Attorney General Rules against Tuition Waivers for Dependents

Posted: October 4, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Carrie Lake

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General has ruled that the university cannot use state funds, including those generated by auxiliary enterprises, to initiate a tuition waiver program for employees’ dependents.

As part of the Quality of Work Life initiative, the university community expressed a strong interest in providing a tuition waiver benefit for employees’ dependents. The university administration strongly supported the initiative and submitted several alternative proposals to the attorney general requesting the initiation of such a program.

The attorney general’s legal opinion was that the university cannot provide a tuition waiver for employees’ dependents unless nonstate funds are used. “Most state institutions, including George Mason, do not have access to sufficient nonstate funds to sustain such a program,” says Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens. The university’s proposal to use auxiliary enterprise funds and other funds earned from commissions and vending machines was also denied since those funds must be deposited with the state.

“This proposal was a high priority for our faculty and staff. We understand the legal basis for the opinion and hope that eventually we can initiate such a program through fund-raising and private funds,” says Scherrens.

“We are very sorry that we were unsuccessful with this Quality of Work Life initiative; however, the university remains committed to pursuing options for our faculty and staff,” says Linda Harber, assistant vice president for human resources.

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