Author Topic: Tution Waivers at UND  (Read 3085 times)

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Offline SoonerNSioux

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Tution Waivers at UND
« on: December 15, 2007, 07:17:46 pm »
This past semester, our Dept. as well as others have been scrambling to make sure graduate students with assistantships are covered for tuition.  In the past, if the Dept paid an assistantship (basically a stipend to go to school and do research for your advisor or teach), UND covered the tuition. Since UND is a smaller institution, this works out ok because the scientists writing proposals for grants can include less $$ for students which makes the research look like more bang for the buck = higher probability of receiving the grant = more publicity and $$$ for the university since they take a cut off of grants.

From what I understand, this past summer/spring, the University dropped the news that they would no longer cover tuition waivers.   While it is not uncommon for grant $$$ to also pay for tuition, the big issue here is the fact that the university gave little lead time to the departments with graduate studies.  When grants are often written for multiple years, and cover MS students that will be around for 2-3, and doctorates for 3-5, this is a pretty big deal.   Departments are left with several years of surrounded by question marks... where will the tuition money come from?

The University /graduate college will only cover tuition for TAs now.  The problem with TAs, is in most cases, it effectively slows your graduation time because there is less time for research.  Not a problem, except the graduate college is also complaining about students taking too long to graduate. To get around the new policy and assure tuition waivers for their students,  departments are forced to justify and fill x amount of TA slots... slowing down graduation times for some grad students.

The kicker is an article that came out in the Herald the other day about the university in a budget crunch due to a shortage in students.  While this is understandable, I just received an email over Umail about how UND is now starting a new program to give 50% tuition waivers to spouses of every UND employee.  Hmm... I wonder why they cut tuition waivers...


Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2007, 11:20:26 am »
This is a big issue right now in my department as well.  I can't take the time to write about it right now, but could you post that email? I didn't get it.
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Offline SoonerNSioux

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2007, 12:01:41 pm »

Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2007, 07:08:11 pm »
1.  It has been suggested to me that giving tuition waivers to spouses and dependents might be in exchange for those employees losing some other benefit--but to make it look like they aren't losing a benefit, instead they receive tuition waivers, which not every employee will be able to take advantage of.

The other side of this is that UND seems to be unable to keep up enrollment from year to year recently (see this thread for "official" commentary) and for many employees (note that these waivers apply to the families of all employees, not just faculty) this is a pretty good chunk of change that they can save by encouraging their children to go to UND.  Some may even be unable to afford to pay for college without such a waiver system in place.

2.  The shifting of money around the university in this way bothers me because it puts another step between us as students and the public and transparent financial state of the university.  Coming from a department that supports the majority of grad students with Teaching Assistantships rather than Research Assistantships, the shift has been more striking.  I had to change my residency to North Dakota to avoid paying tuition this semester, even with a TA.  For a university that wants to encourage people to attend from outside the state (and the country), screwing with the tuition money like this is definitely going to be off-putting to out-of-state or foreign students who will be UNABLE to become North Dakota residents right off the bat--and therefore will have to pay tuition for a year or more.  I can't foresee any department at UND that is that good that they will draw students in and make them pay for their own tuition.


That's what I see for now.  Again, UND's choice to focus on Research has screwed over those students who are doing the actual research to get the UND name out there.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 10:27:52 am by mburtonk »
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2007, 07:08:57 pm »
Reposting the policy from the link above:
Quote
University of North Dakota
Employee Spouse and Dependent Tuition Waiver Policy
Download PDF
'

Note: More details, including form and instructions, will be available later in the spring. If you have questions about the policy, contact humanresources@mail.und.nodak.edu.

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education Policy 820 allows campuses to “…adopt procedures providing for waiver of tuition…consistent with an institution’s mission.”  In response to the need to improve the ability to recruit and retain quality faculty and staff in support of all aspects of the institution’s mission, UND is adopting a spouse and dependent tuition waiver policy as follows.

Policy Statement
Effective beginning fall 2008, the spouse and dependents of benefited UND employees are eligible for a tuition waiver as defined in this policy.  The amount of the tuition waiver is 50 percent of the billed tuition per spouse and/or dependent for UND undergraduate and graduate classes excluding professional programs (Law and Medicine) and self supporting continuing education courses (correspondence and on-line studies).    Internships, study abroad/exchange and other situations where the “tuition” flows to an outside entity are also excluded from this policy.  The percent discount applies regardless of the rate of tuition charged (resident, reciprocity, contiguous, non-resident etc.).  Fees are not waived.

See Definitions and Procedures for detail on how policy will be administered. 

Definitions and Procedures:

   1. An employee is eligible for fringe benefits (benefited) based on State Board of Higher Education Policy 703.2.
   2. Dependents are defined as those unmarried children qualifying as dependents under the NDPERS health insurance plan (25 years of age and under if they are a full time student; 22 years of age and under who rely on the parent(s) for significant financial support).  In the absence of active NDPERS coverage to validate spouse or dependent eligibility, alternate documentation may be required.
   3. A spouse or dependent who is also a benefited employee is only eligible for the employee tuition waiver outlined in SBHE Policy 820 section 2.e.
   4. The spouse or dependents must meet admission standards and register for classes through the regular registration procedures.  Once admitted, a spouse or dependent is not eligible for the waiver for any semester for which they are on academic probation.  Academic status is determined by the Office of the Registrar and decisions by the Registrar for the purposes of this policy are final.
   5. The eligible employee must be actively employed on the first day of each semester for the spouse or dependent to receive the waiver.
   6. The maximum waiver under this policy for the dependent of more than one eligible employee is 50 percent.
   7. Third party contracts, for example Vocational Rehab, Military Assistance and Veterans Services (excluding 529 plans), and all other tuition waivers (Presidential, graduate, etc.) will have priority over the Employee Spouse and Dependent Waiver (ESD).  If the other tuition waiver or third party contract does not cover 100% of tuition, the Employee Spouse and Dependent tuition waiver will be applied to the remaining tuition portion, not to exceed 50% of the total tuition charge.

Example A:
Total tuition charge = $3,000
Third party contract pays 25% = $750   
Net remaining tuition balance after third party credit = $2,250
50% of total tuition charge = $1,500
Lesser of 50% of total tuition charge or remaining tuition balance =
$1,500
Amount eligible for ESD waiver = $1,500
Net remaining tuition balance after ESD waiver = $750

Example B:
Total tuition charge = $3,000
Third party contract pays 75% = $2,250
Net remaining tuition balance after third party credit = $750
50% of total tuition charge = $1,500
Lesser of 50% of total tuition charge or remaining tuition balance = $750
Amount eligible for ESD waiver = $750
Net remaining tuition balance after ESD waiver = $0

   8. A Spouse/Dependent Tuition Waiver application must be submitted to the Human Resources Office for determination of eligibility of the employee (along with a copy of the admission acceptance letter for new students only) 30 days prior to the beginning of the semester for which the waiver is requested.  Validation of eligibility and approval of a waiver must occur for each semester based on current circumstances relative to this policy.  Once employee eligibility is validated, the Payroll Office will verify the spouse/dependent relationship for the purposes of this policy.
   9. In accordance with federal regulations, the tuition waiver will be used as a financial resource and become part of the student’s financial aid package.  The Student Financial Aid Office may need to adjust aid if the amount of the tuition waiver along with other financial aid exceeds the student's eligibility.
  10. A spouse/dependent is not eligible for the waiver if the spouse/dependent or the benefited employee has an overdue accounts receivable balance with the University.  “Overdue accounts receivable balance” is defined as any charge of at least $10 being past due over 30 days.
  11. In accordance with IRS regulations, the value of the tuition waived for graduate level classes will be considered taxable income to the employee.  Federal, state and social security taxes will be deducted in a lump sum from the employee’s last paycheck of the semester, or, at the employee’s written request, deducted on a pro rated basis throughout the semester.
  12. Based on clarification provided by Pat Seaworth, system employees located at UND (IVN, ODIN and HECN) are entitled to the same tuition and fee waiver benefits available to UND employees.  Also, NDUS office employees are entitled to the same tuition and fee waiver benefits available to employees at any NDUS campus.
  13.  For the purposes of application of this policy, spouse and dependents of benefited employees of affiliated organizations (related parties as defined for financial statement reporting purposes) are also eligible.  Equivalent criteria will be used to determine eligibility with verification signed off by the head of the affiliated unit.
JUST EXTRA POLISH. I DO SOME WORK WITH EXCELL SO I KEEP THE CAPS LOCK ON :-P

Offline SoonerNSioux

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2007, 08:57:44 pm »
Quote
Again, UND's choice to focus on Research has screwed over those students who are doing the actual research to get the UND name out there.

Yep, and this makes no sense to me.  How are your dealings with the graduate college?  Since the graduate college "crackdown" as I call it, many students have already suffered the wrath in my Dept.  I know several students have had their program of study amendments (to add additional classes our dept. is now teaching) REJECTED because "they weren't requried to graduate".  What the hell is the point of a university if they won't let students add additional classes if they are relevant to their major?  I really can't figure it out considering the tuition waiver is coming out of our advisor or dept's pockets now.  Being the first PhD student in my Dept, I've been trying to cover my ass given the circumstances.  I held out submitting my POS until most of my cousework was done, especially considering the fluidity in classes at the present moment (adding faculty, etc.).  Under the recommendation of my dept. I actually ADDED more credits than needed to gradute (90+) to my POS in case I do want to take a class later on.   


Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2008, 10:31:23 am »
Sooner, I'm intending to write an article about the whole tuition waiver business.  Would you be able to give me more specific information regarding the problems yourself and others have had with the new system?  You don't have to post it here, you can email or PM it to me.  I'm trying to hear from as many graduate students as possible about it.
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2008, 12:37:35 pm »
Wow, I am sorry to hear about all of the problems you are having with waivers.  Hopefully it does not get any worse.

* pmp6nl goes to check on his tuition waiver.
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Offline SoonerNSioux

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2008, 02:35:17 am »
So far so good.   I finally turned in my committee form and program of study so the grad college doesn't complain.  Our dept. seems to be doing a great job making sure things are unnoticeable from the grad student perspective as far as tuition waivers go. 

Overall, I'm amazed at the difference in graduate colleges between my old school (U. Oklahoma) and here.  The paper work here simply amazes me.  At OU, the first form I remember turning in to the grad college was my admission to candidacy the semester before I defended. Making sure you were on track was SOLELY up to your adviser and committee. 

Here's OUs requirements for a MS:
http://gradweb.ou.edu/Current/Masters/checklistThesisOption.asp
Note there are no forms for POS, commitee, theis topic, etc.  They just have to sign off on you at the end. 

UNDs:
http://www.graduateschool.und.edu/docs/MastersHandbook2007_web.pdf (page 3)




Offline SoonerNSioux

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Re: Tution Waivers at UND
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2008, 03:44:05 pm »
Ok a bit more on the tuition waiver as we're being handed down info from the dept.  Apparently, some of my fire has been slightly misdirected towards the Graduate College.  I've been told that overall, they are simply the middle man and are being forced into this tuition waiver situation.  Tuition waivers have been cut from graduate students because they are considered "lost revenue".  (What about the research we do that helps lead to additional grants????

Here's the kicker... apparently this crackdown has occurred because of of the University's switch to D1.  UND is short on the $$$ needed to make the transition, so they are cutting money in programs that are considered unimportant.  The tuition waiver money that would be spent on graduate students is apparently going towards paying the additional scholarships needed for athletes under D1.  Ugh.  I've been told that the Graduate college has protested and put some recommendations on the President's table, but these have been ignored.   

A member of our department and another individual have brought forward a motion to start an investigation into this entire fiasco... supposedly it's going before a committee that can actually put these motions into action so we'll see. Lets hope so... I was told the aerospace college suffered another ~28% cut this year and while our dept is mostly unscathed (due to our high number of GRAs), supposedly the other departments are fighting over the money available.   Not a good situation!

I really wonder what benefit we're going to see from D1???   FYI take my stuff with a grain of salt like always...


 

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