Jun 10, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
It was during new employee orientation in 1999 that Stephanie Merrick first heard about the tuition benefits that Georgia Tech offered. In 2014 — and two degrees later — she plans to finish her Ph.D.
“When I heard that Georgia Tech would help me pay for a degree, it was an offer that I couldn’t refuse,” said Merrick, an administrative professional in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. “Now I’m finishing up my Doctor of Philosophy in Management, Leadership, and Organizational Change from Walden University.”
Regardless of whether you are looking to earn a degree from a University System of Georgia (USG) institution or a non-USG institution, Tech offers programs that can help you accomplish this at little or no cost.
To apply by the July 15 (for fall semester) and/or Nov. 15 (for the spring 2014 semester) deadlines, here’s what you need to know.
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
This USG-sponsored program pays for full tuition (excluding fees and other costs) at USG institutions and is open to faculty and staff members who have worked at Tech in a 100 percent time, benefits-eligible position for at least six months.
Like Merrick, Megan Hutchins, assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, has taken advantage of the tuition benefits during her time at Tech. She will earn her Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University in less than six weeks.
“It’s such a great deal!” Hutchins said. “If you’re thinking about advancing your career by going back to school, you really shouldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
One advantage of TAP is that employees don’t have to pay for tuition out of their own pockets and then wait for reimbursement, said BeNedra Williams, work-life specialist in the Office of Human Resources (OHR). Instead, the money is provided in time to pay for tuition at the start of the semester.
Employees can pursue any degree (except for those in medicine and law) and currently may take up to nine credit hours per semester. They must also maintain a grade of C or better to receive assistance.
Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program (STRAP)
STRAP is a Tech-sponsored program available to employees who have worked at Tech in a 100 percent time, benefits eligible position for at least 12 months. This option provides partial tuition reimbursement to an eligible employee attending an accredited non-USG institution after coursework is completed.
As with TAP, employees can pursue any degree except for those in medicine and law, and must maintain a C or better to receive assistance. However, the credit limit is six hours per semester and dependent on funding. (See the website provided below for the most current reimbursement rates for undergraduate and graduate courses.)
“In my experience, getting over the anxiety of taking on grad school while working was the first major hurdle,” Hutchins said. “Once I got started with my program, I realized just how manageable it was. It’s been well worth my time — and will be worth yours, too.”