One way that the university supports lifelong learning, is through our tuition assistance and tuition reimbursement program benefits.
Faculty and staff in full-time equivalent (FTE) positions qualify for our traditional Tuition Assistance Program which is a state benefit that provides employees free tuition for one class per semester. The Tuition Reimbursement Program is extended to faculty and staff in research grant or time-limited positions, and provides these employees the opportunity to be reimbursed for the cost of tuition for one class per semester as long as they receive a grade of “C” or better in the course. If you are not sure which type of employee you are, please contact the HR representative in your department for assistance. Temporary employees are not eligible to apply for any tuition assistance.
For both programs, employees may take one three credit hour course (four hours in the case of a lab course) per academic term, and are limited to four three credit hour courses (four hours in the case of a lab course) per academic year or the equivalent. Participants taking additional courses will pay the regular tuition rate in effect at the time of enrollment.
Please refer to the HR policy on tuition assistance [pdf], Guidelines for Tuition Reimbursement [pdf], or answers to frequently asked questions for additional details. You may also want to review the Educational Leave section of this site for information regarding class scheduling and requesting time away from work to attend classes.
How to Apply
All applicants are required to apply for admission to the university by the application deadlines and must meet university admission and credential requirements. You
are not required to pay the regular application fee. However, you will be required
to pay other expenses such as textbooks, field trips, laboratory fees, technology
fees and special fees for admissions in some graduate areas.
You must also complete one of the following tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement applications depending on what type of employee you are. Please be sure to read and follow all instructions listed at the top of the form.
- If you are a full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty or staff member or ROTC faculty member, please complete the Tuition Assistance Application [pdf].
- If you are a research grant or time-limited employee, please complete the Tuition Reimbursement Application and Promissory Note [pdf] to indicate that you will be liable to pay for the tuition cost should you not meet the required grade. This Promissory Note must be signed in the presence of a witness.
If you are an employee on the Columbia campus, your application should be approved by your department chair or director and then emailed to the Salary Administration Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an employee with the School of Medicine (SOM) Columbia campus, your application should be approved by your department chair or director and then sent to the Human Resources Office at the SOM. If you are an employee with one of our campuses outside of Columbia, please contact the Human Resources Office on your campus for application instructions.
For the Columbia campus, the official academic year is defined by the Registrar’s Office in the official University Academic Calendar. It typically begins in mid-August with the start of the Fall term and ends in early August with the end of the Summer term.
For programs on the Columbia campus that have non-traditional academic terms such as the Nursing School, the Professional MBA (PMBA), and On Your Time: Summer at Carolina, you are limited to receive tuition assistance or reimbursement for no more than 12 credit hours (16 hours in case of lab courses) in the official academic year.
All classes including Maymester and Summer sessions (Summer I, Summer II and On Your Time: Summer at Carolina) as well as all online courses are covered by the Tuition Assistance Program and the Tuition Reimbursement Program.
You are not required to be in a degree-seeking program to be approved for tuition assistance or reimbursement and graduate students can take undergraduate classes that are not related to their degree program and still be eligible.
Final approval of eligibility for tuition assistance or reimbursement is made by the Human Resources office on your campus and does not register or enroll a participant in the requested course, nor does it guarantee admission as a student to the University of South Carolina. Faculty and staff are individually responsible for applying for admission to the university and for receiving academic advisement.