Tuition Remission

Page Updated: May 14th, 2018

Background

Tuition Remission is a benefit to graduate students holding a Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, or Program/Project Assistant appointment to help alleviate the cost of tuition. The tuition charges, although not segregated fees, are waived for eligible graduate students.

As part of this program, tuition remission surcharge is a policy to help recoup the waived tuition costs by University and Wisconsin State Statute. The tuition remission surcharge is calculated based on the percentage of stipend charged/student's level of work, and is automatically allocated to the funding source(s) where the assistant is appointed.

Tuition Remission Rates Semester Academic Year
Through Spring 2015 $4,000 $8,000
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 $5,000 $10,000
Fall 2016 - Spring 2017 $6,000 $12,000

Tuition Remission: Frequently Asked Questions

Note: In the following examples, the current tuition remission surcharge is applied at $6,000 per spring and fall semesters, totaling $12,000 annually.

1. What are the eligibility requirements?
In order to be eligible for tuition remission you must hold at least a 33.3% appointment as a research assistant, and/or a teaching assistant, and/or a program/project assistant.
2. Can tuition remission be transferred without the associated stipend?
If an award does not allow tuition remission, the tuition remission, without the stipend, can be transferred. If tuition remission is allowed on the project, the tuition remission should not be transferred separately. Stipend should be transferred first and tuition remission will follow. Stipend and tuition remission are all part of the student’s compensation package and should remain allocated and proportioned to amount of work that the student performed on the project(s).
3. If a graduate assistant has a 25% TA appointment and a 25% PA appointment for a semester, what would the tuition remission surcharge be? Would the TA appointment cover the tuition remission surcharge, or would the RA appointment be charged too?
In this case the tuition remission surcharge will only apply to the PA appointment, however the surcharge process will initially charge both appointments evenly. The PA appointment would be charged $3,000 per semester or $666.67 per month (4.5 months). The TA appointment, although initially charged $3,000 per semester, would have that charge reversed with the net effect of no surcharge applied to the TA appointment.
4. For some departments, it is quite common for their graduate assistants to work as teaching assistants during the academic year and then serve as RAs or PAs during the summer months. How much tuition remission surcharge will be charged for these summer only positions?
There will be no tuition remission surcharge for PA and RA appointments during the summer. The tuition remission surcharge only is applied during the fall and spring semesters (September through May).
5. How will the tuition remission surcharge apply when one project assistant is paid from multiple funding sources?
The tuition remission surcharge will be allocated to the various funding sources on the basis of appointment percentages. If the percentages change throughout the semester, the amount charged to each funding string will change accordingly.
6. What amount of tuition remission surcharge should be included on grant proposal budgets when a PA's effort is proposed to be covered by multiple grants?
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs recommends that you include the full cost of the tuition remission surcharge on each proposal. There may be specific instances in which a PI has very limited graduate assistant involvement or which there is a ceiling on the amount of funds requested, but more frequently there is a need to fund graduate assistants with one or more projects.
7. What happens if a grant budget doesn't cover the full cost of the tuition remission surcharge?
The PI/Department will be responsible for identifying alternative sources, including re-budgeting, to cover the surcharge. If re-budgeting is not an option, the overage should be transferred to non-restricted funding. If a project is overspent and tuition remission is allowable and allocable on the award, other account codes should be used. Here is the order of priority per the APR Award Closeout solution:
  • Unallowable costs
  • Non-salary expenses
    • Travel
    • Supplies
    • Other Supplies/Services
    • Equipment
  • Salary expenses
    • Student Hourly
    • Classified/LTE
    • Academic Staff (not including RA/PA/TA)
    • RA/PA/TA
    • Faculty
8. Will the tuition remission surcharge be pro-rated by month?
Yes, the tuition remission surcharge will be divided into 9 payments, Sept. - May. Fall semester is September through mid-January. Spring semester is mid-January through May. The current tuition remission surcharge is $6,000/semester or $12,000/academic year.
9. A grant ended 10/30/2017, tuition remission surcharge adjustments posted after the end date, but there are no stipend charges after the end date. Are these allowable charges?

In most cases, yes. When the tuition remission surcharge process is run each month, prior months are analyzed to determine if retroactive adjustments are needed based on the cumulative stipend paid. If a retroactive stipend adjustment is processed for a funding source other than the grant in question, or if the stipend amount changes month to month, this will change the allocation of the tuition remission surcharge to all funding sources.

For example, cumulative stiped charges ($1,500/month) and tuition remission allocation for the fall 2017-18 semester were as follows through November 2017:

Project Month(s) of Paid Stipends Stipend Charges through November 2017 PCT Tuition Remission Surcharge through November 2017
ABC1234 Sept - Oct 2017 $3,000 66.67% $2,666.67
ABC5678 Nov 2017 $1,500 33.33% $1,333.33
Total $4,500 100.0% $4,000.00

As of December 2017, the monthly stipend reduced to $1,000/month, which will cause the cumulative FTE percentage to fluctuate during December 2017 and January 2018.

December 2017
Project Month(s) of Paid Stipends Stipend Charges through December 2017 PCT Tuition Remission Surcharge through December 2017 December Surcharge Posting
ABC1234 Sept - Oct 2017 $3,000 54.55% $2,909.09 $242.42
ABC5678 Nov 2017 - Dec 2017 $2,500 45.45% $2,424.24 $1,090.91
Total $5,500 100.0% $5,333.33 $1,333.33
January 2018
Project Month(s) of Paid Stipends Stipend Charges through January 2018 PCT Tuition Remission Surcharge through January 2018 January Surcharge Posting
ABC1234 Sept - Oct 2017 $3,000 50.0% $3,000.00 $90.91
ABC5678 Nov 2017 - Mid Jan 2018 $3,000 50.0% $3,000.00 $576.76
Total $6,000 100.0% $6,000.00 $666.67

Adjustments will post to each funding source in December 2017 and January 2018, and the adjustments to ABC1234 would be allowable even though the stipend charges ended in October 2017.

In the same example, let's assume the monthly stipend payment remained at $1,500/month. This is what the tuition remission surcharge would look like for December 2017 and January 2018.

December 2017
Project Month(s) of Paid Stipends Stipend Charges through December 2017 PCT Tuition Remission Surcharge through December 2017 December Surcharge Posting
ABC1234 Sept - Oct 2017 $3,000 50.0% $2,666.67 $0.00
ABC5678 Nov 2017 - Dec 2017 $3,000 50.0% $2,666.66 $1,333.33
Total $6,000 100.0% $5,333.33 $1,333.33
January 2018
Project Month(s) of Paid Stipends Stipend Charges through January 2018 PCT Tuition Remission Surcharge through January 2018 January Surcharge Posting
ABC1234 Sept - Oct 2017 $3,000 44.44% $2,666.67 $0.00
ABC5678 Nov 2017 - Mid Jan 2018 $3,750 55.55% $3,333.33 $666.67
Total $6,750 100.0% $6,000.00 $666.67

Since graduate students' amount of monthly tuition remission paid is dependent on the cumulative stipend amount for the semester, this means tuition remission surcharge adjustments are only needed if there are multiple funding strings with monthly stipend (FTE) changes. In this case, if the graduate student's monthly stipend payments remain the same, no tuition remission surcharge adjustments are needed on ABC1234.

10. How does the 3rd party deferral process relate to the tuition remission policy?
The 3rd party deferral process is not affected by this surcharge policy.
11. Does tuition remission cover segregated fees?
No. The student is responsible for paying their segregated fees by the due date.
12. What happens with funding that changes from month to month?
The tuition remission surcharge will automatically be adjusted through the monthly tuition remission process to match the cumulative funding source for the graduate assistant stipend.
13. Does a tuition remission surcharge transfer automatically after a salary transfer is processed?
Yes, for the current and prior fiscal year semesters only. For example, when the tuition remission process is run for May 2018, it processes spring 2017-18, fall 2017-18, spring 2016-17 and fall 2016-17. If the salary transfer is posted in May 2018 for a payroll period outside of these semesters (i.e. February 2016 payroll), a manual transfer (NSCT) is needed for the tuition remission surcharge.
14. What happens when a student leaves mid-semester?
It depends on the specific case. In the event that a graduate student leaves during the course of a semester, the graduate student still may qualify for a remission, while the remission surcharge may or may not be applied, depending on the cumulative appointment level. Contact the Bursar's Office for eligibility questions and Business Services for questions about the remission surcharge.
15. Can 233 discretionary accounts be used to cover cost overruns or errors?
Yes. If a project is overspent and tuition remission is allowable and allocable to the award, other account codes should be used to transfer the overages. Refer to question 10 for the order of priority.
16. If an award does not allow tuition remission, can the tuition remission be transferred without the associated stipend?
Yes. The tuition remission surcharges can be transferred to a non-sponsored source.
17. Will tuition on T32 training grants continue to be posted as actual tuition paid?
Yes. The surcharge policy only affects graduate assistants with RA, PA and TA appointments. There will be no change in how tuition for Fellows and Trainees are handled.
18. If a student eligible for tuition remission (holds a qualifying RA/PA/TA appointment) but also holds a NIH fellowship or traineeship appointment that would usually include a third party deferral, will the surcharge still apply?
Yes. The surcharge will still apply but the segregated fees can be covered by the NIH fellowship or training grant.
19. Is there a limit on the amount of salary, fringe benefits and tuition remission for graduate students on NIH grants?
Yes, per notice NOT-OD-02-017. The maximum allowable amount should not exceed the zero level of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service award stipend level in effect at the time of the competing award. Current stipend levels can be found here.
20. How is the tuition remission surcharge displayed in WISDM?
The Tuition Fee Remission Search is available in WISDM under the Payroll section of the Main Menu. Using a variety of search criteria, a user can look up tuition remission information for an individual. Information such as the number of appointments, FTE rate, and individual Tuition Remission charges will be displayed on a semester basis. More information on the search is available in a training document that is located at the WISDM Training Tools website titled "WISDM for Divisional/Departmental Administration (located at: http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/acct/sfs/tools.html").
21. Who should I contact if I have questions?

For eligibility questions, please contact Chris Cleary-Hinz at the Bursar's Office.

For tuition remission surcharge questions, please contact Lea Erickson at Business Services.

For general remission questions or specific questions related to sponsored projects, please contact Crystal Jones at Research & Sponsored Programs.