Can I Use the Dependent Tuition Benefit for an Institution Outside the U.S.?
The Question: A faculty member recently raised a question about whether the University’s dependent tuition benefit could be utilized at an institution outside the U.S.
The Challenge: The benefit plan document for the University’s dependent tuition program specifies that dependents must attend “accredited” institutions. The federal Department of Education provides an authoritative listing of all the accredited institutions in the U.S., setting thresholds for quality academic programs, and Vanderbilt uses that listing to verify that a school meets the plan’s accreditation requirement. But the U.S. accreditation process doesn’t extend internationally. Thus, to comply with the plan’s accreditation requirement, a uniform solution was needed.
The Solution: We are pleased to report that Human Resources quickly worked with the Office of the Provost to brainstorm creative options. Under the Provost’s authority and final approval, the University Registrar’s office has a list of foreign institutions for which Vanderbilt has certified for transferring of foreign-earned academic credit and for certifying degree credentials. These institutions have comparable government oversight that ensures qualitative vetting of said degree-granting programs. As a result, HR will use those listings where available. Institutions outside this list will be considered on a case-by-case basis, subject to Provost final approval. HR is currently working with its tuition-processing vendor, EdAssist, to determine if the vendor will be able to incorporate the listing of currently approved international schools into its automated processes. In the meantime, employees with questions about specific institutions may contact the HR Benefits Office for assistance.
Barb Carroll, Associate Vice Chancellor & Chief HR Officer