Professional Development Program

Overview

Washington and Lee University believes that investments in employee training and development contribute to a high level of job satisfaction and improve institutional productivity. The University offers a professional development program for staff including tuition reimbursement for educational opportunities at other accredited institutions. Reimbursement is considered for employees seeking to obtain a college level degree, attend educational courses not leading to a degree, or attend educational courses in preparation for work-related certification or license. Conditions for tuition reimbursement are outlined below.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for this program, an employee must:

  • be an active, full-time employee
  • have at least one year of continuous, full-time employment, and
  • have satisfactory job performance in current position

Funding

Priorities

Normally preference will be given to requests in the following priority order:

  • Work-related courses that will assist an employee in current position.
  • Enrollment in a work-related degree-program. Associate's or Baccalaureate degree programs considered first, then Master's.
  • Employee seeking his/her first degree will be given priority over those seeking a second degree, except an employee seeking his/her first baccalaureate degree will have equal standing regardless of whether the employee already has an associate degree.

Requests may be funded fully or partially for courses that will benefit the employee in his or her current position, improve job skills or position the employee for advancement opportunities at the University.

Timing of Requests

Decisions regarding funding will be made prior to the beginning of each budget year. Funding requests that are received by May 1 will be considered based on the priorities outlined above. Requests that are received after that date will be considered as they are received but only if funds are still available.

Policy Details

Any courses for which this program will be applied require pre-approval by the employee's supervisor and the responsible Vice President or Dean. Approved requests are submitted to the Office of Human Resources for review and consideration.

The professional development activity must take place and be completed during the fiscal year for which it was approved (exceptions may be made for summer courses that span two budget years).

The institution providing the course must be an accredited college or university (i.e., listed in the US Department of Education database of accredited institutions).

Classes are expected to be scheduled outside of working hours. Any special considerations or exceptions require prior approval of the Executive Director of Human Resources in consultation with the appropriate Vice President or Dean.

Eligible employees may request tuition reimbursement for 100% of tuition upon completion of a course(s) with a grade of C or better.

Within 60 days of course end-date, the employee must submit evidence of payment and a transcript or other official document indicating the grade achieved.

Washington and Lee University will comply with IRS rules regarding taxation of tuition reimbursement funds. (The Internal Revenue Code Sec. 127 allows employees to receive up to $5,250 of tax-free tuition assistance in a calendar year. Tuition assistance in excess of $5,250 will be reported as taxable income, except in cases where the course of study is directly connected to your current job requirements. Employees receiving tax-free tuition assistance may not claim the amount of tax-free assistance as a tax credit when filing income tax returns. Courses involving sports, games, or hobbies are not tax-free. Please consult with your tax advisor for further clarification.)

This program is intended to reimburse tuition costs only. Costs not reimbursed include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Textbooks
  • Service fees
  • Admission tests
  • Activity fees
  • Out of state resident fees/courses
  • Membership fees
  • Recertification fees
  • Licensure fees
  • Registration fees
  • Course audits
  • Transportation

Conference registrations are not eligible for funding through this program.

Pre-Approval Process

  • Employees interested in pursuing degrees should apply for financial aid first. Requests for funds from the University's Professional Development fund will be offset by loans, grants and other financial aid.
  • Employees wishing to apply for Professional Development funds should discuss their professional goals with their supervisors and seek out departmental funds first. Departments should only fund courses that are consistent with the eligibility criteria and funding priorities outlined above.
  • Employees interested in participating in the Professional Development Program must complete and submit the Pre-Approval Form to their Supervisor for approval.
  • If approved by supervisor, the supervisor is asked to provide a memo supporting employee request for funds and forward the memo and pre-approval form to their Vice President or Dean for approval.
  • Vice President or Dean approves and returns form with signature to supervisor.
  • Supervisor notifies employee of approval and sends signed pre-approval form to HR.
  • Priority will be give to requests that are received by May 1 of each year.

Reimbursement Request Process

  • Employees may request up to 100% of tuition at the beginning of the course(s) by providing the Office of Human Resources with an official receipt from the institution showing evidence of registration for course(s).
  • Upon completion of the course with a grade of C or better, the employee must submit required documentation within 60 days of course end date. A transcript or other official document indicating course completion and an itemized invoice are required.
  • Upon receipt of required documentation, HR will process tuition reimbursement to the employee or make payment directly to the educational institution.

Termination of Employment

If employment at W&L is terminated and the termination date is on or before drop/add, eligibility for this benefit ceases and the employee is responsible for full tuition. If the termination date is after drop/add, the course may be completed under the terms of this benefit.