Harvard encourages lifelong learning by helping to cover the cost of undergraduate or graduate courses. The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) assists with classes taken at Harvard. The Tuition Reimbursement Program (TRP) assists with classes taken at other accredited schools.
This benefit is a great way to enhance your career or pursue a personal academic interest. TAP and TRP are available to benefits-eligible professional, administrative, support, union and teaching staff. For additional details, including waiting periods for new employees and eligibility based on hours worked, please consult the TAP/TRP Booklet. For additional details, including waiting periods for new employees and eligibility based on hours worked, please consult the Benefits Enrollment Guide for administrative/professional or bargaining unit/union staff, as appropriate.
With TAP, classes are only $40 at the Harvard Extension School or 10 percent of the tuition cost at other eligible Harvard schools. This includes the graduate schools of education, government, public health and design, as well as designated programs at some other faculties.
Employees may pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree, as well as several graduate certificates at the Harvard Extension School. The Extension School offers hundreds of evening classes and flexible degree programs.
A graduate degree or certificate may also be earned through certain TAP-eligible programs at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard Kennedy School and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Before enrolling, it's important to review the TAP/TRP Booklet, which has details on waiting periods for new employees; eligibility based on employee group and hours worked; credit limits; participating faculties at Harvard; and how to register. (Please note that you may view a table of contents in the booklet by selecting the bookmark icon in the top margin.)
For TAP forms go to Tuition Program (TAP/TRP) Self Service.
TAP Administration Process and Taxes for Graduate Courses
Per IRS standards, TAP benefits for courses that meet all three criteria below will be treated as taxable income:
- Taken for graduate credit (courses taken for undergraduate credit or for no credit are not taxable);
- Not related to your current job duties (per the IRS standard); and
- The total tuition benefits for such courses during a calendar year exceeds $5,250.
In such cases, amounts above $5,250 will be reported as income to the employee on the W-2 and the University will withhold taxes on this amount from employee’s pay (employees may choose to pay the full amount of taxes to Harvard Payroll in lieu of withholding).
TAP benefits are not taxable if a course is job-related per the IRS standard. Employees may designate a course as job-related when enrolling using a graduate-credit TAP form, by describing the job-related education that will be provided; the completed form must be approved by the supervisor/manager by the semester's TAP form deadline.
You can learn more in the Questions and Answers Regarding TAP Process Change. Please refer to the TAP/TRP booklet for the full rules and eligibility.
Tax Withholding for 2021 Summer Semester TAP Benefits
Tax withholding for 2021 fall semester TAP benefits will begin in October as follows:
- Biweekly payroll - Projected to start with October 12 paycheck and end with December 30 paycheck
- Monthly payroll - October, November and December paychecks
- Weekly payroll - Projected to start with October 15 paycheck and end with December 30 paycheck
Please note that if you receive taxable TAP benefits for the fall semester, there may be overlap on the withholding for summer and fall amounts.
TAP forms and manager/supervisor approval for graduate-credit courses that meet the IRS standard of job-relatedness must be submitted no later than September 14. If you have exceeded the annual tax-free limit, you will receive an email from Harvard Benefits in August with details about withholding dates.
TRP reimburses employees up to 75 percent of tuition costs (up to 90 percent for HUCTW employees) upon the successful completion of classes at other accredited institutions. There is an annual maximum of $5,250.
Classes must be job-related, unless they are taken as part of a program to earn a first undergraduate degree at an accredited institution. For full details on eligibility, waiting periods and registration, please review the TAP/TRP Booklet prior to enrolling in a class.
Benefit Strategies, LLC (BSL) administers Harvard’s TRP. For TRP forms and to apply for reimbursement go to the Tuition Program (TAP/TRP) Self Service website.
HUCTW staff have access to a separate Education Fund, which can be used to cover seminars and conferences, test preparation course, licensing and accreditation classes and many additional educational and career development needs. For details and application, please see HUCTW website's Education Fund page or call the HUCTW at 617-661-8289.