6.2.1 Application for EEAP

Revised: October 1, 2015, October 1, 2016; October 1, 2017; October 1, 2018; April 1, 2019; October 1, 2020

It is Sandhills Community College’s policy to grant a one-time increase of 5% in annual salary, subject to availability of funds, to employees who complete one of these degrees: a first-time associate’s degree, a first-time bachelor’s degree, a first-time master’s degree, or a first-time doctoral degree, or other educational milestone (as approved by the President). If the completion of a degree is a condition of employment, employees are ineligible for additional compensation. Employees should refer to Policy 6.1 for more information regarding participation in this program.

Certification of degree program completion must be submitted through the appropriate administrative channel for approval to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources. Said request will include a supporting letter from the employee’s department head documenting the request, a certified transcript indicating date and type of degree awarded, and a completed Personnel Action Form (PAF).

Eligibility
Faculty and staff who meet all the following criteria are eligible to participate in the Employee Educational Achievement Program (EEAP) funded through the SCC Career Educational Enrichment Benefit afforded all employees in year four after completion of the probation/mentoring period:

  • Full-time employment
  • Thirty-six months of continuous and non-probationary service with Sandhills Community College prior to the first day of class

Approved Courses of Academic Study
Academic courses/degrees from regionally accredited community colleges/universities are eligible for approval. Courses not accredited by the U.S. Department of Education are not eligible under this policy. Eligibility of academic programs is subject to all the following criteria:

  1. Courses must provide academic credit.
  2. The community college/university must charge tuition in the traditional meaning of tuition (as opposed to registration fees).
  3. Accreditation must be via an accrediting agency authorized by the U.S. Department of Education and the regional accrediting authority.
  4. Courses must begin and end on the traditional semester or quarter system utilized by the university or community college system. Reimbursement of web-based course work under accelerated learning course programs may not be covered in this policy.

Reimbursement
Due to the consistent demands on Foundation funds designated for EEAP, the College funds the SCC Career Educational Enrichment Benefit (described in Policy 6.1) at the following rates:

EEAP Caps:

  • SACSCOC discipline-related education programs: $4000 per academic year
  • Other approved educational enrichment programs: $2000 per academic year

These funds are governed by these criteria:

  1. Reimbursement may be received for tuition and fees.
  2. Reimbursement will not be awarded for transportation costs, late fees, graduation fees, examination fees, or supplies.
  3. Tuition reimbursement for undergraduate or graduate courses will not exceed the tuition prevailing rate charged by the University of North Carolina system.
  4. Funds permitting, the maximum annual employee reimbursement per semester is for two courses.

For undergraduate courses: Tuition and fees are reimbursed only for courses taken and completed with a final grade of “C” or equivalent, or higher. For graduate courses: Tuition and fees are reimbursed only for courses taken and completed with a final grade of “B” or equivalent, or higher.

Graduate tuition reimbursement is limited to one master’s degree and one PhD/Ed.D per employee.

Approval of graduate tuition reimbursement for a law degree may be granted only if the employee’s supervisor certifies that the program is specifically relevant to the applicant’s current position classification and will enhance her or his performance in the job.

If an eligible employee’s hours are reduced, or if the employee goes on a disability leave of absence, any approved course(s) in progress will be reimbursed, provided the course is completed with a final grade of “C” (undergraduate) or “B” (graduate) or equivalent, or higher, and fulfills the other provisions of this policy.

The following do not qualify for tuition reimbursement under this policy: professional seminars and workshops, symposia, non-credit courses, college/university entrance exams, review programs for entrance exams, or courses at non-accredited institutions.

Itemized fees which are not reimbursable to employees include application/pre-admission registration fees, transcript fees, test preparation fees, admission testing fees, placement fees, course waiver or challenge fees, travel costs (i.e., transportation, housing, meals, etc.), parking fees, equipment/kit purchase costs, tutoring fees, deferred tuition fees, student activity fees, student union fees, petition fees, recreation fees, health coverage costs, dissertation or thesis typing fees, development or foundation fees, institution fees, alumni fees, and other similar fees.

Tuition and eligible fees are not reimbursable when employees voluntarily terminate employment, when terminated for cause, prior to course completion, or when employees have not received advance approval.

Tax Considerations
The taxability of payments under the tuition reimbursement plan is in accordance with current Internal Revenue Service guidelines.

Steps to Application for EEAP Prior to Semester
Employees wishing to obtain permission for college support of job-related professional development opportunities must complete the Employee Educational Achievement Program Proposal, available on the College website under For Faculty & Staff, prior to beginning any educational program or registering for any class(es).

Employees must, of course, discuss the proposal with their direct supervisor and make certain the supervisor approves and supports the plan. While not all proposals will be approved, the college welcomes submissions of these EEAP funding requests. Following institutional review of the employee’s application for participation in the EEAP, the employee will be notified as to whether the application has been approved and as to which caps on funding apply. No tuition reimbursement or 5% salary increase will be approved without following all these steps to application for EEAP.

Each Semester
Upon written confirmation of the initial Employee Educational Achievement Proposal, each semester the employee must submit the Employee Estimate of Tuition and Fees form, available on the College website under For Faculty & Staff.

Upon approval of the Employee Estimate of Tuition and Fees form by the President’s Office, the employee may begin the registration process for his/her approved program for that semester. After Semester Within 30 days of completion of the semester or course, the employee must submit the following documents to the Executive Assistant to the President:

    1. Employee Educational Reimbursement Request form
    2. Grade Report
    3. Receipt(s) for tuition
    4. Copy of approved Employee Educational Achievement Proposal form
    5. Copy of approved Employee Estimate of Tuition and Fees form

The Executive Assistant to the President will process the reimbursement request, and if the paperwork is complete, the request for payment will be sent to the Business Office so a check can be written.

Miscellaneous
It is the sole responsibility of each approved program participant to register and enroll, on a space-available basis, at the enrolling institution where the participant desires to take one or more courses for credit, subject to the limitations of the program. No assistance with matriculation or enrollment will be provided to a participant by Sandhills Community College.

The educational assistance provided under this program is in addition to any other non-work-related educational assistance that individual agencies may be providing in the form of tuition reimbursement, vouchers, fellowships, etc., none of which constitute a part of this program.

Participation in this program shall not be deemed to give any participant the right to be retained in the service of the state or to interfere with the right of the employing agency to terminate employment at any time, regardless of the effect such termination has on continued participation.

All such salary increases will be effective January 1 for July through December graduates and July 1 for January through June graduates, depending on availability of funds.

Employees are expected to retain their full-time employment with Sandhills Community College for a period of two years after the receipt of tuition assistance.

Limitation
All approved coursework must be taken on the employee’s own time unless the course is not offered after working hours. Courses taken during work hours are subject to the discretion of the employee’s supervisor. Revised work schedules must not adversely affect departmental services or job performance.

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