New tools for tuition assistance (TA), MIT's career-related study program, have been introduced via the growing Employee Self-Service function on the web. The improvements allow TA-eligible employees to do the following:
- Quickly determine if a course qualifies for TA
- Check their TA balance for the calendar year
- Check the status of reimbursement requests
- Submit course data for reimbursement (although paper forms will still be accepted).
Instead of submitting course information on paper before taking a class, employees can now verify for themselves whether their course qualifies for tuition assistance using an online tool called TA Connect at http://web.mit.edu/hr/careers/taplan.html. TA Connect asks approximately eight yes-or-no questions about the course and then produces a confirmation screen indicating whether the course will qualify for reimbursement. The process is much faster than the two to four weeks that it took for pre-approval of paper forms.
Also using Employee Self-Service (ESS), employees can review their TA account or submit data for course reimbursement by going to http://web.mit.edu/sapwebss and clicking on the Benefits tab. It's important to note that employees will still need to submit (in paper form) both their proof of payment for a course and proof of successful completion. Employees also can use this web link to see when a reimbursement check was issued.
Other recommendations on tuition assistance were enacted earlier this year, such as increasing the amount prepaid to an employee in advance of the first course taken under the program from $500 to $750. Also, the six-month waiting period before new employees were eligible to participate in TA was eliminated.
The tuition assistance plan distributes approximately $1.6 million annually towards the reimbursement of about 2,000 courses.
Questions on the new TA process may be sent to email@example.com. At Lincoln Laboratory, call the Benefits Office at (781) 981-7072. For technical support, contact the Business Liaison Team in Information Systems at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-1177.
Campus employees who do not have access to a computer may use a workstation in the Career Planning Office in Room E19-238. Lincoln Laboratory employees without access to a computer may contact the Benefits Office.
Other aspects of online ESS that the HR-Payroll Project already has provided to the MIT community include benefits open enrollment, benefits selection by new hires, review of current benefits by all employees, and self-service updating for the faculty and staff telephone directory.
These services are part of collaborative work among Financial Systems Services' HR-Payroll Project, Human Resources, Payroll and Information Systems to improve MIT business processes and services.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 14, 2003.