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Employee Portable Tuition Benefits

The Employee Portable Tuition Plan pays benefits toward the cost of tuition for undergraduate or graduate job-related courses eligible employees take at an accredited, FAFSA-approved college or university other than Northwestern University.

Employee Portable Tuition
Plan ID EP
Employment Status Full-time
Years of Service Hired before January 1, 2020
Salary No requirement
Benefit 100% of tuition
Annual Limit $5,250


Applications for courses taken in the current calendar year 2023 must be submitted within 90-days of completion of the course.  If the application is submitted after the December 15th deadline, the benefit may be paid in the next calendar year.  Please note that the IRS only allows $5,250 in pre-tax tuition benefits in a calendar year.  Therefore, if a previous year's benefit is paid in the current year, your current year benefit could be taxed. 

For assistance completing your application, please see the Employee Portable Tuition step-by-step guide.

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). Faculty and Staff hired on or after January 1, 2020 are not eligible for the Employee Portable Tuition benefit.  

Allowable expenses 

This benefit is for job-related, undergraduate and graduate courses taken at eligible institutions outside of Northwestern. The benefit is limited to tuition only. 

Be sure to review policy & procedure to ensure eligibility prior to the start of the course. 

Eligible institutions 

Qualified institutions include accredited, FAFSA-approved United States colleges and universities offering course(s) that are job-related and have undergraduate or graduate  credit hours associated with each.  

Annual benefit amount 

The maximum annual benefit is $5,250. 

Benefit payments 

Approved Employee Portable 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.)

Getting started

  1. Determine the course of study or program in which you would like to participate.
  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.