Tuition Waiver Program FAQ


This informational guide is to provide answers to frequently asked questions for the Employee Fee Tuition Waiver benefit. Please direct questions to the Payroll & Benefits Office at 707-664-2793 or fax 707-664-2024. Individuals in need of a telecommunications relay service may contact the California Relay Service (TTY) at (877) 735-2929.

What is the Tuition Waiver Program?

The Tuition Waiver Program provides the opportunity for eligible staff, faculty, dependent children, spouses or domestic partners to take classes at any CSU campus at significantly reduced rates, during the current academic semester.

Who is eligible?

The following employees or their dependent children, spouses or domestic partners are eligible to participate:

Are employees on an approved leave of absence eligible for Tuition Waiver benefits?

Yes, if otherwise eligible.

How do I participate in the Tuition Waiver Program?

Complete a CSU Application for Admission along with the Waiver Request for CSU Application Fee form. Submit the Waiver Request for CSU Application Fee form to Payroll and Benefits for approval. Once approved, the form will be returned to the employee. The form should then be attached to the CSU Application for Admissions and submitted following the instructions on the CSU Application for Admissions. If you apply for admission online, physically submit the Waiver Request for CSU Application Fee form to Admissions and Records at about the same time as your digital admissions application submission.

After you are admitted and registered in classes, complete and submit the Tuition Waiver Application form. There may be additional paperwork necessary for admission to a campus. For additional information on the application process, contact Admissions and Records at the campus at which classes will be taken.

How many Tuition Waivers am I entitled to?

Each employee is entitled to one Tuition Waiver per semester for use by the employee, dependent children, spouse or domestic partner.

How many classes are eligible to be waived using the Tuition Waiver?

An employee or his/her dependent child, spouse or domestic partner may enroll in a maximum of two classes or six units, whichever is greater, per term. Students taking courses in addition to the fee waiver courses shall pay any difference in fees, per applicable collective bargaining agreement or Executive Order 712. All other fees shall be at the regular rate.

Is the CSU Application Fee waived under the Tuition Waiver Program?

Yes, the Application Fee is waived once the Waiver Request for CSU Application Fee form is approved and submitted with the application for admissions.

How many CSU Application Fee Waivers am I entitled to?

Each employee or dependent child, spouse or domestic partner is entitled to one CSU Application Fee Waiver per degree.

Can the Tuition Waiver be used at other campuses?

Yes, it can be used at any CSU campus. Enrollment at other CSU campuses requires completion of enrollment and tuition waiver forms available from the campus chosen by the employee, dependent child, spouse or domestic partner. Payroll and Benefits will forward the approved paperwork to the campus to be attended. Application and registration deadlines vary from campus to campus.

When should I complete the Tuition Waiver Application form?

After you are registered in classes. This form must be completed every semester the tuition waiver benefit is to be used.

What are the deadlines for submitting a Tuition Waiver Application form?

Deadlines depend on the registration schedule at each CSU campus. You should immediately submit your Tuition Waiver Application Form after you have registered. To view SSU’s registration schedule, go to

Are there course limitations?

Yes. Only courses in regular academic programs may be taken under the tuition waiver program. Tuition waiver is not applicable to courses offered through Extended Education. Tuition Waiver for Summer Session is available only at certain CSU campuses, Sonoma State is not among them. Auditing a course is not permitted.

What defines a dependent child?

A dependent child is defined in the same manner as the term is used for other CSU benefit programs, namely:

Why is there a difference in the amount that the Tuition Waiver covers for employees versus their dependents, spouses or domestic partners?

The Education Code and Collective Bargaining Agreements forbid waiving or reducing certain fees for non-employees.

What is the difference between Work Related and Career Development?

Work Related
Work related courses are taken for the purpose of improving the level of skills needed to perform existing duties and responsibilities, or acquiring additional skills needed to perform newly assigned duties. Work Related Tuition Waiver participants must complete the Waiver Request for CSU Application Fee form every semester.
Career Development
Courses that are to be taken must be linked to the present and future needs of the CSU. An Individual Career Development Plan must be completed by employee and approved by the employee’s Appropriate Administrator. Career Development Tuition Waiver participants only need to complete the Waiver Request for CSU Application Fee form the initial semester of participation.

Does the Dean or Department Head have to approve and sign the Faculty and Staff Tuition Waiver Application form?

All CSU Bargaining Units need to obtain the Appropriate Administrator and Dean or Department Head signatures except for CSUEU Units 2, 5, 7 & 9, for which only the Appropriate Administrator’s signature is required.

If I take a class during work hours, does my supervisor have to allow me release time to attend?

No, release time is granted at the supervisor’s discretion.

What is an adjusted work schedule and when do I need to have one?

If release time is not granted, an adjusted work schedule may be authorized. An adjusted work schedule is a temporary schedule that allows the employee to take classes during normal work hours by making up class time. The supervisor approved adjusted work schedule must be attached to the Tuition Waiver Application form.

Is the Tuition Waiver Benefit Taxable?

Where are the forms available?

Forms are available at the Sonoma State University Payroll & Benefits web site. For easy access to a particular form, click on the link for that form where you find it mentioned in this FAQ. These forms are also available in hard copy at the Payroll & Benefit office.