Northwestern to cap Employee Portable Tuition Plan benefits for current employees, eliminate for next year’s hires

Troy Closson, Editor in Chief

Northwestern’s Employee Portable Tuition Plan — which pays benefits for employees toward the cost of tuition and fees for courses at other universities — lowered the cap from $12,000 to $5,250 for current staff. The change will take effect on January 1, 2020, according to a Monday email from the University.

The email obtained by The Daily, which was sent to employees currently enrolled in a degree program outside of Northwestern, said the plan will be eliminated for anyone with a hire date after January 1, 2020.

“Over the last several years, the University has experienced increased costs that necessitates specific changes to benefit plans and will impact the educational assistance program,” the email said.

The Employee Portable Tuition Plan allowed employees who completed “one year of full-time, benefits-eligible service prior to the beginning of the term” to receive benefits toward undergraduate and graduate job-related courses at schools other than Northwestern.

Craig Johnson, senior vice president for business and finance, also emailed a notice to some members of Northwestern’s administration and staff last month outlining the changes.

“We have attempted to limit the impact on current faculty and staff,” Johnson’s email said. “Changes are limited to benefits that have not recently increased in cost to employees: retirement, tuition, and health care.”

The University will continue to offer other tuition benefits plans, according to the email, including the Employee Reduced Tuition Plan — which applies to courses at Northwestern — and the tuition benefit toward employees’ dependent children.

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