I. Employee Use of Staff Privileges

What are Staff Fee Privileges and who is eligible to use them?

Oregon Public Universities employees appointed at half time (.5 FTE) or more (not including temporary employees, graduate assistants, and other student employees) may register for courses.

The reduced tuition benefit may be transferred to eligible family members including a spouse or domestic partner and their qualifying dependents. Employees and family members may register for a maximum of twelve (12) credit hours per term. Course enrollments must be approved by an employee’s supervisor or manager and may not take precedence over the performance of an employee’s duties.

Are staff members required to submit Staff Fee Approval Forms prior to the first day of classes when taking classes themselves?

Yes. The expected number of enrollments by staff and eligible family members each term requires a cutoff date to adequately complete processing. The deadline for staff members to submit Staff Fee Approval Forms is two days prior to the start of classes.

I am a faculty ranked employee of an Oregon Public University. May I use the Staff Fee Benefit to pursue an advanced degree at the campus where I am employed?

Yes. Per Oregon Administrative Rule 580-020-0005, employees who hold a faculty rank (instructor, senior instructor, research assistant, research associate, lecturer, assistant professor, professor), are required, every term, to obtain signed approval from the Graduate School Dean if seeking to pursue an advanced degree at the campus where employed. This approval process must be completed before submitting the Staff Fees Approval Form to your campus Human Resources Department.

Note: Chancellor’s Office employees are exempt from this approval requirement per Oregon Revised Statute 351.070, Definition of Unclassified Service.

Must I get my department's approval to use Staff Fee Privileges?

Yes. Your department or supervisor must approve your use of Staff Fee Privileges to ensure that your department and job duties will not be affected by the number of credit hours you request.

What is the staff fee rate for tuition?

The staff fee rate is 30% of resident undergraduate tuition. Semester rates, where applicable, are calculated on adjusted term rates, rounded to the nearest dollar. At campuses where an undergraduate differential tuition structure is in effect, the staff fee rate will be assessed at the “regular” (not differential) resident undergraduate tuition rate for both undergraduate and graduate students. Additional information about staff fee rates is located in the current academic year fee book.

As an employee using the staff rate, do I have to pay the same fees other students pay?

Staff members are not assessed Application, Health Services, Building and Incidental fees, and are therefore not eligible for services covered by these fees. No breakage or other deposit is required when registering for classes, however; employees are required to pay any applicable course fees, lab fees, payment deadline fees, registration fees, etc. A one-time Matriculation fee also applies to employees admitted into a program. Fees assigned to participating self-support programs are paid by employees unless waived by the university.

If I take a combination of graduate and undergraduate level courses, how is the staff fee determined?

To provide the highest value for Staff Fee Privileges, graduate level courses are offset by the staff rate first, before the staff fee rate is applied to undergraduate courses.

If I use Staff Fee Privileges, may I also audit courses?

Yes. Staff members may audit courses in addition to using Staff Fee Privileges. Tuition and Mandatory Fees (Programmatic, Universal, Building, Health, Incidental) are not assessed to courses audited by employees. However, any applicable course, lab or material fees associated with auditing for-credit classes will be assessed by the institution and is the responsibility of the employee or family member.

Employees or family members may audit classes on a space-available basis and are required to obtain the instructor’s consent. Courses approved for audit by the instructor confer no credit to the student. Institutions are required to maintain a record of the courses audited and staff members must indicate any audited courses being taken on the Staff Fees Privileges Approval Form each term.

Are there any programs or classes excluded from the Staff Fee Benefit?

Yes. There are certain programs / classes that are excluded. For a comprehensive list of classes /programs not eligible for the reduced tuition benefit, please go to the Exclude Programs by Campus listing.

What happens to the reduced tuition benefit if my employment with the OUS is terminated even though I was approved to receive the benefit before termination?

In the event your employment terminates before the beginning of the next term (even if the campus Human Resources Department has approved your request), the reduced tuition benefit is no longer available for your use and you will be assessed the full tuition amount if you continue to take classes.

The above policy also applies if you have transferred your staff tuition to your spouse, dependents, spouse’s dependents, domestic partners and/or dependents of domestic partners. However, you are eligible for the reduced tuition benefit in the term for which you were approved if you are employed on or after the first day of the single term.

What are the potential tax implications on the tuition benefit I received after my termination of employment with an Oregon Public University?

You are still responsible for the income tax liability on the difference between the reduced tuition benefit received and the full-cost of tuition. The university will send you a letter requesting a tax payment if you have:

  1. Exceeded the IRS annual limit of $5,250.00 for taking graduate courses
  2. Transferred the staff fee to family members taking graduate courses
  3. Transferred the staff fee to domestic partners and/or dependents of domestic partners who take either undergraduate or graduate courses.
I am an Oregon Public University retiree who is taking for-credit classes. Is there a tax liability for the reduced tuition benefit I receive?

Retirees are not taxed on tuition reductions when taking for-credit undergraduate courses or graduate courses taken to complete an undergraduate degree. Retirees are taxed on tuition reductions associated with for-credit graduate courses if the aggregate reduction for the class course work in a calendar year exceeds $5,250.

I see that the Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) is an affiliate of the Oregon Public Universities. As an OHSU employee, am I eligible to use the reduced tuition rates?

No. In fall 2003, Oregon Health Sciences University stopped participating in the Staff Fee Privileges Benefit Program and implemented its own reduced tuition program for OHSU employees. Additionally, Oregon Public University employees are not eligible to use the staff fee benefit for classes or programs offered by Oregon Health Sciences on Oregon Public University campuses.

May I use the staff fee benefit at more than one Oregon Public University campus during the term I have been approved for reduced tuition?

No. The benefit may be used at any institution, however; the Concurrent Enrollment policy was eliminated January 1, 2004.