Human Resources Policies

HR36 Tuition Discount for Full-Time Employees, Retirees, and those with Emeritus Status

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Jill Musser, 814-865-1473,

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Human Resources



  • Purpose
  • Employee Eligibility
  • Service Requirement
  • Where Courses are Offered
  • Limitations
  • Required Approval
  • Graduate Degree Limitation
  • Amount of Tuition Discount
  • Other Limitations
  • Cross References

    To provide full-time employees, retirees, and those with Emeritus status the opportunity to advance their education by taking University courses at reduced tuition fees.


    The following categories are eligible for tuition discount:

    a. Full-time employees, including those on an approved leave of absence. 

    b. An approved member of the armed services who is on the staff of the Department of:

    1. Military Science
    2. Air Force Aerospace Studies
    3. Naval Science

    c. A retiree, as outlined in University Policy HR54, and those with Emeritus status under University Policy AC25


    Tuition discount is available for any semester or summer session in which classes begin on or after the employee's date of full-time, regular employment. This does not apply to eligible retirees or those with Emeritus status as indicated in "C" above.

    If the employee becomes ineligible for the tuition discount due to changes in appointment status or employment status after the beginning of the semester, the employee shall continue to receive the discount through that current semester only. 


    Eligibility for tuition discount applies at all University locations, including World Campus and the Pennsylvania College of Technology. 


    The tuition discount may only be applied to sixteen (16) credits per academic year. 

    The tuition discount applies to all resident instruction and continuing education credit courses for which regular tuition is charged, except for the professional curriculum such as those offered at the College of Medicine at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the Smeal College of Business Executive Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA), Dickinson Law, and Penn State Law. The discount does not apply at summer camps or workshops operated by the University unless University credit is given and regular tuition is charged. 


    Approval for a full-time employee to schedule courses during their scheduled work hours is a special arrangement, and is granted only when the supervisor believes that the schedule of courses will not interfere with the efficient operation of the employee's regular University duties. 


    No academic employee above the rank of Instructor, Research Assistant, or equivalent may receive from the University the Master's Degree or the Doctor's Degree in any graduate program where the faculty member has membership, teaches courses, serves on Master's or Doctoral Committees, or has other supervisory responsibilities which might give rise to conflicts of interest. The faculty member should inform their department head of their intention to pursue an advanced degree.


    The tuition discount is a reduction of 75% of the tuition payable per credit. 


    Those receiving the tuition discount are not eligible for University scholarships and also may not receive funding from other University sources (general, restricted or unrestricted miscellaneous funds), with the exception of endowed funds specifically established for the benefit of employees. 

    When a department wants employees to take a course as professional development, the use of general funds is permitted. The department must pay 100% of the cost and the tuition discount does not apply. Departments are not permitted to ask employees to enroll using the tuition discount, and then to reimburse the employee for the 25% of tuition not covered. 

    If additional support is provided through an endowed fund specifically established for the benefit of employees, no direct reimbursement to the employee is permitted, and the application of these funds may only be used to cover remaining tuition after discount. 


    AC25 - Emeritus Status 

    HR37 - Grant-in-Aid for Dependents of Faculty, Staff and Retires

    HR54 - Continuation of Group Insurance After Age 60, Age 65, and After Retirement or Death



    November 10, 2023

    Removed "the Smeal College of Business Administration Executive MBA program" reference. 

    August 8, 2023

    Updated Service Requirement section. 

    March 18, 2022

    Policy rewrite. 

    October 16, 2020

    Minor language revisions to clarify Limitations/update terminology; pronouns replaced with terminology reflective of, and in promotion of, an inclusive environment.

    April 21, 2020

    Updated Service Requirement section.

    July 17, 2008

    OTHER LIMITATIONS section added.

    August 1, 2007

    Clarification added to Limitations paragraph.

    July 1, 2002

    Limitations section - revised to include the Smeal College of Business Administration Executive MBA Program

    Date Approved: 

    November 10, 2023

    Date Published: 

    November 10, 2023

    Effective Date: 

    November 10, 2023