Frequently Asked Questions

State of Connecticut Tuition Reimbursement Program

Question 1: What does "payment on a first-come, first-served basis" mean?

A. There are two answers depending on whether a priority list is prepared for the employee's bargaining unit. (Currently NP-3, NP-2, P-2, P-3B, P-4, P-5 and Managerial employees have a priority list and use the following process to determine what is meant by "first-come, first-served basis"). Applications for tuition reimbursement are to be submitted to the agency at least two weeks and not earlier than three months prior to the start of classes. Follow-up material must be in by the deadlines stated. OSC will use information obtained from the Tuition Reimbursement Logs submitted by each agency to prepare a priority list based on the date received at OSC. The Office of the State Comptroller will pay tuition reimbursement for those on priority lists as they are received. If monies are close to being depleted and applications reach the Office of the State Comptroller at the same time, the application originally received for approval first will be paid first. On a specified date (usually August 1), the Office of the Comptroller will pay those applications received that appear on the "Alternate List" for payment.

For bargaining units without a priority list (NP-1, NP-4, NP-5, NP-6, P-1, P-3A) applications are paid as they are received by the Comptroller's Office.

Question 2: Are Preparation Courses covered under the Tuition Reimbursement Program?

A. Preparation and self-development courses, such as the Certified Public Accountant courses or language courses must receive prior approval by the State Tuition Reimbursement Coordinator. The application should include an explanation of or documentation for the program and its relevance to the employee's State job. It is important to note, however, that if the employee's collective bargaining agreement specifies non-credit classes are not eligible for reimbursement, then employees under the agreement will not be reimbursed for these expenses. If the contract is silent, employees will be reimbursed for these courses at the non-credit rate, undergraduate or graduate rate specified by the collective bargaining agreement. Rates of reimbursement are determined by the requirements of the program. For example, if program requires a Bachelor's degree or Life Experience is considered to be equivalent to a Bachelor's Degree, then the employee will be reimbursed at the graduate rate. If a Bachelor's degree is NOT required, then employee will be reimbursed at the undergraduate rate.

Question 3: What if an employee changes bargaining units or agencies after applying for benefits under the Tuition Reimbursement Program?

A. An employee who begins a course while in one bargaining unit but during the duration of the course is promoted or transferred into another job (and thereby another bargaining unit) is still eligible for tuition reimbursement if funds are available in the new bargaining unit. The original date of application will be used to determine priority. The new bargaining unit's account will be charged for the reimbursement of the course(s). If the employee becomes a confidential employee, the reimbursement is from the agency's budget based on tuition reimbursement program guidelines for the collective bargaining agreement of the union most closely affiliated with the employee's (Confidential) position. The exception is an employee entering the NP-5 Protective Services unit. For this bargaining unit, in addition to submitting the CO-101 to the TRO, the employee must complete the Protective Services Education Committee Training and Tuition Fund Application Form and submit it to the Protective Services Educational Committee.

In general, the employee's new bargaining unit (or agency) should process the application

Question 4: Is an employee who resigns or otherwise terminates their employment with the State of Connecticut eligible for Tuition Reimbursement Program benefits?

A. An employee must be employed by the State of Connecticut on the LAST DAY of classes to be eligible to receive reimbursement.

Question 5: How is the level of a Professional Development Seminar or other course determined if not specified by the degree program?

A. If the Professional Development Seminar or other course that is not specified by the degree program requires a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite, it will be considered to be at the graduate level. If it does not require a degree it will normally be considered undergraduate. If the institution can show that it is a graduate course an exception can be made.

Question 6: How do you determine if the employee should be reimbursed at the undergraduate or graduate level in situations where the institution charges graduate rates but the course is listed as undergraduate in the catalog?

A. In a college program for credit, the level of the course will be determined by whether the student obtains graduate credit in the program of study. If a student must take an undergraduate course as a prerequisite for the graduate program but obtains no graduate credit toward the degree, the course will be covered at the undergraduate level, even if the school charges the graduate rate. However, if the student takes an undergraduate course, receives graduate credit, and is charged the graduate rate then the student should receive graduate rate reimbursement.

Question 7: Is there a conversion chart for non-credit courses/seminars?

A. Yes. The following chart explains the conversion breakdown.

Hrs./Course # Credits Hrs./Course # Credits Hrs./Course # Credits
6 - 14 1 80 6 140 11
15 - 29 2 92 7 152 12
30 - 44 * 3 104 8 164 13
56 4 116 9 176 14
68 5 128 10 188 15

Question 8: If an employee is enrolled in an External Degree Program and has been approved for a short-term loan from the institution to cover the enrollment fee, is the employee reimbursed for this fee?

A. Yes. The employee may be reimbursed for any enrollment fee (or portion thereof) that s/he has actually paid. For example, if payments are spread over three installments, the employee may apply for reimbursement after each payment has been made. If payments are made in different semesters, the reimbursement will also be made in different semesters.

Question 9: Is there a "general rule of thumb" for timely filing under the Tuition Reimbursement Program?

A. Yes The generally accepted practice is that applications may be filed between three months and two weeks prior to the start of the course(s). Some bargaining unit contracts require applications to be filed at least two (2) weeks prior to the start of the course. A two-day grace period is allotted for applications submitted via Interdepartmental Mail in order to determine whether the employee filed timely. If the application was submitted via First Class Mail, the TRO uses the postmark date as the date of submittal. If a copy of the application form is sent to the TRO via FAX, the date of receipt on the material received via FAX is used as the application date. (In this case, the employee must submit the original application form along with the FAX Transmittal Sheet to the TRO immediately upon sending the information via FAX.) It is at the discretion of the TRO whether or not to accept late applications and may require written justification from the employee.

Question 10: Under several employee contracts, the maximum amount allowed per credit hour is listed as 75% of the UCONN rate. What is this amount and how is it delivered?

A. Each semester or year, UCONN publishes the tuition rates it charges for in-state graduate and undergraduate students at the Storrs campus. The state will obtain these rates and use these rates to determine the maximum allowable limits for reimbursement for these bargaining units.

Question 11: How do you calculate the recommended reimbursement for a student who receives veteran's tuition waiver benefits?

A. Employees who have received financial aid must report this on their tuition reimbursement application. The amount of reimbursement paid will be calculated on the amount of money the applicant actually had to pay (the amount of aid will be deducted).

Question 12: If I put more than one course on the same tuition reimbursement application and don't finish all of them by the end of the semester and receive a grade of incomplete, can I submit reimbursement documentation for the courses I finished?

A. Yes, provided courses are completed within twelve (12) months from the start date. Submit your grade(s), receipt, and CO-101 form as outlined in this manual to your agency's TRO. He or she will make a copy of your original application to attach to your reimbursement documentation for those courses that you completed. At the time the incomplete is received you should request an extension to complete work on that course and indicate when the course will be completed. The TRO will then move the incomplete course to the semester where it will be completed. Typically, this should be the following semester. When you finish the course in which you received a grade of incomplete, submit your reimbursement materials per the usual procedure. Your TRO will use your original application when processing the paper work for your outstanding class.

Question 13: Can a clerical employee receive tuition reimbursement for a class that was finished while the employee was on a leave of absence (maternity)?

A. The Comptrollers' Officer will reimburse tuition through union funds for employees who are working when the class begins, go on leave before the class is finished and have signed intent to return to work. They will also process tuition reimbursement for employees who begin a class while on leave but return to work before the class is finished.

An employee who is on an unpaid leave when the class begins and ends will not be reimbursed for the class, except when the employee is on an approved educational leave.

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