SP 3-60a – Employee Benefits

Colorado Community College System / System Procedure

SP 3-60a

APPROVED: June 9, 2021
EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2021
REVISED: July 1, 2022

REFERENCE(S): Board Policy (BP) 3-60, Employee Benefits and Leave; Affordable Care Act


/ Joseph A. Garcia /
Joseph A. Garcia, Chancellor


This Procedure establishes the benefits package for eligible employees of the Colorado Community College System, including its Colleges (CCCS or System), in accordance with Board Policy (BP) 3-60, Employee Benefits and Leave.


Unless otherwise specified, the benefits established in this Procedure are available to faculty, administrators, and professional and technical staff, designated at .75 FTE or greater (“Benefit-eligible Employees”). Benefits for Classified employees are regulated by the Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) and administered through the System according to established rules and procedures.


Health and Other Benefits:
The SBCCOE benefits package for eligible CCCS employees may include options for group health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, disability plans, group life insurance, travel and/or accident insurance, and tax-sheltered annuities.

Employees outside the scope of this policy may qualify to enroll in the health benefits portion of the SBCCOE benefits package. Eligibility will be determined annually according to procedures established to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its implementation within the System (see operational guide for additional details).

All employees of CCCS are entitled to regular retirement, early retirement, or disability retirement, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA).

Benefit eligible employees who meet the qualifications and who retire under the PERA Defined Benefit plan shall receive payout of unused accrued sick leave in accordance with the provisions contained in the sick leave sections of SP 3-60b, Employee Leave.

PERA retirement is only applicable to PERA Defined Benefit plans. Employees enrolled in the PERA Defined Contribution plan do not retire under PERA. However, employees enrolled in the PERA Defined Contribution plan who can provide official documentation to Human Resources showing that their combined years of service and age would have allowed them to retire under the PERA Defined Benefit plan shall receive payout of unused accrued sick leave in accordance with the provisions contained in the sick leave sections of SP 3-60b, Employee Leave. It is the employee’s responsibility to work with PERA to gather and to provide this documentation to Human Resources.

Employees who were hired or reinstated under the scope of the Policy before July 1, 1988, with no break in service, and who take early (reduced) retirement under PERA regulations at time of separation, shall be entitled to have the College or System office continue to pay the employee’s share of the group health and life insurance premium up to the amount paid for active employees until the employee reaches age 65. Payment shall be made to the PERA health insurance plan.

PERA retirees are eligible for temporary employment within the System in accordance with PERA rules at a rate of pay determined by the Appointing Authority. PERA retirees employed on a temporary basis are eligible for sick leave and the tax-sheltered annuities.

Tuition Reimbursement:
Benefit-eligible employees and permanent classified employees are eligible for tuition reimbursement when courses are taken at a CCCS College. Eligible employees may also request tuition reimbursement for their spouses and eligible dependent children, subject to the limitations outlined below.

  • Eligible dependents are those who are associated with an employee’s benefit plan, either health or dental. Any dependent not on the employee’s benefit plan will have to supply proof of dependency, via a third party official public record (e.g., birth certificate, marriage license), and submit this proof to Human Resources to confirm status as an eligible dependent.
  • Eligible dependent children applying for reimbursement must have completed their high school diploma or GED prior to the first term for which they are applying. Students 18 years of age or younger and still attending high school classes, or who have not obtained their GED, may attend classes within the applicable concurrent enrollment guidelines and are not covered within these benefits.
  • Eligible dependent children may be no older than 26 years old in the month of September for the calendar year in which the dependent is taking courses for reimbursement.

Unless otherwise specifically identified, spouses and eligible dependent children will be referred to as dependents through the remainder of this procedure.

The employee must be continuously employed in an eligible position, as defined by the scope of this procedure, from the point of application for the tuition reimbursement program to the time the request for reimbursement is made.

Course Registration Process:
The employee or dependent must follow the published College application and registration process and qualify for admittance to the course under institutional-defined criteria.

Before registering for a course, eligible employees and their dependents are encouraged to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) financial aid form for the year in which they are attending courses.

Tuition reimbursement is approved and paid by the eligible employee’s home College or the System Office. All employees and dependents must apply for the College Opportunity Fund (COF), in order to be eligible for tuition reimbursement.

Tuition and fees must be paid by the student when registering for a course and the student account must be current at the time of reimbursement. If the College has a payment plan, the student will also be eligible to use such plan.

Employee Tuition Reimbursement:
The College or the System Office will reimburse for credit and developmental education tuition and course related fees (e.g. lab fees), except online differentials, not to exceed 15 credit hours per semester and 30 credit hours per academic year, beginning each fall-spring-summer. Non course related fees such as parking, bus passes, health club memberships, etc. are the sole responsibility of the employee and are not eligible for reimbursement. When a course is only offered online, the employee may request approval from the Chancellor or College President or their designee to be reimbursed for the online differential. This approval must occur as part of the tuition reimbursement application approval process.

To be eligible for reimbursement, courses must be job related, career enhancing, or applicable to a degree. When attendance for courses during the employee’s normal working hours is required, the employee must obtain prior approval from their supervisor and document any agreed upon alternative work arrangements (e.g. altered work schedule, use of accrued leave).

Job related and career enhancing courses include the following:

  • Those that provide training for employees to assist in meeting the qualifications for a CCCS position;
  • Those that provide training in the use of new or modified methods and equipment;
  • Those that provide training in skills and knowledge to keep the employee’s knowledge current with advancements in their field; and/or
  • Those that provide training in skills and knowledge that may be beneficial to the College or System Office.

When courses are to provide training in skills and knowledge necessary for the employee’s current position, the College or System Office should consider alternative professional development funds and processes for the employee over the use of tuition reimbursement.

Dependent Tuition Reimbursement:
The College or the System Office will reimburse the employee for each dependent’s tuition at the resident, base tuition rate, per credit hour, not to exceed 15 credit hours per semester and 30 credit hours per academic year, beginning each fall-spring-summer. To be eligible for reimbursement, courses must be applicable to a degree.

Qualified tuition reimbursed for courses taken through this program by eligible dependents is not taxable under the Internal Revenue Code, until it exceeds $5,250 in a calendar year. These reimbursements will be processed through the applicable College or System Office accounts payable process to the employee, not to the student.

Tuition Reimbursement Processing:
Employees must submit a Tuition Reimbursement Application to their home College or System Office Human Resources by the applicable drop/add date of the term of attendance. The applicable drop/add date is determined by the College where classes are being taken. Applications must be approved by the employee’s Human Resources Office and the authorized tuition assistance org code owner. When courses are being taken by the employee, the employee’s supervisor also must approve the application.

Upon completion of each semester, the employee must submit documentation of all tuition costs, any aid received, final grades, and their approved tuition reimbursement application to their Human Resources Office to process the reimbursement. Submission deadlines are as follows:

  • No later than June 30 for the completed spring semester, or within one week of the end of class for classes ending after June 30;
  • No later than September 30 for the completed summer semester; and
  • No later than January 31 for the completed fall semester.

Approved requests will only be reimbursed if the student successfully completes the course with a grade of C or better. When applicable, courses assigned a Satisfactory rating shall also be eligible for reimbursement.

Under no circumstances will CCCS reimburse an employee an amount that exceeds the student’s personal financial obligation. Eligible reimbursement will be calculated based on any remaining tuition and course fees after COF, financial aid (excluding loans and work study awards), scholarships, and grants (excluding those restricted in writing for purposes other than tuition), have been deducted from the tuition bill for the semester. Financial aid, scholarships and grants will be proportionally reduced from tuition based on the number of credit hours taken in the term. The applicable proportion will be reduced from the requested reimbursement. COF will be deducted from all tuition bills, unless the student can demonstrate they have exhausted this fund. Grants include, but are not limited to, local, private, or institutional grants, or other third-party reimbursements.

Any tuition reimbursement in excess of $5,250 in a calendar year shall be taxable to the employee.

Educational Assistance Programs:
The Colleges or System Office may establish additional educational assistance programs separate from the CCCS tuition reimbursement benefit. Any such program must be documented and shared with employees. Educational assistance program documentation must include:

  • Eligibility requirements for the program;
  • Application requirements and process;
  • Decision making factors for applicant approval;
  • Explanation of how disbursements will be provided and for what; and
  • Any employee obligations or considerations for participant repayment.

The College or System Office is responsible for applying and managing all applicable tax requirements. This includes processing employee tax liabilities for those who have exceeded their tax-exempt limits.

Educational assistance programs cannot favor highly compensated employees and cannot be provided as a benefit in lieu of compensation.


CCCS reserves the right to change any provisions or requirements of this procedure at any time and the change shall become effective immediately.