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Frequently Asked Questions

For answers to additional questions, please visit AskDrexel.

Benefits Enrollment

How do faculty and professional staff enroll for benefits?

Drexel University faculty and professional staff enroll for benefits via the My Drexel Benefits portal. You can log in to My Drexel Benefits through DrexelOne by selecting the Employees tab and then the My Drexel Benefits link under the Benefits Administration heading. Most elections are annual elections and cannot be changed during the year unless you experience a qualified life event. Open Enrollment is held during the month of November for the following year's benefits.

What is a qualified life event?

Medical, prescription drug, dental, vision and health and dependent care spending account contributions are made on a pre-tax basis. This reduces your taxable income, therefore reducing the taxes you owe. However, this also means that once selected, you generally cannot change your coverage until the next open enrollment period. The exception to this rule is if you have a qualified life event. The change to your benefits must correlate directly with the qualified life event. Appropriate qualified events include:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Death of a spouse, same-sex domestic partner, or dependent child
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Spouse’s termination of employment or new job
  • Change of employment status from full-time to part-time or vice versa
  • Taking an unpaid leave of absence
  • Returning to work after a leave of absence
  • Open enrollment of spouse’s plans

See the Qualified Life Event page for more information.

What can I expect to receive after I enroll?

After you have completed your benefits enrollment you can expect to receive insurance cards for plans you enrolled in, a medical spending account MasterCard if enrolled in the medical spending FSA, and a notice of your COBRA rights. Employees enrolled in the High Deductible plan will receive a Visa card for their Health Savings Account. Please note you will not receive a dental card from Cigna.

When do my new elections become effective?

If you are enrolling for the upcoming plan year during open enrollment, your benefit elections go into effect on January 1. If you are newly hired or newly eligible, your benefit elections go into effect the first of the month following your date of hire.

Domestic Partnerships

Are there any implications for enrolling a domestic partner or domestic partner's child/children?

Since domestic partners and their children cannot be considered dependents for the purposes of the employee’s tax return, payments for premiums on the behalf of the partner and non-dependent children must be paid in post-tax dollars. Further, the employee should be aware that contributions made by the University on behalf of the domestic partner and non-dependent children may result in imputed income to the employee. You are required to register your partner for him or her to be considered eligible for benefits. To do so, you must complete and return the Domestic Partner Affidavit for Drexel Employees [PDF].

What is the imputed income for domestic partner coverage?

Currently the IRS says that if an employee receives employer-paid benefits for anyone who is not the employee’s tax dependent, the value of the coverage is “imputed income” and is taxable. The additional coverage for your domestic partner and/or your partner’s children becomes a taxable benefit, unlike medical coverage for other enrolled family members. Imputed income is separate from, and in addition to, your payroll deduction. The amount of your imputed income depends on the plan(s) you choose and the level of your coverage. Imputed income is taxable. It increases your taxable gross income as well as your FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes withheld from your paycheck. Imputed income is reported on your annual W-2 that you file with the IRS each year.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

What is a health care spending account?

A health care spending account permits employees to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified uninsured health-related expenses. By setting aside the money on a pre-tax basis you are reducing your taxable income and the taxes you would pay on that money. The funds cannot be used to pay for insurance premiums. The maximum contribution is $2,600 per calendar year. The funds can be used to pay for medical and dental plan deductibles and co-payments, certain uninsured medical expenses, and other eligible expenses such as contact lenses or eyeglasses for you or your family. Health care spending accounts can also reimburse expenses for nonprescription or over-the-counter medications and other items such as Claritin, Tylenol, Motrin, band-aids, antacids and cough medications. Expenses that are not covered include items that are beneficial to your general health such as vitamins and herbal supplements.

Are reimbursements based on when I had the service or when I paid for the service?

Reimbursement for health care expenses is based on when you had the service (incurred the expense), not on when you paid the bill.  Per IRS regulations, all expenses must be incurred before the end of the calendar year and submitted no later than three months after.

What is a dependent care spending account?

Under IRS regulations, a married employee with a working spouse or a single parent may allocate up to $5,000 in pre-tax dollars to a dependent care account.  Expenses payable through the account are those incurred in order to permit the individual (and if married, the spouse) to work, rather than caring for their dependent full-time.

What dependents qualify under the dependent care spending account?

Dependents who qualify include children up to age 13 and any other dependent (such as a disabled spouse or elderly parent) who is physically or mentally incapable of self-support and who is claimed as a dependent on the employee's federal tax return. Reimbursable expenses include care provided inside or outside the home, day care centers that meet state licensing requirements, and preschool tuition. This covers custodial care only and does not cover overnight expenses, such as some camps.

Do I need to enroll in the Pre-Tax Parking Program if I park in a Drexel/American Academic Health System facility?

No. Since your monthly cost is already being deducted from your pay on a pre-tax basis, you do not need to enroll in the Pre-tax Parking Program.

Home Purchase Assistance Program

How much is the benefit that Drexel University provide?

Drexel University will provide up to $15,000 through a forgivable loan to any Benefit eligible full-time/ part-time employee for the purchase of a home within the defined borders of the Drexel University Community. Drexel University shall provide a $5,000 forgivable loan to an eligible employee toward the renovation of a home within the defined borders.

This benefit is a $15,000 forgivable loan. What does that mean?

Drexel University will forgive this loan on the following schedule:

After one year of service 20% of the loan will be forgiven and the employee is responsible for $12,000 repayment.

After two years of service 40% of the loan will be forgiven and the employee is responsible for $9,000 repayment.

After three years of service 60% of the loan will be forgiven and the employee is responsible for $6,000 repayment.

After four years of service 80% of the loan will be forgiven and the employee is responsible for $3,000 repayment.

After five years of service 100% of the loan will be forgiven and the employee is responsible for $0 repayment.

The renovation benefit is a $5,000 forgivable loan. What are the terms?

The property must be owner occupied and remain the employee's principal residence for at least two years. Should the property at any time during the two-year period cease to be owner occupied and the employee's principal residence, the employee agrees to pay the full $5,000 back to the University, unless the property is sold to Drexel University, in accordance with the Pre-Purchase and Post-Purchase certifications required as a condition of being eligible for the forgivable loan.

What are my tax obligations for the "forgivable" loan?

The Internal Revenue Service Code treats most forgiveness of debt as taxable income. Therefore, the portion of the loan that is forgiven by Drexel University each year is considered “taxable” income to you. Drexel University will withhold the appropriate amount of tax from your earnings.

How do I receive the loan proceeds?

Once you are approved for the loan, Human Resources will provide you with the paperwork necessary for Drexel to make a check payable to the mortgage lender or the settlement agency that will be conducting your closing. It is your responsibility to complete these forms accurately and return them to Human Resources at least ten days prior to your scheduled closing date.

Can the benefit be used for a security deposit for rental housing?

No. The benefit must be applied towards the purchase of a home in the defined geographic boundaries.

I already own a home, so I'm not a first-time home buyer. Can I still participate in Drexel University's Employee Home Purchase Assistance Program?

Yes. The program is for all full-time/part-time Benefit eligible employees purchasing a home in the defined borders. It is not restricted to first-time buyers; however, you must move to the new home and reside in the home as your primary residence.

I am purchasing a home that will become my principal residence, but I want to lease it to another party for a period after closing. Is this permissible under the Drexel University/Drexel University College of Medicine Employee Home Ownership Program?

No. The home must be used as the primary residence for the entire time period in order for Drexel University to provide the loan.

I just bought a house. Is the Drexel University Employee Home Purchase Assistance Program retroactive?

No. The “forgivable” loans will only be provided for homes purchased in the designated zip code areas with settlement occurring after November 1, 2010.

Can I use the Drexel University forgivable loan for a second or vacation home?

No. The loan must be used for the purchase of a primary residence.

Can I use the Drexel University Employee Home Purchase Assistance Program loan in the refinancing of my current home?

No. The “forgivable” loan must be used for a purchase of a home with settlement occurring after November 1, 2010.

How often can I participate in the Drexel University Employee Home Purchase Assistance Program?

You will be eligible to participate in the program once in any five-year period.

Do I have to use the vendors Drexel with whom has secured a relationship?

No. You are encouraged to shop around and obtain vendors that meet your very specific needs.

What happens if my employment at Drexel University ends during the five year loan term?

The remaining balance of the loan will become due in 60 days. If your employment ends because of death or permanent disability for which you are collecting periodic income benefits from Drexel University’s long term disability plan, Drexel University will forgive the balance of your loan.

What happens if I go on paid or unpaid leave?

If you are on an approved paid leave, the loan will continue to be forgiven. However, if you are on unpaid leave for more than 180 days, forgiveness of the loan is “suspended” during your leave period. In other words, the loan will not be reduced or “forgiven” over the time period of the unpaid leave. If you do not return to work within one year, the remaining balance of the loan will become due within 180 days. If you return, the forgiveness of the loan begins again in the month following your active return to work. Any time that you were out on unpaid leave will be added to the end of the original loan period.

Does my beneficiary or estate have to pay back the loan if I die?

No. Drexel University forgives the outstanding balance upon the death of the employee however, if the beneficiary of the estate opts to sell before the end of the five year period they must honor Drexel’s right of first refusal policy.

Are part-time employees eligible?

Yes. Part-time Benefit eligible employees are eligible for this benefit.

My spouse/domestic partner and I both work for Drexel University. Do we get twice the normal benefit?

No. Drexel will only provide one forgivable loan per new home purchase. If the home is purchased jointly by two Drexel University employees, both employees must sign the application and other required documentation. Drexel University will continue to forgive the loan so long as one of the employees remains a full-time active Drexel University employee.

I work in one of the satellite Drexel locations. Does the Benefit cover the area where I work?

Unfortunately for now the scope of the program has been limited to the geographic borders set forth in the program guidelines.  As the program continues to evolve, other locations have not been ruled out however; the immediate strategic plan “to live where you work” is confined to the West Philadelphia area.

What is title insurance?

Title insurance provides homebuyers and lenders with vital protection against losses arising from certain title issues that are undiscoverable from public records--including forgery, fraud and liens--which might limit a homeowner's use and enjoyment of their property.

Why do I need title insurance?

There are two types of insurance: owner's title insurance, called an Owner's Policy, and lender's title insurance, called a Loan Policy.  Most lenders require a Loan Policy when they issue you a loan. The Loan Policy is usually based on the dollar amount of your loan.  It only protects the lender's interests in the property should a problem with the title arise.  It does not protect the buyer.  The policy amount decreases as you pay down your loan and eventually disappears as the loan is paid off.

An Owner's Policy is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase price.  It is purchased for a one-time fee at closing and lasts for as long as you have an interest in the property.  Only an Owner's Policy protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise.  Possible hiddent title problems can include:

  • Errors or omission in deeds
  • Mistakes in examining records
  • Forgery
  • Undisclosed heirs
  • Others claiming an interest in your property

An Owner's Policy provides assurance that your title insurance company will stand behind you--monetarily and with legal defense, if needed--if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home.

Why do I need a home inspection?

Buying a home could be the largest single investment most of us will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.

Life, Long-Term Care, and Disability Insurance

What is the difference between life insurance and personal accident insurance?

Both life insurance and personal accident insurance protect your family’s financial security in the event of death.  However, there are some basic differences between the plans.  Both pay a benefit if you die; however personal accident only pays if the cause of death was accidental.  Personal accident also pays benefits when an accident results in the loss of a limb or sight.

How do I designate a beneficiary for my life insurance?

Beneficiaries should be designated by visiting EnrollOnline.  It is important to periodically review your beneficiary designations to ensure they are up-to-date.

What is long-term care?

Long-term care is the type of care received either at home or in a facility when someone needs assistance with the activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, continence, or eating).

Who can I cover with LTC insurance?

You can buy policies that will cover yourself, your spouse, parents, grandparents or siblings.  Depending on the type of coverage and when purchased, a completed medical questionnaire may be required.

Who pays for the Long Term Disability Plan?

Drexel does. Drexel adds an amount equal to the cost of Long Term Disability to your regular base pay, and then a corresponding amount for this premium is deducted from your pay.

Why is John Hancock closing down enrollments under our group long term care policy?

According to John Hancock, this decision was prompted by the historically low interest rate environment that is expected to continue for an extended period of time.

Will employees who are newly eligible be able to enroll after December 31, 2011?

No.  The decision to cease new enrollments applies to all applicants.

For applicants who need to go through underwriting, does the underwriting need to be completed by December 31, 2011?

No.  The enrollment application must be postmarked by December 31, 2011, but underwriting activities may take place in early 2012.

Will insureds be able to purchase optional inflation additions or other coverage increases after December 31, 2011?

No.  The enrollment application must be postmarked by December 31, 2011, but underwriting activities may take place in early 2012.

Does this impact John Hancock's ability to pay claims?

No.  John Hancock will continue to service all current insureds and any current or future claims will not be affected by this action.  John Hancock continues to be highly rated by the five rating agencies and ratings are a comprehensive measure of the financial strength of an insurance company.

Who should I contact if I have further questions?

Please call your John Hancock customer service line at 1-800-200-3334.

Medical Plans

Do I have to participate in Drexel's medical and prescription drug plans?

All Full Time faculty and professional staff are required to have medical and prescription coverage either with the University or must provide proof of other coverage. Full-time faculty and professional staff who do not enroll and fail to provide proof of other coverage will be defaulted into single coverage under the Keystone POS and prescription drug plan with the appropriate payroll deductions. Full Time faculty and professional staff who decline medical and prescription drug coverage and provide the required proof of other coverage will receive a monthly waiver bonus.

What is a Point-of-Servce (POS) Plan?

In order to receive the highest level of coverage, POS plans require the use of specific plan providers and require the election of a primary care physician (PCP).  This physician serves as the “gatekeeper” for medical services, meaning that you need to consult with your PCP prior to receiving services from most specialist physicians or other providers.  In addition, a POS permits you to seek care outside the network and see an in-network specialist without having to see your PCP, but at a lower level of coverage.

What is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)?

A PPO is a group of hospitals and physicians under contract to an insurance company.  Health care providers in the PPO provide care to members for negotiated fees and co-payments.

What does "out-of-network" mean?

When you see a provider who is not part of the POS or PPO network, you are responsible for a greater portion of the cost of your care, and you may also be subject to deductibles and coinsurance.  In addition, you might be subject to “reasonable and customary” limits, which means that you might be responsible for any amount the provider charges above the insurance company’s payment.

Do Drexel's medical plans have a pre-existing conditions clause?

A pre-existing condition is an illness for which treatment has been rendered within 12 months preceding the date of enrollment into an insurance plan.  The university’s medical plans do not have a pre-existing conditions clause.

How do I get medical care if I am away from home?

To locate a provider when away from home visit Blue Cross Blue Shield's website or call 1-800-810-Blue.

What types of expenses might my family or I incur?

There are several ways in which you might incur medical or dental expenses, some of which can be avoided. Below are definitions of common benefits terms as well as explanations of how they might impact your expenses.

  • Deductible: The dollar amount you must pay each year before your medical and/or dental plan begin to pay benefits for certain covered expenses.
  • Coinsurance: After you meet the deductible (if applicable), your health plan pays a specified percentage of the charges for covered services. You pay the remaining expenses, and this is called co-insurance. For example, if the plan pays for 90 percent of a covered expense, the other 10 percent, for which you are responsible, is the coinsurance.
  • UCR or R&C: Refers to the “Usual, Customary and Reasonable” or “Reasonable and Customary” fees, which physicians, health care facilities, or other health care providers in the same geographic area charge for similar services. Plans that pay 100 percent of UCR or R&C pay 100 percent of the usual, customary, and reasonable fees for that service. If providers have an affiliation with the plan, they are obligated to accept the plan’s UCR or R&C as payment in full. If providers are not affiliated with the plan, they are not obligated to accept the UCR or R&C and you may have to pay charges in excess of the payment made by the plan even if the plan usually covers the service at 100 percent.
  • Co-payment or Co-pay: A flat per-service charge that you pay for services such as doctor's visits or prescriptions.
  • Out-of-pocket Maximum: The most you have to pay out of your own pocket during the plan year in co-insurance after you meet your deductible, as long as your providers accept your plan's UCR or R&C. Once you reach this limit, the plan pays 100 percent of UCR or R&C.
  • Lifetime Maximum: The greatest amount payable by the plan in a subscriber's lifetime.
  • Benefit Maximum: The greatest amount payable by the plan for a specific covered service.
  • Prior Authorization: Before receiving certain medical procedures or prescription drugs, insurance companies require that you obtain prior authorization or you may be responsible for full payment. Consult your plan’s summary plan description or call the carrier for details.
  • Pre-certification: A program that requires a medical review before hospital admissions and surgical procedures are approved. If a procedure requires pre-certification and you do not obtain it, you may be responsible for full payment. Consult your plan’s summary plan description or call the carrier for details.

Retirement Plans

When can I participate in the plan?

If you are an eligible employee, you may begin participation in the plan immediately upon hire. Benefit Eligible employees hire on or after January 1, 2015 will have 31 days from their date of hire to enroll or waive in the plan. If no election is made by the time the window closes, they will be defaulted into a 2% election with TIAA. There is no longer a one-year waiting period for university contributions or an age 25 requirement.

How do I know if I am an eligible employee?

All Drexel employees are eligible to defer pre-tax dollars out of their pay into the plan except for those in student employment, Co-op positions, temporary, casual and per diem employees. ANS employees are still able to maintain their contributions under the ANS Retirement Plan. Employees who are part of a Bargaining Unit are still able to maintain their contributions as well, without any match from the University.

Who is eligible for a Drexel contribution?

Full-time, benefit eligible professional staff and faculty and Part-time employees who work more than 1,000 hours per year are eligible for a Drexel contribution as long as they are contributing to the plan.

Does Drexel contribute to my retirement plan?

Yes, if eligible for a university contribution, the university will match any percent that you contribute, up to a maximum of 6% per pay. PLUS, the university will make an additional contribution based on age. If you are under 50, you will receive an additional 3% from the university. If you are over 50 you will receive an additional 5%.

How much must I contribute to the plan in order for Drexel to contribute?

Drexel University contributions begin when an employee commits to at least a 1% contribution.

How do I enroll?

Enrollments are managed through Drexel One. To enroll or make changes to your 403(b) contribution, please log into DrexelOne and navigate to the Employee Tab where you will see the Benefit Administration Channel.  There you can click on the link for ‘403b Plan Management’.

 

The system will not allow me to enter in dollar amounts, why?

Since the plan is based on a match system, only full percentages are able to be entered as elections.

Do I have to choose one vendor only or can I contribute to multiple ones?

You are still able to choose multiple vendors if you wish. However, you will need to select only one of those vendors to receive the university contribution of either 3% or 5%, based on being under or over the age of 50. Please note that the funds available on each vendor’s platform are designed to offer the capability of creating a diversified portfolio with that vendor. If you contribute to multiple vendors you may be paying multiple administrative fees.

Am I required to contribute 6% or can I elect for a lower contribution?

If you are an eligible employee, the university will match your contributions dollar for dollar up to 6%.  So you will receive the maximum benefit from the university should you contribute 6%. However, you are not required to contribute that much in order to participate. You can contribute as little as 1% per pay and still receive a match and university contribution. Because the new plan is based on a match system, contributions must be entered as percentages.

I have a dollar amount in mind that I want to contribute but I am not sure how to factor that into a percentage for my election. How can I do this?

To determine the dollar amount of percent elections simply take your full annual salary and divide by 12 (or 26 for bi-weekly, 52 for weekly). You will then want to multiply that amount by the percent you are trying to achieve.

For example: John wishes to contribute about $150 per pay. He is a monthly paid employee and his annual salary is $52,000.

$52,000/12 = $4,333.33 (monthly salary)

$4,333.33 x .03 = $129.99

$4,333.33 x .04 = $173.34

He will need to choose either 3% or 4% because based on his salary he is not able to contribute $150 evenly. He will need to contribute a little higher than his desired amount or a little lower.

 

May I contribute more than 6%, and, if so, how much more?

The amount that you can save is determined by federal law. Currently, the statutory limit (annual maximum) is $19,000. If you are over the age of 50, you may add $6,000 for a total limit of $25,000. When enrolling, you may elect to have the annual maximum, but you must figure out what percentage that will require you to use.

To select the annual maximum, use the percent of pay closest to $1,583.33 (which is $19,000/12) or $2,083.33 (which is $25,000/12). You can use a percent that will exceed the annual limit by the end of the year because the payroll system will automatically end your contribution when you reach the annual maximum, based on your age.

I was enrolled in a 403(b) plan with my prior employer. How does that change my 403(b) enrollment at Drexel?

If you were enrolled in a 403(b) retirement plan at any time in your employment history, you may want to roll your prior plan’s contributions into your new Drexel University Plan. If so, you will need to complete a Rollover form for your new Drexel University vendor and submit it to them for processing. You may need to work with your previous employer to complete this task.

Will my contributions ever be taxed?

Your contributions are deducted from your paycheck before federal taxes are calculated.  When you retire and begin to receive distributions from your account, or when you remove funds from the plan after you leave Drexel, the funds will be taxed.  There is a penalty of 10 percent if you remove funds before age 59 ½.  After you leave Drexel, you may convert your 403(b) plan to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or another employer’s 403(b) or 401(k) plan without penalties or taxes.  Then, when you are ready to remove the funds, they will be taxed.

Do I own the Drexel contribution or will I lose it if I leave Drexel?

The Drexel contribution is “vested” (you own it) from the first day the contribution goes into your plan.

Where may I invest my money?

Drexel works with three investment companies, TIAA, Fidelity and Vanguard. To learn more about these companies, please visit the retirement plan page.

How do I decide which company to choose?

It's a matter of personal preference.  If you visit our main retirement plan page, you can find information including websites, phone numbers, and how to schedule an individual consultation appointment with each company.

Once I have decided on an investment company, must I continue to use that company?

You may move your funds from one of Drexel's investment companies to another at any time, with one exception: TIAA accumulations in the Basic Retirement Plan of less than $2,000 are not transferable.

You also have the option to change the funds to which you have allocated your money within the company you currently use.  Please contact your investment company for more information about this.

Can I withdrawal funds from my account(s) while I am still employed?

Funds may be removed at time of termination with a 10 percent penalty if you are less than age 59 ½ or not officially retired.

If you are experiencing a severe financial hardship, you may be eligible for a Hardship Withdrawal on the funds you contributed to the plan. Employer contributions are not able eligible for distribution while still actively employed with the university. You will be penalized for an early withdrawal and the funds are taxable. Please note that if you take a hardship withdrawal, your participation in the plan must be suspended for six months, meaning you will not be able to contribute to the plan and will not receive any match or university contribution.

Loans are available only through TIAA. If you are a participant of TIAA, you may be eligible for a loan against your funds only (not the university contributions) - please contact TIAA directly to see if you are eligible: 800.842.2776. Please note that there is a limit to the number of active loans you may have at any one time.

Termination

When do my health benefits end if I terminate employment? Can I continue my benefits after I leave?

Your benefits will end on the last day of the month you are employed. Once your benefits end, you will receive information on COBRA directly from the our benefits administrator, Benefitexpress. COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. It's a law that permits you and your eligible dependents to continue your health care coverage for a specific period of time after your employment ends. To continue coverage through COBRA, you are required to pay 102 percent of the actual cost of coverage. Please call Benefitexpress 1.844.690.3992 with COBRA questions.

Can I continue my life insurance and long-term disability if I leave the University?

A conversion option is available for Basic Life and Long-Term Disability insurance upon termination. Supplemental voluntary life insurance is portable. Upon termination you may continue this coverage by paying the premiums directly to the insurance company, but will not be eligible for Drexel group rates.

Where can I find more information on termination of employment?

Please see the University Policy HR-48, Termination of Employment:

Tuition Exchange

What makes an employee eligible for their dependent child to apply?

An eligible employee is a current faculty or professional staff member who prior to the first day of classes for the term for which Tuition Exchange benefits are sought, is in a full-time position and has served a minimum of five years of full-time employment at Drexel.

How is "dependent" defined?

An eligible dependent child is:

  1. born to the Drexel employee,
  2. adopted by the Drexel employee, or
  3. that have the Drexel employee as legal guardian prior to the commencement of the academic year.

How many years can I receive the benefit?

The benefit is available (for undergraduate students) for a total of four years (or eight semesters). Students must meet the importing institution's published standards to continue the benefit.

Are the awards guaranteed for all four years?

The award is renewable each year provided the student remains in good academic and social standing. Both the exporting institution and Drexel must continue to participate in Tuition Exchange during the subsequent eight semesters. In addition, the family member whose employment conveyed eligibility for a scholarship must continue to meet the exporting Drexel eligibility criteria.

Is a scholarship guaranteed to all eligible applicants?

No. Family members eligible for Tuition Exchange Scholarships are not guaranteed an award.
Scholarships are not fringe benefits; they are competitive awards. Even if you and your family are eligible to apply for an award, you may not receive an award because each institution is obligated to maintain a balance between students sent on the exchange (exports) and students received on the exchange (imports).

How competitive is the admissions process?

Tuition Exchange Scholarships are competitive. In addition to meeting the admissions requirements of the receiving institution, some member institutions have established additional requirements such as higher entrance standards or limit awards to just a few new students each year.

Does being a Tuition Exchange Program recipient guarantee (or affect) my admission to the college?

The benefit should have no effect on admission to the college.

What happens to my benefit if my parent becomes ineligible for the benefit in the middle of a term?

In the event the employee loses eligibility in the middle of a term the benefit will cease at the end of the term.

Should I apply for college admission before, after, or simultaneously with applying for the Tuition Exchange Program benefit?

Students should apply for college admission simultaneously with applying for the Tuition Exchange Program benefit.

Is the Tuition Exchange Program benefit taxable?

The Tuition Exchange Program benefit itself is not taxable. However, Federal tax law requires that scholarships or grants which exceed the cost of tuition, fees, and books such as scholarship for room or board are taxable. For more information please consult your tax advisor.

What happens to the other types of financial aid that I receive?

The complex nature of financial aid programs requires that many factors be taken into consideration. If the aid program is specific to tuition, the student may not obtain additional money (since Tuition Exchange Program covers full tuition). If however, the aid can be used for other educational expenses, it is at the discretion of the college to allow the additional aid to offset the Tuition Exchange Program benefit or to be in addition to the Tuition Exchange Program benefit.

I was told I am eligible for the Tuition Exchange Program benefit. Should I expect something in writing from the host institution?

Yes, you should expect a formal letter from the "importing" institution which outlines the value of the benefit and any terms and conditions for receipt and/or continuation of the benefit.

How many awards are there?

Drexel University will award up to 12 awards to dependents of Drexel full-time employees who wish to attend institutions other than Drexel University that participate in the Tuition Exchange program. The number of awards is divided between six faculty members and six professional staff members, totaling 12 candidates for each new academic year. In addition, up to 12 awards will be offered to children of employees from Tuition Exchange Institutions wishing to attend Drexel University.

How much is the award?

Drexel offers the minimum amount set by the Tuition Exchange organization, which is the lesser of full tuition or $35,000 for the 2017-2018 academic year. The student is responsible for tuition above the $35,000 cut off.

Tuition Remission

Where can I find my University ID number?

All employees are given a University ID number when activating computer accounts. If you are unsure of your University ID, please visit the Computer Accounts Management Service.

How often do I have to submit a Tuition Remission application?

Employees applying for tuition remission for themselves must complete the online application process before every academic term for which they intend to register.

Qualified family member tuition remission applications are due annually by February 1, before the start of the academic year of the family member's enrollment.

Can I use Social Security numbers in place of employee and student University ID numbers?

To protect your personal information, we do not accept Social Security numbers and ask that you use University ID numbers.

I am concerned about my sensitive and private tax information being submitted in the proof of dependency. Is there any way around this?

Employees are encouraged to darken out financial information and Social Security numbers, as Human Resources is only concerned with verifying dependency.

What is the IRS Form 4506-T? How do I complete this form?

As outlined in Drexel University Policy HR-23, Tuition Remission for Family Members, the tuition remission application for a dependent child must include an IRS Form 4506-T. The Drexel Human Resources (HR) Department requires a copy of the Form 4506-T on file in the event tuition benefits are audited by the IRS. The employee needs to complete sections one (1) thru five (5) of the form (Drexel University is the requesting party) and sign at the bottom. HR will complete section six (6) of the form.

Who is eligible for Graduate Tuition Remission?

Only full-time benefit eligible employees may take Graduate courses under the Tuition Remission benefit. Please view the Tuition Remission Policy for additional information.

I submitted my application but have not heard anything. Should I be worried?

Average turnaround time for tuition remission processing is one (1) week. Human Resources verifies employee eligibility and information is shared with Drexel Central where the benefit is applied to the student account. The annual electronic tuition bill can be viewed under the Student tab in DrexelOne, where you can confirm tuition remission processing.

What is and is not taxable?

Undergraduate Tuition Remission is not taxable. Graduate taxability terms [PDF] can be found in the Payroll section of Drexel's Office of the Comptroller website. Additional questions should be directed to a tax specialist. Employees can also email pay@drexel.edu for questions about graduate course taxes.

Why do I have to submit so much information for Tuition Remission to verify dependency?

The University reserves the right to verify pertinent information for all benefit eligibility. This verification is needed to ensure the benefit is being used as intended.

General Family Medical Leave (FML) Questions

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain qualifying events.  Paid leave must be substituted for unpaid leave in certain cases per Drexel’s policy.

Who is eligible for Family and Medical Leave?

You are eligible for Family and Medical Leave (FML) if you have been employed by the University for at least twelve (12) months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the leave.

How is the 12-month period determined?

The 12-month period is a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date FML begins.

Do the 1,250 hours include paid leave or other absences from work?

No, the 1,250 hour requirement only includes time that counts towards “hours worked.”  So, for example, the 1,250 hours would not include:

  • Vacation, sick and personal holidays or
  • Previous periods of FML leave

For what reasons can I use FML?

Eligible employees can use FML for the following reasons:

  • An employee’s own chronic health condition, including disability due to pregnancy   and/or post-partum;
  • The birth and care of an employee’s newborn child;
  • The placement of an adopted son or daughter or a foster child with an employee (leave must conclude within 12 months after placement);
  • The care of an employee’s immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition;
  • An employee’s own serious health condition that makes him or her unable to work;
  • FMLA also allows up to 26 weeks of leave to employees who provide care to wounded U.S. military personnel and 12 weeks of FML to the immediate family members of soldiers, reservists and members of the National Guard who have a “qualifying exigency.”

What is a serious health condition?

Serious Health Condition is defined as an illness, injury or impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing care by a health-care provider:

  • a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days that involves continuing treatment by a health-care provider;
  • pregnancy and time needed for prenatal visits;
  • a chronic health condition, such as asthma or diabetes;
  • a long-term condition such as Alzheimer’s; or
  • multiple treatments by a health-care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (such as physical therapy for a back injury).

I would like to take FML for an elective surgery. Is this allowed?

Some elective surgeries are allowed under the FML policy depending on the type of procedure and the employee’s medical history.  You should contact Guardian at 1-888-889-2953 to apply for FML and they will make the determination on whether your leave can be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Can leave for childbirth or adoption be taken at any time?

No.  This type of leave must be taken within 12 months after the birth or placement for adoption or foster care.  In some instances, the leave may start before the birth or placement for adoption, such as leave for pre-natal care or for home studies in connection with adoption.

Can leave be taken to care for children any age?

  • Non-military FML is only available to care for a child under the age of 18, or a child over the age of 18 with a disability where the child is unable to perform activities of daily living without assistance.
  • However, the FMLA regulations contain special definitions for son and daughter for both of the military leave provisions.  For qualifying exigency leave, an eligible employee may take leave for his or her son or daughter on active duty or call to active duty status which is defined as the employee’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or child for whom the employee stood in loco parentis, who is any age.
  • Under the FMLA for military caregiver leave, a parent of a covered service member means a covered service member’s biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the covered service member.  This term does not include parents “in law.”

How much paid time off am I entitled to for pregnancy?

Disability resulting from pregnancy is treated like other disabilities with respect to paid leave time. The normal period of disability from the date of delivery is a maximum of six (6) weeks for a normal delivery, eight (8) weeks for a Caesarean Section or the length of time stipulated to be medically necessary by the employee's physician. Prior to start of taking leave or disability, short-term disability must be elected during open enrollment, or as a new hire.

Note: If applicable, the amount of leave that will be paid depends upon the amount of sick and vacation accrued (used in that order) and the short-term disability payments.

My spouse and I are employees of the University and are expecting the birth of our child. Can both of us apply for a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Yes.  Under Drexel’s FML Policy, where both parents/domestic partners are employed by the University, they are each entitled to 12 weeks of FML for the birth and care of their newborn child, or for the care and placement of a child for adoption or foster care.  FMLA applies equally to male and female employees.

How do I add my newborn and/or newly adopted child to my health insurance?

You have 31 days from the birth, to make a change to your benefit elections due to this qualifying life event. You will be required to furnish written proof of a status change event such as a birth announcement or birth certificate. Employees do not have to wait for the birth certificate or birth announcement to arrive to begin the life event process. Employees can enroll their child as early as the birthdate. To initiate your change, please visit the online enrollment system through DrexelOne.

  1. Log in to DrexelOne.
  2. Select the Employees tab.
  3. Select the My Drexel Benefits link under the Benefits Administration heading.

FML Application Process

How much notice do I have to give my supervisor before I go out on FML?

Employees seeking FML are required to provide their supervisors and Guardian at least 30-day notice of the proposed leave.  Where advance notice is not possible, such as in the event of a medical emergency, notice should be given as soon as possible.  Failure to give advance notice, where foreseeable, may delay or postpone the commencement of the leave.

What proof must I submit to validate my request for Family Medical Leave?

Medical certification from a health care provider will be required if FML is based on a serious health condition of an employee or family member.  The University also requires medical certification/birth certificate if the FML is due to the birth of a child.  Additionally, an “Intent to Adopt” form is required if the FML is for the placement of a child for adoption.  Failure to provide such certification may result in the delay or denial of the employee’s leave.  Please notify your supervisor and contact Guardian.

How long do I have to obtain the completed medical certification form from a health care provider?

The medical certification must be provided within 15 calendar days of Guardian's request. Employees should be aware that in certain circumstances, you may be required to submit re-certification of a medical condition. In addition, employees may be required to report when they intend to return to work. Whenever an employee learns of a change in the anticipated length of a FML, the employee must notify Guardian and their immediate supervisor within three business days of knowing of the change.

Coordination of FML and Sick Leave/Short-term Disability/Worker's Compensation

What happens if I am injured on the job and my doctor recommends that I stay home from work for one month? Will I utilize my accrued sick time to cover this period of recuperation? Would this job-related injury count against my FML entitlement?

In the event of a work-related injury or illness that will result in a loss of time, Worker’s Compensation payments will begin only after the 7th calendar day of absence (the waiting period).  During the waiting period, the employee’s sick leave may be used.  Employees who are out of the workplace due to a work-related injury or illness may be required to concurrently use benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Policy if the reason for the absence is due to a qualifying illness or injury. For additional information regarding Worker’s Compensation payments, please contact the Office of Risk Management.

I would prefer not to use any of my sick leave during my FML. Can I choose to be unpaid for the full 12 weeks of leave even though I have sick leave?

No.  If an employee takes FML because of their own serious health condition, the employee must substitute any unused sick leave, if applicable, for any unpaid FML. 

Under what circumstances can I use short-term disability?

Short-term disability payments may be used (if applicable) for an approved continuous leave for an employee’s own serious health condition.  Payments cannot be paid for any other reason. 

Short-term disability payments may be paid provided the duration of the illness has been 30 or more days and all available sick time has been exhausted.

Coordination of FML and Other Benefits

If I am out on FML and have exhausted my paid time (i.e. sick and vacation days) does my health insurance coverage end?

No, during any FML, the University will maintain the employee’s medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance coverage under the same conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had been continuously employed during the entire leave period.  The University and the employee will each continue to pay their portion of the benefit costs.  The employee’s benefit deductions will build up in arrears within the payroll system.  As soon as the employee receives his/her first check the total cost will be subtracted.  An employee, who fails to return to work from FML, will be required to reimburse the University for the premiums paid to maintain health coverage.

FML Returning to Work

What is my responsibility upon returning to work from FML?

If FML is due to your own serious health condition, you must present a note from your physician stating that you are able to return to work.  The note must specify the date that you are released to return and must list any physical or other restrictions if applicable. If your physician releases you to return to work with restrictions and/or places you on restricted hours, you should contact your HR Department and manager/supervisor prior to you return date to determine the appropriate accommodation. You may not begin work until your restrictions have been discussed with and approved by your HR Department.

Is my current position within my department guaranteed to be there when I return from medical leave?

Normally, employees returning from medical leave will be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.  Failure to return to work once FML have been exhausted may result in termination of employment.  However, at times, departments, schools, and/or centers may restructure due to changing business and operational needs and the need to continually enhance programs and services.  These restructuring initiatives may result in position discontinuations, even positions held by employees out on FML or other types of leaves.  If a position is discontinued during a FML, they will be given at least 30 days written notice of the position discontinuation and will be informed of any applicable benefits they may be eligible to receive under the Position Discontinuation and Severance Agreement.

FML Questions a Supervisor or Business Administrator Might Ask

What is my responsibility when an employee notifies me that they are taking a leave of absence?

The employee should be notified to contact Guardian to begin the application process for FML. Human Resources should also be notified when an employee begins their Family Medical Leave.

How are employees placed on leave in the system?

Once an employee begins FML, a completed Personnel Action Form (PAF) should be sent to Human Resources placing an employee on leave.  Once the employee returns to work, another PAF should be sent to HR with their return to work date.  Department administrators will be able to access the PAF in Web*Salary while an employee is on leave.

Am I able to hire a temporary employee while the employee is on Family Medical Leave?

Yes.  A temporary employee can be hired during this timeframe.  However, the employee’s salary is not available for use if they are being paid sick and vacation time during their leave.

How does the employee record their time off during their leave of absence?

If an employee is on a continuous leave of absence i.e. January thru March, Human Resources will submit the employees sick and/or vacation time to Payroll for processing.

If an employee is on an intermittent leave, the employee is still responsible for entering their time through the DrexelOne portal each pay period.  The supervisor or department administrator will then approve the timesheet/leave report as normal.

What happens to the employee’s access to e-mail accounts, building access, etc. when an employee is on FML?

If an employee is on a full leave, their access is suspended until they return from leave.  If they are on an intermittent leave, their access will remain active for the duration for their leave.  Employees should also return their office keys prior to the start of their leave.

What should happen with an employee’s P-Card while they are on leave?

If an employee is on a full leave, the P-Card should be returned to the department for the duration of the leave.  The P-Card should be returned to the employee once they are back to work.  If they are on an intermittent leave, the employee should retain the card.

Is the employee eligible for holiday pay while they are on leave?

Yes, as long as the employee has sick, vacation and/or regular time in the system in the pay period that the holiday occurs.  Once they exhaust their sick and vacation time they are no longer eligible for holiday pay.

Do they get paid for a snow day?

Only if they were scheduled to return to work on that day and the doctor note states they were scheduled to return.

Can personal days be used while an employee is on FML?

Only if the employee authorizes their department to charge their personal time; the authorization must be in writing via e-mail or letter and a copy should be sent to Human Resources.

What is required from an employee who is on leave during the Merit and Compliance Process?

While an employee is on leave during this process, they are not required to complete their Performance Evaluation, Conflict of Interest or Preventing Workplace Harassment training until they return to work.  Employees should not be penalized for not completing these items by the specified due date.

What happens if my employee does not return after twelve weeks?

The department has no further obligation to hold their position and the employee may be eligible for long-term disability benefits through Guardian.  The employee should contact Guardian for further details.