Employee Relations
Employee Handbook

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 Educational Programs

Educational Assistance Program

This program helps College employees with the costs of attaining an education by reimbursing them for expenses associated with pursuing a degree. Full time employees who have been continuously employed in a full time status (as defined by Board Policy) for at least three (3) consecutive years prior to the first day of class and who have at least an associate’s degree or 66 credit hours are eligible for the Educational Assistance Program.


Employees must attend an accredited college/university in the United States to be eligible for the program. These institutions must offer degree programs leading to bachelors or higher degrees (e.g. UTEP, NMSU, Webster University, Park College).


Expenses that will be reimbursed include those incurred for tuition and mandatory fees, such as lab fees, student activity fee, professional practice, building use fee, etc. Reimbursement is for credit courses taken only during non working hours. Ineligible expenses include the cost of books, parking and non mandatory fees, such as admission fee, late registration fee, add/drop fee, challenge exam fees, student I.D. card, property deposit, etc.


Reimbursement is limited to $600 per employee for course work in each fiscal year. District-wide funding is limited to a fiscal year budget; therefore, reimbursements will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis and will expire at the end of the funding or the fiscal year, whichever occurs first.


To receive reimbursement, the employee must file an application for Educational Assistance, attach the registration receipt and deliver it to the Human Resources Department within 31 days after the first day of classes. The participant must receive a "C" or better, or in the case of graduate work, the participant must have satisfactory completion. The participant must maintain a regular full-time work schedule during the term of the course work and must be a full time employee upon course completion.


After completion of the course, the employee must submit proof of completing the course with a "C" or better grade to the Employee Benefits Office of the Human Resources Department. Reimbursements will be paid to the participant through the next regular payroll schedule. Payments are subject to federal income taxes and FICA Medicare taxes, but are not considered as salary for retirement purposes.


Staff Scholarship Benefit

Full time employees, their dependents, retirees of the District, their dependents and certain eligible surviving dependents of employees and retirees are provided a staff scholarship to enroll in credit and non-credit courses offered by the District. The scholarship covers tuition and mandatory fees up to a maximum benefit equivalent to nine credit hours per person per semester or term. The employee and/or dependent must pay tuition and fees above the maximum benefit, all non-mandatory fees and the general use fee. Effective in fall 2003, recipients of the staff scholarship who drop or receive a grade of less than a “C” in a credit class or receive a grade of “NCR” in a non-credit class will be required to re-pay the cost of the class. District-wide funding is limited to a fiscal year budget.


All courses undertaken by an employee should not interfere with the satisfactory performance of the job and are limited to classes offered during non-working hours.


For the purpose of the Staff Scholarship Benefit, the following terms and definitions will apply to the availability of funds:


Fall Semester

Courses beginning August, September, October, November

Spring Semester

Courses beginning in December, January, February, March

Summer Term

Courses beginning in April, May, June, July

Mandatory Fees

Lab Fees, Student Activity Fee, Professional Practice, Building Availability Fee (fees subject to the refund schedule)

Non-Mandatory Fees

Admissions Fee, Late Registration Fee, Add/Drop fee, Challenge Exam Fees, etc. (non-refundable fees).

Dependent

Spouse means the husband or wife of the employee, but does not include an unmarried domestic partner. Child means the employee's/retiree's unmarried children under 25 years of age on the first class day who are a natural child, legally adopted child, foster child or stepchild residing in the employee's/retiree's household.


Employees who wish to use the Staff Scholarship Benefit should submit an Employee/Dependent Authorization Form, signed by their supervisor, with their registration forms.


Advancement Due to Educational Achievement

Full-time employees are eligible for salary increases for educational advancement under specific guidelines; all course work and degrees must be from an accredited college or university. Employees should reference the College Procedures for specific guidelines: 3.04.11 for faculty members and 3.04.18 for administrative, professional support and classified staff members.


Full-time faculty are eligible for advancement on the appropriate faculty salary schedule for additional degrees and/or for additional coursework beyond the Master’s degree. Prior approval of the coursework and/or degree program is required by completing the Request for Approval of Enrollment in Graduate Coursework Creditable for Faculty Salary Advancement (PF 800-174). After completion of the required coursework or degree for advancement, the employee completes the Petition for Salary Placement Advancement in the Faculty Salary Schedule (PF 800-44) and submits the form, along with verification of the successful completion of the coursework/degree to his/her supervisor by September 15. The supervisor then completes the required processing form and forwards it to the Human Resources Department for processing.


Full-time, non-faculty employees are eligible for a 2% raise when they complete a college degree which exceeds the educational requirements of their current position. All full-time, non-faculty employees who complete at least half of their credit hours while working for the College are eligible to apply for the salary advancement by filling out a Petition for Advancement. This form is available from the Human Resources Department. It must be submitted with a copy of the employee's transcript to their supervisor, who will then send the documents (along with a completed Personnel Action Form) through administrative channels to the Human Resources Department. Once the Board of Trustees approves the salary placement recommendation, the salary adjustment will become effective on the first day of the month following the date the degree was conferred.


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