TWU's benefits area of human resources is here to assist and support faculty and staff members (and their families). We administer the Optional Retirement Program and Voluntary Savings Account programs. In addition, we offer confidential benefits counseling services that are intended to help you gain a better understanding of your benefits programs such as health, dental, term life, leave plans such as sick leave, family medical leave and much more.
Pioneer Assistance Scholarship (PAS)
Texas Woman’s University is committed to supporting benefits that recruit and retain high quality faculty and staff while promoting development opportunities that assist employees and their dependents in pursuing their higher education goals. In keeping with this philosophy, the university has established a tuition assistance scholarship program for expenses incurred through enrollment in classes at TWU.
RULES & PROCEDURES
1. Pioneer Assistance Scholarship (PAS) amounts are to be based on the number of semester credit hours enrolled for the semester/session not to exceed $500 per semester. The total awarded dollar amount of the scholarship will appear as a credit on the student’s tuition account which includes the board designated tuition and mandatory fees assessed.
2. To be considered for eligibility, all PAS applications must be submitted by Monday, November 28, 2016 prior to the beginning of the semester of enrollment utilizing the university’s Academic Works system at: https://twu.academicworks.com/opportunities/3042
3. The committee will review all applications and determine the scholarship award winners. The three (3) member PAS committee will be from one of each group: Staff Council, Faculty Senate and Human Resources. The current appointed committee members are:
· Faculty Senator Dr. Lybeth Hodges
· Staff Council member Lori Kennedy
· Human Resources member Melissa Ozuna
4. The number of scholarship winners awarded by the committee will be determined solely by approved university funding for each fiscal year and prorated for each semester. The Spring 2017 funding has been approved at $10,000 or 20 scholarships. The scholarships will be awarded by the total percentage applied for that semester from each category for faculty, staff and dependents.
5. The PAS committee decisions are final.
INFORMATION & DEFINITIONS (Eligibility):
1. The individual must be:
a) A full-time faculty or staff member who is employed on a 100% basis for a minimum of one year (the year does not have to be continuous), or,
b) A part-time (50% - 99%) faculty or staff member who has been employed for a minimum of two years (years do not have to be continuous) in at least a part-time regular, benefits eligible employment or position,
c) A dependent of either an eligible full-time or part-time faculty or staff member. The above a) or b), must be attained before the sponsoring faculty or staff members dependent is eligible to apply.
a. Dependent Criteria:
i. A dependent means a spouse (as defined in the Texas Family Code) of an employee; unmarried child under 26 years of age including the natural child of an employee; a legally adopted child; a stepchild, foster child, or other child which has a legally recognized parent-child relationship with the employee; or any child, regardless of age, who lives with or whose care is provided by an employee on a regular basis if the child is physically or mentally disabled to such an extent as to be dependent on the employee for care and support.
ii. In the event of the death of the faculty or staff member, the dependent will remain eligible for the scholarship for two semesters following the death of the faculty or staff member. All other eligibility requirements must be met.
iii. Dependents who are new or former students and who meet applicable requirements for admission in good standing to the university are eligible. Dependents who are continuing students must have a minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average or a 3.0 graduate (includes post-baccalaureate) cumulative grade point average to be eligible. A dependent must be eligible under these criteria as of the 12th class day of the respective long session or the 12th class day equivalent for other semesters/sessions.
2. Individuals who meet applicable requirements for admission in good standing with the university are eligible. Individuals who are continuing students must have a minimum 2.0 undergraduate cumulative grade point average or a 3.0 graduate (includes post- baccalaureate) cumulative grade point average to be eligible. All dependents, faculty and staff must attain a passing grade of “B” or its equivalent of all coursework taken during the semester to continue to be eligible and potentially receive additional tuition assistance scholarships; otherwise a one semester or session break will apply.
3. The individual must not have any delinquent outstanding debt (e.g. returned checks, tuition, student loans and applicable fees) with the University at the time the PAS application is processed and the award is applied to the student's tuition account.
4. Tuition assistance under the program is not available to students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment.
5. Supervisor and/or chair approval is not required to apply for or receive the tuition assistance scholarship. However, supervisor approval is required for faculty and staff to take TWU classes during normal workday hours.
6. Additionally all faculty and staff must have a performance evaluation rating above the lowest rating for either faculty or staff to be eligible to apply.
7. Retired and/or rehired retiree members in any category (1a, b and c) are not eligible for benefits under this policy.
Pioneer Assistance Scholarships (PAS) do not cover
- Admissions application fee, (The applicant must pay the application fee when applying for admission),
- Auditing courses,
- Reimbursement for previous semester's courses,
- Courses at any other college or university,
- Costs associated with required vaccines for entering students, and/or
- Recreational sports membership.
Possible Tax Consequences:
Under current IRS regulations, if applying the assistance to a graduate course, tuition assistance is generally considered taxable income. The faculty, staff or dependent member receiving the PAS is responsible for paying these taxes. Tax amounts differ from student to student due to a variety of tax and income situations.
Tuition assistance for undergraduate courses is generally not considered taxable. If the faculty, staff or dependent member apply the PAS tuition assistance to both graduate and undergraduate courses within the calendar tax year then all of the assistances may be considered taxable. In all tuition assistance situations, please consult your tax professional for advice and final determination.
The PAS application form is attached for those very few employees that do not have computer access at either work or home, all others including dependents are expected to utilize the university’s Academic Works system located at: https://twu.academicworks.com/opportunities/3042
The effective open application date began October 25, 2016 with a deadline date of Monday, November 28, 2016 for the Spring 2017 Pioneer Assistance Scholarships (PAS) benefit usage period.
The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) has announced the award of a new third-party administrator contract for the HealthSelect Prescription Drug program to OptumRX, an affiliate of UnitedHealthcare, Inc. The contract is effective January 1, 2017 and runs through December 31, 2020. Caremark will continue to administer the prescription drug plan through December 31, 2016. Effective November 1, 2016 all participants can visit the new website at HealthSelectRx.com for program information or questions regarding the transition. Helpful resources such as a pharmacy locator tool and frequently asked questions can be found on the new website. Participants can also call customer care at (866) 336-9371, TTY 711.
Participants should continue to contact Caremark for current coverage and claims information through December 31, 2016. Claims will be accessible online through December 31, 2019 at the Caremark website and by calling customer care at (888) 886-8490.
Below are a few important facts noted by ERS for HealthSelect Participants:
- Participants who currently use the prescription mail service should have at least a two-month supply of any medication they take regularly to ensure they are covered during the transition.
- In late December, UnitedHealthcare will send a new combined medical and prescription benefits ID card with OptumRx information to participants.
- Participants can start using the new card on January 1, 2017.
- Optum’s mail service pharmacy will be available beginning January 1, 2017. Participants with any active, refillable mail service prescriptions with Caremark will be transferred to Optum in January.
- Participants should watch the mail for notifications from OptumRx about prescription drug coverage and benefits as well as any action they may need to take