Chapter 3: Other Benefits
Flexible Spending Accounts
Vanderbilt offers two Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs): a medical account and a dependent care account. The accounts are funded by contributions made by the faculty member through a salary reduction agreement. These accounts provide tax-free reimbursement (to the extent allowed by law) of eligible medical and/or dependent care expenses. Funding limits are established each year within federal guidelines. Faculty members are eligible to participate in the FSAs on the first of the month after three months following their appointment date. For additional information, see the summary plan description on the HR Web site or on file in the Benefits Office of Human Resources.
Deductions for Social Security are required by law, except for exchange visitors from foreign countries and Vanderbilt students. The amount of such deductions is recorded on individual pay statements. Benefits are paid for death, total disability, and retirement, provided the person has been covered by Social Security long enough to be eligible.
Each school or college has its own policy for determining eligibility of new faculty for moving expenses. The letter of appointment will state whether the faculty member is or is not eligible and, when eligible, the amount that will be provided.
Faculty Home Purchase Plan
Vanderbilt University assists eligible employees in their purchase of a principal place of residence in the Nashville area. Those eligible for this benefit include tenured and tenure-track faculty and members of the executive administration whose appointments begin on or after September 1, 2000. Their eligibility extends for eight years following the date of initial appointment at Vanderbilt. Additionally, faculty members who are tenured or on the tenure track, and members of the Executive Administration appointed before September 1, 2000, are eligible for this benefit if they have not purchased a home under the previous Faculty Home Purchase Plan. Their eligibility extends through August 31, 2008.
The university will provide one-time funding of up to one-half of one percent of the value of the mortgage for eligible employees. The university’s contribution is limited to a payment of no more than $2,500 (a mortgage of $500,000), except as noted below:
A. The university will contribute an additional one-half of one percent of the value of the mortgage (limited to a payment of no more than $2,500) to eligible employees who purchase a principal place of residence in the West End–Hillsboro–Belmont neighborhood. This is the area enclosed by a path along West End Avenue from 31st Avenue to the I-440 Interstate; then eastward to Belmont Boulevard, then to the north, along Belmont Boulevard and around Belmont University to Wedgewood/Blakemore, and then westward to the intersection of Blakemore Avenue and West End Avenue.
B. If both partners of a marriage or of a registered same sex domestic partner relationship (as documented to and approved by the Office of Human Resources), are eligible employees and they jointly purchase a principal place of residence under this plan, Vanderbilt University’s contribution of one-half of one percent of the value of the mortgage will be available to each of the partners. The total onetime payment is limited to no more than $2,500 for each of the partners. If the principal place of residence purchased by these eligible partners is located within the geographic area (as defined above in section (a)), an additional one-half of one percent of the value of the mortgage will be available for each of the partners (limited to a payment of no more than $2,500 for each of them) and will be contributed by the university.
The one-time payments described in the previous section will be made by the school or division that is the primary base of the borrower. In the event that two eligible partners (as described in section (b), above) jointly purchase a principal place of residence under this plan and they are based in different schools or divisions, the one-time payments will be divided equally between those schools or divisions. These one-time payments will be made no more than once during the lifetime of any eligible employee.
In addition, and as a courtesy to Vanderbilt, SunTrust Bank Corporation offers loans to eligible members of the faculty at market rates, with options that include floating rate mortgages. Although SunTrust Bank normally charges one percent of the value of the mortgage as a front-end point charge, the bank has agreed to reduce this charge to one-half of one percent of the value of the mortgage for eligible Vanderbilt employees.
The university’s contribution, as described above, is not contingent on the use of the SunTrust Bank as the lender. The one-time contribution will apply to loans for the purchase of a principal place of residence made by any commercial mortgage lender to an eligible employee.
Such benefits shall be subject to all appropriate taxes, including income and employment taxes, and the tax liability shall be reported to the eligible employee on his or her Form W-2, Wage and Income Statement, or an equivalent form.
Until September 1, 2003, either (but not both) the plan described above and the former Faculty Home Purchase Plan (described in detail in the Faculty Manual published in 1999) will be available to faculty members with tenure and members of the Executive Administration. Those employees eligible for the benefit under both the former and current plans must elect from which plan they will seek the benefit.
The provisions of the home purchase plan are reviewed from time to time and are subject to change by the Board of Trust. Further details are available from the Provost’s Office of Finance and Administration who is responsible for administering the plan.
The policy behind the Tuition Benefit Plan For Dependent Children is based upon the premise that Vanderbilt’s educational resources and facilities should be available to those children of certain full-time faculty and staff who would qualify as their dependents for tax purposes, and that those qualifying children who do not attend Vanderbilt should receive comparable support toward the first baccalaureate degree at an accredited college or university of their choice.
The following descriptions are general and do not serve as a contract. Any inconsistencies between the general descriptions and the terms of the plan documents are governed by the plan documents, which are on file in the office of the Provost.
Children of full-time faculty who would qualify as dependents for tax purposes are eligible to receive the tuition benefit commencing with the first semester after the date that the faculty member has completed five continuous years of service at Vanderbilt or another accredited college or university, with no breaks in service greater than three months’ duration (other than an authorized leave of absence). If there occurs such a break in service, all previous years of service will be disregarded.
A qualifying child of a former member of the faculty whose service with Vanderbilt was terminated by permanent disability or death within five (5) years before the child is enrolled in an accredited college or university is eligible to receive the tuition benefit, subject to the limitations and conditions applicable to all participants. In no other instance will a child be eligible to receive the tuition benefit after the parent/faculty member terminates service with Vanderbilt.
B. Amount of Benefit (see also http://hr.vanderbilt.edu/policies/dependent-tuition-assistance.php)
For faculty employed prior to 9/1/2012: A dependent child who is enrolled at Vanderbilt is entitled each semester to a discount of 70 percent of the standard tuition at Vanderbilt. Such child enrolled at another accredited college or university whose tuition is above a specified semester threshold amount is entitled each semester to a benefit equal to 70 percent of the other college’s or university’s tuition. The benefit may be as high as 100 percent of the other college’s or university’s tuition for accredited colleges or universities whose tuition is below the threshold amount for that year; however, the amount of the benefit in any case cannot exceed 70 percent of the tuition at Vanderbilt.
For faculty employed on or after 9/1/2012: A dependent child who is enrolled at Vanderbilt is entitled each semester to a discount of 55 percent of the standard tuition at Vanderbilt. Such child enrolled at another accredited college or university whose tuition is above a specified semester threshold amount is entitled each semester to a benefit equal to 55 percent of the other college’s or university’s tuition. The benefit may be as high as 100 percent of the other college’s or university’s tuition for accredited colleges or universities whose tuition is below the threshold amount for that year; however, the amount of the benefit in any case cannot exceed 55 percent of the tuition at Vanderbilt.
C. Restrictions on Participation
1. The benefits to each member of the faculty cannot exceed a total of 24 semesters for all of his or her children, and no one child can receive benefits for more than 8 semesters. The term “semester” includes the fall, spring, and summer sessions at Vanderbilt or the equivalent thereof at another eligible institution.
2. Any scholarship that is granted to the qualifying child and that is applied by the terms of the scholarship toward tuition will not be considered in determining the amount of the tuition benefit otherwise available; provided, however, that the sum of all scholarships applied by their terms toward tuition plus the tuition benefit received under this plan in any semester by the child will not exceed the tuition charged for that semester.
3. Benefits are confined to undergraduate courses leading to the first baccalaureate degree. The continuation of the benefit is contingent upon the parent’s continued employment at Vanderbilt.
4. At another institution, tuition is the charge defined as such in the catalog, and would generally exclude deposits, mandatory fees, or other special fees. The conditions of continued support are the same as for a student enrolled at Vanderbilt.
5. Faculty members who wish to apply for the tuition benefit for their children should go to the Forms and Documents page of the HR Web site to print the “Tuition Benefit for My Child” form.
Spouses (Spouse is used here as defined in the Human Resources Policy: anyone legally married to, or a same-sex domestic partner of, a faculty member http://hr.vanderbilt.edu/benefits/domesticpartner.php)
Spouses of full-status faculty members are eligible for a discount of 47 percent of Vanderbilt’s advertised tuition on one course per semester when enrolled in any of the schools or colleges of the university. For these purposes, the entire summer session is considered one semester. The discount applies to no more than three credit hours per semester, except for four-hour courses with a required laboratory. The recipient may be enrolled part time or full time, subject to the regulations of the particular school or college. Spouses may audit one course per semester without charge, with permission of the instructor.
If the spouse is an undergraduate, the Admissions Office, in cooperation with the schools and colleges, is responsible for determining eligibility for enrollment in courses at Vanderbilt, based on the spouse’s prior academic record. Part-time enrollment for undergraduate credit is handled by the Division of Unclassified Studies. Enrollment for credit in the Graduate School and the professional schools is decided by the particular school. In order for Human Resources to process the tuition discount, the spouse must file an application for a tuition discount on a form available on the Forms and Documents page of the HR Web site.
Full-status faculty may audit or enroll in courses at Vanderbilt and are eligible for a discount of 47 percent of Vanderbilt’s advertised tuition and fees on one course per semester when enrolled in any of the schools or colleges of the university. For these purposes, the entire summer session is considered one semester. The discount applies to no more than three credit hours per semester, except for four-hour courses with a required laboratory. In the case of a Vanderbilt program consisting of modules rather than semesters, the discount applies to the modules and the benefit will apply to one 2-credit course per module, up to six modules per year for a maximum of 12 credits per year. Before enrolling, the faculty member should consult with his or her department chair or division director (or dean in schools without departments). Similarly, full-status faculty may make use of the faculty tuition benefit for courses taken at another accredited university when the coursework relates to and either enhances or maintains current skills needed by the faculty member to render employment services to Vanderbilt in accordance with applicable federal income tax exclusion criteria in Internal Revenue Code Section 132. The benefit is 47 percent of tuition for courses taken, limited to one three-credit course per semester (or four-credit course in the case of labs), including summers, for a total of 3 courses per year, provided that the amount of the benefit in any case cannot exceed 47 percent of the comparable tuition charged at Vanderbilt. Use of the benefit for courses taken at universities other than Vanderbilt will require approval of the faculty member’s dean and the provost.
Interpretation of Policy on Tuition Discounts
The interpretation of policy resides in the Office of the Provost.