Human Resources Policies

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

Policy Status: 

Under Review

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Human Resources



NOTE: The implementation of SIMBA requires the review of many University Human Resource Policies and Guidelines. After consultation with key constituencies, work has been underway to update, consolidate, and improve our policies and guidelines to better serve the Penn State community. However, please be aware that due to the volume of the impacted policies and guidelines, not all policies are currently updated to reflect changes which have been communicated; however, the policies will be updated soon and have appropriate and applicable effective dates listed. We appreciate your patience as we work through this review process. Any questions can be directed to HR Services at 814-865-1473 or submit an inquiry via WorkLion.

  • 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 the tuition discount:

    1. Full-time employees, including those on an approved leave of absence. 
    2. An approved member of the armed services who is on the staff of the Department of: 
      1. Military Science,
      2. Air Force Aerospace Studies, or 
      3. Naval Science. 
    3. 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 faculty or staff member's date of full-time, regular employment. This does not apply to eligible retirees or those with Emeritus status as indicated in "3" above. 


    Eligibility for University educational privileges for an employee 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 does not apply to the professional curriculum such as those offered at the College of Medicine at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the Smeal College of Business Administration Executive MBA Program, Dickinson Law and Penn State Law. The tuition 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 is a special arrangement, and is granted only when the supervisor believes that the scheduling 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 his/her department head of his/her intention to pursue an advanced degree.


    The educational privileges include 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 are 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. 


    HR37 - Tuition Discount for Dependents of Faculty, Staff and Retires

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



    July 1, 2021

    Updated to reflect Funding Model Changes, and to update terminology to reflect current practices. 

    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: 

    April 21, 2020

    Date Published: 

    April 21, 2020

    Effective Date: 

    April 21, 2020