Your HUCTW Education Benefits

Harvard and HUCTW support lifelong learning for staff. Together we have negotiated three kinds of financial assistance to help employees with the costs of courses and other forms of education, as well as strong language to facilitate time away for learning. Please see below for brief description of each, and links to more details on each.

1. Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), sometimes called “Inside TAP” assists with the costs of classes taken at Harvard University by providing access to Harvard courses at significantly reduced rates. HUCTW employees become eligible for TAP once they pass their 90 day orientation and review period. Through TAP, classes taken at the Harvard Extension School cost HUCTW staff $40 a class. At other eligible Harvard schools, TAP covers 90% of the tuition cost up front and you pay the remaining 10%. You can take undergraduate and graduate courses at eligible schools, as well as some certificate programs. For more about which schools accept TAP, which types of courses are eligible for TAP, and how many courses can be taken per semester can be found in the TAP/TRP booklet on the Harvard Human Resources website below.

  • More information on TAP:
  • HUCTW TAP form and instructions*:
    * If you are taking a class for graduate credit, it is very important that you fill out “Job-Relatedness and Approval Information” section of the TAP form. In this section, you can make a case on how your class is related to your current job in order to avoid owing tax on annual graduate education costs above $5250. Your class does not need to be related to your core duties  — just to some aspect of your job or the skills required to do your job — in order to avoid the tax. Please contact us if you’d like advice on how to make your case for job-relatedness. You can still take graduate classes if you are unable to make a case for job relatedness, but you will owe tax on course costs above $5250 a year (even though TAP courses cost only $40 for staff, tax is evaluated on the the non-staff price of the class). Learn more about the tax here: 

2. Tuition Reimbursement Program (TRP)

The Tuition Reimbursement Program (TRP) is a reimbursement program provides members with financial assistance for classes taken at other accredited colleges and universities (such as, BU, MIT, Suffolk, Simmons, NYU, etc) besides Harvard. The TRP is sometimes also called “Non-Harvard TAP” or “Outside TAP.” HUCTW members become eligible for TRP once they pass their 90 day orientation and review period. TRP reimburses 90% of the cost of each eligible course, up to $5250 tax free per year. For HUCTW members only, classes taken through TRP do not need to be job related (so for example, if you work as lab assistant in the sciences, you can use TRP to take a class in French literature at an accredited institution.) You can take undergraduate and graduate courses in person and online using TRP. The program also helps with the costs of certificate and licensing programs, within certain guidelines. To see the full eligibility requirements and application instructions please see the TAP/TRP booklet. The company Benefit Strategies manages this program for Harvard.

3. HUCTW Education Fund

The Education Fund primarily helps with the cost of courses not eligible for reimbursement under the University’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and Tuition Reimbursement Program (TRP). The Education Fund will reimburse HUCTW members for the cost of 50% of one course per semester. Courses and programs eligible for the Education Fund include things like test prep courses, conferences and seminars, and adult education classes. The Education Fund will also help with the costs of non-Harvard courses eligible for TRP only if you have used up your entire $5250 TRP annual reimbursement (this is sometimes called “tapping out”). Fitness courses and Harvard courses are not eligible for Education Fund assistance. To see the full eligibility requirements and application instructions, visit the Education Fund section of the HUCTW website.

4. Time Away for Learning

Below is contract language negotiated by Harvard and HUCTW that allows members to take time away for class attendance, and for professional development opportunities.

Release Time for Classes
“A staff member with two or more years of continuous service is eligible for up to three hours per week of released time (proportionately less for part-time staff), provided that s/he has made arrangements with her/his supervisor.” Page 14-15, HUCTW Agreement

Time for Learning
“The Union and the University recognize the complexity of balancing work responsibilities with the time away from regular duties often necessary for education, training, or professional development. Cooperation between staff members and managers in scheduling is therefore critical to making workforce learning opportunities real and accessible, and to ensuring productive operations. Requests for time away from regular work duties to participate in professional development may not be unreasonably denied. Employees who participate in job-related or development-oriented training programs during work hours should be paid for those hours, and should not be required to make up those hours at another time.” Page 14 -15, HUCTW Agreement

There is also strong language on negotiating flexible schedule arrangements (including hours variations and working from home, among others), on pages 17 – 19 of the Full 2015 – 2018 Agreement: