The University of Hawaiʻi supports work-related professional growth of its employees and offers its employees professional improvement/sabbatical leave and tuition waivers.

Employees have the opportunity for further professional growth and development to more effectively serve their campus and in their field of specialization. Qualification and processes vary among the different employee types, contact an HR Representative for more information about these types of leaves:

  • Civil Service employees may request educational leave without pay or sabbatical leave with pay.
  • APT personnel may request professional improvement leave with pay or without pay.
  • Faculty may request sabbatical leave with pay, professional improvement leave without pay, or study leave with pay.

Additional information is also outlined in the various bargaining unit agreements.

Faculty and staff may be eligible for tuition waiver for credit courses, in accordance with Board of Regents Policy 6.207. Employees must be employed on a half-time basis or more to be eligible for tuition waivers at any campus for a maximum of six credits per semester. Spouses and domestic partners of members of bargaining unit 07 and 08, and their excluded counterparts (bargaining unit 87 and 88) may also be eligible for tuition waivers.

Those seeking tuition waivers must register after the normal student registration period, during the late registration period designated for faculty and staff at the campus where the course is offered. Employees must secure the authorization from their respective supervisors for any adjustments to work schedules.

Tuition waivers may not be used to waive course fees, nursing and dental hygiene clinical fees, lab fees, professional fees, or special funded courses, which have insufficient revenue to cover costs. A non-refundable, non-transferable administrative fee will be assessed for each summer session term. If enrolled at multiple campuses, you will be assessed an administrative fee for each campus.

How to Apply for Tuition Waivers

Federal, state, and institutional policies require that adjustments be made to a student’s financial aid award if the student receives additional resources not reflected in their Financial Aid Award Offer.

  • Students who receive such additional resources (e.g., outside scholarships, VA educational benefits, assistantships, stipends, employer reimbursement, employee tuition waivers, vocational rehabilitation benefits, etc.) are required to notify the Financial Aid Office immediately.
  • The Financial Aid Office will then determine if the student’s aid must be adjusted. Students (and affected employees) using an employee spouse or employee domestic partner tuition waiver are responsible for reviewing tax withholding consequences of this benefit prior to accepting aid.

The taxability of tuition waivers is governed by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 117.

  • The value of this tuition waiver may be taxable to the employee.
  • Tuition waivers are not taxable for employees and employee spouses for education below graduate level based on the student’s classification at the time of registration.
  • Tuition waivers are not taxable for employees for education below graduate level.
  • However, for employees enrolled in graduate level courses, tuition waivers may still be non taxable if the education helps to maintain or improve employment skills, or is required to keep the job, salary level, or the current status.
  • If the education enables the employee to meet the minimum qualifications for a job, or qualify for a new trade or business, then the tuition waiver is taxable.

Withholding of Taxes for Employee Tuition Waivers

The determination of taxability of a tuition waiver for graduate level courses as described above is left to the employee since the value of the tuition waiver is not included in the employee’s gross income and is not reported as wages.

Taxability of Tuition Waivers to Employee Spouses

Tuition waivers are not taxable for employee spouses for education below graduate level based on the student’s classification at the time of registration.

Taxability of Tuition Waivers to Employee Domestic Partners

The value of tuition waivers afforded to domestic partners for education at any level is taxable to the University employee.

Withholding of Taxes for Employee Spouse & Domestic Partner Tuition Waivers

The value of the tuition waiver, if applicable, will be included in the employee’s gross income and reported as wages or other compensation on the employee’s W2 and is subject to employment taxes.

  • Taxable amounts will be transmitted through the State Payroll System.
  • These taxable amounts will increase the employee’s Federal, State and FICA taxable income and will generate additional withholding assessments against gross payroll wages.
  • These payments are not payroll payments, but serve to increase taxable income and are defined as Wages-in-Kind.
  • The Employee’s Earnings Statements and the annual W-2 Statements will therefore reflect taxable income and withholding amounts related to both payroll wages and wages-in-kind.

Tax withholding for employee tuition waiver benefits will be processed on the pay dates below:

  • For waivers posted between November 1st and April 15th, withholding will occur on 5/20;
  • For waivers posted between April 16th and August 15th, withholding will occur on 9/20;
  • For waivers posted between August 16th and October 31st, withholding will occur on 12/05.

In general, inclusion of this tuition waiver benefit as one lump sum to wages is in compliance with rules set forth by the Internal Revenue Service. However, should the lump sum be large enough to cause a substantial tax withholding in decreasing the employee’s pay check, the University may consider allocating this lump sum into different pay periods.

Hence, if an employee’s taxable benefit amount is greater than the employee’s regular gross semi-monthly payroll amount, the taxable benefit amount will be split between 2 pay periods: the designated pay date shown above and the next following pay date.

Please consult with your tax adviser if you have further questions.

  • ALL Extension term courses, with 4-digit course reference numbers, are subject to approval.
  • Submit tuition waiver after registering for courses to the Outreach College (Sinclair Library 301) information window or the University Cashier’s Office in Queen Liliʻuokalani Center for Student Services (QLCSS) 105.
  • A non-refundable, non-transferable College Administrative Fee (CAF) is assessed for each Summer Session term and each Extension Term course. Once the waiver has been processed, you are responsible for paying all CAF and fees. For further details, visit the Outreach College website.
  • A campus cashier must post tuition waivers online or manually to the Banner SIS no later than the last day of the 50% refund period for the term for which the waiver is being used. Tuition waivers presented after this date will not be processed.