CSU Fee Waiver Program
This educational assistance program allows eligible employees to enhance job skills or prepare for a future career by taking classes at any of the 23 CSU campuses, waiving the greater of two courses or 6 units per semester/quarter. Courses must be job-related and/or part of an individual career development plan.
Winter session and Extended Education courses are generally excluded at most campuses.
The Fee Waiver Program is a negotiated benefit and is subject to change.
Related Documents & Forms
The following employees are eligible to participate subject to management approval: full-time or part-time permanent staff employees; full-time probationary employees; full-time managers; tenured, probationary, and temporary faculty with three-year appointments; coaches with six (6) consecutive years of service in the department. One year of service is defined as one (1) semester or two (2) quarters in the bargaining unit on a single CSU campus during a single academic year. Please see the Employee Categories for more information.
Additional Fee waiver provisions may be found in the collective bargaining agreements as follows:
- Units 2, 5, 7, 9 (CSUEU) - Article 22
- Unit 3 (Faculty) - Article 26
- Unit 4 (Academic Professionals) - Article 16
- Unit 6 (Skilled Trades) - Article 27
- Unit 8 (Public Safety) - Article 20
Eligible faculty and staff employees may also transfer their fee waiver benefit entitlement to a spouse, registered domestic partner or dependent child. Eligibility is based upon provisions of the collective bargaining agreements.
There are three types of staff fee waiver.
Career Development – Employees must apply to Cal State University and be matriculated students working toward a degree.
Job Related – Employees may take courses specifically to improve their performance in their current job or to be ready for anticipated upcoming changes in their job duties. These employees are not matriculated students and are not working towards a degree.
Dependent – An eligible staff employee may transfer his/her fee waiver benefit to a dependent. Dependents include a spouse, a registered domestic partner, or a dependent child. The State Tuition Fees will be waived for up to six units. The dependent may attend CSUMB or any other CSU campus.
A dependent child is:
- Your child or stepchild under age 25 who has never been married
- A child, under age 25 living with you in a parent-child relationship who is economically dependent upon you and has never been married
- Your child or stepchild age 25 or above who is incapable of self-support due to a disability which existed prior to age 25
For SUPA (Unit 8) employees, the age limit for dependent children is under age 23 using the same definitions above.
The spouse, registered domestic partner, or dependent child must be matriculated toward a degree or attainment of a teaching credential in the CSU, and the course(s) taken through the Fee Waiver Program must be for credit toward completion of that degree or teaching credential. Campus administration has the right to determine if space is available in the desired class before permitting a dependent fee waiver student to enroll.
The dependent fee waiver may be transferred to only one person at a time; i.e., an employee cannot use his/her fee waiver for one class or three units and waive one class or three units for a dependent.
If both parents are employees eligible to use fee waiver, each employee may transfer their benefits to their dependent. Therefore, it is possible for one child to receive both benefits and be eligible to enroll in up to four (4) courses or 12 units, whichever is greater, on a fee waiver basis.
“Release time” means that an employee has supervisory or managerial approval to attend a class during the employee’s normal work hours. An employee may be given release time to attend one course per semester/quarter, if the supervisor/manager determines that the operations of the department will not be adversely affected by the employee’s absence. A change in work schedule may be approved for purposes of attending one course in lieu of release time. University Police Officers may not use State time for classes.
Under the Fee Waiver Program, only one set of fees is waived at the campus in which the employee or dependent enrolls. This includes only one waiver/reimbursement of one Application Fee regardless of the number of applications.
The tuition fee is fully waived for up to 6 units or 2 courses, whichever is greater. The full tuition fee is waived if an employee takes only two courses that exceed 6.0 units. Employees enrolled in courses in excess of the maximum covered by fee waiver shall pay the difference in fees per applicable bargaining agreement.
Eligible employees and/or dependents enrolled in a Doctoral program are eligible for a partial fee waiver equivalent to the part-time Graduate Tuition Fee. Employees (and their eligible dependent(s)) are responsible for paying the difference between the applicable Doctorate fee and the part-time Graduate Tuition fee.
Tax Implications from Fee Waivers
Generally, undergraduate fees for employees are nontaxable. Graduate/Doctorate fees for employees are nontaxable if expenses do not exceed $5,250 (in a calendar year) pursuant to IRC 117 (d) and 127. Please check the tax status of your fee waiver using the matrix below. If taxable, it is very important that you take this opportunity to calculate your potential taxes.
Eligible Participant Course Level(s) Tax Status CSU Employee Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Nontaxable CSU Employee Graduate/Doctorate Nontaxable up to $5,250/year* Spouse or Dependent Child Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Nontaxable Spouse or Dependent Child Graduate Taxable Employee's Domestic Partner Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Taxable Employee's Domestic Partner Graduate Taxable
*Effective with the 2019 tax year, commencing with the Spring 2019 academic term all graduate/doctorate level courses taken by employees, where the calendar year total exceeds the $5,250 threshold will be taxable and withheld from the employee's pay warrant (paycheck). Graduate courses deemed job-related, pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 132(d), will no longer be excludable from W-2 wages. Employees may consult a personal tax advisor to determine if courses taken are job-related pursuant to IRC Section 132(d) and include the deduction on their personal tax return.
To calculate a tax estimate:
- Estimate the fee waiver value
- Multiply the value of the fee waiver by 36.25% = Flat tax amount deducted from employees wages
- For example, if the total fee waiver value is $8750; the estimated tax is $1268.75 (to be deducted from one or more of the employee's paychecks during the semester).
The dollar value for the waived fees will be reflected on the employee's next pay warrant following receipt of the benefit, and the State Controller’s Office will take deductions for that benefit from that payroll warrant.
A “flat tax rate” will be applied to the amount waived or reduced. Currently, the flat tax rate is roughly 36.25%; and may be adjusted annually. (Federal currently 22%, State 6.6% currently, and if applicable Social Security 6.2% and Medicare 1.45%).
The Fee Waiver Program is a fringe benefit and as such has strict reporting requirements established by the Internal Revenue Service [Internal Revenue Code Sections 117(d), 127 and 132(d)] and the State of California Controller’s Office. The reporting requirements state that the fringe benefit must be taxed in the calendar year that the benefit was received.
Fees are waived for a maximum of two (2) classes, or 6 units, whichever is greater. If the unit/course limitation is exceeded, the employee must pay the difference in fees.
Career Development students must apply to and be accepted by the university. A fee waiver application does NOT guarantee admission to the university.
In order to continue in the Fee Waiver Program, employees or their dependents must maintain good standing academically, which means a “C” or a 2.0 average for undergraduate students and a "B" or 3.0 average for masters and graduate credential students. Grades are audited each semester. Employees or their dependents who go on probation or who become subject to disqualification will be dropped from the program.
Fees cannot be waived for courses taken through Extended Education or Open University. Only state-funded courses are eligible under the Fee Waiver Program.
Lab classes with a different catalog number than the lecture class that goes with it will be counted as a separate class. Dependent Fee Waiver applicants must be enrolled in a matriculated program.
A new Fee Waiver Application must be submitted for each semester to continue participation in the program. An eligible employee who is on an approved leave of absence may enroll for units in excess of those mentioned above in accordance with the following schedule:
Percentage Maximum Semester of Leave or Quarter Units
Percentage of leave Maximum semester or quarter units One-fourth but less than one-half 9 One-half but less than three-fourths 12 Three-fourths but less than full 15 Full Not limited
Eligible employees or their dependents must fill out an application form and submit it to Human Resources with the following information:
Non-Matriculated employees (_not seeking a degree_) must fill out a Non-Matriculated Application form.
Dependents must be matriculated and attach the latest copy of their unofficial transcript
Employees seeking a degree must fill out a Career Development Plan and attach a copy of their latest unofficial transcript.
A Career Development Plan Update is required for each continuing semester that the employee participates in the fee waiver program.
If the Fee Waiver is for attendance at another CSU campus, a copy of the applicant's unofficial transcript from that campus must accompany the Fee Waiver application. One of the requirements for fee waiver eligibility is that the employee/dependent must be in good academic standing (i.e. GPA 2.0 or higher) to continue in the program.
PLEASE NOTE: Continuing fee waiver students, you must renew your fee waiver status each semester. If you do not, Admissions will place a fee waiver hold on your account until you renew. To avoid this delay, please complete the Fee Waiver Application and any supporting documentation that applies and send it to Human Resources as soon as possible.
Should you have any questions regarding the Fee Waiver Program, please call Human Resources at 831-582-3389.
Please submit your forms early, at least 10 business days before you plan to pay your fees/register. No fee waiver requests will be accepted for the Spring 2023 semester after February 6. Late registration and late payment fees are not waived.
Matriculated (Degree-Seeking) Students:
Matriculated students may start registering for classes on their assigned enrollment appointment time. Student’s enrollment appointment time can be found in the CMS Student/HR Student Center. Specific instructions and current information regarding registration can be found in the registration notification emailed to the student’s official CSUMB email address.
Please note: To avoid being disenrolled from your classes, registration, tuition, and fees--including course/lab fees--must be paid by January 5, 2023. Starting January 6, 2023, payment is due prior to registration.
Last day to register without being assessed a $25 Late Registration Fee is January 22, 2023.
Students are responsible for staying informed about registration and tuition/fee payment deadlines.
Non-matriculated (not seeking a degree) Students:
For employees who are taking job-related courses and are not seeking a degree, registration takes place the first day of classes, which is January 23, 2023. Payment of registration fees, including course/lab fees, is due at the time of registration.
For important information regarding registration deadlines, forms, and policies and procedures related to your academic record, please visit the Classes & Planning website.
Employees who wish to take advantage of the Fee Waiver program are required to submit the appropriate fee waiver forms each semester. In addition, continuing students must provide a copy of unofficial transcripts to verify academic standing.
Forms are available online. Fee Waiver applications may be dropped off to our UP's locked mailbox outside of Tide Hall, sent through AdobeSign, or mailed directly to Human Resources, Tide Hall. Approved fee waiver forms are required before payment/registration.