Training and Development

Training and Development jgastley3 Sun, 06/03/2012 - 10:08

Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program (STRAP) Policy

Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program (STRAP) Policy
Type of Policy
Administrative
jgastley3 Sun, 06/03/2012 - 10:10
Policy No
13.9
Effective Date
Last Revised
Review Date
Policy Owner
Human Resources
Contact Name
Kevin Merkel
Contact Title
Senior Director-Payroll and Total Rewards
Contact Email
Kevin.Merkel@ohr.gatech.edu
Reason for Policy

This policy reinforces Georgia Tech’s Strategic Plan focus area: Leading by Example to develop a world-class workforce committed to enhancing employee skills and providing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

Policy Statement

The Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program (STRAP) provides employees with an opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge needed for career development and advancement. This program supports the Institute's commitment to foster professional growth and development of its eligible employees.  Course work must be applicable to a career at Georgia Tech.

Employees are encouraged to use the University System of Georgia’s (USG) Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) whenever possible. However, if an employee is pursuing an accredited program not offered within the USG they may be reimbursed through STRAP for course work taken from accredited private educational institutions or Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) vocational / technical colleges that lead to a degree.  Employees attending USG institutions must use the USG TAP. 

STRAP funds are limited. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to the approval of GTHR.

Eligibility
Benefits-eligible, full-time (1.0 FTE) staff (exempt and non-exempt) who have a minimum of one full year of employment with Georgia Tech by the STRAP application deadline date may apply for the program. Eligibility ends upon termination of employment at Georgia Tech. STRAP participants must be employed at Georgia Tech through the completion of the course in order to receive reimbursement. Eligible employees must submit a new application for consideration and approval by the deadline for each academic term. The deadline dates can be found at: http://ohr.gatech.edu/staff-tuition-reimbursement-assistance-program.

Work Schedule Arrangements
To the extent possible, employees should not take courses that would require them to be absent from work during regularly scheduled work hours. If attendance in an approved STRAP course requires that an employee be absent from their assigned workstation during normal work hours, various accommodations may be possible, depending upon the needs of the unit/department and of the employee. Supervisors are encouraged to make a reasonable effort to find an appropriate work schedule accommodation; however, alternate work arrangements are within the sole discretion of the immediate supervisor. The supervisor must ensure that the employee’s participation in STRAP will not adversely affect departmental services, or, result in undue hardship for other employees. 

Acceptable Courses and Schools
STRAP provides partial reimbursement for classified Georgia Tech employees seeking a degree at any accredited private institution.

Employees not living in the State of Georgia
Institute employees who reside outside the State of Georgia who are pursuing accredited degree programs not offered within the USG as distance learning may be eligible for reimbursement if enrolled in a public accredited institution.  Employees hired by the Institute who are in the process of relocating to the State of Georgia while currently enrolled in a program at a public institution outside of Georgia, may be eligible to complete their program with STRAP reimbursement provided the employee and their accredited classes are not transferable within the University System of Georgia. 

Course Work (Applies to degree programs)
Course work must be taken for academic credit toward completion of a degree and must be related to a career field at Georgia Tech. Each employee must meet the admission requirements of the educational institution, acquire approval from their immediate supervisor and department head, submit application by the deadline date, and receive approval from GTHR for each course to be reimbursed. Non-credit continuing education courses, non-credit certificate programs, and Executive Programs are not eligible for reimbursement.

If there are any questions, please contact GTHR at (404) 894-4847 or eduassist@gatech.edu.

Reimbursement
For degree programs: Approved applicants may be reimbursed for their complete or partial tuition cost up to six (6) credit hours per semester. Upon completion of course work with a grade of C or better, the Institute will reimburse tuition costs up to a maximum of six (6) credit hours per semester. Please visit the STRAP website for the most up to date reimbursement amount.

The original tuition receipt showing a zero balance and an official transcript must be submitted via Workday for reimbursement. Expenses for fees, books, and other costs will not be reimbursed.

Scope

This policy applies to all staff within the Georgia Institute of Technology. Learn more about participation eligibility above.

Policy Terms

STRAP

Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program offered through the Georgia Institute of Technology.

TAP

Tuition Assistance Program offered through the University System of Georgia.

Workday

System used to process tuition reimbursement requests.

Procedures

Application
STRAP applications may be obtained at: https://hr.gatech.edu/education-assistance. A complete application must be submitted to GTHR (in-person, via mail at mail code 0435 or electronically) before the published deadline date. Employees will be notified via e-mail of the approval or denial of their application.

Reimbursement
Within thirty (30) days following the completion of course work, submit a Workday expense. Instructions can be found on the STRAP website.  If there are any questions, please contact GTHR at (404) 894-4847 or eduassist@gatech.edu.

Responsibilities

STRAP Coordinator
Processes STRAP applications.

Sr. Director, Total Rewards and Payroll
Owns and maintains policy.

Policy History
Revision Date Author Description
August 2022 Human Resources Updated to remove professional certifications in compliance with USG policy and procedures.
December 2021 Human Resources Updated Policy to include professional certifications.
November 2018 Human Resources Updated Policy
January 2004 Human Resources New Policy

TAP

TAP
Type of Policy
Administrative
jgastley3 Sun, 06/03/2012 - 10:11
Policy No
13.10
Effective Date
Last Revised
Review Date
Policy Owner
Human Resources
Contact Name
Kevin Merkel
Contact Title
Senior Director-Payroll and Total Rewards
Contact Email
Kevin.Merkel@ohr.gatech.edu
Reason for Policy

The University System of Georgia (USG) is committed to “the recruitment, hiring, and retention of the best possible faculty, staff and administration.” The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is committed to creating a more educated Georgia. As part of its desire to meet employees’ evolving needs, the USG has established the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). The purpose of TAP is to foster the professional growth and development of eligible employees.

Policy Statement

Program Guidelines

The program is available to all regular University System employees who have been employed full-time for the most recent six months immediately preceding application and who are eligible for University System benefits.

The program provides for a full waiver of tuition and fees for employees who register for classes at the University System institution where they are employed. Full reimbursement of tuition and fees is provided to employees who register for classes at other University System institutions.

The waiver or reimbursement can be provided for up to 10 credit hours per Quarter or 9 credit hours per semester. All tuition and mandatory fees will be covered.

Employees participating in the program must:

  1. Receive formal departmental approval
  2. Register during the employee registration period
  3. Pass the course(s) with a grade of C or better to receive the waiver or reimbursement
  4. Assume any tax liability which may accrue under this program

Georgia Tech supports the system-wide program guidelines which can be found at:
http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits/tuition_assistance_program_policy

Forms, FAQ’s, Registration Dates, and University System of Georgia TAP Coordinators can be found at:
http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits/tuition_assistance_program_tap/

Georgia Tech TAP Student Registration Dates as well as and other, specific Georgia Tech -related guidance can be found at: http://ohr.gatech.edu/board-regents-tuition-assistance-program.

Procedures

Application Procedures

Note: Employees must already be admitted students at the institution of attendance.

Obtain and complete the Tuition Remission Plan Request Form (TR-01) from the department supervisor or from the Department of Human Resource Development no later than 30 days prior to the start of classes for the Quarter or Semester.

After the Department of Human Resource Development verifies the employee's eligibility, the employee will receive a signed copy of the second page of the TR-01 Form. The employee may then register for classes under this program at his/her desired University System institution during the employee registration period. It is the employee's responsibility to ensure that registration occurs during this period. Registration during any other period places the entire financial burden for those courses on the employee.

The employee should obtain certification of enrollment during the employee registration period at the Registrar's Office of the institution where he/she has registered for courses utilizing the "Certification of Enrollment During Employee Registration Period" form. Note: This certification is not necessary for Georgia Tech employees attending courses at Georgia Tech. The "employee registration period" at Georgia Tech is the same as the students' "late registration period".

Reimbursement/Remission Procedures

Georgia Tech employees attending classes at Georgia Tech under this program will receive an automatic waiver of tuition and fees upon registration during the employee registration period. Employees attending other University System institutions must pay tuition and fees at those institutions under the guidelines set by those institutions. A receipt verifying the date and amount of payment will be required to obtain reimbursement.

Within three weeks after the end of the Quarter or Semester of attendance, employees participating in this program must submit the following documentation to the Office of Human Resource Development to obtain reimbursement:

  1. Verification of registration during the employee registration period (form available).
  2. A receipt certifying the date and amount of payment.
  3. A transcript or grade report certifying that the course was passed with a grade of "C" or better.

No reimbursement can be provided without these documents. Reimbursement may be expected within two weeks of submission.

Georgia Tech employees attending classes at Georgia Tech need only to present a transcript certifying that the course was passed with a "C" or better. Failure to present this document will result in a reversal of the employee's waiver, causing the employee to become liable for payment of all tuition and fees related to the classes attended under the program.

What If?

  1. What if I want to take classes during my regularly scheduled work hours?

Employees are expected to register for classes which occur outside of the regular work day whenever possible. Under rare circumstances, this may not be possible. Should such an instance occur, the employee's supervisor may approve or disapprove the employee's attendance at those classes. If approved, it will be the employee's responsibility to make up the missed hours during the same workweek or to charge vacation time, at the supervisor's discretion.

  1. What if my supervisor does not approve my request for participation in this program?

Approval or disapproval is at the supervisor's discretion. The employee may appeal a disapproval only when the permission has been denied on the basis of current job/career relatedness. The employee should appeal the decision first to his/her unit or department head. If that individual upholds the decision of the employee's supervisor, the employee may then appeal the decision to the Appeals Committee (STRAP Committee) through the Human Resource Development Department. All appeals must be completed prior to the first day of class. No other appeals are permitted under the program, and the Appeals Committee is the final avenue of appeal. Under this program, courses approved must be "of direct and significant assistance to the employee in carrying out present duties and responsibilities or in his or her professional development" or must "form part of a job-related degree program" that relates to an employee's current career in the University System.

  1. What if I fail to complete the course with a grade of "C" or better?

Failure to complete the course with a "Pass" or letter grade of "C" or better prevents the employee from receiving the benefit of remission or reimbursement under this program. Employees may not request reimbursement, and employees taking courses here at Tech will be responsible for paying the tuition and fees due for the applicable course(s). Repayment should be made at the Bursar's Office.

In addition, employees who fail to complete the course with a grade of "C" or better will be prohibited from further participation in the program for a period of 6 months from the date of withdrawal or the date the grade is sent to the Registrar's Office, whichever is earlier. After 6 months, the employee may again request participation in the program upon submission of a transcript certifying an average GPA of "C" or better. This transcript should be attached to the employee's Form TR-01.

  1. What if my employment with the University System ends prior to my completion of the course?

If an employee discontinues employment within the University System for any reason at any time prior to the end of the course period, no reimbursement or remission can be provided. Employees may not request reimbursement, and employees taking courses here at Tech will be responsible for paying the tuition and fees for the applicable course(s). Repayment should be made at the Bursar's Office.

  1. What if the course I want to attend is not available at a University System institution?

Courses may be taken without special exception at accredited University System institutions including Department of Technical and Adult Education institutions. All courses must be taken for credit. Any employee who wishes to take a course at another institution must substantiate in his/her application that the course is not available at a University System institution within 70 miles from Georgia Tech. The Georgia Tech Registrar's Office will be the final authority regarding course availability. If approved for reimbursement under such a provision, reimbursement will be limited to the in-state rate for an equivalent number of credit hours at Georgia Tech. In other words, the full cost of the course(s) may not be reimbursable.

  1. What if I have financial aid to cover a portion of my course costs?

Reimbursement or remission will be provided to cover only the portion of the course costs not covered by an employee's financial aid. Any approved financial aid should be noted by the employee on Form TR-01.

Differences from Current Programs

The Institute currently maintains two other educational support programs, the STRAP program and the GTRC Education Assistance Program for Faculty. Employees are encouraged to utilize the new Tuition Remission/Reimbursement program whenever it is possible for them to register during the "employee registration period" and when the course or degree program in which they are seeking participation is directly related to their current University System employment, as this new program generally provides a more generous benefit.

The specific differences are as follows:

  1. Under STRAP, the employee may request reimbursement for any course applicable to a career he/she intends to pursue at Tech, whereas the Tuition Remission/Reimbursement program applies only in cases where the coursework relates to the employee's current position.
  2. STRAP also reimburses for approved courses at any accredited institution, while the new program is largely restricted to courses at University System institutions.
  3. On the other hand, the new program requires only six months of full-time employment prior to participation, while STRAP requires 12 months.
  4. The new program provides remission for employees attending Georgia Tech, while STRAP is strictly a reimbursement program.
  5. The new program covers all mandatory tuition and fees, while the STRAP program covers only tuition.
  6. Lastly, STRAP will reimburse for only 6 credit hours per quarter or 4 credit hours per semester, while the new program will reimburse for up to 10 credit hours per quarter or 6 credit hours per semester.

The GTRC Education Assistance Program for Faculty is largely restricted to research-titled employees and reimburses only for a maximum of 6 credit hours per quarter plus the student activity and health fees. There is no remission provision under this program. Courses may be taken at any approved college or university.

For employees who cannot wait to register during the "employee registration period" or who wish to register for classes unrelated to their current program, STRAP or the GTRC Education Assistance Program for Faculty may prove more advantageous. For advice on the best alternative in a particular circumstance, the employee should consult the Human Resource Development Department in the Office of Human Resources at (404) 894-2249 or 894-3850.

 

Training Programs

Training Programs
Type of Policy
Administrative
jgastley3 Sun, 06/03/2012 - 10:10
Policy No
13.7
Effective Date
Review Date
Contact Name
TBD
Contact Title
Manager- Workplace Learning
Policy Statement

The Office of Organizational Development schedules job related training programs for regular employees during regular working hours (8:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.). Eligible employees must obtain prior approval from their supervisors/department heads and submit a registration form through our on-line system. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis. A training program schedule is available to all full-time employees via the web. Employees may attend training programs during regular working hours with no reduction in pay, and there is no need to make up time spent in class. For staff employees, time spent in training programs is considered time worked.

Employees Working Shifts

Staff employees whose normal working schedules are not 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. are eligible to attend training programs providing they meet the same requirements and follow the same registration procedures as employees working regular hours. Such employees must be compensated for the time spent in class or may be granted compensatory time off within the same pay period, at the discretion of the immediate supervisor.

Procedures

An employee who registers and is confirmed for any training program must notify the Office of Organizational Development of a cancellation no later than 5 working days prior to the program. The registration fee will not be refunded or credited for any cancellation after that time. Substitution of employees is encouraged in lieu of a cancellation. If 3 or more employees from a department cancel the same class, there must be at least 10 working days notice. Without 10 working days notice, the department will be charged the full fee. Training fees are charged to the employee's department for expenses incurred in the program (note the exception below).

If a supervisor or department head will not approve attendance in a training program, an employee may pay the course fee by personal check. If the class is scheduled during the employee's normal working hours, the employee will need supervisory approval to take vacation leave.