A program that took effect in fall 2005 to make it easier for Fort Hays State University employees and their dependents to earn college credits has passed a noteworthy threshold.
During the September meeting of the President's Cabinet this week, Dr. Edward H. Hammond noted that the Tuition Assistance Program for Employees, Spouses and Dependents had exceeded a million dollars.
"Someone asked me the other day what accomplishments had given me the most satisfaction during my 25 years as president of FHSU," Dr. Hammond said. "This would certainly be on that list. This program not only provides a tremendous financial benefit to employees and their dependents, but it also does the very thing we exist to do -- provide access to a high-quality education."
The president pointed to the annual data report issued by the Kansas Board of Regents, which showed that FHSU employees and their dependents had received tuition assistance that totaled $1,027,021.32.
"The total is actually higher now," Hammond added, "because the report from the Regents was through fiscal year 2012, which ended last June 30, and does not include FHSU employees and their dependents who are enrolled this semester."
Through the program, FHSU provides tuition assistance in both fall and spring semesters for employees, their spouses and their dependents. They receive free tuition but are required to pay all applicable fees.
Employees must apply for the tuition assistance and must qualify as a full-time worker. A maximum of six credit hours (graduate or undergraduate) per semester is covered. Classes cannot be taken during regular business hours unless there are extenuating circumstances and prior approval is granted by the employee’s supervisor and appropriate vice president or dean. Also, courses must be taken for professional development purposes that benefit both the employee and the university.
The rules are different in one respect for spouses and dependents of full-time FHSU employees. They can take a maximum of 12 undergraduate credit hours or nine graduate hours per semester.
"The Board of Regents approved the program at our request," Dr. Hammond said. "Many businesses help their employees with education expenses either informally or through formal programs. We should do no less. No one knows better than a university the value of higher education to help both individual workers and the institutions they serve reach their full potential."