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Employee Certificate Tuition Benefits

The Employee Certificate Tuition Benefit Plan pays benefits toward the cost of certificate courses taken by eligible employees at Northwestern University (SPS post baccalaureate programs are covered under the employee reduced tuition plans).

Please note that the Employee Certificate Tuition Plan is subject to income tax withholdings of up to 37.6% of the value of the tuition you incur over $5,250 per calendar yearPlease see the Tuition Taxation website for more information.

Employee Certificate Tuition
Plan ID EC
Employment Status Full-time
Years of Service One year of full-time, benefits-eligible service
Salary No requirement
Benefit 100% of tuition
Annual Limit* $12,000

*Limit includes Employee Reduced Benefits paid


Applications for courses taken in calendar year 2023 must be submitted by December 15, 2023, to ensure there is enough time to process applications and apply calculate any taxes you owe.  Please note that applications submitted in calendar year 2024 for classes taken in 2023 will not be accepted.  Benefits paid in the next calendar year are applied to the tax limits of the year in which the benefit is paid.

These user guides are available to assist you with processing your Employee Certificate application.

The application window for 2024 benefits will not open until early-December 2023

Employee eligibility 

Employees must have completed one year of full-time, benefits-eligible service prior to the beginning of the term AND must be on the payroll at the beginning and completion of the course(s). 

Allowable expenses 

This benefit is for job-related, short-term, non-credit certificate courses taken at Northwestern University and billed outside of CAESAR. (School of Professional Studies Post-baccalaureate Certificates are eligible for the Employee Reduced (ER) and Enhanced Employee Reduced (EER) Tuition benefit plans.) The benefit is limited to tuition. 

Be sure to review policy & procedure to ensure eligibility prior to the start of the certificate program.  A list of some eligible Northwestern programs can be found in the Professional Development section of our website.

Annual benefit amount 

The benefit covers 100% of tuition up to $12,000 per calendar year. Total maximum of all Employee Tuition benefits is $12,000/calendar year, whereby any amount over $5,250 is considered taxable income.  Annual limit includes Employee Reduced benefits as part of total.

Benefit payments 

Approved Employee Northwestern Certificate Tuition benefit amounts will be paid to the employee; processed through payroll and paid via direct deposit.  


By submitting an application, you are agreeing to the following statement: I certify that the information provided is correct. I agree to comply with the provisions of the Northwestern Tuition Benefit plan as described in the plan document. I acknowledge that all applicable taxes will be taken from my paycheck at the time the benefit is reimbursed, in accordance with IRS regulations. (For questions about taxation, contact Payroll.)  


For each Employee Northwestern Certificate Tuition benefit application, you will need to submit the following documentation: 

Getting started

  1. Determine the course of study or program in which you would like to participate. A list of some eligible Northwestern programs can be found in the Professional Development section of our website.
  2. Apply for and be accepted into the program.
  3. Register for your courses.
  4. Pay 100% of the total tuition.
  5. Apply for the tuition benefit. See step-by-step guide.