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Academic Reimbursement Program

UNC Health Care offers its employees the opportunity to participate in the Academic Reimbursement Program. This is a tuition reimbursement program administered by UNC Health Care. It is available to all permanent employees who work 20 or more hours per week, and are not in a probationary or disciplinary status. Additionally, in accordance with NC General Statute 143B-421.1, all male UNC Health Care employees who are eligible for selective service must be registered in order to be reimbursed for academic costs through the Academic Reimbursement Program.

The information published in this Web page is excerpted from the UNC Health Care's Human Resources Management Policies and Procedures Manual. To view a full version of the Academic Assistance Program Policy, please consult Chapter 6 Employee Benefits of the online policy manual or click the link provided below:

Academic Assistance Program Policy (restricted to employees)

Departmental Purview

Employees must give the form to their immediate supervisor. The supervisor reviews the information supplied and ensures the class attendance does not conflict with the department schedule. The supervisor must sign and date the form prior to it being submitted to HR for reimbursement.

Approved Sources Academic Study

Academic courses/degrees from accredited high schools, community colleges/colleges/universities via traditional classroom, video-based, distance learning, Web based, e-learning, and certain correspondence courses are eligible for approval.

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Approved Academic Degree Programs

Eligibility of academic degree programs is subject to ALL of the following criteria:

  • Approved academic courses are defined as courses taken within the context of a degree earning program preparing the employee for another position within UNC Hospital or UNC Faculty Physicians; and,
  • Courses must provide academic credit (as opposed to Continuing Education Unit's); and,
  • The academic degree and its courses must be listed in the community college/ college/university course catalog; and,
  • The community college/college/university must charge tuition in the traditional meaning of tuition (as opposed to only registration fees); and,
  • Accreditation must be via an accrediting agency authorized by the U.S. Department of Education

Academic studies not meeting all of the above criteria are INELIGIBLE for reimbursement under the Academic Assistance Program. Furthermore, Academic Assistance shall not be approved where management has determined that neither the academic degree nor the course is of benefit to UNC Health Care.

Eligibility

Employees who meet ALL of the following criteria at the time the form is processed are eligible to participate in the Academic Assistance Program:

  • Employment status must be full-time or part-time (scheduled to work 20 hours or more per week), hired on regular or time-limited regular appointment; and
  • Employee(s) must not be in temporary, per diem and/or in probationary status to be eligible for Academic Assistance; and
  • Employees must not be in disciplinary action through the period of reimbursement to be eligible for Academic Assistance; and
  • Employee(s) must be paid by UNC Hospital or UNC Faculty Physicians; and
  • Employee(s) must be continuously and actively employed with UNC Health Care through the completion of the course of study to receive reimbursement and must remain actively employed with UNC Health Care for up to six months following a reimbursement or pay back the full amount of the last semester reimbursement at termination; furthermore
  • NCGS 143B-421.1 requires males between the ages of 18 and 25 to be registered for Selective Service in order to be reimbursed academic costs (this includes both US citizens and immigrant aliens residing in the US and its territories); and

Denial of participation in the academic assistance program is not grievable, except on grounds of discrimination.

Submission Procedures

Prior to submission for approved course(s), UNC Health Care employees should obtain an Academic Assistance Request form from the Benefits Online Web site.

The semesters should be marked as follows: classes that start between January - March are Spring, April -May are Summer Session I, June - July are Summer Session II, August - December are Fall.

Prior to submission, employee will need to complete the appropriate sections, and then submit the completed form to their supervisor. The supervisor should review the information supplied and complete the Supervisor Review section and return the form to the employee.

The employee shall keep the original form and pay for their course tuition in full and save the original receipt of payment.

Upon successful completion of the course (see above), within 30 days of the final exam date the employee needs to submit ALL of the following:

Forms submitted more than 30 days after the final exam date will not be processed and will be returned to the employee. For incomplete forms, employees will be contact by e-mail or phone to send in the missing grade and/or receipt. If the requested grade and/or receipt is not submitted within 14 days of request, the form will be returned unprocessed to the employee at their department address with UNC Health Care. Forms that have been returned are still subject to the original 30-day time period after the class has ended.

Limitations

Under the Academic Assistance Program all approved courses must be taken on the employee's own time unless the course is not offered after working hours. For a course taken during work time, it is at the discretion of the Department Head or designee to determine work/non-work pay time. Approval to take a course during working hours must be received prior to starting the course. Revised work schedules should not adversely affect departmental services or employee job performance.

Reimbursement

Reimbursement will only be granted to participants upon successful completion of the course(s), which is defined as an outcome of Satisfactory, Pass, or a grade of “C” or better for Undergraduate courses and a grade of “B” or better for Graduate courses. Eligible employees may receive reimbursement for tuition costs not to exceed the maximum amount charged within the University of North Carolina system for a similar course. Reimbursement amounts are based on credit hours. Reimbursement is limited to 5.9 credit hours per course (single class), unless the class is taken at a Community/Technical College.  Reimbursement is limited to a maximum of 20 credit hours per fiscal year. Payment of reimbursable costs may take up to 7 weeks from the date the form has been received at Human Resources. The ceiling of reimbursement per course for in-state academic costs charged by colleges and universities (other than the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina) in fiscal year 2016-2017 is as follows:

  • Undergraduate
    • Universities $311.31 per semester credit hour not to exceed $1,836.73 per class
  • Graduate
    • $574.97 per semester credit hour not to exceed $3,392.32 per class
  • Community Colleges $76.00 per credit hour

ALL REIMBURSEMENTS ARE AT THE IN-STATE TUITION RATES

Academic Rate examples.

Financial Assistance

Any financial aid program shall not be duplicated under the Academic Assistance Program (ex. grants, scholarships, or school tuition discounts - money you do not have to pay back). However, the difference between any financial aid received from another program and the total eligible reimbursement from the Academic Assistance Program may be reimbursed. Original documentation of the amounts received through other financial aid programs should be included along with the employee's Academic Assistance paperwork when submitted for review.

If you are participating in the UNC Heath Care Employee Loan Program or have any loans through banks that will be repaid, then this is not considered duplication of aid and will not be subtracted from eligible amount an employee may receive.

Repayment

Employees who receive reimbursement under this plan must remain employed for a minimum of six months after completing a course and receiving the reimbursement. If an employee terminates, is dismissed, or transfers to Per Diem status before the six month obligation (from date reimbursed), he or she must reimburse UNC Hospital for the tuition paid for the most recent semester. UNC Health Care will withhold money from a final salary payment to a separating employee and/or bill the employee to recover the cost due to UNC Health Care.

Questions

Questions regarding interpretation of the Academic Assistance Program policy should be directed to the Human Resources at 984-974-1062 or by email to Academic Reimbursement.

Click here to download a copy of the Academic Assistance Reimbursement Request Form.

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