University of Illinois System

System Offices Educational Funding Program


The System Offices are committed to providing the resources and opportunities for employees to broaden their knowledge and skills, to keep current with changes in their profession, to network with other professionals, to foster employee engagement and satisfaction, and to increase their potential for assuming greater responsibility.  The System Offices support this objective through an Educational Funding Program that allocates resources each fiscal year to supporting employee development.


In support of this program, $30,000 is allocated each fiscal year to supplement departmental budgets for employees enrolled in a degree program. Employees may receive up to $2,500 per fiscal year; the employee’s department must match up to $1,000 per year for funds granted.

The opportunities available for an employee to participate may vary based on title, responsibilities and duties, scope of authority, span of control, FLSA exempt status, length of service, return on investment, and business need. The manager and/or department head must approve the employee’s request before it is submitted to the President's Management Council. Policies related to pay and overtime for non-exempt civil service staff must be followed.

Degree Programs

For degree programs not covered under the employee tuition waiver benefits, all courses and/or on-going programs must be pre-approved to be eligible for the scholarship program. All course work towards a degree program must be taken through an accredited college or university.

The employee is expected to receive a passing grade of “C” or better for Bachelors courses or “A/B” for Masters level courses or above. Pass/Fail courses will be paid for only when the course is offered solely on a pass/fail basis. After successful completion of the course(s), the employee should present documentation to the department head, or his/her designee, for reimbursement processing and/or confirmation of grades achieved.

Funds may be used for tuition expenses not covered by student aid or scholarships only. Employees are encouraged to apply for other available scholarships. Funds may also be used for degree program course textbooks, syllabi, documents, student fees, travel, parking and other ancillary expenses. Courses should not interfere with employee’s regular work schedule unless appropriately pre-approved on a semester-by-semester basis. The employee agrees to remain an employee of the System Offices for one (1) year after completion of the degree program or must reimburse the System Offices the total pro-rata share of the costs previously reimbursed. System Office management reserves the right to waive this provision.


Academic Professional and Civil Service employees with a 50% or greater appointment that have been employed a minimum of 12 months in a System Office department may apply for the System Offices Educational Funding Program.


Requests are accepted at any time. Requests may include multiple years (up to three) for multi-year degree programs. If funds are granted for a multi-year program, the employee is not required to submit another application for subsequent years. Employees must have the support of their manager/department before submitting the request.

Requests are reviewed and approved/denied by the President’s Management Council once a month, typically the first week of the month. Decisions are rendered and communicated within one month of the request. 

The employee may incur expenses only after receiving approval from the President's Management Council. When possible, all expenses should be charged to a university purchase or travel card in lieu of the employee making the payment and requiring a reimbursement.

Employees should submit a document of completion (e.g. copy of diploma) to System HR to be filed in the employee’s personnel file.