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Tuition Benefits

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Tuition Benefits

Getting Started

Employees wishing to attend classes at SMU and take advantage of Tuition Benefits must meet all of the standard requirements for admission to the University and be admitted to the University in a credit-bearing, degree-granting program. A spouse and dependent children must also meet applicable requirements.

  • First and foremost, it is important that you read the Tuition Benefits Policy and that you understand what is and is not covered under the Tuition Benefits Program.
  • It is also important that you understand the requirements of the academic program for which you are requesting Tuition Benefits and how those requirements coordinate with Tuition Benefits.
  • New students should submit a Tuition Benefits Request immediately after they have received their acceptance letter from the SMU Admissions Office.
  • Continuing students must submit a new Tuition Benefits Request for each academic year. The Tuition Benefits Request for the upcoming academic year is available in April on my.smu.edu.
  • Sign into my.smu.edu and go to Employee Self Service> Benefits>Tuition Benefits> Tuition Benefits Request to request Tuition Benefits.
  • Once you are enrolled in an academic program you will see Student Center on the main page of my.smu.edu. View Account Summary to track the status of requests, anticipated aid, when Tuition Benefits are applied, when other financial aid is applied, refunds, etc.
  • To avoid late fees or being dropped from a class due to non-payment, you must submit your Tuition Benefits Request prior to enrolling in classes.  Any Tuition Benefits Request received after the Bursar's payment deadline is subject to late fees. Late fees are the responsibility of the student and will not be removed from the Student's Account if the Tuition Benefits Request is received after the payment deadline.
  • It is also important to pay fees that are not covered under Tuition Benefits (e.g., Room & Board, application deposits, Health Center fee, travel expenses, course/lab fees, etc.) by the Bursar's payment deadline.  To avoid additional late fees, do not wait until Tuition Benefits are posted to your or your eligible family member's Student Account before paying these non-covered fees.

University Policy 9.28 explains the philosophy and provisions of the Tuition Benefits Program. You are expected to read and understand the University policy before requesting Tuition Benefits.

Employee as Student

Tuition Benefits for an eligible SMU employee cover 100% of the cost of tuition for up to 18 credit hours per academic year. The General Student Fee is waived for part-time undergraduate or graduate study.  Additional charges and other costs of attending SMU are not covered. Tuition Benefits recipients should seek advice concerning tax liabilities they may incur as a result of participation in the Tuition Benefits Program.

Eligible Employees

  • Full-time faculty employed on a continuous basis for at least nine (9) consecutive months at the time the benefit will be used.
  • Employees must have advance supervisor approval to attend class during regular working hours.  Upon the supervisor’s approval, an alternative work schedule should be established.
  • Staff employed in a position which requires at least nine (9) months of full-time service each year and who work at least 35 hours per week at the time the benefit will be used.
  • Retired faculty or staff employee who was a full-time, benefits-eligible employee age 60 or older with at least ten years of SMU service at retirement.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellows are not eligible for Tuition Benefits.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Eligible employees may participate in the Tuition Benefits Program at the beginning of the first new semester or term following their hire date.
  • Employees pursuing a degree must meet all of the standard requirements for admission to the University and be admitted to the University in a credit-bearing, degree-granting program.
  • Tuition Benefits will cover up to 18 semester hours of credit-bearing study each academic year (fall through summer terms).  There is no limit to the number of academic years, number of degrees, or types of degrees an employee may pursue using Tuition Benefits as long as he or she meets all applicable eligibility requirements.
  • Employees admitted as a non-degree seeking student may be eligible for Tuition Benefits covering up to 9 credit hours per academic year.
  • The Tuition Benefits Program does not cover informal courses, non-degree certificate programs, or continuing education courses that are non-credit bearing, Special Studies, or courses taken at colleges/institutions other than SMU.

Financial Aid/Merit Scholarships

Tuition Benefits are considered part of a student's total financial aid package. University financial aid, merit scholarships, and Tuition Benefits cannot exceed the total cost of tuition and the General Student Fee. If the student is awarded University financial aid and/or a scholarship for an undergraduate program that would cause the limit to be exceeded, the aid and/or scholarship will be reduced.  If the student is awarded University financial aid and/or a scholarship for a graduate program that would cause the limit to be exceeded, the Tuition Benefit will be reduced.  Please contact Financial Aid if you have questions.

Spouse as Student

Tuition Benefits for an eligible spouse will cover 63% of the cost of tuition for the completion of one undergraduate or graduate degree. The General Student Fee, additional charges, and other costs of attending SMU are not covered.  

Tuition Benefits provided to a spouse for graduate programs are reported as taxable income to the employee and taxed as income on the employee's paycheck.  Employees are encouraged to seek advice concerning possible tax liabilities they may incur as a result of their spouse’s participation in the Tuition Benefits Program.

Eligible Spouse

  • The legal spouse of an eligible employee.
  • Documentation is required to verify the eligibility of a spouse and must be provided to the Department of Human Resources. Verifying documentation may be scanned and emailed to tuitionbenefits@smu.edu.
  • For a spouse, a marriage license satisfies this requirement.
  • Divorce automatically nullifies eligibility of the former spouse for future Tuition Benefits.

Eligibility Criteria

  • All employees must meet the employee eligibility requirements (review Employee as Student tab) for the Tuition Benefits Program before Tuition Benefits for a qualified spouse will be approved.
  • A spouse will be eligible for Tuition Benefits the first full semester or term following the employee's hire date. 
  • A spouse pursuing a degree must meet all of the standard requirements for admission to the University and be admitted to the University in a credit-bearing, degree-granting program.
  • A spouse admitted as an non-degree seeking student may be eligible for Tuition Benefits covering up to 9 credit hours per academic year.

Financial Aid/Merit Scholarships

Tuition Benefits are considered part of a student's total financial aid package. University financial aid, merit scholarships, and Tuition Benefits cannot exceed the total cost of tuition and the General Student Fee. If the student is awarded University financial aid and/or a scholarship for an undergraduate program that would cause the limit to be exceeded, the aid and/or scholarship will be reduced.  If the student is awarded University financial aid and/or a scholarship for a graduate program that would cause the limit to be exceeded, the Tuition Benefit will be reduced.  Please contact Financial Aid if you have questions.

Dependent Child as Student

Tuition Benefits for the eligible dependent child of a full-time benefits-eligible employee will cover 100% of the cost of tuition for one undergraduate degree. The General Student Fee, additional charges, and other costs of attending SMU are not covered.

Eligible Dependent Child

  • A dependent child is defined as the employee's natural child, step child, legally adopted child or a child under the employee's legal guardianship.
  • Documentation is required to verify the eligibility of a dependent child.  Acceptable documentation, including a birth or adoption certificate, guardianship papers, etc., may be scanned and emailed to tuitionbenefits@smu.edu.
  • Tuition Benefits will no longer be available after a dependent child reaches age twenty-five (25).

Eligibility Criteria

  • All employees must complete one year of SMU employment and meet the employee eligibility requirements (review Employee as Student tab) for the Tuition Benefits Program before Tuition Benefits for a dependent child will be approved.
  • A dependent child must meet all of the standard requirements for admission to the University and be admitted to the University in a credit-bearing, degree-granting program.
  • A dependent child will be eligible for Tuition Benefits beginning the first full semester or term following the first anniversary of the employee's full-time employment.
  • A dependent child's eligibility will continue for no more than five (5) consecutive academic calendar years beginning the date of initial enrollment and ending at graduation or age 25, whichever occurs first.  In the event of medical or emergency circumstances, where degree requirements exceed this time limit and prevent a student from completing his/her course of study in the required time frame, a request for an extension of time should be submitted to the Department of Human Resources at tuitionbenefits@smu.edu.
  • A dependent child must enroll in and begin classes before the age of twenty-four (24). For example:
    • John is age 24 at the beginning of the Fall semester. He turns 25 in October. Tuition Benefits are available for the Fall Semester. He will not be eligible for Tuition Benefits as a dependent for any future semesters.
    • If John is age 25 at the beginning of the Fall semester, he will not be eligible for Tuition Benefits as a dependent.
  • Tuition Benefits for a dependent child can only be used for undergraduate courses.
  • A dependent child attending SMU credit-bearing courses to obtain transfer credit while enrolled in a degree-granting program at another accredited institution of higher education, may be eligible for Tuition Benefits for up to 9 credit hours per academic year. Contact SMU Summer School for more information.
  • A dependent child admitted as an non-degree seeking student may be eligible for Tuition Benefits covering up to 9 credit hours per academic year.

Financial Aid/Merit Scholarships

Tuition Benefits are considered part of a student's total financial aid package. University financial aid, merit scholarships, and Tuition Benefits cannot exceed the total cost of tuition and the General Student Fee. If the student is awarded University financial aid and/or a scholarship that would cause the limit to be exceeded, the aid and/or scholarship will be reduced. Contact Financial Aid if you have questions.