As tuition is at an all-time high and due for another increase this upcoming year, the University of Nevada, Reno, is introducing a potential solution to some students’ struggles.
The university announced that by fall 2018, the Classified Employee Family Opportunity Program will be in place at the institution. The program will allow family members of university employees to have a portion of their tuition fees to the paid for by the university.
“As members of our classified staff continue to grow their careers at our university, it is our hope that their spouses, domestic partners and dependents will use this new benefit to further their access and pursuit of an education at our University as well,” President Marc Johnson said in a statement.
According to the university, a committee made up of members from Administration and Finance, Human Resources and the Staff Employees Council under chair Meghan Ezekiel are responsible for the development of the eligibility guidelines for classified staff. The university specified in a statement that recipients must be spouses, domestic partners or financially dependent children of employees. The employee must be working at least .53 full-time equivalent at the university.
For financially dependent children, the university is allowing any natural, adopted or stepchild to partake in the program as long as the child is not financially dependent and under the age of 24. The child must be claimed as an exemption for federal income tax purposes under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The university is also requiring an attesting that the child is financially dependent each time a tuition reduction is issued.
The program will cover reductions for all for-credit classes included in the weighted student credit hour calculation for state funding. In addition to regular classes, the reduction will apply to NevadaFIT, studies abroad, Summer Session classes and 365 Learning online classes. There is not a limit of credits the program will cover.
However, there will be restrictions on price reductions. The program is not to cover gerontology, Pearson online classes, intensive English language classes, remedial classes under the 100 level or non-credit classes through the Extended Studies program. Extended Studies, 365 Learning and Summer Session are, however, reserving the right to refuse the grant for their programs.
Other restrictions in the program include health fees, additional fees — including differential registration fees, special course fees, excess credit fees or books — and out-of-state tuition.
According to President Johnson, the program comes after several months of the university working with the Staff Employees Council to increase access and benefits of staff.
“[This] is the culmination of a months-long effort by the University and the leadership of the SEC to provide a broadening of access and additional benefits for our classified staff,” Johnson said in a statement. “A recent campus-wide survey of our classified staff indicated that an overwhelming majority of respondents – more than 95 percent – indicated that they wished the university would pursue a registration fee reduction benefit of this kind.”
The university currently has a grant-in-aid program in place for classified employees. The Classified Employee Family Opportunity program is an extension of this to assist with payment for the family of the employees.