Tuition Exemption Benefit Notice – Graduate-Level Studies for Support Staff

Student Financial Services
February 07, 2019

Notice for those enrolled in graduate-level studies (non-degree course(s) or a degree program) and do not have a Job-Related Graduate Education Certification form on your student account record. 

According to IRS guidelines, tuition exemption benefits for graduate-level studies (course numbers 4000 & above) are exempt from taxation up to the federal limit of $5,250 in a calendar year. The value of tuition exemption benefits above the federal limit of $5,250 is treated as taxable imputed income, and taxes will be withheld from your paycheck. The University will spread the tax liability of Tuition Exemption benefits for spring classes over the February through May pay periods. 

The one exception to this IRS guideline is for graduate-level studies certified as “job-related,” per IRS-defined criteria.

See the guidelines on whether you qualify for the Job- Related tax exemption for employee and supervisor instructions on how to certify.

What You Need to Know – Job-Related Graduate Education Certification Forms

To ensure the tax exemption is applied to your student account for:

  • Non-Degree Programs – Forms must be certified and submitted each term with your Tuition Exemption Benefits eligibility form to the SFS office
  • Degree Programs – Forms must only be certified once (unless you change your degree program, or job); however, a copy of the certified form must be submitted each term with your Tuition Exemption Benefits eligibility form to the SFS office. 

Note: Forms must be submitted Friday, February 08, 2019.

Important: If you do not submit a Job-Related Graduate Education Certification Form demonstrating these courses are related to your work at the University, your paycheck will be taxed for the tuition value of courses exceeding the annual federal limit.

To Submit Signed Forms:  

Email: Columbia Programs (Morningside campus):

In Person:

  • Morningside Campus: 205 Kent Hall
  • Medical Campus: 1-141 Black Building

If you have any questions about your student account, please contact SFS at, at Morningside, 205 Kent Hall, (212) 854-4400; and at CUMC, 1-141 Black Building, or by phone at 212-342-4790.