Jump to content

tuition reimbursement- illegal?

Posted
by saraelizanne87 saraelizanne87 (New) New

Hello fellow nurses!

I am a RN with a BSN, going to Villanova full time (9 credits each semester- whew!) for my MSN in Nursing Education, and I just started a new position as clinical adjunct faculty at a great university. However, to get this position I had to leave my part time job at a hospital and go per diem due to the amount of hours with my graduate courses and my new position (that, and I'm trying to build my resume to reflect more nursing education experience).

Now, this is where it becomes what I like to call "iffy."

As a part time employee, I was eligible for tuition reimbursement, a total of $3000 in which I requested and was approved for, was paid after receiving my grades (all As- not to brag). The only condition that I saw in the policy at the time was that I needed to get a B or better, and if I did not submit grades or get that B, I would have to owe it back.

Okay, no big deal right?

Keep in mind, I did not sign ANYTHING. NOTHING.

I digress...

I received a letter yesterday stating that since I went per diem on September 9th (mind you, it is now October 28th) I owe the entire $3000. The letter further explained that to receive the tuition benefit, I needed to work at the hospital for 12 months AFTER graduation. Because I became 'non-benefit eligible' on September 9th, I owe that $$$.

I am in grad school. I needed that money not only for school, but for living expenses.

I called HR and explained my situation, and they stated that because I enrolled, I automatically agreed to that 12 month commitment.

Has anyone come across this?

I didn't sign any contract or the like committing 12 months after graduation to receive tuition benefit.

What can I do? HELP.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

What does the facility's policy and procedure on tuition reimbursement say about a commitment?

RN_Sara

Has 2 years experience.

At most places of employment there is some kind of stipulation that you must work a set amount of time in exchange for the tuition reimbursement. It should be in the policy for your hospital.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

Filing the form and accepting reimbursement is the same as signing a contract. If the corporate policy is that you must commit to 12 months of Xhrs/week employment after tuition reimbursement (pretty standard) then by accepting the funds you agreed to the terms. This is usually written in the employee handbook. Often such a statement is included in the tuition reimbursement form you submit (such as by submitting I agree to the terms of the company including earning a grade of B or better).

You are likely out of luck and owe the money. Ask for a copy of the policy you may not have noticed the standard that 12 months of benefit eligible employment post tuition reimbursement.

Most likely your only recourse is to ask for a payment plan since the hospital is no longer benefiting from you working part time

I would ask to see the policy that states this.

And if you have to work 12 months after graduation, and you are currently per diem, you are still working for them, no? And conceivably still could work there per diem for 12 months after your graduation to fufill this requirement?

And it may or may not be as their nurse educator, but the same could be said regarding those RN's who go to NP school.

In any event, the paper you signed may have had a clause that stated "and other requirements as stated in policy" or some other generalized statement.

Depending on how long you were part time, did you acquire vacation hours that are paid out to you when you go per diem? Or when you started (if it was many years ago) did they contribute to a pension? Either one of these things could contribute to funds that you would need to pay them back.

Meanwhile, ask to see the policy, and nicely suggest going forward that the facility may think about making terms that are spelled out clearly. Obviously if nurses are going for a higher degree not all of them are going to want to work as an RN if they are an NP, a unit nurse if they are IT or nurse educators--

featherzRN, MSN

Specializes in Outpatient/Clinic, ClinDoc. Has 30 years experience.

My hospital has it in the policy (probably not right on the paperwork) that you must work TWO years after you get reimbursement, but it's pro-rated depending on how long you stay. Also says you must remain in a benefit-eligible position (no per diem). I am guessing these agreements are pretty standard.

AnthonyD

Specializes in Critical Care, Med-Surg. Has 7 years experience.

My hospital has it in the policy (probably not right on the paperwork) that you must work TWO years after you get reimbursement, but it's pro-rated depending on how long you stay. Also says you must remain in a benefit-eligible position (no per diem). I am guessing these agreements are pretty standard.

Same policy here. I used the tuition benefit for my pre-reqs, and when I switched from working full time to per-diem in nursing school, I had to pay back part of it (pro-rated because I had worked a portion of the 2 years they required).

RNOTODAY, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, ER, OR. Has 18 years experience.

This is a VERY common stipulation... you never signed a single thing ?

Orca, ASN, RN

Specializes in Corrections, psychiatry, rehab, LTC. Has 26 years experience.

I have never heard of tuition reimbursement for anyone who was less than full time.