Tuition Reimbursement Program – FAQs
What are the eligibility requirements?
• You must attend courses and complete coursework on your own time.
• You must be a permanent employee of Pinellas County Government Unified Personnel System.
• Classified employees are eligible after one year of permanent service. Exempt employees are eligible immediately.
• The coursework must enhance your current job skills or develop skills for a future county position.
Can I take a course that is not directly related to my job?
Yes, if the course will prepare you for advancement, promotion or another career within Pinellas County Government.
What are the steps for enrolling?
- Decide on a course.
- Find an educational institution.
- Attend a Tuition Reimbursement Information Session. This two-hour course is not required to take part in the program, but we strongly recommend attending to learn valuable information.
- Follow the enrollment checklist.
- View a sample enrollment form.
- Submit an enrollment form and course description separately for each course. Forms must be submitted a minimum of 10 business days prior to the start of the course.
- Receive a response from Human Resources via email within five business days. The email includes an approval or disapproval memo and the reimbursement form if approved.
- Save all receipts for tuition costs, registration, fees and books.
What are the steps to get reimbursed?
- Complete the enrollment steps shown above.
- Complete the course successfully.
- Follow the reimbursement checklist that you receive upon enrollment approval.
- Gather receipts and complete a reimbursement form that you receive upon enrollment approval.
- Submit the reimbursement form with receipts, grade report and approval memo.
What do I submit and when?
• Submit the enrollment form at least 10 business days prior to the course start date.
• Submit the reimbursement form upon completion of the course.
What if I receive financial aid, grants or veterans benefits?
You cannot be reimbursed twice for a course, so any financial assistance received from outside sources will be deducted from the reimbursable amount.
What if I receive student loans?
Student loans do not affect the reimbursable amount because you must repay that loan.
What do I have to pay up front?
Anything required for the course including tuition costs, registration, fees and books. You will be reimbursed for eligible expenses later.
What are the grade requirements? What if I don't get a grade?
• Undergraduate: Passing grade of C or better is required
• Graduate: Passing grade of B or better is required
• Ungraded Course: Certificate of completion is required
How do I get reimbursed?
• Complete the course successfully (see the grade requirements above).
• Gather receipts and complete the reimbursement form that you received when you were approved for enrollment.
• Submit the reimbursement form with receipts, grade report and approval memo.
• You will receive a reimbursement paper check via interoffice or mail within two to four weeks.
• Future reimbursements will be direct deposited.
How do I provide the necessary documentation for reimbursement?
Use a printer with scanning capability or take a picture of the document with your mobile device to get the documents into digital format. Then you can review instructions on how to submit the required documentation.
What are the reimbursement limits?
You may be reimbursed up to the fiscal-year limits:
- $2,800 for full-time employees
- $1,400 for part-time employees
When does the fiscal year start and end?
The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
What if a course crosses two fiscal years?
Reimbursement is based on the fiscal year in which the course ends. For example, if your course starts in August and ends in October, then you will be reimbursed for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
Can I request partial reimbursement if I'm close to the limit?
Yes, you may request up to the limit. For example, if you are full-time and have already used $2,000 of your reimbursement for one course, then you can receive up to $800 toward the next approved course. When you hit the $2,800 limit, you will not be eligible for further reimbursement until the next fiscal year.
How long does it take to get reimbursed?
Two to four weeks after you submit your reimbursement documents.
What's covered for reimbursement and what is not?
Tuition costs, registration, fees, and books are reimbursable. Other items like computers, printing, ink, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils and items used exclusively for the course are not reimbursable.
Do I need to use iExpense to request reimbursement?
It depends whether your organization has access to OPUS iExpense. You have access to iExpense and should use it if you work for BCC/County Administrator, Business Technology Services, Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Attorney, Human Resources or Human Rights.
If you work for Forward Pinellas, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections or Tax Collector, then you do not have access to iExpense, and you should submit the required documents via email or by interoffice mail.
Do I have to attend a Tuition Reimbursement Information Session?
It is not required, but we strongly recommend that you attend the two-hour Tuition Reimbursement Information Session to learn valuable information.
Will the information session be held virtually or in person?
Both options are possible. Watch for emails with details about upcoming sessions.
Do you cover degrees?
Yes—one course at a time. You may be reimbursed for courses to complete one of the following:
- Certificate program such as GIS or language
- Two-year associate’s degree such as A.A. or A.S.
- Four-year bachelor’s degree such as B.A. or B.S.
- Graduate level master’s degree such as MBA
Where can I find more information?
See the Tuition Reimbursement Program overview at pinellascounty.org/hr/tuition.