Educational Assistance Loans

Scope:

All full- and part-time employees (scheduled 30 hours or more per pay period).

Purpose:

To encourage and support the professional growth and advancement of employees.

Definitions:

None

Procedure:

Subject to budget constraints, applications will be considered in the order received, using the following guidelines:

1. Loan funds in any fiscal year are limited to budgeted amounts, and the program may be suspended at any time.

2. All regular full-time and part-time (scheduled 30 hours or more per pay period) employees may be considered for the program following the completion of six months of active service.

3. Funds will be allocated each year and the dates on which applications should be submitted will be posted in all departments. Employees should submit applications for Educational Assistance Loans in writing to their department director who will forward the request, together with his/her recommend-dations, to Human Resources. It is important for the employees to balance their educational efforts with their patient care or support service responsibilities at the Hospital. Final approval of the loan will rest with the Director of Human Resources Operations.

4. Since funds for loans are limited, certain criteria will be used to grant approval. Among these are:

a. Satisfactory work record.
b. Education must be in a school approved by the Hospital.
c. Education must clearly relate to hospital careers.
d. Frequency of loan requests and previous amounts approved are considered.

5. Loans may be applied toward expenses for tuition, but not for books and other materials, which is the responsibility of the student.

6. Interest-free loans of up to $1,000 for eligible full-time employees and up to $500 for eligible part-time employees may be approved for undergraduate educational expense during a 12-month fiscal year. Eligible full-time employees pursuing graduate programs may be approved for a maximum of $1,500 each fiscal year. Eligible part-time employees pursuing graduate programs may be approved for a maximum of $900 each fiscal year.

7. For those employees pursuing a degree which will enable them to work in a job that the hospital determines to be a high-demand, priority job, i.e., RN (Associate or Bachelor Degree), Ultrasound, Respiratory, Nuclear Medicine, Radiologic Technologists, interest-free loans of up to $2,000 for eligible full-time employees and up to $1,000 for eligible part-time employees may be approved for undergraduate educational expense during a 12-month fiscal year. Eligible full-time employees pursuing graduate programs, i.e., Master's in Nursing, may be approved for a maximum of $3,000 each fiscal year. Eligible part-time employees pursuing graduate programs may be approved for a maximum of $1,800 each fiscal year.

The hospital will determine annually which jobs fall in the category of high-demand, priority jobs.

8. The student must achieve a minimum grade of a "C-" or the equivalent in the course of study. Proof of satisfactory completion of the course must be submitted to Human Resources at the conclusion of each school term.

9. Fifty percent of an outstanding loan will be forgiven if the employee works the entire year following the loan. The remaining fifty percent of the loan will be forgiven if the employee works one additional year following the loan, for a total of two successive years. A termination of employment within a two-year period following the loan will require a prorated repayment to the Hospital of the portion that has not yet been forgiven. Failure to achieve a minimum grade of a "C-" or equivalent grade will require repayment of the total amount of the loan. Transferring to Per Diem status or to a part-time position scheduled for less than 30 hours per pay period, will be treated the same as a termination of employment.

10. Loans forgiven may be considered taxable income that year. The laws in this regard have been under consideration and amended in recent years. Check with Human Resources for the latest information on this.

11. Applications for Educational Assistance Loans are available in Human Resources.

The following guidelines apply only to certifications:

12. Reimbursement for certifications is for test fees only, in connection with the achievement of certification through a national organization. Certifications for any one full-time employee may be approved for up to $300 during a 12-month fiscal year, and grants for part-time employees may be approved for up to $200 a year.

13. It is the department manager's responsibility to periodically provide Human Resources with an up-to-date list of eligible certifications for given departments and positions. Such certifications must be beyond the basic requirements for the positions and must signify advanced knowledge and skills. For example, the list from the Nurse Manager of Coronary Care might identify CCRN certification for RN's in that unit as being eligible for grant approval.

The employee must include with the certification application evidence of achievement of the certification and receipts for test fees.