FM Employee Study Privilege Information

The Employee Study Privilege is one of the benefits granted to CSU employees. It allows employees to take some credited classes for free every year if they want to. Learn more below!

Watch this 15-minute recorded session on things to know about the Employee Study Privilege

Frequently Asked Questions

The FM JEDI Team put this FAQ together for Facilities Management employees. The Registrar’s Office and CSU Online helped to answer questions, and a primary source of information was the Employee Study Privilege FAQ located on the HR page at: https://hr.colostate.edu/current-employees/benefits/other-benefit-programs/academic-privileges/. Please note there are a few additional Q&A addressed on that FAQ, which are not addressed in this one, so we recommend checking out both.

El Privilegio de Estudio para Empleados es una de las prestaciones otorgadas a los empleados de CSU. Este permite a los empleados tomar algunas clases con créditos académicos de manera gratuita cada año si lo desean. ¡Mas detalles abajo! Preguntas Frecuentes - Leer en español

What is the Employee Study Privilege?

The Employee Study Privilege is a benefit for eligible CSU employees that waives the course fee, allowing employees to take a certain amount of class credits per year; essentially, this means an employee can take classes (up to a certain amount of credits) for free, minus the cost of any textbooks or class supplies that may apply.

Which FM employees qualify for the Employee Study Privilege?

Eligible FM employees include:

  • Administrative Professionals with Regular, Special, or Temporary appointments of half-time or greater
  • Non-temporary State Classified employees with appointments of half-time or greater

How many class credits are covered by the Employee Study Privilege?

Full-time employees (100% appointment) can take up to 9 credits per year with the Employee Study Privilege. Credits are prorated based on employee appointment percentage. See below:

  • 100% appt. - 9 credits
  • 75 - 99% appt. - 7 credits
  • 50 - 74% appt. - 5 credits
  • under 50% appt - 0 credits

Am I permitted to enroll in courses that occur during my scheduled work hours?

Your supervisor must pre-approve the courses you wish to enroll in. The ability to attend class during your normal work hours requires supervisor approval and is also based on the business needs of your department. Time off for courses you are enrolled in, initiated at the direction of the department to improve job skills, are generally classified as administrative leave and should be reflected as such.

What costs are covered by the Employee Study Privilege and which are not?

Eligible Expenses include:

  • Base Tuition – up to 9 credits per year (credits are prorated based on your appointment percentage).
  • Undergraduate Differential Tuition – up to 9 credits per year (credits are prorated based on your appointment percentage).
  • Graduate Differential Tuition – at least one study privilege credit must be utilized each semester to allow eligibility.
  • University Facility Fee – prorated according to the number of study privilege credits utilized.
  • College Charges for Technology – prorated according to the study privilege credits utilized.
  • University Technology Fee – credited (fee waiver) to your student account.
  • General Fees – credited (fee waiver) to your student account. This waiver removes your free access to services under the General Fees including, but not limited to, the Student Recreation Center, CSU Health Network, University Counseling Center, and other campus services.

Note: The University Technology Fee and General Fees will still be credited (fee waiver) to your student account even if study privilege credits have been exhausted provided the Employee Study Privilege Registration Form is submitted.

Ineligible Expenses include:

  • Undergraduate tuition normally covered by the College Opportunity Fund (COF) – if you take a COF eligible course in a manner that COF cannot be applied (e.g., you do not apply for and authorize COF or you audit a course), the Employee Study Privilege Program will not cover the portion of tuition that would have been covered by COF.
  • Special Course fees
    • A list of associated courses with applicable fees
    • After the exhaustion of available Employee Study Privilege credits, any remaining tuition, charges or fees are not eligible for coverage or the College Opportunity Fund (if applicable).

Note: After the exhaustion of available Study Privilege Program credits, any remaining tuition, charges or fees are not eligible for coverage or the College Opportunity Fund (if applicable).

Tax Information

Educational benefits that exceed $5,250/year may be deemed taxable in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code. Any taxable educational benefits received will be reflected on your December pay advice. For more information, see the FAQ attached to the study privilege form.

What is the College Opportunity Fund (COF)?

Employees registering at an undergraduate level who are classified as Colorado residents for tuition purposes must apply for and authorize the use of the College Opportunity Fund stipend (COF). Failure to authorize COF will result in an additional $94 per credit charge to your account. For more information on COF and how to apply, please visit https://financialaid.colostate.edu/cof/.

Not all courses are COF eligible. For example, placement credit (placement for math or challenged courses) and courses taken with the grading option of audit are ineligible for COF. Undergraduate students registering for 600+ level courses are not eligible for COF.

What happens if I am taking more class credits than the Employee Study Privilege covers?

You will be billed for the fees that are not covered by the Employee Study Privilege. If you are taking 10 credits in a year and the Employee Study Privilege covers 9 credits, then you will be billed for only 1 credit and any other associated fees connected to that credit.

When do the Employee Study Privilege credits refresh for the year?

The Study Privilege Program year is defined by the beginning of the summer session and continues through the end of the spring semester. So, if you take classes during that time, the Employee Study Privilege credits fully available to you will reset with registration for the summer session.

Do I have to be pursuing a degree or accepted into a program to use the Employee Study Privilege?

You do not have to be seeking a degree or accepted into a program to use the Employee Study Privilege to take a class. You can take a class without the commitment of enrolling in a program.

How is using the Employee Study Privilege different from applying for college or being enrolled in an academic program?

Using the Employee Study Privilege just means you are taking a class (or a few classes) a year, and most costs are covered by this benefit. Enrolling in a class, does not enroll you in a degree program. Sometimes people who are enrolled in a degree program use the ESP benefit. Other times people use it because they are interested in learning more about a certain area of study, but they are not necessarily interested in pursuing a degree. Both ways are acceptable.

How do I find a class that the Employee Study Privilege will cover?

To look for what types of classes are offered, you can look through the CSU general catalog: https://catalog.colostate.edu/general-catalog/. Regarding your eligibility for a specific class, you can submit questions through the individual colleges or the registrar's office.

How do I know if a class will be available to me?

Classes you can take:

  • Credit courses as part of CSU Curriculum (found in CSU General Catalog)
  • Credit courses offered by CSU Online
  • Credit courses offered through Reciprocal Study Privilege Benefit (CSU Global Campus, CSU Pueblo, and University of Northern Colorado)

Non-credit courses are NOT eligible under the Employee Study Privilege Program

Some classes have restrictions or prerequisites. When searching through the online class schedule, click on the class title. It will open a window with details on any restrictions or prerequisites.

Where do I find the Employee Study Privilege form?

Go to: https://hr.colostate.edu/current-employees/benefits/other-benefit-programs/academic-privileges/ and look under “Employee Study Privilege” and then “Application Forms.” The form is updated every year, so go to this location for the most up to date version of the form.

How do I submit my Employee Study Privilege form?

To claim this benefit for on-campus classes, employees must submit the Employee Study Privilege form on or before the first day of the term:

  • For those interested in Continuing Education through CSU Online, send it to CSU Online:
    Colorado State University Online
    Division of Continuing Education
    1040 Campus Delivery
    Fort Collins, CO 80523-1040
    Fax: (970) 491-7885

https://www.online.colostate.edu/faqs/facstaff/study-privilege.dot

When and how do I register for a class?

After submitting your Employee Study Privilege form to the Registrar’s Office, you will be notified that your form has been received and is in processing. The notification will indicate when you can register for classes. Registration dates vary for students and employees. You will receive a message that is similar to the following:

“Your Employee Study Privilege form has been received and is in processing. You may register for Spring 2021 courses beginning Monday, January 4, 2021 at 7:30am. (Please note: If you are an admitted student, e.g., seeking a degree, certificate or licensure, your registration time may differ. Please check RAMweb for your personal registration access time.)”

The message will also indicate how to register. For example:

“To register, log onto RAMweb through the Secure eID Login at https://ramweb.colostate.edu/registrar/Public/Login.aspx using your eName and ePassword. If you do not have an eID, you will need to register for one at https://eid.colostate.edu/.  You must complete Registration Ready and take care of any holds before you will be allowed to register. For more information about how to register, access the FAQs link in the RAMweb menu or go to https://registrar.colostate.edu/registration/how-do-i-register-for-courses/.*THE REGISTRAR’S OFFICE DOES NOT REGISTER YOU FOR YOUR COURSE(S).*

On-Campus Instruction: You may register for courses through the end of the registration period. Note that after the first week of classes many students will need instructor approval to add/register for a course. A course may be added through the end of the Add period listed for the class. The specific date for each course is listed on the online class schedule or in RAMweb. More information about this date and other dates can be found by accessing the appropriate semester under Important Dates on the Registrar’s Office website.

CSU Online: The last day to register varies by course, visit https://www.online.colostate.edu/faqs/registration/ for step-by-step  instructions.

Reciprocal Study Privilege Program benefits: Subject to the institution rules in which your student status is obtained (Colorado State University Global Campus, Colorado State University Pueblo, and the University of Northern Colorado).

Will I get a bill after I am registered for credits?

You may get an email saying you owe money for the class during the first month or so of class. This should be resolved by the second full month of classes. As noted in the example email below, it takes them 3-4 weeks to process the bill.

Example response from the Registrar’s Office about billing:
Employee Study Privilege forms are processed by the Registrar’s Office and Human Resources. Please be aware that it may take 3-4 weeks after University Census for the Study Privilege to be reflected on your account. University Census for Spring 2021 is February 3, 2021. Because the Study Privilege will not be credited to your account until AFTER the February 10th payment due date, the payment deferral charge will be waived in February. Check the Billing Information link on RAMweb to see the most up-to-date account information. Please wait until after March 10, 2021 to contact the Registrar’s Office, Office of Financial Aid, Human Resources or Accounts Receivable about your account to allow time for processing.”

Does the registrar’s office have anyone who can assist Spanish-speaking employees in their native language?

The Registrar’s Office does not have Spanish speaking employees to assist at this time.

How is CSU Online different from in-person CSU classes and those that CSU are now doing virtual?

CSU Online is a distance learning program, which takes the form of online classes. It offers online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees. It also offers graduate certificates that allow you to take credit courses and study a concentrated area in your field of interest or professional development through noncredit and credit certificates and courses at the graduate and undergraduate level. The difference is the setting. For in-person courses (that may also be virtual or hybrid-learning during COVID), students apply to the academic college of their interest.

Can I take classes at other institutions using the Employee Study Privilege?

The Employee Study Privilege Program includes reciprocal provisions that allow you to take courses at Colorado State University Global Campus, Colorado State University Pueblo, and the University of Northern Colorado. Enrollment requires your agreement to fulfill financial obligations and abide by the policies of the reciprocal educational institution in which your student status is obtained. Program eligibility shall be defined and determined by the Employee Study Privilege Program of Colorado State University. Contact Human Resources for additional information at (970) 491-MyHR (6947) or you may review reciprocal program information at www.hrs.colostate.edu/benefits/study-privilege.html. Additional forms are required to gain pre-approval under the reciprocal provisions of the Employee Study Privilege Program. The required forms are located at: www.hrs.colostate.edu/benefits/study-privilege.html and are submitted to Human Resources.

Submit completed application to Human Resources:

How do I apply for college as an employee?

This will be different for everyone, depending on where you are on your educational journey. The following webpage has guides for first-year students, transfer students, returning undergraduate students, post-bachelor or second-bachelor students, and graduate students: https://admissions.colostate.edu/applying-to-csu/

Can I use the Tuition Scholarship Program for myself toward tuition not covered by the Employee Study Privilege, or is it only for dependents and spouses?

Employees cannot use the Tuition Scholarship Program for themselves; it is only for their dependents and spouses.

What if I can’t afford the text book or other materials for my class? Are there any other options that can support me with this?

The Educational Assistance Award is intended to assist State Classified employees seeking to advance in their jobs/careers. In each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30), up to ten (10) awards may be given in the amount of $500 – taxes will be taken out of this amount. This award may be utilized for any professional development or educational activity, including university courses, workshops, certificates, or trades related courses. Additionally, funds may be used for tuition, technology, books, child care, gas for traveling to class, etc. If selected for the award, applicants may be asked to submit enrollment verification before funds will be released. If an employee is taking courses at CSU, this award will not affect their employee study privilege credits. Learn more here: https://cpc.colostate.edu/annual-cpc-awards/educational-assistance/

The Janet and Allan Eddy Scholarship was established to annually provide a $950 scholarship to eligible Colorado State University employees who have made sustained progress toward attaining an undergraduate degree from Colorado State University. Learn more here: https://studentaffairs.colostate.edu/resources/resources-faculty-staff/benefits/janet-allan-eddy-scholarship/

The Joan Gaynor Kuder Scholarship is for full-time, 9 or 12 month CSU employees (administrative professional, state classified, faculty) who have an active record of academic achievement and advancement, are working toward an identified educational goal, and have contributed to their particular units and/or to the University community by serving in additional capacities. Employees do NOT have to be formally admitted to a degree program to be considered for this scholarship. Learn more here: https://studentaffairs.colostate.edu/resources/resources-faculty-staff/benefits/joan-gaynor-kuder-scholarship/

Do course credits ever expire?

Generally, credits are valid for 10 years. If it has been longer than 10 years, you will need to work with the degree and transfer unit within the Registrar’s Office to see which credits could be evaluated for transfer if you are seeking a degree and want to apply old credits.

Can I get a degree if I am not a full-time student?

Yes, you can work toward a degree as a part-time student enrolled in a degree program, but credits generally are valid for only 10 years. If it has been longer than 10 years, you will need to work with the degree and transfer unit within the Registrar’s Office to see which credits could be evaluated for transfer into your degree program.

Can I work toward a degree if I can only take one class a semester because of all my other responsibilities?

We recommend speaking with an academic advisor if you are interested in earning a degree. They can help you navigate how many credits you would need to take per semester to achieve a degree, and how long it would take. CSU Admissions has a useful link that can help you find a counselor: https://admissions.colostate.edu/find-your-counselor/.

Could I apply my credits toward a degree in the future? Or, in other words, can I transfer credits from the Employee Study Privilege classes I already took toward a college degree if I decide to sign up for a program in the future?

Yes, credits used with your Employee Study Privilege can potentially be used toward a college degree, but not all courses will fit into all degree programs. We recommend speaking with an academic advisor if you have a degree program in mind. If you are accepted into a degree program and the credits are less than 10 years old and your prior courses aren’t fitting into the degree program, you can work with an advisor in the degree program to submit a reevaluation form. If an adjustment can be made, it will be made through this form. Generally, credits are valid for 10 years. If it has been longer than 10 years, you will need to work with the degree and transfer unit within the Registrar’s Office to see if any of the credits will apply.

How do I find an advisor?

  • If you are not admitted into a degree or certificate program, CSU Admissions has a useful link that can help you find a counselor for navigating your academic path: https://admissions.colostate.edu/find-your-counselor/.
  • If you want to pursue a degree in a particular department, you can reach out to the department regarding the degree program(s) you are interested in to learn more.
  • If you are admitted into a program, you will automatically be assigned an advisor and that will be noted on your RAMWeb account.
  • First generation, limited income adults who are 19 years or older, or veteran and military-connected family members, can visit The Educational Opportunity Center for more assistance in navigating your academic or career path: https://accesscenter.colostate.edu/educational-opportunity-center/

Can I take a class without worrying about a grade?

Some classes can be taken for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory and other classes must be taken for a grade. It will be indicated in the online class schedule under the course details. The Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option means that an “S” is applied to courses in which students receive grades of C or higher. Grades of D and F are converted to a “U,” and the student does not receive credit for the course. Neither S nor U grades are used in calculating the CSU grade point average.

How do I decide if I am ready to go back to school?

This guide can help in the decision making process: http://blog.online.colostate.edu/blog/online-education/should-i-go-back-to-school-a-guide-through-the-decision-making-process/

What other resources are available to help me navigate Employee Study Privilege and being in college?