Fee Waiver Reduction Programs

Employee Fee Waiver Programs allow eligible employees to enroll in courses at any California State University (CSU) campus at reduced rates. Courses taken on the fee waiver program must be work-related or part of an individual career development plan.

Dependent Fee Waiver Program allows eligible employees to pass this benefit on to an eligible dependent. The fee waiver benefit may be transferred to only one dependent (spouse or child) unless both parents are eligible employees. In this case, each may have a fee waiver benefit which can be transferred to separate children.

Eligible Employee

  • Full-time permanent staff;
  • Full-time probationary staff;
  • Part-time permanent staff;
  • Full-time Management Personnel Plan (MPP) employees;
  • Temporary full-time staff, if the duration of the temporary appointment or continuous temporary appointments, continue beyond the midpoint of the applicable term; (temporary employees in Unit 8, C99, E99 or M98 are not eligible for a fee waiver)
  • Tenured Unit 3 faculty/librarians;
  • Probationary Unit 3 faculty/librarians;
  • Temporary Unit 3 faculty/librarians with three-year entitlements; and Unit 3 Coaches with at least 6 years of full-time equivalent service.

Eligible Dependent

  • Legal spouse or registered domestic partner;
  • Child or stepchild who has never been married and is under age 23 or 25* through at least midpoint of the semester/term;
  • Child living with employee in a parent-child relationship who is economically dependent upon employee, has never been married and is under age 23 or 25* through at least midpoint of the semester/term;
  • Child or stepchild age 23 or above who is incapable of self-support due to a disability which existed prior to age 23 or 25*.

Work-Related Course (WR)

"Work-Related" courses apply to the employee's current job. The appropriate supervisor indicates on the fee waiver application how the course is directly job-related. CSU admission requirements do not apply for work-related courses.

Individual Career Development Plan (ICDP)

An "Individual Career Development Plan" is established by the employee and the appropriate advisor and does not have to pertain to the employee's current position. CSU admission requirements must be met or waived for registration in courses taken as part of the approved Individual Career Development Plan.

Course Limitation

Courses taken under the fee waiver program shall be taken for credit and not audited. Normal academic standards shall be maintained in order to continue participation in this program. Excluded from the fee waiver program are self-supported programs such as Extended Education.

  • A maximum of 2 courses or 6 units per term, whichever is greater, may be taken under the fee waiver program.
  • An eligible employee on an approved leave of absence may request a waiver of fees for more than 2 courses per term.

Evaluation of Program Participation

Progress reviews are periodically held to assess the value of participation in the fee waiver program. In order to continue in this program, employees must remain in good academic standing.

Application Process | Deadlines

Submit the "Individual Career Development Plan", if appropriate, and the "Fee Waiver Application" to the Human Resources Office for approval by the deadline below. Faculty submit to Faculty Affairs Office. A new fee waiver must be submitted for each term. Contact Admissions & Records/Graduate Programs Office directly regarding matriculation and acceptance to the University as a student.

  • Fall Semester: No later than July 30
  • Winter Term: No later than November 29
  • Spring Semester: No later than January 30
  • Summer Semester: No later than March 30 *If applicable*


See applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement for a list of specific fees waived. Employees/Dependents enrolling in courses in addition to those approved through the fee waiver program, must pay any difference between the amount waived and the full State University Fee.

Class Attendance

  • Release time for 1 on-campus course per term may be approved by the appropriate supervisor, providing the operational needs of the department are met. This is determined by the appropriate supervisor.
  • If it is determined that release time is not appropriate, the supervisor may request employee adjust work schedule, subject to approval; or
  • use leave credits to cover absences for class attendance, subject to approval; or
  • enroll in a course scheduled outside of normal working hours.

For faculty, the course(s) may not conflict with scheduled classes or scheduled office hours.

Taxability of Waived Fees

Legislation varies from year to year on the taxability of waived fees, particularly for graduate-level courses. If required under current federal or state legislation (tax code) the waived amount may be reported on the employee's W-2 form as taxable income. Check with the Human Resources Office regarding the most recent reporting requirements. Refer to your collective bargaining agreement for specific dependent children age limits.

Eligible Participants Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Graduate
CSU Employees Nontaxable Nontaxable up to $5,250*
Employee's Spouse or Dependent Child  Nontaxable Taxable**
Employee's Domestic Partner Taxable Taxable**

The Fee Waiver Program is a fringe benefit and as such has strict reporting requirements established by the Internal Revenue Service [Internal Revenue Code Sections 117(d), 127 and 132(d)] and the State of California Controller’s Office. The reporting requirements state that the fringe benefit must be taxed in the calendar year that the benefit was received. 

* Effective with the 2019 tax year, commencing with the spring 2019 academic term, all graduate/doctorate level courses taken by employees, where the calendar year total exceeds the $5,250 threshold, will be taxable and withheld from the employee's pay warrant (paycheck). Employees will be taxed on the value exceeding the $5,250 threshold. Employees may consult a personal tax advisor to determine if courses taken are job-related pursuant to IRC Section 132(d) and submit the deduction on their personal tax return.

**All graduate-level coursework, including the doctoral program, taken by an employee's spouse, domestic partner or dependent child through the employee fee waiver program continues to be reported as taxable income to the employee.

2019 Taxation Changes for Employees Who are Graduate Students

Effective with the 2019 tax year, all employees taking graduate/doctorate level courses will have the value of their fee waivers tracked over the course of a calendar year and will be taxed on the value exceeding the $5,250 threshold. Taxes are withheld from the employee’s pay warrant (paycheck).

Graduate courses deemed job-related, pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 132(d), will no longer be excludable from W-2 wages. Employees may consult a personal tax advisor to determine if courses taken are job-related and include the deduction on their personal tax return.

Updated: December 05, 2023