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State Employee Fee Waiver and Fee Discount Information

There are two programs available to facilitate postsecondary educational opportunities for State employees and their dependents, as well as dependents of public school teachers: fee waiver for State employees and fee discount for children of State employees and public school teachers.

Fee Waiver Program Summary

The fee waiver program allows full-time employees of the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of State government to take one course, undergraduate or graduate, at any State supported college, university, or College of Applied Technology, as well as the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute.

  • Full-time employee is defined as employee of one of the three branches of government in a position classified as “full-time” and expected to work 1,950 per year, or an employee, regardless of classification who is expected to work 1,600 hours per year and who receive employment benefits provided to all full-time employees.
  • The employee must have been employed by the State at least six continuous months immediately prior to the first day of the class.
  • Public school teachers are not eligible for this program.

All fees are waived except for parking fees, lab fees and fees over and above tuition charged for courses within a particular discipline. Additionally, special fees for on-line courses are not waived except for on-line courses taken through the Regents Online Degree Program.

 

An employee may receive the waiver for only one course per semester or mini-semester, not to exceed a maximum of four (4) courses per academic year. (A mini-semester is an abbreviated semester scheduled between the end of Fall and beginning of Spring semesters or between the end of Spring and beginning of Summer semesters.) The one possible exception to this rule relates to the number of classes that may be taken during two terms that make up the Summer semester. A state employee can take one class in each of the two terms of the Summer semester under two conditions:

  • First, the two Summer semester courses can not overlap.
  • Second, one or both of the Summer semester courses will not result in the employee utilizing the fee waiver to more than four (4) courses for each academic year. This presumes the employee has not used the fee waiver during one of the institution’s mini-semesters.

The fee waiver form must be signed by the employee and by the employee's supervisor or other person in the employee's department/agency who by virtue of his position has knowledge of and can verify that the employee meets the eligibility requirements.

 

Enrolling in a course using the fee waiver is on a space available basis.  Some institutions limit when a person utilizing a fee waiver may register for courses.  Each institution's procedures vary and the employee is encouraged to contact the Bursar or admissions office of the institution to determine when they may register and when the form must be submitted.

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Fee Discount Program Summary

The fee discount program provides a 25 percent discount on enrollment fees for undergraduate courses, generally referred to as tuition, to the child of a full-time employee of the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of State government.

 

As noted above, a full-time employee is defined as employee of one of the three branches of government in a position classified as “full-time” and expected to work 1,950 per year, or an employee, regardless of classification who is expected to work 1,600 hours per year and who receives employment benefits provided to all full-time employees.

 

The fee discount is available to:

  • The child of a state employee retired after 25 years as a State employee even if the retired employee has died since retirement but before his/her child begins receiving the benefit of the fee discount;
  • The child of a former State employee who died while employed by the State, whether or not the death was job related or in the line of duty;
  • The child of a teacher licensed by the Department of Education or by a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces to teach Reserve Officer Training Corps, and technology coordinators currently employed by a public school system.
  • The child of a retired public school teacher who retired with a minimum of 30 years of service or who received a disability retirement after a minimum of 25 years of full-time creditable service.
  • The child of a public school teacher/technology coordinator, whose parent/school teacher dies while he/she is receiving the discount, may continue to receive it as long as the student is otherwise eligible. (This provision does not apply to the child of a former public school teacher who dies prior to their child becoming eligible for the discount).

To be eligible the child must:

  • Be under the age of 24 as of the first day of classes;
  • Live with or previously lived in a parent-child relationship with the eligible employee/teacher.

Many questions arise as to who may be considered a dependent eligible for this discount.

  • The discount is available to any legally adopted or stepchild living in a parent-child relationship.
  • This would also include grandchildren being raised by a grandparent who is an eligible State employee or public school teacher.
  • The key to this issue is whether the eligible State employee or public school teacher has legal custody of the child and whether the child is considered a dependent of the employee/teacher.
  • If the child, whether natural child, step child or adopted child, of the State employee/public school teacher, ever lived with the employee/teacher in a parent-child relationship, then the child would not lose this benefit by virtue of marrying or leaving home.

The discount will be applied to any number of courses up to and including full-time study.

The fee discount form must be signed by the employee and by the employee's supervisor or other person in the employee's department/agency who by virtue of his position has knowledge of and can verify that the employee meets eligibility requirements.

 

In the case of a retired state employee or retired teacher, the retirement verification must be made by the Division of Retirement. The otherwise completed form should be mailed or faxed to the attention of the Retired Payroll Section for verification as follows:

TCRS, 10th Floor Andrew Jackson Building, 502 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN 37243 or fax 615-401-6818.

If faxing the form you must include a mailing address to which the form can be returned to the employee as most institutions will require an original signature verifying eligibility.

 

The employee or their dependent is responsible for submitting the fee discount form to the institution in a timely fashion. Each institution's procedures vary and the employee or their dependent is encouraged to contact the Bursar's office of the institution to determine when the form must be submitted.

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