Educational Assistance


This policy applies to all full and part-time administrative, instructional, and research faculty and all full and part-time classified employees.  Adjunct faculty, wage, and student employees are not eligible.


It is the policy of George Mason University to allow the use of appropriate, available funds to pay for job-related training for eligible employees of the University.  Training obtained under this policy must provide new skills or improve the existing skills of an employee who is expected to continue employment with the University for a period of time that will justify such expenditures.

For long-term or costly training, approving officials must enter into a written agreement with the employee.  If a Memorandum of Agreement is used, it must clearly state that the employee is expected to remain a University employee for a defined period of time following completion of the training.  If the employee voluntarily departs prior to that time, a prorated portion of the training cost will be due to the University.  The approving official should not guarantee continued employment as a result of the agreement. A sample Memorandum of Agreement is available for general use.

All training must be allied to the needs of the University and meet at last one of the following criteria:

· Develop the employee’s skills in the use of new or modified processes and/or equipment;

· Provide skills required by changes in the employee’s current position;

· Secure skills to prepare the employee for advancement to a position for which qualified applicants are not otherwise available; and

· Allow employees with minimal qualifications to obtain skills needed to perform the job.

Note: Under Internal Revenue Code §127, all employer-provided educational expenses offered under an educational assistance program for undergraduate and graduate courses, whether job-related or not, are excludable from an employee’s gross income and are not subject to FITW, FICA and FUTA up to $5,250 annually.  Any payments or reimbursements made in excess of $5,250 for each calendar year are taxable and subject to withholding and employment taxes, unless the course qualified as a working-condition fringe benefit.


Human Resources and Payroll will administer the application of this policy.  Heads of Departments, Offices, and Activities will establish internal controls and assure that approved requests are within the scope of this policy.


This policy is effective January 5, 2004.  This policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.

Date of most recent review: 12/18/2020


Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President

Peter N. Stearns

Date approved: January 16, 2004