FAQ: Benefits for Myself
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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.
Tuition FAQ Myself - What's Covered
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.
Tuition FAQ Myself - Applying For Benefit
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):
System Opens to Requests
Deadline for Submitting Requests
Summer Session I and
Summer Session II
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).
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.
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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Find the net benefit: Subtract the withholding from the total gross benefit.
- 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
Total Gross Benefit - Withholding
= Net Benefit
Total Balance on Bill - Net Benefit
= What You Owe
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 email@example.com.
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.