New Benefit Program – Pioneer Assistance Scholarships (PAS)

The following memo was sent via email to staff on October 24 2016, from Lewis Benavides, Senior Associate VP and CHRO.


Pioneer Assistance Scholarship Application Form


TWU community (faculty, staff and their dependents),

Texas Woman’s University is committed to supporting benefits that recruit and retain high quality faculty and staff while promoting development opportunities that assist employees and their dependents in pursuing their higher education goals. In keeping with this philosophy, the university has established a tuition assistance scholarship program for expenses incurred through enrollment in classes at TWU.


RULES & PROCEDURES

  1. Pioneer Assistance Scholarship (PAS) amounts are to be based on the number of semester credit hours enrolled for the semester/session not to exceed $500 per semester. The total awarded dollar amount of the scholarship will appear as a credit on the student’s tuition account which includes the board designated tuition and mandatory fees assessed.
  1. To be considered for eligibility, all PAS applications must be submitted by Monday, November 28, 2016 prior to the beginning of the semester of enrollment utilizing the university’s Academic Works system at: https://twu.academicworks.com/opportunities/3042
  1. The committee will review all applications and determine the scholarship award winners. The three (3) member PAS committee will be from one of each group: Staff Council, Faculty Senate and Human Resources.  The current appointed committee members are:

Faculty Senator Dr. Lybeth Hodges
Staff Council member Lori Kennedy
Human Resources member Melissa Ozuna

  1. The number of scholarship winners awarded by the committee will be determined solely by approved university funding for each fiscal year and prorated for each semester.  The Spring 2017 funding has been approved at $10,000 or 20 scholarships.  The scholarships will be awarded by the total percentage applied for that semester from each category for faculty, staff and dependents.
  1. The PAS committee decisions are final.

INFORMATION & DEFINITIONS (Eligibility): 

  1. The individual must be:
    • A full-time faculty or staff member who is employed on a 100% basis for a minimum of one year (the year does not have to be continuous), or,
    • A part-time (50% – 99%) faculty or staff member who has been employed for a minimum of two years (years do not have to be continuous) in at least a part-time regular, benefits eligible employment or position,
    • A dependent of either an eligible full-time or part-time faculty or staff memb The above a) or b), must be attained before the sponsoring faculty or staff members dependent is eligible to apply.
      • Dependent Criteria:
        • A dependent means a spouse (as defined in the Texas Family Code) of an employee; unmarried child under 26 years of age including the natural child of an employee; a legally adopted child; a stepchild, foster child, or other child which has a legally recognized parent-child relationship with the employee; or any child, regardless of age, who lives with or whose care is provided by an employee on a regular basis if the child is physically or mentally disabled to such an extent as to be dependent on the employee for care and support.
        • In the event of the death of the faculty or staff member, the dependent will remain eligible for the scholarship for two semesters following the death of the faculty or staff member. All other eligibility requirements must be met.
        • Dependents who are new or former students and who meet applicable requirements for admission in good standing to the university are eligible. Dependents who are continuing students must have a minimum 2.0 undergraduate cumulative grade point average or a 3.0 graduate (includes post-baccalaureate) cumulative grade point average to be eligible.  A dependent must be eligible under these criteria as of the 12th class day of the respective long session or the 12th class day equivalent for other semesters/sessions.
  1. Individuals who meet applicable requirements for admission in good standing with the university are eligib Individuals who are continuing students must have a minimum 2.0 undergraduate cumulative grade point average or a 3.0 graduate (includes post- baccalaureate) cumulative grade point average to be eligible.  All dependents, faculty and staff must attain a passing grade of “B” or its equivalent of all coursework taken during the semester to continue to be eligible and potentially receive additional tuition assistance scholarships; otherwise a one semester or session break will apply.
  1. The individual must not have any delinquent outstanding debt (g. returned checks, tuition, student loans and applicable fees) with the University at the time the PAS application is processed and the award is applied to the student’s tuition account.
  1. Tuition assistance under the program is not available to students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment.
  2. Supervisor and/or chair approval is not required to apply for or receive the tuition assistance scholarship.  However, supervisor approval is required for faculty and staff to take TWU classes during normal workday hours.
  1. Additionally all faculty and staff must have a performance evaluation rating above the lowest rating for either faculty or staff to be eligible to apply.
  1. Retired and/or rehired retiree members in any category (1a, b and c) are not eligible for benefits under this policy.

Pioneer Assistance Scholarships (PAS) do not cover:

  • Admissions application fee, (The applicant must pay the application fee when applying for admission),
  • Auditing courses,
  • Reimbursement for previous semester’s courses,
  • Courses at any other college or university,
  • Costs associated with required vaccines for entering students, and/or
  • Recreational sports membership.

Possible Tax Consequences:

Under current IRS regulations, if applying the assistance to a graduate course, tuition assistance is generally considered taxable income. The faculty, staff or dependent member receiving the PAS is responsible for paying these taxes. Tax amounts differ from student to student due to a variety of tax and income situations.

Tuition assistance for undergraduate courses is generally not considered taxable. If the faculty, staff or dependent member apply the PAS tuition assistance to both graduate and undergraduate courses within the calendar tax year then all of the assistances may be considered taxable.  In all tuition assistance situations, please consult your tax professional for advice and final determination.

The PAS application form is attached for those very few employees that do not have computer access at either work or home, all others including dependents are expected to utilize the university’s Academic Works system located at: https://twu.academicworks.com/opportunities/3042

The effective open application date starts today with a deadline date of Monday, November 28, 2016 for the Spring 2017 Pioneer Assistance Scholarships (PAS) benefit usage period.


We wish to thank all those involved over the years that have contributed to the establishment of this new TWU benefit, if you have any questions you can contact any member of the human resources benefits team:

Lisa Taylor
Senior HR Generalist
(940) 898-3542
ltaylor16@twu.edu

Angela Cagle,
Manager of Benefits
(940) 898-3552
acagle@twu.edu

Or any Pioneer Assistance Scholarships (PAS) committee member listed here and copied in the above email:

  • Faculty Senator Dr. Lybeth Hodges
  • Staff Council member Lori Kennedy
  • Human Resources member Melissa Ozuna

Regards, Lewis.

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