Announcements Benefits WashU Community Work-Life Workplace

Did You Know: Perks for WashU Employees

Washington University has been recognized for the great benefits it offers its employees, including excellent healthcare, the tuition benefit for employees and their dependents, and the 403b program. Yet many faculty, staff and trainees are unaware of just how many benefits are available to employees and their families. These sometimes little-known benefits come in handy when you’re on and off campus. Check out some additional employee perks below. 

Adoption benefit 

Eligible employees may qualify for the adoption benefits in which adoption expenses may be covered for qualified expenses, up to $5,000. Learn more about eligibility and approved expenses online. 

Bear Bucks 

As an employee, you can use your WashU ID badge to pay for purchases on and off-campus at participating establishments, such as restaurants, coffee shops and bookstores. All on-campus purchases are tax-free and you have the choice to pre-load your card or pay-as-you-go through payroll deduction. Enrollment is easy and can be done online. You can also find the extensive list of Bear Bucks merchants online.

“Bear Bucks offers our employees a convenient and cashless way to support local businesses both on and off-campus. We’ve recently updated our website and account management process so it’s streamlined and easier for employees to use. We’re excited to expand the program as WashU employees return to campus.” – Jenny Kraus-Smith, Manager of Campus Card Services & Special Projects 

Access to The Common Reader

The Common Reader, an online journal of the essay based at WashU, welcomes new faculty and staff to the university community with a year’s free subscription. For your free subscription, please email with your name and the date you joined the university.

Community organization discounts 

Many organizations in our community and nationally give WashU employees a discount on services, including sporting events, travel, dining institutions, arts and leisure, third-party vendors, and more. You may need to show your WashU ID to redeem discounts. 

Family-friendly benefits 

Whether you’re in need of child care, older adult care or interested in using the lactation rooms on campus, our family-friendly benefits provide coverage for a variety of family needs. We offer emergency use benefits for older adult and child care as well as long-term solutions to help your family get the care and support necessary. We also support working parents with adoption benefits, on-site lactation rooms and parental leave policies. 

“I used the family care program often when my daughter, Casey, was young. Being a foreign-born professional, I didn’t have immediate family here in the U.S. so the family care program was the only option and support I had when Casey’s regular daycare/pre-K was unavailable. The program is also available for seniors even though most only think of it for child care.”  – Sunghei Han, lecturer at the Brown School 

Gym membership discounts 

The Sumers Recreation Center is available for employee use and provides discounted fees. Employees who choose to join as an annual member can pay through payroll deduction as well. Many gyms near the campuses also offer WashU employees discounts on membership packages. 

Live Near Your Work program 

This program provides financial assistance for eligible employees interested in purchasing a home near the WashU campus. With an eligibility area that extends from north St. Louis County to the Central West End and to the southern neighborhoods of the City of St. Louis, there are many options available to get to know the surrounding community and help support the St. Louis region with forgivable homeowner loans.  

“Getting approved for the Live Near Your Work Program was so easy. The preferred lenders associated with the program are outstanding and I’ve now referred him to four or five of my friends, including some who are not associated with the university. The neighborhood I now live in is so vibrant and welcoming. While there are other Washington University community members in my neighborhood, I am also surrounded by individuals who have lived in my neighborhood for more than 50 years.  

The diversity that makes up my community is what makes me feel fortunate to live where I live and the quick commute to campus doesn’t hurt either! I am grateful the university has put resources into bringing Washington University faculty and staff into the neighborhoods surrounding our campuses.”  – Amanda Rhodes, director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WashU 

Metro Transit U-pass 

As an employee, you can register for a free Metro Transit U-pass that provides free transit on the St. Louis Metro system along with your WashU ID. Registration is easy and can be completed online. 

“Prior to the pandemic, I rode the Metro train daily. The U-pass available to employees has been perfect for me. It allowed me to have a set schedule, save gas money and mileage on my car, and I was able to relax on the train to and from work. I also had the chance to unwind, read a book or meet new people.” – Samantha Lacy, manager, Information Management Services, McKelvey School of Engineering 

MyWay to Health consultants 

Schedule a free wellness appointment with the MyWay to Health program. Benefit-eligible employees receive four consultations per year to create individualized health plans centered around the evidence-based 8ight Ways to Wellness principles.  

Staff recognition 

We value and care deeply for our employees as they help us achieve our important missions, so we continue to develop programming to highlight and recognize the hard work that our employees do each day. Check out some of our initiatives online, including the Kudos board. 

Student Loan program (Savi)  

In partnership with TIAA and Savi, WashU helps employees manage student loan debt through managing and lowering payments as well as enrolling in eligible employees into a student loan forgiveness program. 

Surplus Reuse and Donation program 

The Office of Sustainability recycles items that are donated or discarded, such as office or dorm furniture, office supplies and lab equipment to interested departments or employees through the software platform, Rheaply. Employees can also list items on the platform for peer-to-peer sharing. 


WUCare is a dedicated primary care clinic for WashU employees and their family members ages 18 and older who are enrolled in a university-sponsored health care plan through United Healthcare. Call to set up your appointment at 314-747-5900.  

Check out our employee perks webpage as well as our well-being hub for additional benefits.