Children’s Educational Assistance Plan

After five years of benefits-eligible service, employees may be eligible to receive a tuition grant under the Children’s Educational Assistance Plan for half of their eligible child’s tuition and mandatory education fees up to $19,490 for the 2020-2021 academic year. Payments of $9,745 are disbursed each semester, or equivalent amounts are disbursed on a trimester and quarter basis.

For example, if the child’s annual tuition and mandatory fees total $20,000, the University provides a grant of $10,000 ($5,000 per semester). If the child’s annual tuition and fees total $50,000, the University provides a grant of $19,490 ($9,745 per semester). The amount of the grant may be adjusted annually on or about July 1.

Features

  • Tuition grant is non-taxable
  • Annual maximum amount increases yearly
  • Grant is paid directly by Princeton University to the educational institution

Rules

  • The grant is available for undergraduate full-time study (12 credits or more) at two- or four-year accredited institutions for up to four academic years (eight semesters or 12 trimesters or quarters, including summer sessions) for unmarried dependent children and, in most cases, is tax free. The terms do not need to be consecutive.
  • The total annual tuition grant is based on one-half of the child’s tuition costs, including mandatory educational fees. If the child is receiving other scholarships, grants, or awards, the tuition grant does not exceed the remaining eligible costs, if any. Employees must notify the Benefits Team of any such awards.
  • There is a limit of one grant per child per year. If both the employee and the spouse work for Princeton, only one grant can be disbursed per child per academic year. If the child withdraws from school during the academic year, is no longer a full-time student in a degree program, or if there is any other change in the child’s educational status or relationship to the employee, the employee must notify the Benefits Team. The employee is responsible to have the school refund the tuition grant to Princeton University. If the school does not refund the grant, the employee is responsible to repay Princeton the full amount of the grant.
  • Employees must reapply for the tuition grant each academic year. However, if the child is enrolled at a two-year accredited college, the child must reapply each semester.
  • Colleges and universities consider all tuition benefits in determining a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid. Eligible children may experience a reduction in financial aid due to the eligibility for the tuition grant benefit.
  • Tuition grants are sent directly to the educational institution for credit against the student’s account. The only exception is if the employee is receiving a taxable grant due to the child having a disability that requires an academic accommodation.
  • Princeton University is not responsible for late payment fees or finance charges incurred if the grant is not received by the payment due date stated on the tuition bill. Tuition grants are processed in the order in which they are received and are generally processed within six weeks of receipt.
  • For schools outside of the U.S., payment is made in U.S. dollars, and the University uses the exchange rate in effect on the day the grant is processed. The University is not responsible for fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Eligibility

Eligibility Requirements for Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff may be eligible following five or more years of benefits-eligible service. Visiting faculty and staff, as well as casual employees are not eligible to participate in the plan, and service at the University as a visiting faculty or staff member or casual employee does not count toward the five year requirement. The following break-in-service rules are in place for rehires with prior benefits-eligible service:

  • If the break-in-service is 12 months or less, the months during the break-in-service count toward the five-year employment requirement.
  • If the break-in-service is more than 12 months but less than five years, the months during the break-in-service do not count toward the five-year employment requirement. However, the previous benefits-eligible service prior to the break-in-service counts toward the 5-year employment requirement.
  • If the break-in-service is five years or more, the months during the break-in-service and any previous service time will not count toward the five-year employment requirement. 

Eligibility to apply for a tuition grant occurs based on the following dates:

To meet the service requirement When permitted to apply for first grant

By June 30, 2020

Fall 2020 term
In July, August, September, or October, 2020 Fall 2020 term on or after the date meeting the service requirement
In November or December 2020; January, February, or March 2021 Spring 2021 term on or after the date meeting the service requirement

If an active employee passes away and had been eligible for the Children’s Educational Assistance Plan at the time of death, eligible dependent children can apply for a tuition grant within five years from the date of death. As of May 1, 2018, it is no longer a requirement that a child continues their education in consecutive semesters. If there is a break in enrollment, a child can continue to receive a grant for up to four academic years if all other requirements are met.

Eligibility Requirement for Retirees

If the individual becomes a Princeton University retiree on or after May 1, 2018, the eligible dependent children can apply for a tuition grant, as long as they were an eligible dependent as of the retirement date. Dependent children are not required to be participating in the plan as of the date of retirement. In addition, it is not a requirement that the child continues education in consecutive semesters.

Eligibility Requirement for Your child

To be eligible for a tuition grant, the child must be:

  • Unmarried
  • Natural born or legally adopted child or stepchild or legal ward
  • Enrolled as a full-time student in a program leading to an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree at a two- or four-year college accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education at the time the tuition grant is disbursed
  • Dependent under the IRS code’s definition of dependent and must be verified as a dependent

Definition of Dependent Child

To be eligible to receive a tuition grant, the child must meet one of the following tests:

  • Be under the age of 24 at the end of the calendar year
  • Be a full-time student
  • Claim the employee’s residence as the child’s official residence while away at school and provide less than one-half of the child’s own support (excluding scholarships)

Or the child must:

  • Be under age 26 at the end of the calendar year
  • Be a full-time student
  • Have gross income that is less than the federal dependent exemption amount for the year (for 2019 the amount is $4,100 including scholarships)
  • Receive more than one-half of the child’s support from the employee (or from the former spouse if the employee claims the child as a dependent for tax purposes)

Qualifying for a Taxable Grant for a Child with a Disability

If the child has a disability that requires an academic accommodation, the employee may be eligible to receive a taxable grant. Consideration may be given for a disabled child who is:

  • Taking a part-time course load
  • Enrolled in a certificate program instead of a degree program
  • Enrolled at a non-accredited institution

If eligible, the grant is taxable income to the employee and subject to withholding taxes. The additional income does not change the employee’s base salary; thus, benefits based on salary are still calculated on the regular base salary. Contact the Benefits Team for more information.

If the Child’s Situation Changes

If an employee is receiving a tuition grant, the employee must notify the Benefits Team if:

  • Child withdraws from school during the academic year
  • Child no longer is a full-time student in a degree program
  • There is any other change in the child’s educational status, such as leave of absence
  • Child’s relationship to the employee changes

These changes disqualify the child from receiving benefits through this plan. If the child no longer qualifies for the program, the employee is responsible to have the school return the tuition grant payment to Princeton University. If the school does not reimburse the payment, the employee is responsible for the full repayment of the tuition grant to Princeton University.

Deadlines and Application Process

Employees must submit one application form per child each academic year along with the itemized tuition bill. If the child attends a community college or is participating in a study abroad program, employees must submit the application and bill for each semester the child attends. If they are applying for a tuition grant for a child that has not been verified as a dependent, they must provide the dependent verification documentation prior to a grant being processed.

To apply:

  • Complete a Tuition Grant Application. Employees can also contact the Benefits Team to receive an application. The application is updated annually on or around June 1.
  • Submit the completed online application electronically along with a copy of the itemized tuition bill to childtuitiongrant@princeton.edu for processing. If applicable, financial aid information must be provided (on the tuition bill or a copy of the child’s financial aid award letter must be submitted) with the application. If assistance is needed, contact childtuitiongrant@princeton.edu or call 609-258-3302.

The tuition grant runs on the academic year, July 1 through June 30 of the following year. Employees must submit the tuition grant application and tuition bill for the 2020-2021 academic year to the Benefits Team no later than June 30, 2021. If the tuition grant and/or tuition bill is not received by June 30, 2021, the child is not eligible to receive a tuition grant for the prior fall and/or spring semesters.

Once approved, Princeton sends the tuition grant directly to the child’s school, and the Benefits Team notifies the employee by mail that the payment was sent. The only exception is if the employee is receiving a taxable grant due to the child having a disability that requires an academic accommodation.  

Tuition grants are processed in the order in which they are received and are generally processed within six weeks of receipt.

If there are any discrepancies between the information in this publication, verbal representations, and the plan documents, the plan documents always govern. Although Princeton intends to continue these benefits, the University reserves the right to amend or terminate these plans at any time.