The Town of Westerly offers an eligible educational assistance program to regular full-time and part-time employees under Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC 127), which covers employer-provided education assistance programs. Under IRC 127 an employer may exclude qualified expense from an employee’s gross income, up to a maximum dollar amount per calendar year. This program is for the exclusive benefit of employees of the Town of Westerly to provide such employees with educational assistance.
The purpose of the education assistance program is to broaden the knowledge of employees in their fields and/or to provide an avenue for career development. The Human Resources Department will administer the program and review all reimbursement applications. This program is contingent upon annual appropriation of funds and is subject to change at any time.
This program is available to employees who wish to voluntarily pursue educational advancement or training.
This program does not apply to courses or training that are required by the Town. It also does not cover professional licensing and professional development seminars. Any course, training, licensing or certification that is required by the Town, or other applicable law, will be covered by professional development / training funds within each department.
All regular (completed probationary period), non-union, full and part-time staff employees are eligible for the tuition reimbursement program.
Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements are to refer to their specific agreements to determine eligibility.
Time – Schedule
All courses reimbursed under this program must be taken on the employee’s own time. If a class is only available during an employee’s normal work hours, the employee may request a flexible schedule from the employee’s Department Director. A memorandum outlining the employee’s flexible work schedule must be signed by the employee, approved by the Department Director and forwarded to the Human Resources Department with the completed Tuition Reimbursement Program Application. When there is a conflict between classes and the employee’s job responsibilities the job responsibilities must come first.
Employees must attain a course grade equivalent to a “C” or better (“pass” in pass/fail) in each course to be eligible for reimbursement. Classes will be reimbursed on the following schedule:
Grade Reimbursement Rate
A+, A, A- 100%
B+, B, B- 85%
C+, C, C- 75%
D+, D, D- 0%
F+, F 0%
*For classes that are Pass/Fail only.
Participating employees will be eligible for up to a maximum of $2,000.00 reimbursement during the fiscal year.
The program is run on a first-come, first-serve basis, and reimbursement is contingent upon funds being available. The Human Resources Department will be responsible for managing the Tuition Reimbursement account and will notify participating employees of the fund balance availability.
This is a reimbursement program, which requires participating employees to pay for classes up-front themselves, and reimbursement will only be provided after submitting final grade reports to the Human Resources Department for approval and review.
Courses must be held at institutions that are accredited by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Post-Secondary Education (OPE). To verify if an institution is accredited, employees can access the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs at https://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/
Eligible Programs and Courses
Coursework in pursuit of a Vocational, Associate, Bachelor, or Master’s degree is eligible under this program. Courses must be applicable to advancement within the Town, which includes coursework that will further advance the employee in their current career path, or another career path in the Town.
Fees for tuition and mandatory fees are eligible for reimbursement under this program. Employees will be required to provide a line-item (detailed) receipt of fees paid.
Supplies, books, travel, late fees, property deposits or other expenses are not eligible expenses.
Requirements for continued service with the Town after course completion are an assurance that the Town will benefit from employee participation in this program. If an employee leaves Town employment for any reason before the service requirement is completed, the employee must pay the Town all or part of the tuition that was paid to the employee.
A two (2) year service requirement begins on the first reimbursement check date. A separate two year service requirement must be completed for each reimbursement payment made to the employee. If the service requirement is not completed, the debt will be paid in one of the following ways:
1. If the employee has worked less than one year of the service requirement, the employee will repay the Town the full amount of the reimbursement payment made to the employee.
2. If the employee has worked at least one year, but less than two years of the service requirement, the employee will repay to the Town 50% of the amount of the reimbursement payment made to the employee.
A service requirement is not an assurance of continued employment by the Town.
If separation of service or termination of employment occurs (voluntary or involuntary) and a repayment amount is owed by the employee, and the employee does not otherwise repay the amount, the employee agrees to have the repayment amount deducted from the employee’s paychecks that are issued after the termination decision occurs, up to the maximum amount applicable by law.
1. Obtain a tuition reimbursement application packet online at HR Forms and Contacts
2. Fill out the tuition reimbursement application packet form and obtain the required approvals.
3. Applications for classes during the employee’s scheduled work time must be accompanied by a memo from your Department Director approving a flex time schedule for you. Attach the memo to your application.
4. Attach a copy of the tuition receipt, a copy of the school’s current tuition schedule, and your current class schedule to the application.
5. You must turn in the completed application form and all required attachments to the Human Resources Department within 5 days before the class start date. Incomplete and late applications will not be approved.
6. The request will be approved or denied by the Human Resources Department. You will receive a memo notifying you of the status of your request within 15 days of receipt of your application.
7. To be considered for reimbursement, the employee must submit an official grade report within 20 days of the last day of class. Alternate methods of grade verification may be submitted along with the Grade Verification form.
8. The Tuition Reimbursement Service Agreement must be signed before any reimbursement is made.
It is the employee’s responsibility to complete all of the required forms and to provide all information necessary for each application. It is also your responsibility to submit this information in a timely manner to receive consideration.
The Town will not pay for the cost of tuition and mandatory fees which are paid by other sources, such as scholarships, grants, veterans programs, U.S. Military Reserve, aid programs or other subsidies.
Paying overtime to the employee, or to another employee, in order to accommodate courses is not permitted for the purposes of this program.