Human Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Health: Current Employee

Q-When is my dependent child no longer eligible for health insurance?
A-End of the month in which a dependent child turns 26, regardless of their student or non-student status.

Q-When is open enrollment for the health insurance plans?
A-From November 1 through November 30 with an effective date of January 1.

Health: New Employee

Q-How long does it take to receive my health identification cards?
A-Each health carrier is different. On average, it takes 7 - 10 business days  If the employee or covered family member requires health services before receiving identification cards, the provider (hospital, doctor, dentist, pharmacist) must call the health carrier.

Q-What will health insurance premiums cost me?
A-It depends on many factors - whether you are full-time, part-time (20 or more hours), what health plan you choose, and what coverage (employee only, employee plus one dependent, employee plus two or more dependents) you choose. Please refer to the premium heading on the Health Insurance page.

Q-When is my health insurance effective?
A-If your hire date is on the first of the month, your effective date will be your hire date. If your hire date is on the 2nd through the 31st of the month, your health insurance effective date is the first of the following month.

Life: Current Employee

Q-How can I change my current supplemental term or variable universal life insurance coverage?
A-For your MetLife supplement term life insurance, please contact your Benefits office, or obtain the forms from the hr.wustl.edu website. For your variable universal life insurance, please contact Metropolitan Life at 862-2211.

Q-How much life insurance coverage should I have?
A-Each employee has different life insurance needs. With the basis of term life insurance, the following outlines an example of possible coverage for five life status events:

Life Event Coverage
1) single/divorced 0 times to 1 times
2) married - no children 1 times to 2 times
3) married/divorced with children 2 times to 5 times
4) married - empty nest 1 times to 2 times
5) retirement 0 times to 1 times

These examples are based on the number of persons dependent upon your annual income and the rising cost of term life insurance as you grow older.

Q-How would I calculate my monthly premium for supplemental term or variable universal life insurance coverage?
A-Multiply your annual base salary times the amount of life insurance you want (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x). Round this product up to the nearest thousand and then divide by a thousand. Multiply this product times the carrier rate for your age. The following shows two examples of calculation of the 12 monthly premiums for MetLife supplemental term life insurance: one for an employee that is paid year round, the other for an employee on an academic year pay arrangement for nine months. Both examples assume an annual base salary of $65,600 and age 54. (Please note: Since your premium is based on your annual base salary, not your monthly paycheck amount, there are twelve monthly premiums due regardless of your pay arrangement. If you are paid biweekly, your monthly premium will be divided equally between your first and second check each month.)

Example #1. Employee is paid year round in 12 monthly installments of $5,466.67.
$65,600 (annual salary) x 4 = $262,400 (rounded to $263,000)
$263,000/1,000 = $263
$263 x .181 = $47.60/month

Example #2. Employee is on academic year pay receiving nine monthly installments of $7,288.89.
$65,600 (annual salary) x 4 = $262,400 (rounded to $263,000)
$263,000/1,000 = $263
$263 x .181 = $47.60/month

If the employee in example #2 does not receive summer salary, their June, July and August premiums will be deducted from their September paycheck.

Long Term Disability: Current Employee

Q-Can I purchase additional long term disability coverage through the University?
A-Generally, no. Due to benefit payment limitations in the long term disability plan, employees with an annual base salary of $160,000 or greater may apply for supplemental coverage.

Retirement: Current Employee

See the "Retirement Savings" link for more information

Q-Am I fully (100%) vested in my contributions and the University's contributions to my Retirement Plan?
A-Yes. As soon as contributions are made to your retirement accounts, you are 100% owner. However, Retirement Plan provisions will determine your access.

Q-As an active employee of the University, do I have access to my Retirement plan accounts?
A-Yes, you can apply for a loan or a hardship withdrawal for a portion of your account balance. At age 59 1/2 you have access to take a distribution from your accumulated balance.

Q-Can I make an after-tax contribution to the Retirement Plan?
A-The Roth option was added to our Retirement Savings Plan beginning July 1, 2006. Faculty and Staff now have the opportunity to designate some or all of their future employee contributions to the Plan to an after-tax Roth account. If employees decide to take advantage of this option, the Roth contributions to the Plan will be made on an after-tax basis and associated earnings will general grow tax-free if the employee satisfies two requirements for taking a qualified distribution from the Plan: 1) the Roth contributions must remain in the Plan for a minimum of five years from the date of the first Roth contribution; and 2) the employee must be age 59 1/2 or older.

Q-What are the eligibility requirements for retirement?
A-An employee must meet any combination of age and years of current consecutive benefits-eligible service that equals 65 or more with two minimum requirements:

  1. age 55 and
  2. 5 years of benefits-eligible service.

Some examples of those employees who will be eligible under the "Rule of 65" are as follows:

  • Age 55 and 10 or more years of service
  • Age 56 and 9 years of service
  • Age 57 and 8 years of service
  • Age 58 and 7 years of service
  • Age 59 and 6 years of service
  • Age 60 and older and 5 years of service

Q-What are my University benefits at retirement?
A-Retirees are eligible for the following benefits:

  • Health Insurance (Retiree pays full cost)
  • $5,000 paid-up term life insurance policy, if covered under MetLife Supplemental Term Life prior to retiring
  • Tuition assistance for eligible dependent children
  • Access to University facilities
  • See the "Retiree Benefits" link for additional information

Please note that each of the above benefits has separate eligibility requirements and limitations.

Retirement: Terminating Employee

See "Leaving the University" link

Q-Can I contribute to my retirement accounts at TIAA-CREF and/or Vanguard after I leave the University?
A-No, but you have the flexibility to change your balance from one fund to another (with certain restrictions) within TIAA-CREF or Vanguard and to transfer part or all of your fund balance from TIAA-CREF to Vanguard or vice versa.

Tuition: Current Employee

Q-What happens if I receive an "Incomplete" grade for the class?
A-You will have 60 days from the end of the semester to receive a passing grade for the course. If a passing grade is not earned, the tuition benefit will be removed from your account; you will be responsible for the full cost of the course.

Q-What happens if I fail or drop a class?
A-If you fail or drop a class, you will be financially responsible in accordance with the policy of the WU school you are enrolled at, just as any other student would. The tuition benefit will be removed from your student account. The tuition charge and/or any penalties associated with failing or dropping a course will become the responsibility of the student.

Q-What is considered a passing grade?
A-The grade of "D" or better.

Q-Can I use the benefit in the future if I fail or drop a class?
A-Yes, once your student account is in good standing, with all balances paid, you may be eligible to utilize the tuition assistance benefit.

Q-Can I take classes anytime?
A-Only during the evening if you regularly work during the day and only during the day if you regularly work evening or night shift. If you are an evening or night shift employee, a letter outlining your work schedule should be attached to the Request for Tuition Assistance form each semester when it is submitted to Employee Benefits for approval.

Q-Are any other costs, like lab fees, covered by the University benefit?
A-No, only tuition is a covered expense. The employee is responsible for books, fees and other costs.

Q-Are there any class restrictions?
A-Yes, there are restrictions. Primarily, employees who work during the day are eligible to receive the tuition benefit for classes that begin after 4:00 p.m. No benefit is available for classes such as Applied Music, which is structured as one-on-one music lessons between the instructor and student. If you have additional questions about a class, please contact Employee Benefits for clarification prior to enrolling in the class.

Q-Can I audit a class and still receive the tuition assistance benefit?
A-No, only courses that are taken for credit and appear on your permanent record are covered under the tuition assistance plan.

Q-If I am a graduate student enrolled at Washington University, but opt to take an undergraduate course simply for enrichment purposes, am I allowed to claim both benefits?
A-Yes, but the total credit limit allowed per semester remains at seven.

Dependent Tuition

Q-How do I start using the tuition benefit?
A-Find the appropriate form on this website (go to "forms"), submit the form along with any necessary documentation to Campus Box 1190.

Q-I will have completed the required years of service for this benefit in September. My child wants to start classes in August. Can I claim tuition assistance for this fall semester?
A-The employee must complete the service requirement by September 30 for the fall semester; by February 28 for the spring semester, and by June 30 for the summer semester.

Q-Why can't my child or spouse receive any graduate level tuition assistance?
A-The Internal Revenue Service rules which provide for spousal and dependent child education benefits currently only are applicable at the undergraduate level.

Q-Is there a limit on the number of hours or semesters my child can be enrolled under the dependent child tuition assistance plan?
A-The maximum number of semesters allowed is eight, if your child enters the University as a first semester freshman. If your child enters the University with previous hours completed from another institution, the eight semesters will be reduced the amount already earned. Dependent eligibility factors may impact the number of semesters your dependent may receive.

Q-My child is attending another institution. Why do I still get a bill from that institution when WU is supposed to pay the tuition?
A-The payment arrangements WU makes with the other institution specify that WU is not billed (therefore the tuition is not paid) until the 4th week of each semester. Also remember that you, as the parent, are also responsible for other fees and costs which may appear on the statement received as well as any tuition charges in excess of the amount paid by the Tuition Assistance Plan. If a deposit is required to hold your child's registration, make the required payments. Do NOT wait for the Washington University benefit to be paid.

Q-After I retire from the University, are my dependent children eligible for the benefits of the Tuition Assistance Plan?
A-If you meet the employee eligibility requirements for both tuition and retirement benefits at your date of retirement from the University, your dependent children are eligible to receive the benefits of the Tuition Assistance Plan. Benefits are paid at the level you would have received during active employment, depending on whether you were a full-time or a part-time employee.

Q-Are my step-children eligible to receive the benefits of the Tuition Assistance Plan?
A-Step-children are eligible for the benefits of the Tuition Assistance Plan as long as the child meets the IRS definition of being a dependent of the employee.

Q-Do I have to re-apply for employee, spouse and/or dependent child tuition assistance benefits for every semester?
A-Yes, for eligible employees and/or their spouse. For eligible dependent children, you must reapply every academic year.

Q-If I die while actively at work or after retirement from the University, are my dependent children eligible for the benefits of the Tuition Assistance Plan?
A-Yes. As long as you have satisfied the employee eligibility requirements at your date of death or retirement.

Q-If my eligible child attends another college, does the Tuition Assistance Plan pay for any of the tuition costs?
A-If you have seven or more years of current consecutive full-time (100% FTE) service or the equivalent, the Tuition Assistance Plan will provide a tuition remission of the lesser of 40% (for employees hired after 7/1/06) of Washington University's current tuition cost and the attending college's tuition cost. (See plan document for details.)

Q-Is my spouse eligible for tuition assistance benefits for undergraduate classes taken at another college or university?
A-No. Tuition assistance benefits for eligible employees and their spouse is limited to courses taken at Washington University.

Q-What if my spouse or domestic partner's employer (not Washington University) pays all or part of the tuition? Can I claim both benefits?
A-Yes, but not to exceed 100%. Washington University will apply the 50% towards your spouse or domestic partner's tuition only after coordinating the other benefit. If the other benefit exceeds 50%, Washington University's benefit will be reduced. (Benefits paid for a domestic partner are taxable.)

Q-If I still have more questions, who can I contact?
A-Questions about dependent child tuition benefits payments: ECS Coordinator, Student Financial Services at 935-5973.

Questions about eligibility for Benefits: Benefits Coordinator, Benefits Department at 935-5759.
Questions about how tuition assistance is taxed: Tax Manager, Tax Department at 935-8335.
Questions about taxes withheld from your paycheck: Payroll Services Representative, Payroll Department at 935-5792.

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