FAQ: Benefits for Myself

Eligibility

Tuition FAQ Myself - Eligibility

If you began working on or before July 2, 2020 and you are full-time faculty, regular full-time staff, or a limited service staff member, you are eligible. 

If you began working after July 2, 2020 and you are full-time faculty, regular full-time staff, or a limited service staff member, you will become eligible after you have worked in your role for 6 months. 

Regular, full-time faculty and staff and limited service staff, who begin working after July 2, 2020 are eligible for tuition assistance for credit courses at the University of Pennsylvania after they have worked for 6 months in their eligible role. Details are in the Tuition Assistance for Faculty and Staff policy.

There is no waiting period for regular, full-time faculty and staff and limited service staff who begin working on or before July 2, 2020. 

No. Faculty and staff receive tuition benefits only for classes taken at Penn.
Yes, you must apply and be accepted into a program before you can register for classes or request the tuition benefit. The only exception is the summer session program through Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies.
You may be unable to participate in some courses of study due to their basic requirements and limitations; some programs, for example, are offered only on a full-time basis. Check Penn's website for programs that accommodate working professionals. You can also explore Penn’s academic programs and contact a school or department directly to determine if a given course of study fits your needs.

What's Covered

Tuition FAQ Myself - What's Covered

Eligible faculty and staff can receive tuition benefits for credit courses taken at Penn. The benefit covers the full cost of tuition, and general and technology fees for two course units in the Fall, two course units in the Spring, and two course units over the entire summer.

No. Some classes at Penn count as more than one course unit. If you enroll for more than two course units per term, the cost of the additional course unit(s) is your responsibility.

To find out how many course units are associated with a class, check the course listings on the Registrar’s home page or PennInTouch, or contact your educational program directly for information.

They don’t have to be job-related, but they must be college credit courses.
If you add or drop courses, you should do so during your program’s course selection period (also known as “add/drop” or “last date to drop with no financial obligation”), when you can add or drop courses without incurring financial penalties.
No. It doesn’t cover financial penalties associated with dropped courses. If you drop a course after the course selection period (which usually continues about two weeks into a semester) or withdraw from a course, your program may continue to charge you full or partial fees for that course. These charges are your responsibility.
The benefit payment is removed from your student account at the end of the term, which will leave you with a balance on your student account that must be covered by the payment deadline set by Student Financial Services.
Drop the course during your program’s official course selection period; check the dates with your specific educational program.
That’s for you and your supervisor to discuss. The Tuition Benefit Office expects employees to get approval from their supervisors before requesting tuition benefits for a course during working hours.
Courses are covered by the tuition benefit if they’re for college credit and their associated charges are posted to your student account. This is irrespective of whether you take the course for a grade or as pass/fail, or if you audit it. Permission for auditing a course when not enrolled in a degree program is at the discretion of the school or program concerned.
Tuition rates differ from one School/Center to another at Penn. You should consult with individual schools regarding tuition rates.

Applying for the Tuition Benefit

Tuition FAQ Myself - Applying For Benefit

Log on to the online tuition management system with your PennKey and password, click on Tuition Benefits for Myself, and then click the Request Payment button located at the bottom of the screen to initiate the request.

You can request payment as soon as the online tuition benefit system opens to a term (dates are listed below) or as soon as you’ve registered for a course. The latest you should request payment is upon receipt of your first term bill from Student Financial Services.  Requests for payment must be submitted between the following dates (requests are not accepted after the final deadline for the term):

Semester

System Opens to Requests

Deadline for Submitting Requests

Spring

November 1

March 15

Summer Session I and
12-week Summer Session

April 1

June 15

Summer Session II

April 1

August 15

Fall

June 1

November 15

When you click Submit, you’ll get a message indicating your student bursar information will be retrieved. It takes 24 hours to pull in your student account billing information (as long as your educational program has already posted your charges). At that point you can go back to your tuition record and choose the current term in the Benefits History box by clicking on “view details” to see its calculated benefit. If the charges haven’t been posted to your account by your educational program, your request remains pending until the tuition system detects the charges.
Once your request is processed, a payment is made to your student account. The timing of this deposit is based on the next payment date. Payments are sent every Monday and Wednesday.
Your Benefits History box will show when your benefit has been paid when you click on “View details” next to the current term.  Two to three days after a scheduled payment, you can also see your credit by checking your student bursar account through Penn InTouch: Choose the View New Activity tab.
Eleven-week summer courses are billed and treated as Summer Session I. You can check with your educational program if you’re unsure which term your course is registered in.

Yes! As an employee, you are responsible for any balance on your bill until your tuition benefit is paid. You’re also responsible for any remaining balance after your tuition benefit has been applied (such as lab, program, or late fees not covered by the benefit, or tax liabilities if you are enrolled in a graduate program).

Monitor your bill through Penn InTouch and compare that with your benefit in the online tuition management system to make sure that all charges and payments are accurate and accounted for.

Please contact HUP’s Human Resources office at 215-615-2675.

Tax Liability for Graduate Tuition Benefits

Tuition FAQ Myself: Graduate Tuition Tax

Taxability is based on how your program classifies you as a student. If you are classified as a graduate student, yes, your tuition benefit is subject to tax withholding. Anything over $5,250 in a calendar year is considered taxable income. Penn withholds the taxes for graduate tuition benefits at the maximum tax rate—about 33% (Federal, Social Security, Medicare, and the city wage tax).

If you are a New Jersey resident and classified as a graduate student, your tuition benefit will also be taxable at the state level at a rate of approximately 5.5%. There is no exemption on this tax. This means that taxes will be withheld on all amounts.

Taxes are based on your program classification, not the courses. Once you’re in a graduate program, you’re considered a graduate student regardless of whether you enroll in graduate or undergraduate courses. A graduate student taking an undergraduate course is charged and taxed at the graduate tuition rate.
Yes, it could. You may wish to consult an accountant or contact the IRS directly for further information.
Possibly. The $5,250 tax exemption usually allows one course unit per calendar year tax-free. But if the charges eligible for the tuition benefit for a course unit exceed $5,250, we withhold about 33% from any benefit amount over that threshold. This creates a deficit on your student account (the part of the benefit being withheld for taxes is not credited against your tuition bill). You’re also responsible for any other fees you accrue on your student account.
You will need to consult with your tax professional.

Penn pays the taxes on your behalf, withholding them from the total gross benefit you receive, and the remainder—the net benefit—is posted to your student account as a payment. You pay the balance (which equals the taxes withheld) to Student Financial Services. We withhold at the maximum tax rate—approximately 33%, including Federal, Social Security, Medicare, and the city wage tax. Additionally, if you are a New Jersey resident, we will withhold state tax at approximately 5.5% on all taxable benefits. 

Benefits in excess of $5,250 in a calendar year are listed as part of your taxable income on your W-2 (All benefits are listed as part of your state taxable income for NJ residents); the withheld taxes are also reported there. If you’re not in the maximum tax bracket, you may get back some of the withheld taxes.

The additional income of these taxable benefits can put you into a different tax bracket, with unexpected results for your personal withholding and access to other tax credits.

If your bill reflects the benefit payment, then you pay the balance listed.

If the benefit payment isn’t on the bill, calculate the amount you should pay by subtracting the "Benefit Amount" listed in the tuition benefit management system from the total balance appearing on your bill and pay that difference.

You’re responsible for both ensuring you get e-bills from Student Financial Services and paying your balance by the due date. You are also responsible for any late fees if you miss the deadlines set by Student Financial Services or do not request your benefit in a timely manner, as outlined in the policies for requesting payment.

You can view your benefit payment and withheld taxes in the online tuition management system approximately 24 hours after you request the benefit payment, as long as charges have already been posted to your student account by your academic program.

To manually calculate the amount from your bill:

  1. Total the gross benefit: Add together the tuition, the general fee, and technology fee for a maximum of two course units for the term (the allowable benefit amount per semester or summer).
  2. Figure the taxable amount: If this is the first graduate tuition benefit paid in the calendar year, subtract $5,250 since only amounts beyond that are taxable.
  3. Calculate the withholding: Multiply the taxable amount by 33% (the approximate tax rate for the taxable portion of your graduate tuition benefit). This is approximately the amount that will be withheld from your benefit.
  4. Find the net benefit: Subtract the withholding from the total gross benefit.
  5. See what you owe: Subtract your net benefit from the total balance on your bill.  

Tuition + General Fee + Technology Fee

= Total Gross Benefit

Total Gross Benefit - first $5250

= Taxable Amount

Taxable Amount × .33

= Withholding

Total Gross Benefit - Withholding

= Net Benefit

Total Balance on Bill - Net Benefit

= What You Owe

*If you are a New Jersey resident, you will also need to calculate the state tax which is not included in the 33%. To do so, multiply the Total Gross Benefit by 5.5%, and add this number to the number that you calculated in step 3. Then proceed with steps 4 and 5. 

Your tuition bill is issued by Student Financial Services, which operates separately from the online tuition benefit management system. Once you’ve requested payment of your benefit, the system lists the net benefit (the amount of the benefit less the tax withheld) as “Benefit Amount.” When the benefit is paid to Student Financial Services, it’s listed as “Total Amount Paid.”

Whether your bill from Student Financial Services shows the tuition benefit payment depends on their billing cycle and how early you request the benefit.

If you drop courses, you should do so during your program’s Course Selection Period, when you can drop courses with no financial obligation. If you want to add a course, you should also keep the Course Selection Period deadline in mind: after the Course Selection Period, you can’t add or drop courses without incurring financial penalties.

If your charges are removed as a result of dropping a course within the time limit, the benefit payment is also removed; nothing is reported for you as income, and nothing is withheld for tax purposes.  If you drop after the course selection period or withdraw from a course, the benefit is still removed, but your program may continue to charge you full or partial fees for that course. These charges are your responsibility.


Questions? Contact the Tuition Administrator at tuition@hr.upenn.edu.

For questions about your tuition bill (charges, amount due, and payment options), contact the Office of Student Financial Services: 215-898-1988; 3451 Walnut Street 1st floor.

For questions about policies related to an academic program, please contact the coordinator of that program directly.