Education Benefits for Research Associates

COVID-19: Contacting the Benefits Department

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Human Resources is working remotely until further notice. During this time, Craig Hall is not open to the public; walk-ins will not be accepted and forms cannot be dropped off in-person or faxed. During this time, we recommend submitting all requests and inquiries online in lieu of sending physical mail or leaving phone messages.

If you have a Benefits-related inquiry, including the submission of forms or documentation, the quickest way to receive assistance is to submit an online request.

  Full-Time, Regular Research Associates Part-Time Regular Research Associates
For Self:    
Undergraduate Programs Not eligible
Graduate Programs Not eligible
For Spouse/Domestic Partner:    
Undergraduate Programs Not eligible
Graduate Programs Not eligible
For Dependent Child(ren):    
Undergraduate Programs Not eligible
Graduate Programs Not eligible Not eligible

For Self

Note: A form is not required to process the education benefit for yourself. For those who meet the eligibility requirements, the education benefit is applied automatically to the student's account.

Effective Date for Education Benefits

The education benefit is available the first semester following the research associate's date of hire. For example, if the research associate is hired on August 1, they would be eligible for the education benefit starting in the Fall Term.

Undergraduate Level Courses

The scholarship covers undergraduate tuition for the allowable number of credits, except for the portion per credit that is the responsibility of the student. The portion is stated below.

  Full-Time, Regular Research Associates
Credits per Term Up to 6 credits
University Contribution 97%
Student Contribution 3%

If the student will be studying abroad or participating in a co-op program, please notify the Benefits Department to ensure the benefit processes on these tuition charges.

Graduate Level Courses

The scholarship covers graduate tuition for the allowable number of credits, except for the portion per credit that is the responsibility of the staff member. This portion is stated below.

Under IRS tax code, the value of certain educational benefits applied to graduate-level courses is considered taxable income. This requires research associates to pay taxes on a portion of the educational benefit they receive for graduate-level courses over a certain value. For University employees, the first $5,250.00 (in a calendar year) is awarded on a pre-tax basis because the University has an IRC §127 Tuition Benefit Plan in effect. After this amount is met, the withholding regarding this benefit is at a rate of 29.65% (rate effective as of January 1, 2020). The taxation can affect the amount of the University's contribution that gets applied to the student bill.

  Full-Time, Regular Research Associates
Credits per Term Up to 6 credits
University Contribution 90%
Student Contribution 10%

If the student will be studying abroad or participating in a co-op program, please notify the Benefits Department to ensure the benefit processes on these tuition charges.

Taxation of Graduate Level Courses

The IRS allows employers to provide $5,250.00 to their employees for graduate-level classes each calendar year before requiring that any exceeding amount be reported as taxable income. Once taxes are applied, the University reduces the upfront benefit received by 29.65% (rate effective as of January 1, 2020).

Utilizing the Education Benefit

For those who meet the eligibility requirements, the education benefit is applied automatically to the student's account.

For Spouse/Domestic Partner

Required Criteria for Spouse/Domestic Partner Education Benefits

  • Research associate must be regular, full-time.
  • For spouses: must be legally married prior to the start of the term.
  • For domestic partners: must have a University of Pittsburgh Affidavit of Domestic Partnership approved prior to the start of the term. Learn more about benefits for Domestic Partners.
  • The spouse/domestic partner must be enrolled in a course for academic credit in either a degree or certificate program.

Effective Date of Education Benefits

The education benefit is available the first semester following the research associate's date of hire. For example, if the research associate is hired on August 1, they would be eligible for the education benefit starting in the Fall Term.

Undergraduate Level Courses

The education benefit covers undergraduate tuition for the allowable number of credits, except for the portion per credit that is the responsibility of the staff member. This portion is stated below.

Domestic Partner undergraduate level education benefits are viewed as taxable income by the IRS. This taxation can affect the amount of the University's contribution that gets applied to the student's bill.

  Spouse Domestic Partner
Credits per Term Up to 6 credits Up to 6 credits
University Contribution 90% 90%

Graduate Level Courses

The education benefit covers graduate tuition for the allowable number of credits, except for the portion per credit that is the responsibility of the staff member. This portion is stated below.

Graduate level education benefits are viewed as taxable income by the IRS. This taxation can affect the amount of the University's contribution that gets applied to the student's bill.

  Spouse Domestic Partner
Credits per Term Up to 6 credits Up to 6 credits
University Contribution 90% 90%

Taxation of Graduate Level Benefits at the University for Spouses/Domestic Partners

The IRS does not allow employers to provide pre-tax graduate level educational benefits for spouses and domestic partners. Once taxes are applied, the University reduces the upfront benefit received by 29.65% (rate effective as of January 1, 2020).

Required Documentation for Education Benefits

Paperwork must be submitted once per academic year.

For Spouse

For Domestic Partner

The education benefit will only be applied for the terms listed on the Education Benefit Request form for the University of Pittsburgh. If the student will be studying abroad or participating in a co-op program, please notify the Benefits Department to ensure the benefit processes on these tuition charges.

Submission of Required Documentation

To submit your request form and related documentation:

  1. Access the Education Benefit Request Form for Spouse/Domestic Partner (via DocuSign).
    • Note: This form should be submitted only by the benefits-eligible employee at the University of Pittsburgh (not the spouse/domestic partner).
    • This form and related documentation must be submitted once per academic year.
  2. Enter your name and valid Pitt email on the form.
    • Note: Forms submitted from any non-Pitt email address will be rejected.
  3. After selecting "Begin Signing," you will be sent an access code to the email you entered. You must enter the access code you received to complete signing the form.
  4. Enter all required information on the form, including attaching any related documentation.
    • For spouses: Attach a copy of the marriage certificate.
    • For domestic partners: Attach a copy of the University-approved Affidavit of Domestic Partnership.
  5. Review your information. Once all information is entered and the form is signed, please select "Complete" from the DocuSign toolbar (at the top of the page).

Once your form is processed by the Benefits Department, you will receive an email from DocuSign containing the processed form.

For Dependent Child(ren)

Required Criteria for Dependent Child(ren) Education Benefits

  • Research associate must be regular, full-time.
  • The student must be a natural, adopted, or stepchild of the employee.
  • The student must be listed as a child dependent on the employee's Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return for the calendar year most applicable to the academic term for which the scholarship application is being made. Please review the Qualifying Child Rules page on the IRS website for more information.
  • The student has not earned a baccalaureate degree.

Effective Date for Education Benefits

The education benefit is available the first semester following the research associate's date of hire. For example, if the research associate is hired on August 1, they would be eligible for the education benefit starting in the Fall Term.

Education Benefit at the University of Pittsburgh

Dependent children are eligible for the education benefits for 12 terms of undergraduate level coursework. There is no credit limit for a dependent per semester. The benefit for a dependent child is 100% of tuition.

Registration for less than the maximum credit load allowed in the Fall, Spring, or Summer Term uses one of the 12 allowable terms. Dependent children attending high school and registering for courses in a term at the University also uses one of the 12 allowable terms if they enroll at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dependent children of full-time, regular research associates hired prior to September 1, 1994 may be eligible to receive Education Benefits at Other Institutions.

Required Documentation for Education Benefits

Paperwork must be submitted once per academic year.

The education benefit will only be applied for the terms listed on the Education Benefit Request form for the University of Pittsburgh. If the student will be studying abroad or participating in a co-op program, please notify the Benefits Department to ensure the benefit processes on these tuition charges.

Submission of Required Documentation

To submit your request form and related documentation:

  1. Access the Education Benefit Request Form for Dependent Children (via DocuSign).
    • Note: This form should be submitted only by the benefits-eligible employee at the University of Pittsburgh (not the dependent child).
    • This form and related documentation must be submitted once per academic year.
  2. Enter your name and valid Pitt email on the form.
    • Note: Forms submitted from any non-Pitt email address will be rejected.
  3. After selecting "Begin Signing," you will be sent an access code to the email you entered. You must enter the access code you received to complete signing the form.
  4. Enter all required information on the form, including attaching any related documentation.
    • Copy of the research associate's most recent Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, listing the student as a dependent.
  5. Review your information. Once all information is entered and the form is signed, please select "Complete" from the DocuSign toolbar (at the top of the page).

Once your form is processed by the Benefits Department, you will receive an email from DocuSign containing the processed form.