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Skidmore College
Faculty and Staff Benefits

The Tuition Exchange Program

What is the Tuition Exchange Program?

Over 675 undergraduate colleges nationwide, including Skidmore College, participate in the Tuition Exchange (TE) Program. Participating institutions may offer the dependents1 of eligible faculty and staff Tuition Exchange Scholarships that help to significantly defray higher education costs.

Who may apply for the Tuition Exchange Program? 

Regular or temporary full-time and part-time employees with at least three years of continuous service in a one or more of the following benefit-eligible position (measured from the effective date of the position) are eligible for this benefit if the employee occupies one of the following positions:

  • A 9 to 12 month appointment;
  • A part-time employee hired to work in a 12-month position for at least 1,365 hours per year;
  • A full-time Faculty member appointed in a temporary position for at least two consecutive semesters in each of the three continuous years of service; or
  • An exempt and non-exempt employee in a shared position.

If an employee in one of the foregoing benefit-eligible categories changes status to an ineligible category, eligibility for the TE Program for a dependent enrolled in the Program will continue until the end of the academic year in which the change in status occurred.

Full-time faculty members and non-union staff members who have retired under the College’s definition of retirement status are also eligible to apply for participation in the program on behalf of their dependent.  Full- or part-time employees who cease employment at age 55 or older and have at least 15 years of full-time service are considered retirees of the College.

Certification of eligibility does not guarantee acceptance at the host institution or assure acceptance into the TE Program.

Participation in this program is not an employee entitlement. Information and application materials for this program can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office's website.  Questions concerning an employee or retiree’s eligibility should be directed to Skidmore College's Human Resources Office. 

Benefits and Limitations

An eligible employee/retiree may apply for up to eight semesters of certification for his/her dependent child.  However, it is up to the admitting institution to award the Tuition Exchange slot to the student.  Employees/retirees requesting benefits under the Tuition Exchange Program cannot participate in the External Tuition Program for the same dependent for the same semester.

Eligibility is limited to children claimed on the employee’s /retiree’s federal income tax return.

Effect of Separation from Employment

An eligible employee who separates from employment before an eligible dependent child enters the TE Program will not be eligible for participation in the program.  If the student has been certified and accepted by the host institution, participation will be limited to one year.  If a person separated from employment while an eligible dependent child is a participant in the TE Program, eligibility will be continued for the full academic year only.

If an eligible employee dies before  his/her dependent child has completed his/her education through the TE Program, the dependent will be permitted to remain in the Program.  Dependents of deceased employees may be eligible to participate in TE Program under current College policy guidelines.

Right to Amend or Terminate

Like all benefits, the existence and continuation of the TE Program rests solely with Skidmore College.


The Tuition Exchange Program follows the federal tax rules for the exclusion from the employee’s income for qualified tuition benefits under IRC section 117(d).  In accordance with those rules, the benefit must be for undergraduate education for the employee’s “child” (IRC section 152(f)(1) definition of child, i.e., son, daughter, stepchild, qualified foster child, legally adopted child, or child lawfully placed for adoption with the employee) who is less than age 19 or is a student less than age 24.  If both parents are deceased, the age limit is 25. 

The special rule for divorced parents under IRC section 152€ applies.  This does not change the age limitations, but whether the child is the employee’s dependent is based on whether the employee is the custodial parent or, if the employee is not the custodial parent, the custodial parent has released the claim for the tax dependent exemption for the year.

If the child getting the tuition benefit does not meet these requirements, the fair market value of the tuition benefit is included in the employee’s income as wages, and is subject to applicable withholdings.  In addition, the federal tax exclusion applies to any highly compensated employee only if such reduction is available on substantially the same terms to a reasonable classification of non-highly compensated employee.

Tuition benefit provided at the graduate student level is included in the employee’s income as wages, and is subject to applicable withholdings.