2018 Tuition Benefits Potential Tax Liability

Important Update on Tax Reform (as of 12/22/17)

We are pleased to share that the final form of new tax legislation signed into law on December 22, 2017 preserved education benefits for our employees and graduate students. We are still assessing the other components of the legislation and expect clarification on certain aspects as new regulations are written.  
Please note the IRS has yet to release any guidance on changing federal tax withholdings. A communication will be sent to employees in advance of enacting any withholding changes.


(originally posted 12/15/17)

As you may be aware, the proposed federal tax reform legislation includes a number of provisions that could affect higher education. One provision under consideration could make tuition benefits (undergraduate and primary school) provided to faculty, staff and their families taxable.

While the final legislation draft has not been released, we believe it may be possible for you to avoid the potential tax impact on spring 2018 undergraduate and primary tuition benefits if the benefit is processed this calendar year. If you submit your completed application by the dates listed below, we will make every effort to process your application by December 31, 2017.


Things to Consider

If you are eligible and plan to participate in any of the following University Tuition Benefit programs for spring 2018, please consider submitting your application by the dates below. Please note the standard policy and process for submitting your application remains unchanged.
  • By December 20, 2017 – Primary Tuition Scholarship (PTS) or College Tuition Scholarship (CTS). If EBPA, the University’s outside administrator, receives a completed application by December 20, 2017, every effort will be made to pay the tuition on your behalf before January 1, 2018. To complete the application, you must provide an itemized tuition bill for the spring semester from the primary school, college or university in which your dependent is enrolled. For more details on how to submit your application, please review the following information:
  • By December 21, 2017 – Undergraduate Tuition Exemption. If you have already received a spring 2018 tuition bill, please submit your tuition exemption forms for yourself and/or your dependents by December 21, 2017. The University will make every effort to process the tuition on your behalf before January 1, 2018. If you or your dependents have not yet registered, please contact the appropriate undergraduate school to register. For details on how to submit your application, please review the following information:


If you have additional questions about your tuition benefits, please contact the Columbia Benefits Service Center at hrbenefits@columbia.edu or 212-851-7000. We have extended the normal Benefits Service Center hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning today, Friday, December 15 through Friday, December 22 in order to assist with any questions.