Tuition-Free Courses at Washington and Lee


Washington and Lee University supports the academic achievement and professional development of its staff members. As evidence of that commitment, employees who have a high school diploma or the equivalent in regular full-time or regular part-time, benefit-eligible positions are eligible to take up to two Washington and Lee undergraduate or law courses per term without any tuition charge. Additional fees such as lab or applied music fees are the responsibility of the student, but other fees required for degree-seeking students (health services, student activities, technology, Traveller) will be waived. The following conditions apply:

  1. The supervisor must approve any rescheduling of working hours and the employee will be expected to work the same number of hours they are normally scheduled to work. Enrollment in Washington and Lee courses by one employee in a department should be managed so that it does not create extra work for co-workers.

    Those employees wishing to take a second tuition-free course at Washington and Lee in any one term may apply to do so through the Executive Director of Human Resources. The Executive Director will work with the employee's supervisor to ensure that the department's needs will continue to be met and that co-workers will not be adversely impacted by the employee's attendance in the class. In such cases, a second tuition-free course will be approved. Departments are encouraged, wherever possible, to provide employees with flexibility to pursue professional development opportunities.

  2. The privilege of continuing in this program is contingent upon satisfactory academic performance in accordance with University regulations. Prior to matriculating as a degree-seeking student, employees must successfully complete several foundation courses and courses taken under this benefit must be taken for a regular letter grade; Pass/Fail is not an option. If an employee fails two concurrent or consecutive courses, s/he is not eligible to enroll in another course until one year has passed. S/he does have the option to withdraw from a course during the term, but overuse of this alternative may warrant withdrawal of this benefit. Employees studying in the classroom are students and are subject to all student academic and conduct policies.

  3. To enroll in a class, the employee must obtain an "Application for Tuition Free-Course(s)" from Human Resources. S/he may enroll beginning two weeks after the initial registration period for full-time Washington and Lee students prior to the beginning of each term or at any time until the end of the initial drop/add period at the beginning of a term. The University Registrar's Office can assist with course selection and in determining where course spaces are available. Employees must obtain consent from the course instructor(s), department head(s), and the University Registrar as part of the application each term.

  4. Enrollment may not displace a full-time Washington and Lee student from a course. The employee may be required to drop a course up until three weeks prior to the first meeting of a class.

  5. If employment at Washington and Lee is terminated for misconduct, eligibility for this benefit ceases. The course may not be completed. If employment ends for reasons other than misconduct, the course may be completed, but the employee is responsible for a pro-rata share of the tuition.

Spouses/Domestic Partners

Spouses or domestic partners of employees in regular full-time or regular part-time, benefit-eligible positions are eligible to take two Washington and Lee courses per term without any tuition charge, subject to conditions 2 through 5 above. Those wishing to take more than two courses in any term may do so at a cost of one-quarter tuition for each additional credit. This benefit does not apply to spouses/partners who are full-time law or undergraduate students.

Degree-Seeking Students

Washington and Lee employees or their spouses or domestic partners who are interested in obtaining a first bachelor's degree must apply as regular students through the Washington and Lee Office of Admission. This application process should take place after a minimum of four Washington and Lee courses have been completed but not later than beginning a ninth Washington and Lee course. Anyone considering matriculation as a degree-seeking student should talk with the University Registrar as soon as possible regarding their course selections and path to graduation. Employees, spouses, and partners may enroll in individual law courses but are not eligible to pursue a law degree on a tuition-free basis.

Application materials may be obtained from the Washington and Lee Office of Admission. Faculty policies governing transfer of credit can be found on the University Registrar's website: Questions about the admission process should be directed to the Office of Admission.

Honor Orientation

Anyone taking W&L courses under this benefit must complete an honor orientation with the Executive Committee (EC) President or their designee before beginning their first course for credit. Once your application is approved, you will be contacted directly by a representative of the EC.

Application Procedure

All employees and spouses/partners must complete an Application For Tuition-Free Course(s) each term in order to be eligible for this benefit. You may wish to check the University Registrar's Office course offering list at or WebAdvisor Search for Classes (under Students or Faculty) or speak directly with the instructor regarding course availability.

  1. Submit the completed application, with your supervisor's signature, to the Executive Director for Human Resources. An application for a spouse does not require a supervisor's signature.
  2. For each course, obtain the instructor's consent and the academic department head's consent.
  3. Return the signed form to the University Registrar's Office in order to be officially enrolled in the course. The University Registrar's Office can provide the most current course availability information. You may register for courses beginning two weeks after the initial registration for regular students (typically in November, February and April for undergraduate courses and November and April for law courses). You may also register during the initial Drop/Add period at the beginning of a term. Refer to the Academic Calendar for Drop/Add dates each term. The calendar is available on the Washington and Lee website.
  4. Continuing education students who maintain their eligibility but choose not to take a course in a given term will be categorized as voluntarily withdrawn. They must only submit a new application to reactivate their continuing education status.

PLEASE NOTE: IRS regulations govern the taxability of tuition benefits. Currently, the value of graduate tuition provided on behalf of the employee in excess of $5,250 is taxable. The value of graduate tuition provided for spouses and partners is fully taxable. Therefore, the taxes associated with the value of law course(s) will be withheld from your paycheck as soon as possible after the initial drop/add period through the end of that semester. Please contact Human Resources for more information.