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Policy Staff Study Assistance Procedure

Staff Study Assistance Procedure


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effective from 1/1/2022, please contact policy@jcu.edu.au for previous versions

Intent

JCU is committed to encouraging eligible staff to undertake tertiary study by providing assistance to complete a formal qualification at JCU.

Scope

This procedure applies to continuing and fixed-term staff members appointed for 12 months or more at JCU Australia.  It does not apply to casual staff or short-term academic visitors.

Definitions

Award – a degree, diploma or certificate contained in the list of approved Awards of James Cook University.

Australian Tropical Campuses (ATC) – JCU campuses in Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Mount Isa and Thursday Island, and courses offered online, excluding third party partnerships (eg. KeyPath) courses.

Class Attendance Leave - time off with or without pay to attend classes.

Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) – a place where JCU or another tertiary educational institution receives Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding and the student pays a student contribution amount (previously known as HECS).

Course - a course of study and instruction leading to an award.

Examination Leave – time off with or without pay to attend examinations

Financial Assistance - includes payment of some or all of the tuition fees in respect of an approved course of study at JCU, which is reimbursed on achievement of a minimum pass grade. Financial assistance does not include amenities and services fees.

Non-Award Subjects - subjects that do not lead to a formal award.

Standard Hours - defined as the span of hours in the Enterprise Agreement.

Study Leave - time off with or without pay for the purpose of studying.

Student Contribution Amount – a payment that a Commonwealth supported student pays towards their education. This payment can be paid upfront or deferred through the HECS-HELP scheme. The Student Contribution amount is a contribution to the total cost of tuition, with the balance paid by the Australia Government through the Commonwealth Grant Scheme.  

Study Period - the period of time in which a subject is undertaken. Each study period has a designated start and end date, census date, last date by which students can add or substitute subjects without prior approval of subject coordinator, date for withdrawal without academic penalty, and date for release of subject results. In exceptional circumstances, the start and end date of a study period may vary for an individual subject.

Tuition Fee – the fees payable to a University to undertake a course of study. For Commonwealth supported students this is equivalent to the Student Contribution amount, for fee paying students, this is equivalent to the full tuition fee amount. Tuition fees exclude the cost of field trips, workshops, equipment, books, placements and other education expenses).

Unit - a unit of study entered in the Unit Register of the James Cook University.

Procedure

1. Categories of Study, including income tax implications

1.1  Courses of study are categorised under the following criteria to determine the level of study assistance offered to staff members, and also directly attribute to taxation obligations.

1.1.1 Category A applies where the course is directly related to the employees’ current position. This may be reflected in the Position Description and it would also be expected that the study requested would further contribute to the employee successfully performing at a high standard in most of aspects of the role.

1.1.2 Category B applies where the study course is only generally related to the specific employment of the staff member, or could be relevant to other positions at JCU and contributes to the continuing development of the staff member as an individual.

1.2 A staff member’s application must strictly align to one of the two categories of study, and is subject to income tax as per the table below:

 

Category A

Category B

Commonwealth Supported

Subject to income tax

Subject to income tax

Full Fee Paying (Domestic Fee Paying)

Not subject to income tax

Subject to income tax

1.3  The category of study does not form part of the assessment criteria.

1.4  Where an application for study is not directly relevant to a work area (Category B) the extent of the assistance provided will be determined on a case by case basis.

2. Place of Study

2.1  Staff Study Assistance is to support undergraduate and postgraduate coursework study undertaken at JCU Australian Tropical Campuses (ATC) only.

3. Financial Assistance

3.1  Staff Study Assistance Scheme may include payment of the Student Contribution Amount.

3.2  A staff member holding a scholarship/award which provides payment of fees may only apply for Study Assistance Payment for fees not met by the scholarship/award.

3.3  The staff member is responsible for paying any/all other costs associated with the study program.

3.4  Study Assistance Payment will not be provided for repeat subjects.

3.5  Financial Assistance will only be reimbursed in line with Payment of Financial Assistance (Section 8).

3.6  The staff member will be required to repay financial assistance to JCU in line with Termination of Employment (Section 9).

3.7  The staff member who received approved Staff Study Assistance prior to 2018 for courses at other tertiary institutions, may continue to receive financial assistance for tuition fees while the application for Staff Study Assistance remains valid.

3.8  The staff member who received approved Staff Study Assistance prior to 2021 for courses at excluded JCU campuses, may continue to receive financial assistance for tuition fees while the application for Staff Study Assistance remains valid.

4. Other Assistance – Leave

4.1  In addition to Financial Assistance, Staff Study Assistance Scheme may include Class Attendance Leave, Examination Leave and Study Leave, subject to the limits per each Category of Study.

4.1.1 Staff members should arrange study schedules that will not adversely affect their work commitments.

4.1.2 Any other assistance will only be granted during standard hours.

4.1.3 Where Other Assistance - Leave is granted for Category A approval, the staff member will be granted the leave without loss of pay.

4.1.4 Where Other Assistance – Leave is granted for Category B approval, the staff member will be required to access their personal leave provisions (e.g. annual leave, leave without pay) or request an individual flexibility arrangement to accommodate the time required to attend classes.

4.2  Examination Leave

4.2.1 Examination leave may be granted covering the time necessary to sit the examination plus one half day for each unit undertaken, to be taken before the final examination

4.2.3 An application for examination leave, including a copy of the examination timetable, must be submitted to the manager at least two weeks before the examination.

4.3  Study Leave

4.3.1 Staff members who do not access Class Attendance Leave or Examination Leave may be granted paid time off in the study period, up to a maximum of 35 hours per study period.

4.3.2 This will be reviewed on a case by case basis by their Manager having consideration for operational requirements in the work area. The staff member must submit a schedule of proposed leave for the study period prior to approval.

4.4  Class Attendance Leave – Category A Only

4.4.1 Paid Class Attendance Leave may be granted to attend classes without loss of pay, subject to the following limits:

  • Up to 6 hours per week (pro rata);
  • The number of hours of paid study time requested is no more than half the time required to attend classes during standard hours.

4.5  Class Attendance Leave - Category B Only

4.5.1 Class Attendance Leave may be granted to attend classes subject to the following limits, although the staff member will be required to access their personal leave provisions (e.g. annual leave, leave without pay) or request an individual flexibility arrangement to accommodate the time required to attend classes:

  • Up to 6 hours per week (pro rata);
  • The number of hours of paid study time requested is no more than half the time required to attend classes during standard hours.

5. Application Procedure

5.1  Applications for Staff Study Assistance must be made on the prescribed application form as amended from time to time annually, and include:

5.1.1 Confirmation of eligibility.

5.1.2 Full details of course/subjects intending to study.

5.1.3 Details of the financial assistance requested.

5.1.4 Details of the other assistance – leave requested, including consideration given to the impact of the staff member’s absence on day-to-day operations including client service and/or other staff in the work area.

5.1.5 Relevance of the course of study to the staff member’s employment at JCU.

5.1.6 Self-assessment of the Category of Study.

5.1.7 Self-assessment of the requirement for income tax.

5.2  The application must be forwarded to the manager at least one month prior to the commencement of study.

6. Assessment and Criteria

6.1  The assessment of an application will be based on the following Criteria:

6.1.1 Confirmation of eligibility.

6.1.2 The course of study is leading to an award.

6.1.3 Confirmation of course/subjects are undergraduate bachelor level or postgraduate diploma and masters level study, or the Graduate Certificate of Academic Practice (or equivalent program).

6.1.4 Confirmation that courses/subjects are for study at JCU Australian Tropical Campuses, or online out of Australian Tropical Campuses (ie. excludes study at JCUS, JCUB and Keypath).

6.1.5 Relevance of the course of study to the staff member’s employment at JCU.

6.1.6 Staff member’s performance.

6.1.7 Study Time requested can be accommodated without adversely affecting JCU operations including client service and/or other staff in the work area.

6.2  Where a staff member commences a new role impacting the Study Assistance approval, the staff members application must be re-assessed in consideration of the new role, which may result in a change of category of study, and/or changes to the Study Assistance approved, or cessation of the Study Assistance.

6.3  Study assistance approval is void where the staff member does not undertake at least 1 subject per calendar year.  Where the staff member is on extended leave (6 months or more) there will be no requirement to study during the period of the leave; however, study must resume within a 12 month period following the leave.

6.4  Study Assistance approval is void where the staff member ceases employment.

6.5  Role of the manager:

6.5.1 Assess the staff member’s application in line with the policy principles and criteria.

6.5.2 Ensure the staff member’s application is strictly aligned to Category A or Category B, including assessment of whether the study is subject to income tax.

6.5.3 Provide a recommendation to approve or reject the application for Staff Study Assistance to the Director Human Resources.

6.6  Role of the Director Human Resources

6.6.1 Assess the staff member’s application in line with the criteria

6.6.2 Ensure the staff member’s application is strictly aligned to Category A or Category B, including assessment of whether the study is subject to income tax.

6.6.3 Approve or reject the application for Staff Study Assistance.

7. Assessment Outcome and Notification

7.1  The Director Human Resources will ensure the staff member, and the manager, are informed of the decision in writing.

7.1.1 Where the application has not been successful, the staff member and the manager will be provided the reasons why the application was not approved.

8. Payment of Financial Assistance

8.1  Requirements for seeking payment of financial assistance.

8.1.1 Financial assistance will only be reimbursed where the pre-approved study is completed and a minimum pass grade is achieved.

8.1.2 A claim for financial assistance should be made at the end of each study period and should be made in the year the expense was incurred.

8.1.3 Financial assistance will be void, and therefore not be reimbursed, if a period of greater than 6 months expires after the grade/award is confirmed.

8.1.4 Financial assistance will be void, and therefore not be reimbursed, if the staff member’s employment ends.

8.2  Claiming reimbursement of Financial Assistance

8.2.1 The staff member should complete a Service Now request, including:

  • A copy of the receipt for payment of the tuition fees; and
  • A statement of results or a statement of satisfactory progress (as appropriate), confirming a minimum of a pass grade has been achieved.

8.3  On approval, reimbursement will be made via the staff member’s payroll as follows.

8.3.1 Where the subject requires the payment of a Student Contribution Amount, payment will be paid through the payroll system on successful completion of subjects. Payment to employees for course fees that attract a Student Contribution Amount will be subject to income tax in all cases.

8.3.2 Where the course is Category A and the subject requires payment of tuition fees other than a Student Contribution Amount, (i.e. domestic full fee paying tuition fees) a study assistance payment will be made through the payroll system on completion of the relevant taxation declaration and on successful completion of subjects. Payment for fees that fit into this category will not be subject to income tax. Section 8.3.2 will only apply to students commencing study prior to 2018.

8.3.3 Where the course is Category B and the subject requires payment of tuition fees other than a Student Contribution Amount, (i.e. domestic full fee paying tuition fees) a study assistance payment will be made through the payroll system on successful completion of subjects. Payment for fees that fit into this category will be subject to income tax. Section 8.3.3 will only apply to students commencing study prior to 2018.

9. Termination of Employment

9.1  Where a staff member departs JCU without completing at least one year of service after the completion of any subjects which form part of the approved study course, then the staff member will be required to repay the amount of staff study assistance payments paid by JCU over the previous year.

9.2  If a staff member's employment ceases due to the expiry of their contract or JCU terminating their employment (other than on the grounds of unsatisfactory performance and/or misconduct), the condition of discharging their commitment to JCU will not apply.

Related policy instruments

Staff Study Assistance Scheme Policy

Schedules/Appendices

Application Form for Staff Study Assistance Scheme

Administration

Approval Details

Policy Domain

Human Resources

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor Services and Resources

Approval Authority

Deputy Vice Chancellor Services and Resources

Date for next review

02/12/2024

Revision History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

22-222/02/202222/02/2022Procedure amended to update section 2 to include postgraduate coursework study, missed in the review at 22-1Director, Planning Performance and Analytics

22-1

02/12/2021

1/1/2022

Procedure amended to reinstate PG C/W study, and to specify that study to be undertaken at Australian Tropical Campuses only (ie. exclude JCUS, JCUB and Keypath) as CSP students

Director, Planning Performance and Analytics

18-2

30/07/2018

30/07/2018

Minor amendment to direct staff to apply for reimbursement of Financial Assistance through Service Now.

Deputy Director, Human Resources

18-1

07/02/2018

19/02/2018

Amended to clearly state criteria includes undergraduate study at JCU only.

 

15-1

18 /12/ 2015

21/12/2015

  • Renaming of Policy
  • Update to align with JCU’s policy framework   and the JCU Enterprise Agreement 2013 – 2016.
  • Alignment of titles to the JCU structure.
  • Refinement of Definitions.
  • Separation of definitions for leave based   assistance.
  • Clarity of study assistance elements
  • Inclusion of clauses to support enacting the   procedure.

·

Keywords

Staff Study Assistance, Study Assistance, Staff Study, Development, Staff Development

Contact person

Manager, Industrial Relations and Policy