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Tuition Exemption for Columbia Employees and Family Members
The Tuition Exemption Benefit Program is available to eligible Columbia University Officers and Support Staff, and certain family members. The Tuition Exemption Benefit Program pays tuition costs, depending on your eligibility, for courses at Columbia University, and for some students at Barnard College and Teachers College.
Note that this is not a reimbursement or remission program; your tuition is simply exempted, up to a limit depending on eligibility. However, you are responsible for any applicable mandatory fees that are assessed at registration, such as student life fees, residence fees, course fees, student health fees, medical insurance, and textbooks.
Columbia University Human Resources determines employees' eligibility for these benefits. Student Financial Services processes Tuition Exemption benefits as determined by Human Resources. More information about eligibility is available on the Human Resources website.
To make sure your paperwork is processed on time, avoid late fees, and ensure any graduate-course-related tax exemption is applied in time to your paycheck, please note:
Each term, you must submit your Tuition Exemption Eligibility Form and, if you are taking graduate-level courses and are eligible for the Job-Related tax exemption, your Job-Related Graduate Course Certification Form, after the first bill of the new term and before the end of the Change of Program period. See the Academic Calendar for the Change of Program dates.
Forms need to be taken to the Student Service Center (or your school's equivalent office, as listed on the form).
Tuition Exemption benefits for graduate courses are taxable under IRS regulations unless these courses are job-related. If you are an eligible employee taking graduate courses that are job-related and not leading toward a doctoral degree, please submit the Job-Related Graduate Course Certification Application to Student Financial Services for processing. For contact information, visit the Contact Us page.
- Eligible employees are entitled to take up to $5,250 worth of graduate coursework per calendar year without being taxed.
- Employees are always taxed on the value of Tuition Exemption for graduate coursework of their eligible family members. The $5,250 cap does not apply to these family members.
For more information on Taxation for Officers, please refer to this HR website.
For more information on Taxation for Support Staff, please refer to this HR website.
For taxable tuition benefits, deductions are taken directly from the employee's paycheck and spread out evenly over the following pay periods:
- Fall term: October, November, December, and January
- Spring term: February, March, April, and May
- Summer term: June, July, August, and September