Employee Tuition Assistance Program (ETAP)

About ETAP

The Employee Tuition Assistance Program (ETAP) is an excellent opportunity for qualifying College of Charleston employees.  The program covers basic tuition and certain fees for up to six credit hours per academic term (see policy for details and definition of "academic term") at the undergraduate or graduate level at the College of Charleston for a maximum of 18 credit hours each academic year.

In order to qualify, you must:

  1. Hold a permanent position (full or part-time of at least 30 hours per week) or be employed in a temporary grant-funded position, or time-limited project position.
  2. Have at least six months of state employment service on or before the course start date.
  3. Be eligible for admission to the College of Charleston (degree, non-degree or graduate admission)

*Certain restrictions and requirements apply.  Details can be found on the application form by clicking here and in the CofC policy by clicking here.

Application Process

  1. Get approval from your supervisor. The course taken may not interfere with the number of work hours per week.
  2. Apply for admission to the College of Charleston.
  3. Apply for ETAP grant funds. ETAP application can be found here. Your supervisor will automatically receive a request through Microsoft Teams to approve your application, once submitted.
  4. Register for the course via MyCharleston.
  5. If awarded, grant funds will become available after registration is complete.

For more information or questions, contact Becky McManus, Director of Training & Development.

FAQs

  1. Do I have to apply to the College of Charleston before applying for ETAP benefits?
  2. Who is eligible for this benefit?
  3. What is considered an "academic term?"
  4. How many hours can I take?
  5. With what academic programs can the benefit be used?
  6. What tuition fees are included in the ETAP benefit?
  7. Will ETAP benefits result in taxable income to me?
  8. How do I register for courses?
  9. Do I need approval from my supervisor to take courses?
  10. What if I can't schedule class around my work schedule?
  11. What happens if I do not pass the course or get an "incomplete"?
  12. If I applied for ETAP one term and was approved, does that mean my approval will carry over for the next term?

 

  1. Do I have to apply to the College of Charleston before applying for ETAP benefits?
  • Yes. You must be admitted to the College of Charleston through the appropriate admissions process (degree, non-degree or graduate admission) or be eligible to enroll as a continuing student.
  1. Who is eligible for the benefit?
  • Faculty: To be eligible to receive tuition assistance, faculty must be employed in a permanent FTE, time-limited, or temporary grant position and have successfully completed one semester of employment with the College. 
  • Staff: To be eligible to receive tuition assistance, staff must be employed at least thirty hours per week in a permanent FTE, time-limited, or temporary grant position, and have satisfactorily completed six (6) months of employment with the College.
  1. What is considered an “academic term”?
  • For purposes of this policy, “academic term” is defined as the (1) fall semester, (2) spring semester, and (3) the summer term.  There are a total of three (3) academic terms per year. The “summer term” is defined as the time between classes ending in May and beginning in August.
  1. How many hours can I take?
  • Eligible faculty and staff may take up to six (6) credit hours (undergraduate or graduate) per academic term, at no charge, on a space available basis.
  1. With which academic programs can the benefit be used?
  • Undergraduate and Graduate level courses at the College of Charleston.
  1. What tuition fees are included in the ETAP benefit?
  • The ETAP benefit covers basic tuition and certain fees.  The regular application fee will be waived; however, ETAP does not pay for other expenses incurred or required by the course such as textbooks, field trips, laboratory fees, technology fees, etc. Special fees for admission in some graduate areas will not be waived.
  1. Will ETAP benefits result in taxable income to me?
  • Undergraduate Level Classes: Undergraduate ETAP participants are not taxed on this benefit.
  • Graduate Level Classes: Per IRS publication 15-B, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that the graduate tuition benefit is not excluded from the income of employees. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires the taxation, via your paycheck, of any tuition assistance which is provided to an employee enrolled in a graduate program and in excess of the $5,250 threshold per calendar year. Further, the IRS requires the College to establish payroll tax withholdings from your paychecks to offset any tax liability. If it becomes necessary to establish tax withholdings, the faculty or staff member will be notified by the College of the taxable income to be included in each paycheck and the subsequent tax impact. ETAP participants can modify the pace at which they approach a graduate program to remain within the permitted $5,250/calendar year tax-free educational assistance.
  1. How do I register for courses?
  1. Do I need approval from my supervisor to take courses?
  • Whenever possible, faculty and staff are asked to enroll in classes during hours which do not conflict with their College employment obligations; however, when an approved class cannot be scheduled during off hours, the department head or director may elect to adjust the work schedule. Department heads and directors may deny participation in ETAP if the scheduled time of the course would interfere with the academic or business needs of the department. Department heads and directors are encouraged to be supportive and flexible with employees in taking ETAP courses to the extent possible.
  1. What if I can’t schedule class around my work schedule?
  • 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 may also be used to attend class. Both annual leave and authorized leave without pay must be approved in advance by the department head or director. Supervisors are responsible for accurately monitoring employee work and leave time for participating employees.
  1. What happens if I do not pass the course or get an “Incomplete”?
  • Participants must complete and pass the course(s) taken at the end of the approved term to remain eligible for tuition costs covered under this program.  Participants will be ineligible to apply in the subsequent academic term and will be required to reimburse the College for any course in which they fail to meet this criteria.  The ETAP does not include course audits. A course status of “I” (incomplete) is not considered a passing grade and is not eligible for funding until a passing grade is received.
  1. If I applied for ETAP one term and was approved, does that mean my approval will carry over for the next term?
  • Applicants for ETAP must apply for each term they wish to receive grant funds. Approval status into ETAP for one term does not carry over into another term.

Links to College Programs

Finish Your Bachelor’s Degree Online

You can complete your degree online through the School of Business and earn a Bachelor of Professional Studies. Concentrations are available in four areas of study: applied communication, healthcare and medical services management, organizational management and development and project management.

 

Earn a Certificate in Project Management

The 18-hour (six courses) certificate in project management is a concise way to strengthen your skills in strategic planning, managerial insight and communication. Prospective students interested in the Project Management certificate must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.

 

Professional Education Opportunities

The Center for Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE) at the College of Charleston School of Business provides executive education, professional development, exam preparation and other education opportunities to serve the needs of non-degree seeking students.