Employee NU Certificate Tuition

Summary Plan DescriptionPDF Document
Educational Assistance FAQsPDF Document

Employee Eligibility

This benefit is available for full-time, benefits-eligible faculty and staff at the University.

1. Participant must be a regular full-time, benefits-eligible employee AND
2. Participant must have completed one year of full-time, benefits-eligible service prior to the beginning of the term AND
3. Employee must be on the payroll at the beginning and completion of course(s).

Allowable Expenses

This benefit is for short-term, non-credit certificate courses taken at Northwestern University and billed outside of CAESAR. (School of Professional Studies Post-baccalaureate Certificates are eligible for the Employee Reduced (ER) and Enhanced Employee Reduced (EER) Tuition benefit plans.) The benefit is limited to tuition and eligible fees only.

Annual Benefit Amount

The benefit covers 100% of tuition and eligible fees up to $12,000 per calendar year. Total maximum of all Employee Educational Assistance benefits per employee is $12,000/calendar year, whereby any amount over $5,250 is considered taxable income per IRS rules.


All Employee Tuition Benefits above $5,250 received per calendar year must be taxed as non-cash compensation and added to an employee's taxable wages. For example, if your tuition benefit for the spring quarter is $5,000 and you receive an additional $3,000 in assistance for the summer quarter, the $2750 ($8,000-$5,250 = $2,750) would be taxed on the paycheck that includes the tuition benefit payment. Additional information can be found on the IRS website.

Reimbursement Eligibility

1. Copy of official certificate showing completion of course.
2. Copy of official university/school bill or statement of account (showing all fees, financial aid received, and full payment).
3. Supervisor's approval shown by signature on Supervisor Acknowledgement Form.
4. The calendar year in which the course(s) begins will be the same calendar year to which the reimbursement funds are applied.
5. Employees must submit a completed online application within 90 days after the course completion date.

Application Procedure

  1. Employees review policy & procedure to ensure eligibility prior to the start of the certificate program.
  2. Employees obtain their supervisor's approval and signature indicating it is a job-related program.
  3. Employees, upon completion of the course, must submit an online application using Plan ID "EC - Employee Certificate" and uploading the following documentation as attachments:
    1. A completed, signed Supervisor Acknowledgement form - Employee Northwestern Certificate,
    2. A copy of any associated certificate of completion,
    3. An itemized tuition bill clearly showing the fees for that course and any associated grants and/or scholarships, and,
    4. Proof of payment.
  4. Employees must indicate on the Employee Northwestern Certificate Tuition application the amount of financial assistance they receive from other sources. These are subtracted from your out-of-pocket tuition and fee expenses.
  5. The Employee Northwestern Certificate Tuition online application must be submitted through myHR no later than 90 days after course completion.
  6. By submitting an application, you are agreeing to the following statement: I certify that the information provided is correct. I agree to comply with the provisions of the Northwestern Educational Assistance plan as described in the plan document. I acknowledge that all applicable taxes will be taken from my paycheck at the time the benefit is reimbursed, in accordance with IRS regulations. (For questions about taxation, contact Payroll.)
  7. The employee will be reimbursed via payroll.

Tuition Reimbursement Applications