Employee Tuition Waiver Benefit

As a leader in education, we value strong, curious minds and continued growth – not just for our students, but for our dedicated workforce as well. That's why we provide qualified employees and dependents with tuition waiver assistance for up to 9 credit hours per aid year and offer dependents of CU-Boulder employees a 10 percent discount. Do you dream of earning a degree? Do you crave more learning in your career field? Is there a subject you’d just love to know more about? Whatever your goals, we’re here to support you. Find out how it works by reviewing the information below.

Let's Get Started.

CU offers you 9 credit hours of covered tuition each academic year*. This benefit can be used for yourself or shared with dependents. To fit courses to your schedule, you can use your tuition waiver benefit at any CU campus. We require that you wait to enroll until the first day of the semester.

*Some exceptions may apply. Please refer to the university's Tuition Waiver Benefit policy.

Are you ready to take advantage of this benefit?

There are some specific steps to take in order to get your tuition waiver benefit.

First, you need to check your eligibility. Then, you can click on your campus below for instructions on applying for the tuition waiver benefit. For specific information such as exceptions, read our fact sheet.

Select your campus for step-by-step instructions for employees and their dependents:

Additional questions?

Using your tuition waiver benefit

Nine credit hours can be used under this benefit over the course of one academic year. To best fit your schedule, you can choose when to take classes, and you can split the credit hours however you see fit. CU covers nine credits, whether they are undergraduate or graduate courses. We also encourage CU employees to look at courses from all CU campuses. Your tuition benefit works at each campus for any course you are eligible to take. That means if you have the prerequisites for a course in the School of Public Health, you are welcome to take it. Just be sure to submit an admission application at each campus you would like to attend. You can refer to our policy to see each campus' exceptions.

Courses and Registration

In order to take advantage of our tuition waiver benefit, you must wait until the first day of the semester/term to enroll in your courses. However, there is some work that needs to be completed before the beginning of the semester.

  • Submit the tuition benefit form: Before registering for classes, you will need to submit the tuition benefit application. On this form, there is room for eight courses. We suggest that you put down all of the courses you might be interested in taking, just in case some of them are full by the first day of the semester. If all of your requested classes are full, you can choose different classes or save your tuition benefit for a different semester.
  • Find all appropriate course numbers: If you want to enroll in a class, such as an independent study that cannot be found in the course catalog, contact your campus Registrar’s Office to confirm the course number. Your campus Bursar’s Office can then confirm which classes are eligible for the tuition waiver benefit.
  • Find your student ID/IdentiKey – In order to register for classes, you will need your student ID/IdentiKey. This information can be found on your campus.
    • Boulder: 303-492-6301
    • Denver: 303-315-2601
    • Colorado Springs: 719-255-3383
    • To get your IdentiKey credentials on the Boulder campus, contact the IT Service Center
  • You can take classes on each campus: If you can’t find the right course on your home campus, remember that you can take classes from each campus. The only exception is if you have any dependents using your waiver. In that case, they must take classes on the Boulder campus only. 

Application Form

Our tuition waiver benefit application form can be submitted via email to tuitionbenefit@cu.edu or fax to 303-860-4299. It’s important that you start this process early, as we need all forms at least two weeks before the start of the semester. This allows us to have enough time to process the forms, and you need to be verified before the Registrar’s Office will allow you enroll in your courses.

If you have a dependent using your tuition benefit, it is important to start early. Employee Services will verify your dependents eligibility, and then the Bursar’s Office will verify the course eligibility and setup the financial processing. This will take some time, so start early.

What information do I need?

You will need to obtain a CU department number to include in your application. You can get this information from your department HR representative. You will also need to obtain a student ID. This can be found on campus with the information above.

Billing, Fees and Costs

What are the fees and additional non-waived tuition not covered by the benefit?

Because student fees and tuition costs vary at each campus, you should contact your campus bursar's office directly.
Boulder: 303-492-5381
Denver: 303-315-1800
Colorado Springs: 719-255-3391

What is the tax impact of the tuition waiver?

Answer: The tax impact of using the tuition waiver benefit will vary based on an employee's income level and usage of the benefit.

For undergraduate-level tuition waiver benefit provided to an employee, spouse or dependent (as defined for tax purposes): Any amount provided is excludable from employee wages. It is not reportable by the employer, and is not taxable to the employee. [Pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 117(d), "Qualified Tuition Reduction"]

For graduate-level tuition waiver benefit provided to an employee: The university has a "Section 127 Educational Assistance Program" in place, which allows exclusion of up to $5,250 per calendar year. This exclusion applies to employees only. [Pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 127, "Educational Assistance Programs"]

For graduate-level tuition waiver benefit provided to an employee in excess of the $5,250 exclusion allowed per calendar year: the benefit in excess of $5,250 is taxable to the employee. It is reportable on Form W-2 as wages, subject to applicable income tax withholding and payroll taxes. It is not considered as salary from which retirement contributions to the mandatory retirement plans can be made (i.e., PERA's defined benefit plan or CU's Optional Retirement Plan), although it is "includable compensation" from which elective deferrals can be made for PERA's 401(k), the University's 403(b), and the State's—now PERA's—457(b) elective deferral plans.

For graduate-level tuition waiver benefit provided to an employee's dependent (i.e., spouse and dependents as described above): the benefit is taxable to the employee. It is reportable on Form W-2 as wages, subject to applicable income tax withholding and payroll taxes. It is not considered as salary from which retirement contributions to the mandatory retirement plans can be made (i.e., PERA defined benefit plan or CU's Optional Retirement Plan), although it is "includable compensation" from which elective deferrals can be made for PERA's 401(k), the University's 403(b), and the State's—now PERA's—457(b) elective deferral plans.

For an SGDP dependent (child and/or spouse) of or an employee's dependent child who is not eligible to be claimed as a dependent on the employee's Federal Individual Income Tax Return: the benefit is taxable to the employee. It is reportable on the employees Form W-2 as wages, subject to applicable income tax withholding and payroll taxes. It is not considered as salary from which retirement contributions to the mandatory retirement plans can be made (i.e., PERA defined benefit plan or CU's 401(a) Retirement Plan), although it is "includable compensation" from which elective deferrals can be made for PERA's 401(k), the university's 403(b) Voluntary Retirement Plan, and the State's—now PERA's—457(b) elective deferral plans.

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