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Coming soon: more classes for you

What you need to know about the expanded employee tuition benefit and how to take advantage of the change.

By Cory Phare

June 19, 2018

Students taking notes in classThe recent announcement to extend Metropolitan State University of Denver’s tuition benefit to include spouses and dependents and increase the number of credits eligible to be taken per year from six to nine means more people than ever will have access to academic transformation.

So to find out more, we caught up with Danielle Farrell, manager of Learning & Development with MSU Denver’s Department of Human Resources.

This sounds like a great benefit – where are things with it?

It is! There’s an extremely large group of folks working behind the scenes to get everything in place; it really touches a lot of departments, including Admissions, Information Technology Services, Financial Aid, the Bursar, Business Intelligence – and HR, of course.

We’re still connecting a lot of the logistical dots but shooting to launch for this fall with the fundamental components in place. Then, over the next two or three years, we’re looking to continually phase in improvements to the process to make it as efficient as possible.

Where can people go for more information?

Faculty and staff looking to sign up should visit the Learning & Development website to learn more. There’ll also be information on which classes qualify – non-cash-funded classes programs are eligible; we’ll have a list posted soon.

What led to the development of this expanded benefit?

A lot of this came from looking at different ways to increase employee benefits as a supplement to pay structure; we care about our faculty and staff and want to show that, even if we face financial constraints. 

Back in 2015, we started doing research to see if it was possible for changes – we looked at what other institutions were offering and found that we continually came up near or at the bottom for tuition benefits. Our own employee-survey data supported this too: 88 percent of 936 employee respondents said they were likely to use a 100 percent discount for spouses/dependents, while 23 percent said they would use the benefit if the number of credits they could take was increased. 

So after a lot of legwork to examine feasibility, we were able to make the changes that were eventually passed.

How does the expanded tuition benefit fit into a broader philosophy of learning and development?

It definitely aligns with our approach to offer developmental opportunities to faculty and staff, directly relating to the value of continuous learning. Education is beneficial not only to students but to the people who help our students – and what better way to become an expert than going through the student experience yourself?

Again, check out the Learning and Development site to learn more. Make sure to keep an eye out when the whole process goes live for more information from us here in HR – and the Early Bird, of course!

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