Employee Education Benefit

Oklahoma Baptist University provides certain education benefits for its employees to (1) assist employees in obtaining a college education and/or in acquiring college courses that enhance job performance and (2) assist employees with the cost of college education for a spouse and/or children. In order to receive this benefit, the student must meet the admissions requirements for either the undergraduate or graduate programs and meet the requirements for continuing enrollment.

If the employment relationship ends during a semester, the Education Benefit for that semester will be prorated and the balance of the tuition cost of that semester will be the student’s responsibility. Should a student who is receiving the Education Benefit be disqualified for the benefit because the parent is no longer employed by OBU, that student may apply for any OBU-funded scholarships for which the student was eligible at the time the student first enrolled at OBU, effective at the beginning of the next semester. 

Likewise, when an employee begins employment in the middle of a semester, the tuition benefit will be prorated for the remainder of that semester.

Summary of benefits provided under this policy:

1. Full-time Employees

Undergraduate tuition and certain fees (specifically, Student Life Fee, Technology Fee) will be paid by OBU.  The employee will pay all other required fees, including online course fees.        

Employees are limited to five credit hours of course work per week during normal work hours (typically 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)  The five-hour limitation also applies to the amount of work time that is missed due to the course.  Employees who wish to take courses during their normal work hours must submit written requests to their immediate supervisors for approval before enrolling.  Employees must demonstrate in the requests that their revised schedules will not disrupt their work or availability to the campus.  They must also demonstrate that their revised schedules will not disrupt the work of their co-workers.  The approved requests should be submitted by the respective supervisors to the Office of Human Resources. Hours missed for class will not be compensated.

Under this limitation, most employees will not be able to take J-term or summer courses.  If a supervisor and employee are agreeable to altering the work load of an employee on a temporary basis to enable that employee to take a J-term or summer school course, they must utilize the Personnel Recommendation Form to secure approval through the established chain of command.  This could result in a reduced work load, which would typically require a reduction in compensation.

Employees taking OBU courses outside of their normal work schedules need to submit written requests to their supervisors so that the supervisors can verify that the courses do not interfere with their work schedules. 

If an employee's work schedule does permit a full load, OBU will pay for a maximum of 16 credit hours in the fall and/or spring semesters, or 4 hours in J-term, or a total of 8 hours during the summer terms. This would typically only apply to employees who work a night/weekend schedule.

Employees utilizing the OBU Education Benefit must meet criteria required for maintaining the benefit including an overall minimum grade point average of 2.00.  Students who receive a disciplinary penalty from the University may lose their education benefit temporarily or indefinitely as deemed necessary.

2. Spouses of Employees

Undergraduate tuition for the spouse of a full-time employee will be paid by OBU.  The spouse will pay all required fees. 

For the purposes of this policy, a "spouse" is defined as the legally married husband or wife of an OBU employee and according to the tenets of the Baptist Faith and Message (see appendix A., page 61, Section XVIII).  The education benefit for spouses of qualified employees will be extended for enrollment in a maximum cumulative total of 150 earned credit hours from OBU and for as long the spouse remains a qualified OBU employee.

3. Children of Employees

Undergraduate tuition for children of full-time employees will be paid by OBU.  The student will pay all fees.

For the purposes of this policy, a child is defined as a qualified OBU employee's legal child by birth or adoption or a stepchild.

The cost of tuition is the maximum amount of funding that a student may receive utilizing the OBU Education Benefit and utilizing OBU scholarship funds. 

Children utilizing the OBU Education Benefit must meet criteria required for maintaining the benefit including an overall minimum grade point average of 2.00.  Students who receive a disciplinary penalty from the University may lose their education benefit.

The education benefit for children of qualified employees will be extended for enrollment in a maximum cumulative total of 150 earned credit hours from OBU and for as long as the parent remains a qualified OBU employee. 

Credit hours for which OBU has granted credit that are not counted against the 150-credit-hour cumulative total include: AP (Advanced Placement Exams) and IB (International Baccalaureate) taken in high school; CLEP (College Level Examination Program); AS (Advanced Standing Exams); and overload hours paid by the student. The student is required to pay all fees related to achieving these four types of credit.

Education benefits paid by OBU cease at the time the child earns a bachelor’s degree whether or not the student has acquired 150 hours at OBU.

Dependent Children of Full-Time Employees 

Tuition Benefits for child(ren) who are dependent(s), as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), are not taxable.

Dependent students do have the option to accept awards through other scholarship programs, such as a full-tuition Academic and/or Athletic Scholarship, or a combination of such other OBU-funded or administered gift aid for which a student qualifies instead of the employee education benefit. Should the student decide to accept scholarships through these other programs, the student is subject to the guidelines set forth for maintaining such scholarships. 

If a dependent qualifies for both an employee dependent benefit and an OBU scholarship(s), then the dependent must choose at time of enrollment each academic year (2 consecutive semesters) which funding source they want to use. In no case will the dependent be allowed to use both sources of funding within the same academic year. However, the student may use the Employee Tuition Benefit for the J-term and/or summer terms as OBU scholarships typically do not apply to these terms.

It is important to note that while completion of the FAFSA is not required to use the employee education benefit, employees are encouraged to complete the FAFSA and submit it for the opportunity of qualifying for as much scholarship as possible regardless of source(s).

NON-Dependent Children of Full-Time Employees 

Tuition Benefits for child(ren) who are NON-dependent(s), as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), are taxable.

The tuition benefit will be provided after all aid from various OBU gift aid sources which OBU funds or administers for which the recipient is eligible, is applied, i.e. OBU Education Benefit, Academic Scholarship, Church Vocation Scholarship, OBU's portion of the Partnership Scholarship, etc. Under no circumstances will gift aid sources which OBU funds or administers exceed the cost of tuition if any portion of the Employee Tuition Benefit is used for that term. The recipient may apply outside funding sources such as OTAG, Pell Grant, a church's portion of the Partnership Scholarship, loans, outside scholarships, etc. to other costs of education.

It is important to note that while completion of the FAFSA is not required to use the employee education benefit, employees are encouraged to complete the FAFSA and submit it for the opportunity of qualifying for as much scholarship as possible regardless of source(s).

4. Part-time Employees

Part-time employees who work at least half-time (1,040 hours per year) on a regular basis are eligible for an undergraduate tuition benefit for one course per semester and appropriate fees as specified in 12.7.1.3 will be funded by OBU. For additional courses, OBU will provide a 15% discount on undergraduate tuition charges and the employee will pay 85% of tuition cost.  The employee will pay all required fees other than those specified in 12.7.1.3. 

Education benefits for dependents of part-time employees will be provided for those employees with long-term service to the University.  These benefits will be provided for those persons who have been employed continuously for at least five (5) years in at least a part-time capacity (1,040 hours per year).  The amount of benefit is as follows:

  • 5 years 25% benefit
  • 10 years 50% benefit
  • 15 or more years 75% benefit (maximum)

5. Concurrent Enrollment

To qualify for the Education Benefit for concurrent enrollment, the student must be eligible for admission to the concurrent program at OBU. The student will pay all fees.

Hours earned through concurrent enrollment are counted as part of the 150-hour total provided for children as defined above in part 12.7.1.3.

Graduate Programs

The tuition benefit will be provided after all aid from various OBU gift aid sources which OBU funds or administers for which the recipient is eligible, is applied i.e. OBU Education Benefit or CGAP. Under no circumstances will gift aid sources which OBU funds or administers exceed the cost of 50% tuition if any portion of the Employee Tuition Benefit is used for that term. The recipient may apply for outside funding sources such as OTAG, Pell Grant, a church's portion of the Partnership Scholarship, loans, outside scholarships, etc. to other costs of education.

The tuition benefit is taxable to the extent it exceeds the IRS limit.

1. Full-time Employees

On a space-available basis, full-time employees will receive a 50% discount on graduate tuition charges and the employee will pay 50% of graduate tuition cost. Space available for each cohort will be determined by the Chief Academic Officer and the Director of Graduate Programs by the first day of class.

Employees are limited to five credit hours of course work per week during normal work hours (typically 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)  The five-hour limitation also applies to the amount of work time that is missed due to the course.  Employees who wish to take courses during their normal work hours must submit written requests to their immediate supervisors for approval before enrolling.  Employees must demonstrate in the requests that their revised schedules will not disrupt their work or availability to the campus.  They must also demonstrate that their revised schedules will not disrupt the work of their co-workers.  The approved requests should be submitted by the respective supervisors to the Office of Human Resources. Hours missed for class will not be compensated.

Employees taking courses outside of their normal work schedules need to submit written requests to their supervisors so that the supervisors can verify that the courses do not interfere with their work schedules. 

If an employee’s work schedule does permit a full graduate load, OBU will apply the tuition discount for a maximum of nine hours per twelve-week term or six hours in a term shorter than twelve weeks.

2. Part-time Employees

Part-time employees who work at least .5 Full-time Equivalency (FTE) (1,040 hours per year) on a regular basis are eligible for graduate tuition discount equal to one-half benefit of a fulltime employee and the tuition benefit is limited to one course per semester and all other appropriate fees paid by the employee. One-half of a full-time employee benefit is equal to a 12.5% discount. Those who work less than .5 FTE do not qualify for any discount.

Education benefits for spouse and dependents of part-time employees will be the same as defined for the part-time employee.

The tuition benefit is taxable to the extent it exceeds the IRS limit.

3. Spouses of Full-time Employees

On a space-available basis, spouses of full-time employees will receive a 50% discount on graduate tuition charges and the employee will pay 50% of graduate tuition cost. Space available for each cohort will be determined by the Chief Academic Officer and the Director of Graduate Programs. 

For the purposes of this policy, a "spouse" is defined as the legally married husband or wife of an OBU employee and according to the tenets of the Baptist Faith and Message (see appendix A., page 61, Section XVIII). 

The tuition benefit for spouses is taxable based on IRS guidelines.

4. Children of Full-time Employees

On a space-available basis, children of full-time employees will receive a 50% discount on graduate tuition charges and the employee will pay 50% of graduate tuition cost. Space available for each cohort will be determined by the Provost and the Director of Graduate Programs. 

Note: For the purposes of this policy, a child is defined as a qualified OBU employee's legal child by birth or adoption or a stepchild.

The tuition benefit for child(ren) is taxable based on IRS guidelines.

Fees and Other Charges

Graduate Students are responsible for all applicable fees and charges outside of tuition.

Appeals

Appeals for cases which are not defined by the policy or which appear to be exceptional in nature may be made in writing to the University President. Appeals will be reviewed and determined by a policy appeals committee comprised of the President, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Chief Academic Officer or interim officers acting on their behalf. Any exception to the approved OBU Employee Education Benefit Policy that commits an Employee Education Benefit to an individual, spouse, or dependents when that individual does not qualify for the benefit under terms of the OBU Employee Education Benefit Policy must be approved in writing and signed by all three members of the policy appeals committee. The vote to affirm the exception must be unanimous.