Staff Council Announces Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program Expansion
Staff members engage in conversation in the Wardlaw Center.
Jan. 31, 2022: The launch of the Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program (STRAP) expansion, STRAP-Certifications, or STRAP-C, is on hold until further notice. This story has been updated to reflect this development.
The Staff Council Employee Engagement Committee partnered with Georgia Tech Human Resources (GTHR) to expand the Institute’s Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program (STRAP) to provide reimbursement for professional certifications related to an employee’s job functions on campus.
While STRAP provides partial tuition reimbursement for degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates that offer letter grades and credit hours to classified Tech employees at any accredited private institution, STRAP-Certifications, or STRAP-C, will reimburse for professional certifications. The expansion will cover up to $750 toward a staff member’s exam costs every other year.
“The Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program is important to Tech employees because it offers another layer of education assistance outside of TAP” [the University System of Georgia’s educational assistance Tuition Assistance Program], Candice Bovian, program manager for GTHR and 2022 Staff Council chair, said. “Over time, it became clear that staff also wanted the choice of pursuing a professional certification."
"The Council worked very closely with the Office of General Counsel and GTHR," Bovian continued. "We heard what our colleagues wanted, advocated for them, and made this a reality.”
Byron Fitch, senior consultant with Georgia Tech Strategic Consulting, added, "We are very grateful to Kelly Fox [executive vice president of Administration and Finance], Kim Harrington [chief human resources officer, soon to be Administration and Finance chief of staff and associate vice president for Special Initiatives], and Kelly Cross [Institute policy manager] for supporting Staff Council with this effort. We are excited to be able to contribute to staff development with this expansion.”
Fitch served as 2020 Staff Council chair and chair of the Employee Engagement Committee in 2019 when STRAP expansion discussions began.
Previous STRAP guidelines did not provide reimbursement for staff seeking professional certifications and designations that did not offer credit hours and letter grades. As a result, they were responsible for paying out of pocket for professional certifications — or forced to forfeit altogether.
Based on research and benchmarking conducted by Staff Council, the average cost to pursue a professional certification is $750. This amount served as the proposed threshold that staffers could leverage for potential reimbursement. (The allotment will cover exam fees only.)
STRAP-C applications must be submitted by the STRAP deadline for reimbursement of a passed exam. The application period will open 30 days prior to the deadline.