The tuition assistance benefit at the University of South Carolina allows eligible faculty and staff to enroll in one three-hour credit course (four hours in the case of a lab course) per academic term at no charge, on a space available basis. Participants taking additional courses must pay the regular tuition rate in effect at the time of enrollment.
Known as the Tuition Assistance Program, this benefit provides permanent faculty and staff who are eligible the opportunity to further their education and their opportunity for advancement within the University.
Whenever possible, eligible faculty and staff are asked to enroll in classes
during hours that do not conflict with other University obligations;
however, when an approved class cannot be scheduled during off-hours,
the department chairman or director may elect to adjust the work
schedule. Department chairmen and directors also may deny participation
in the Tuition Assistance Program if the scheduled time of the course
would interfere with the academic or business needs of the department.
(See the USC Tuition Assistance
Policy for more information.)
When an approved class cannot be scheduled during non-work hours
and it is not feasible to adjust work schedules, participants who
earn annual leave may be allowed to take annual leave for the purpose
of attending class. Authorized leave without pay for up to 10 days
may also be used to attend class. Both annual leave and authorized
leave without pay must be approved in advance by the department
chairman or director. (See the USC
Educational Leave Policy for more information.)
Under the Tuition Assistance Program, the regular application fee is waived; however, the program doesn’t cover other expenses incurred or required by the course such as textbooks, field trips, laboratory fees, etc. Special fees for admission in some graduate areas also are not waived.
Participants may enroll in a course for academic credit, may audit a course, or may select the pass-fail option. Note: University regulations may prohibit the use of individual
option pass-fail graded courses toward a degree program. Eligible faculty and staff are encouraged to consult the appropriate graduate or undergraduate bulletin for other regulations that may apply.
- must be employed in a permanent (slotted) position for at least one semester
- be admitted to the University through the appropriate admissions process
Faculty who have received notice of non-reappointment are ineligible to participate in the Tuition Assistance Program for the academic term(s) following notification of non-reappointment.
- must be employed at least 30 hours a week in a permanent (slotted) position for at least six months
- be admitted to the University through the appropriate admissions process
If a faculty or staff member is enrolled in a course under this program and resigns, is dismissed, or otherwise leaves the University’s employment, he or she will be allowed to complete the course tuition free. However, that individual will not be permitted to enroll in additional courses under the program.
After being admitted as a student to the University, eligible faculty and staff must complete the tuition assistance application, which can be downloaded from this website, and return it to Margie Hammonds, Division of Human Resources, Room 119, 1600 Hampton Street, Columbia campus for approval.
Approval also can be obtained at the Salary Administration Office, Suite 804 at 1600
Hampton Street or at the campus human resources office on the
University’s regional and four-year campuses.
An employee’s application must be approved by their department then sent to the campus human resources office for a review of eligibility requirements and final approval or disapproval. Participants must present the approved Tuition Assistance Program application at the fee station at the time of registration in order to have tuition waived.
Approval of the tuition assistance application by the campus human resources office does not register or enroll a participant in the requested course, nor does it guarantee admission as a student to the University. Faculty and staff who are eligible for Tuition Assistance are individually responsible for applying for admission to the University and for receiving academic advisement.
- You must be admitted to the University through the regular admissions process before you can register for classes.
- Complete the tuition assistance application as early as possible and submit it to the Division of Human Resources by campus mail or in person.
- Pre-register via VIP soon after submitting your form to Human
- After Human Resources returns your approved tuition assistance application, forward a copy of it to Financial Services at 518 Main Street, keeping a copy for your records. (Allow 48 hours for Financial Services to award your tuition assistance award.)
- Apply your tuition assistance award via the financial aid option
under the fees menu on VIP. If you pre-register, be sure to apply
your award prior to the date of first cancellation (consult the
schedule of classes or check the Registrar’s website for cancellation
dates). You will be canceled if you do not commit your award prior
to the published cancellation dates. If you register in person
at Carolina Coliseum, you must proceed directly to Financial Services
and apply your award.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Tuition Assistance Program
- Must I be in a degree seeking program to take advantage of the Tuition Assistance Program?
- Must I fill out the tuition assistance form as well as all other forms for admission to Graduate School?
- Are May session and summer sessions covered by the Tuition Assistance Program?
- Do I have to pay the $25 application fee for graduate and undergraduate students?
- Can a graduate student take undergraduate classes not related to degree program?
- Can I pay for a class first to insure I get in it, then apply for reimbursement?
- Am I allowed to use the Tuition Assistance Program for correspondence courses?
- Where do I register?
- Register online through VIP (Visual
Information Processing), or at Carolina Coliseum as you would
any other course in which you enroll.
- Is it possible to register for class early to avoid registering at the coliseum?
- Yes, register online at http://vip.sc.edu.
- Are tuition assistance forms available at regional campuses?
- Yes, see the human resources representative on each of the University’s Regional and four-year campuses to obtain forms.
- What happens if I mail my tuition assistance form to the Division of Human Resources?
- After it has been approved, a copy will be kept on file and the form will be mailed back to you so you can continue the registration process. The next step is to go to the Financial Services Office, 518 Main Street.
- Who do I talk with about a problem dealing with fee payment and the Tuition Assistance Program?
- The Manager
of Fees and Refunds in the Financial Services Office, 518 Main Street.
- Are temporary employees eligible for the Tuition Assistance Program?
- Are temporary grant employees eligible for the Tuition Assistance Program?
- Yes, but the procedure is different. Refer to the Tuition
Assistance Benefits for Temporary Grant Employees web page for details.
- Are employees on continuous reappointment considered permanent?
- Depends on whether you are in a slotted position (call or e-mail the
Office of Salary Administration,
777-3111, for your position status).
- If I am getting financial aid for two classes and I get one class free, what happens to the unused financial aid money?
- Call or e-mail questions about financial aid to the Office
of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, 777-8134, or review
information available on the Student
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Assistance Application Form
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