January 4, 2012 — With the start of the new calendar year, every University of Virginia Academic Division employee with at least one year of benefits-eligible service (including part-time service) once again has an annual $2,000 education benefit, funded centrally by University Human Resources, to spend on practically any education or training, provided it's from a regionally accredited school. (Full eligibility details here.)
The benefit payment is added directly to an employee's paycheck after submitting the proper forms, available through the Benefits@UVa portal.
The benefit can be used to pay for thousands of education options. They include online courses; basic literacy classes; offerings at Piedmont Virginia Community College or other regional community colleges; classes at technical and vocational schools like the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center; and undergraduate and graduate courses at private and public colleges – including a vast array of U.Va. classes. UHR outlines the options in more detail here.
Employees must obtain their supervisor's approval to attend a class during work hours.
U.Va. employees are currently using the education benefit at more than 90 schools and organizations. In the year prior to May 1, 2011, nearly 1,400 employees used the benefit to pay for 2,405 courses valued at more than $1.5 million, said Anne Broccoli, director of benefits at UHR. For example, U.Va. veteran carpenter Phil Kleinheinz used his benefit to return to college classes after a 26-year detour.
The benefit does not cover workshops or professional conferences, which are more appropriately funded at the school and department level, Broccoli explained. Books, study materials and special course fees (like application and drop fees) are also not covered.
Employees interested in taking U.Va. classes have several options. Those not enrolled in a U.Va. degree program can take U.Va. classes through the Community Scholar Program of U.Va.'s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Undergraduate classes currently cost $308 per credit hour. This applies for classes in eight of U.Va.'s 11 schools. (The exceptions are the schools of Law and Medicine, which do not allow part-time students. The Curry School of Education handles all registrations through its Office of Admission at 434-924-0742.)
U.Va.'s spring 2012 semester begins Jan. 18. Registration is open and Feb. 1 is the add deadline for most courses.
The benefit can pay for the School of Continuing & Professional Studies Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree-completion program, which features evening classes tailored to working adults, with e-learning options available for added flexibility.
Non-credit courses can be taken at high schools, community colleges, colleges, business schools, technical or professional institutes or universities, including U.Va. personal enrichment classes – without tests or grades – offered through the SCPS.