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.

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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.

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

  • Full-time permanent, tenured or probationary employees
  • Full-time temporary and probationary employees, if permitted by collective bargaining contract
  • Permanent part-time employees
  • FERP employees only during the semesters when they are actively employed
  • Temporary faculty employees (excluding coaches) with three (3) year appointments
  • Coaches must have at least six (6) consecutive years of service in one department
  • Full-time Management Personnel Plan (MPP) employees, including temporary appointments
  • Confidential Employees.

Yes, if otherwise eligible.

Once you have reviewed the admissions requirements, apply online at Cal State Apply. Fees are due at the time the application is submitted. Return the completed CSU $55 Application Fee Reimbursement Request and proof of payment to the Payroll and Benefits Office for approval. Reimbursment occurs from the student's campus of attendance.

After you are admitted and have registered for 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 the Office of Admissions at the student's campus of attendance.

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

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.


  • If a student is enrolled in two 1-unit courses, his/her part-time tuition is waived
  • If a student is enrolled in two 4-unit courses, his/her full-time tuition is waived
  • If a student is enrolled in more than two courses, his/her part-time tuition is waived; the full tuition is not waived
  • If a student is enrolled in two 4-unit courses and one 1-unit course (three courses, totaling 9 units), then he/she is in more than two courses, the part-time tuition fee is waived and the student would have to pay the difference between the full and part-time tuition plus any other applicable fees.

Yes, the Application Fee can be reimbursed once the CSU $55 Application Fee Reimbursement Request is submitted and approved. The processing of the reimbursement will occur at the student's campus of attendance. A maximum of one application fee per degree can be waived.

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

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.

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

The waiver will be applied at the campus the student is enrolled in once the application form is received and course load can be confirmed. If changes to courses/units occurs after the waiver is applied, an audit is performed after the designated census date and the waiver will be adjusted accordingly.

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

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.

  • dependent children of CSUEU (Units 2, 5, 7 & 9), CFA (Unit 3), APC (Unit 4) or SETC (Unit 6), C99 and MPP employees may participate in the Fee Waiver Program up to age 25; UAPD (Unit 1) and SUPA (Unit 8)'s age limit is 23
  • your child or stepchild who has never been married up to age limit
  • a child living with you in a parent-child relationship who is economically dependent upon you, and has never been married up to age limit
  • or your child or stepchild over the age limit who is incapable of self-support due to a disability which existed prior to age limit.

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

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 CSU $55 Application Fee Reimbursement Request the initial semester of participation.

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.

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

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.

  • It is always taxable for domestic partners.
  • It is taxable only for Post Baccalaureate classes for spouses and dependent children.
  • Generally, undergraduate fees for employees are nontaxable. Graduate/doctorate fees for employees are nontaxable if expenses do not exceed $5,250. However, when the graduate/doctorate fees do exceed $5,250, they are taxable.

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.