864-656-5592
    Financial Aid / 864-656-2280
    Registrar’s Office / 864-656-2171, select “0”


Senior Citizens Tuition Waiver

Not eligible for ETAP? Are you age 60 and a resident of SC? You may qualify for the state’s Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver.

Office of Human Resources
Office of Human Resources | 108 Perimeter Rd, Clemson, SC 29634