Lumberjack Education Assistance Program Procedures
Eligible participants may seek tuition assistance through the Lumberjack Education Assistance Program.
- The last day to apply for LEAP is the census date of each semester.
- Summer is one semester with one census date.
- Applying for LEAP includes an automatic application by employees for the employee scholarship which covers statutory tuition for employees only and follows the same guidelines as LEAP.
- For full-time employees, applications must be approved by the immediate supervisor. For spouses/dependents, the student must approve the application under the Billing tab in their mySFA portal.
- Each LEAP application must be approved at least three business days prior to the payment deadline in order to expect LEAP to be applied to their student account by the payment deadline.
- LEAP benefits apply only to mandatory tuition and fee charges excluding statutory tuition. Statutory tuition, excessive hours tuition, 3-peat charges and non-mandatory incidental fees are not covered by LEAP benefits.
- LEAP benefits will be reduced if tuition and fees are paid by a third party or contract, or are paid by any other exemption or waiver. LEAP benefits will also be reduced by student financial aid with the exception of PELL grant, FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant), outside scholarships, or loans.
- All participants must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 for undergraduate degree programs and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for graduate degree programs.
- If a student withdraws on or before the census date, LEAP will be removed and the student will be responsible for any balance owed.
- The employee must be employed through the census date of the semester to receive LEAP; otherwise, LEAP will be removed and the student will be responsible for any balance owed.
- Incidental fees that are not mandatory are not exempted, e.g. individual instruction fees, post office box fee, parking permit, etc.
- Active, regular (100% FTE) employees become eligible for LEAP benefits when they will have completed six months of continuous service for the university before the last day of the enrolled term.
- Statutory tuition related to courses eligible for LEAP will be covered by a separate employee scholarship as funding permits. Employee scholarships follow the same guidelines as LEAP.
- Full-time employees can be exempted from mandatory tuition and fees of undergraduate or graduate courses up to a maximum of $5,250.00 per calendar year. Any LEAP benefits above the annual eligible amount will be treated as taxable benefits to the employee at the end of the year.
- Active, regular (100% FTE) employees may apply for LEAP benefits on behalf of their spouse/dependent child(ren) when the employee has completed six months of continuous service for the university prior to the end of the semester in which the spouse/dependent child(ren) will enroll.
- The LEAP benefits may be applied to undergraduate or graduate courses that are part of the overall degree plan of the spouse/dependent child(ren).
- Spouse/dependent child(ren) must upload requested documentation yearly to document their eligibility.
- Spouses must be recognized by law as a spouse or common law spouse and meet insurance eligibility requirements for a spouse as set forth by the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS).
- Dependent Child(ren) must meet all five of the tests below to be claimed as a qualifying child by the employee under IRS regulations. More information can be found in Chapter 3 of IRS Publication 17.
1. Relationship Test
To meet this test, a child must be:
- Your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant (for example, your grandchild) of any of them; or
- Your brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant (for example, your niece or nephew) of any of them.
Adopted child. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. The term “adopted child” includes a child who was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
Foster child. A foster child is an individual who is placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.
2. Age Test
To meet this test, a child must be:
- Under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly);
- A student under age 24 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly); or
- Permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year, regardless of age.
3. Residency Test
To meet this test, your child must have lived with you for more than half the year. There are exceptions for temporary absences, and children of divorced or separated parents.
Temporary absences. Your child is considered to have lived with you during periods of time when one of you, or both, are temporarily absent due to special circumstances such as:
- Military service, or
- Detention in a juvenile facility.
4. Support Test (To Be a Qualifying Child)
To meet this test, the child can’t have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year.
5. Joint Return Test (To Be a Qualifying Child)
To meet this test, the child can’t file a joint return for the year.