Gainesville State College (GSC) is pleased to offer the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to eligible GSC employees. The University System of Georgia (USG) revised this assistance program November 1, 2004, and those policies and procedures apply to GSC participants. Within this document, Gainesville State College has clarified some internal policies, and provided a process for appeals if/when there are instances of an employee being denied authorization for TAP assistance.
TAP Participation and Employee Work Schedules and Expectations
By design the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) provides that class attendance not interfere with an employee’s work commitment, or coworker/departmentental ability to function effectively to meet customer service expectations and other departmental needs. Gainesville State College employees are expected to attend classes at times other than their normal working hours, except under truly extenuating circumstances, as determined by the employee, area supervisor, and area Vice President.
The following is an excerpt from the University System of Georgia TAP policy.
Work Schedule Arrangements
No employee should take a course(s) that would require him/her to be absent from work during regularly scheduled work hours. If attendance in an approved TAP course requires that an employee be absent from his/her assigned workstation during normal work hours, various accommodations may be possible, depending upon the needs of the unit/department and of the employee. The supervisor must certify that the employee's participation in TAP will not adversely affect departmental services, or, result in undue hardship for other employees. Alternate work arrangements will only be granted at the discretion of the immediate supervisor. Supervisors are encouraged to make a reasonable effort to find an appropriate work schedule accommodation.
(USG TAP policy, forms, & FAQ can be accessed from: http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits/tuition_assistance_program_tap/)
An example of an extenuating circumstance might include:
- TAP participant needs only a couple more classes to graduate and those classes are ONLY offered during his/her “regular” working hours. (TAP participant bears sole responsibility of providing confirmation that course is not otherwise available).
In an effort to comply with this USG provision, and to ensure fairness to all GSC employees, the following paperwork is required of Gainesville State College employees who apply to participate in TAP during their regular work schedule:
- Submit a written explanation specifying the need to interrupt the normal workings of their department.
- Prepare and submit an alternate work schedule that outlines the entire work week which indicates when the time missed from work will be made-up – or to indicate that personal leave will be used to make up any time that will not be made-up each week by the employee.
- The above information should be signed and dated by the employee making the request, the immediate supervisor, and the area Vice President.
- After all signatures are obtained, the letter of explanation, the alternate work schedule, and the TAP application must be forwarded to the Gainesville State College TAP Coordinator.
Registration for TAP program courses at GSC will begin after 3:00 p.m. during the late registration period and continue through the drop add period. The following statement is taken from BOR policy regarding TAP registration periods.
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Registration
Each "teaching institution" will establish its TAP employee registration period. This period will begin immediately after the end of the "teaching institution's" regular student registration period. The specific dates for the employee registration period at each "teaching institution" are listed at http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits/tap_dates/ . TAP enrollment is granted on a space-available basis.
USG employees have the option of enrolling and registering as a “regular” (non TAP) student in order to register earlier for classes.
Guidelines and General Rules
An employee may not appeal any institutional decision regarding the TAP program to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Each USG institution will utilize its internal review process to review TAP appeals.
IMPORTANT: Appeals must be initiated by the employee within a time frame that allows for full review at each level (see procedure, below) while also allowing for completion before the TAP application deadline for any given semester. Appeals that are not initiated in a timely manner to allow for reasonable review at each level will cause the employee to forfeit his/her right to appeal for that semester.
The TAP policy, as approved by the Board of Regents, was created with specific provisions regarding both initial and ongoing TAP eligibility.
The following situations disqualify an employee from the TAP program, and no appeals will be considered for employees who:
- Have been employed at GSC for less than the required full six (6) months in a full-time, “regular” position, and/or:
- Are employed less than the required 40 hours per week.
- Withdraw from an approved TAP course prior to its completion. The employee will be ineligible to participate in TAP for one semester.
- An employee who receives a grade of "D," or below, in an approved TAP course will be ineligible to participate in the program for one semester.
- Fail to submit their TAP application form, and any other applicable materials by the printed deadline. There is a 30 day opportunity to submit TAP applications prior to every semester.
- Register for courses ahead of the designated TAP registration date
Reminder: TAP applications must be received/approved no less than 30 days prior to the beginning of each semester. Therefore, appeals will not be considered for semesters that are partially or fully completed.
There may be times when a supervisor or area Vice President may deny permission to an otherwise “eligible” employee to participate. While this may be appropriate, the employee will be given the right to appeal this initial denial.
Employees wishing to appeal a TAP denial (for reasons other than those excluded above) should follow the “GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE” guidelines which appear in the Gainesville State College Faculty and Staff handbooks. The handbook links are on the left menu of this page.