Employee Tuition Waiver Policy

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Policy Code: 
Approval Authority: 
Vice Chancellor
Policy Type: 
Divisional Policy
Policy Owner: 
Chancellor's Office
Responsible Office: 
Human Resources - 828.251.6605


The Tuition Waiver Program provides an opportunity for an eligible employee to have the tuition waived for up to two courses taken at any of the constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina system per academic year. Participation is voluntary and courses may be taken for career development or for personal interest. The waiver of tuition for Faculty and Staff is approved by the Board of Governors, as authorized by N.C.G.S. 116-143 and the accompanying amendments.


This program is available to all permanent full-time employees of any institution of the University of North Carolina system, and to employees under military or civilian orders in campus ROTC programs. Temporary employees and adjuncts are not eligible.


Tuition – the tuition charged for credit instruction, including classroom and distance education, regardless of when the instruction incurs or by what means it is delivered.

Fees – the student fees required for attendance at an institution related to credit instruction, regardless of when the instruction occurs or by what means it is delivered. Fees such as travel, laboratory, books, materials, registration fees, athletic services and parking fees are not covered under this policy. Not all institutions offer a fee waiver.

Full-time faculty or staff member – a person who is employed at UNC Asheville in a permanent job position and works 30 or more hours per week for nine or more months per calendar year. These terms also include: a) personnel of the U.S. armed forces during the time they are assigned under military orders to an ROTC program of a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina as a permanent change of station, and b) civilian personnel federally employed 30 or more hours per week on a continuing basis in a position adjunct to an ROTC program of a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina.

Employing institution – an institution of the University of North Carolina.

Period of normal employment – the period of time from the start of employment within The University of North Carolina and ending with the satisfaction or discontinuation of the assignment or contract for full-time employment.

Normal employment obligations – those services that the faculty or staff member is obligated by written or oral contract or agreement to perform for the employing institution.

Academic Year – a fall semester, spring semester, and the summer semesters that follow, or courses taken as distance education.


An employee may have tuition waived for up to a maximum of two courses per academic year, provided that such enrollment does not interfere with the employee’s normal employment obligations. Attendance at lectures, meetings, or other activities associated with courses funded through the Tuition Waiver Program is not counted as work time.

Tuition waivers may only be applied to courses that are appropriations-funded, such as regular undergraduate and graduate-level courses, online courses, and independent studies courses. This includes enrollment in credit-earning courses through Continuing Education.

Certain fees may also be waived, but shall be limited according to the institutional policy determined by the Board of Trustees at each university.

Courses that are primarily receipt-funded or noncredit courses are not covered by the Tuition Waiver Program.

For UNC Asheville employees enrolled at UNC Asheville, tuition waiver may be applied to one summer session course per academic year. This feature may not be available to UNC Asheville employees enrolled elsewhere and is not available to other state or university system employees enrolled at UNC Asheville.

An employee may enroll in more than one University class per semester, but the employee will be responsible for the full cost of any additional classes unless they choose to use more than one tuition waiver during a semester.

If an employee is approved for a tuition-free course and the employee withdraws from the course within the drop/add period, the course will not count towards the two classes allowed annually. However, if the employee withdraws from the course after the drop/add period, the course will count as one of the two courses allowed annually.


I. Ensure Eligibility Requirements Are Met

A. The employee must be a contributing member of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System or the Optional Retirement Plan.

B. Apply for and be admitted through the admissions office of the university through which the course is offered within its specified deadlines.

C. The employee must maintain permanent employment status of 75% time (30 hours per work week) or more for the entire semester during which the course is being taken. If the employee’s work schedule changes to less than 30 hours per week or if the employee separates from permanent employment during the course, the employee may be billed for all or part of the tuition for the semester even if s/he officially withdraws from the course, as provided in the policies and procedures established by the Cashier’s Office of the enrolling institution.

D. Continue to meet normal employment obligations

E. The employee should attend class outside his or her established work schedule. Departments may offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate employee participation if the revised work schedule does not interfere with employment obligations. The decision to revise a work schedule is made by the employee’s supervisor and approved by the appropriate vice chancellor.

F. Submit the Employee Tuition Waiver Application to Human Resources prior to the tuition waiver deadline for each semester for classes to be taken at UNC Asheville. Please note: Tuition waiver deadlines may vary from institution to institution. Employees are responsible for knowing the deadline applicable to the institution at which they are enrolled. Tuition waiver applications must be processed by Human Resources then forwarded to the enrolling institution by that institutions deadline.

II. How to Apply for Tuition and Fee Waiver

A. Obtain and complete the applicant information on the Employee Tuition Waiver Application or the form from the University offering the course. For UNC Asheville courses, the form is available from the Office of Human Resources’ web site: http://hr.unca.edu/forms.

B. Apply and be accepted to the university by the Admissions Office.

C. The employee must register for the course in accordance with the institution’s guidelines under which the employee is admitted. Space must be available in the course.

D. Obtain approval signatures specified on the application form (i.e. employee’s supervisor, department head, etc.)

E. The employee should make a copy of the form for his/her records, and return a completed tuition waiver application form, with the required signatures, to the appropriate office of the enrolling institution by the deadline established by that institution. If the course is taken at another university, the employee is responsible for forwarding a copy of the approved Tuition Waiver Application form to UNC Asheville’s Human Resources office.

F. UNC Asheville’s Human Resources Representative will verify the employee’s eligibility and:

1. For courses at UNC Asheville – Human Resources will forward the application to the University Bursar to complete the processing. The employee should make a copy of the Tuition Application Waiver form for his/her records prior to submitting the form to Human Resources. The employee may verify that the course was approved through OnePort.

2. For courses at another UNC Institution – Some universities require that employees use their university’s Tuition Waiver Application form rather than UNC Asheville’s. This is permissible, but the employee must also forward a copy of the approved form to UNC Asheville’s Human Resources office.

Associated Forms: 
Reference Materials: 

The UNC Policy Manual, Chapter 1000.2.2