HR: Benefits: Trust Employees
Tuition Assistance Program

Eligibility Requirements

Subject to the availability of funds, tuition assistance is available for employees holding indefinite appointments. Part-time employees are eligible for tuition assistance based on the number of hours worked per pay period.

What's Covered

SAO encourages employees to improve their skills and to attain career goals through continuing education at accredited educational institutions. Eligible employees may take approved courses that may improve individual and organizational performance and assist in achieving the agency's mission and performance goals. The purpose of the Tuition Assistance Program is to develop and enhance employees' value to the organization. Tuition assistance for the sole purpose of obtaining an academic degree or certificate is not authorized for funding by Smithsonian Institution.

Subject to availability of funds and prior approval, 100% of the tuition, registration, lab fees, and required course materials will be reimbursed for a maximum of four semester courses or six trimester courses per calendar year (not to exceed two courses per semester or trimester). It is the employee's responsibility to submit a fully completed and approved Request & Authorization for External Training/Tuition Reimbursement, to Human Resources 2-3 weeks prior to the start date of the course. Late-registration fees will not be reimbursed.

Because degree programs are not eligible for funding, all courses are subject to content and cost controls. Reasonable effort must be made to find the least costly provider. If the same or equivalent course content is offered at Harvard Extension School, or any other local accredited institution, at a lower cost, only an amount equal to the lower cost will be reimbursed.

Employees pay tuition and fees in advance and reimbursement will be made upon receiving a passing grade. Proof of course completion will be required. If you do not complete the course or receive a failing grade, you will not be reimbursed by SAO for the amount you paid for the approved course.

Questions should be emailed to


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