St. Mary's County Public Schools/Walden University Partnership

For tuition reimbursement requests for Summer 2014 coursework and beyond, please submit your application   via our new online tuition reimbursement portal..

Certificated Employees

A. Tuition reimbursement (fees and materials are not included) will be provided for appropriate courses leading toward (1) initial certification, (2) renewal of Standard Professional Certificate, (3) Advanced Professional Certificate, (4) Master's Degree, (5) continuation of other professional license or certificate required for employment, or (6) any other approved course work.

B. SMCPS is not responsible for courses selected by the employee that do not meet the criteria for certification or reimbursement. Employees may be reimbursed for tuition under the following conditions.

1. The course/credits taken are appropriate for the position and certification of the individual employee.

2. The employee has not been previously reimbursed for the same course.

3. The course/credits are from a regionally accredited college or university (if pursuing college credits).

4. The following documentation is required to be submitted the Department of Human Resources within 45 days of the completion of the course (as indicated on the transcript or grade slip): (1) A reimbursement request form (pre-approval is not required for tuition reimbursement), (2) official transcript of grade received with a minimum of grade “C”, and (3) original receipt or electronic confirmation of payment (if no hard copy receipt is provided) from the college or university. If an extension is needed, the employee must request it in writing within 45 days of the completion of the course.

5. The employee’s tuition reimbursement is allocated each July 1 for the coming year and runs through the following June 30. Tuition reimbursement up to the annual allowable amount will be deducted from the employee's annual allocation based on the date that the credits were earned as indicated on the official transcript or grade slip that must be submitted within 45 days of the credits being earned.

6. SMCPS will provide reimbursement within 45 days of receipt of the required documentation.

C. Employees enrolled in courses through Direct Pay agreements for non-SMCPS courses must submit for pre-approval to the Department of Human Resources prior to registration per the memorandum of understanding with each participating Direct Pay school. Preapproval is not required for SMCPS Direct Pay courses, although the employee will be responsible for completing any paperwork required by the university and for any amount that exceeds their annual tuition allocation.

D. If the employee wants to confirm the appropriateness of a course prior to registration, advance written approval may be sought via an SMCPS Tuition Reimbursement Request form submitted to the Department of Human Resources. The Superintendent will sign the SMCPS Tuition Reimbursement Request Form, indicating approval or denial, and return the signed form to the employee within ten workdays of its receipt in the Department of Human Resources.

E. The reimbursement will not exceed the actual amount the employee paid for Tuition.

F. Appropriate credit will be determined by the current requirements for certificates for administrators, supervisors, and teachers, and by the current professional licensure and/or certification requirements for bargaining unit members. In order to receive tuition reimbursement for credits leading toward an Advanced Professional Certificate or a Master's Degree, the employee shall hold a valid Standard Professional Certificate or professional license/certificate for their present assignment.

G. Reimbursement for tuition shall not exceed the following amounts. In determining whether the annual maximum reimbursement amount has been reached, the year to which the reimbursement applies will be based on the date of issuance of the grade slip for a completed course. 

Certificated - Total Annual Maximum (Not Cumulative)

PurposeFY2021FY2022FY2023FY 2024
General $3,250 $3,400 $3,500  $3,500
Pursuing Initial Professional Teaching Credential $4,250 $4,400 $4,500 $4,500
Pursuing Ph. D. or Ed.D. $5,150 $5,300 $5,400 $5,400

 

H. An employee who has received a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. may receive an additional $3,000 professional stipend up to a maximum of three years for completing a study or problem of practice approved by the Superintendent.


I. Based upon successful application process, tuition reimbursement may also be applied as a fee waiver up to the maximum yearly amount for the following certifications and designations. • Certificated Employees: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification • Speech and Language Therapists: National Certificate of Clinical Competency (CCC) • Nurses: Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN) • Occupational Therapists: Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (DOT) • Physical Therapists: Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) • Audiologists: Fellow of American Academy of Audiology (FAAA) • School Psychologists: Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) • Behavior Analysts: Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
H. An employee who has received a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. may receive an additional $3,000 professional stipend up to a maximum of three years for completing a study or problem of practice approved by the Superintendent.

J. Any employee who leaves the Board’s employ within one year after completion of a course for which they have received reimbursement from the Board shall re-pay the full amount of such reimbursement to the Board with advance written notice to the employee. The Board may deduct such re-payment from any remaining pay owed to the unit member. The employee will have the option when possible (based on remaining number of paychecks) to have the deduction divided into two or more paychecks. The Board will attempt to deduct the money evenly from remaining checks owed. This repayment provision shall not apply in the case of a unit member who must leave the Board’s employ due to military transfer, spousal job transfer necessitating a move of over 50 miles, personal or family illness, divorce or child custody issues, involuntary termination by Board, non-renewal of nontenured employees, or other cause approved by the Board. If the employee who was granted a waiver pursuant to this subsection returns to the same position less than 50 miles away within one year of leaving the Board’s employment, they shall reimburse the Board according to the above provision unless they sought employment with the Board and was not offered a contract. Any employee forced to repay such reimbursement shall have that same reimbursement reversed (tuition repaid) upon returning to the Board and successfully completing two more years of employment.

K. In accordance with the provisions of COMAR Section 13A.12.01.14, the Board will not require coursework for certification renewal for professionally certificated employees who are 55 years of age or older or who have been employed for at least 25 years in public school service or approved nonpublic school service.

L. Employees who pay a fee for transcripts necessary to verify course completion may be reimbursed upon submission of a receipt up to 45 days following payment; such reimbursement will be deducted from the year’s annual course reimbursement allocation based on the date on the receipt for transcript payment, limited to one transcript reimbursement per semester per university or college.

M. Professional skill development will be provided to affected employees by SMCPS prior to the deployment of new systems and technology. Certified training will be provided to 41 technicians and other employees who are directly responsible for the installation, maintenance, and/or support of such new systems and technology.

N. All non-certificated, current full-time employees who decide to become teachers and are enrolled in an accredited college program leading towards an initial Maryland professional teaching credential, shall have access to the benefits below with the following terms.

1. Tuition reimbursement will be allowed for all coursework in an initial Maryland professional teaching credential program up to the limit specified in Article IX, Paragraph G, above.

2. All Praxis and other assessments required for the initial Maryland professional teaching credential will be reimbursed when passing scores are received. If grant funding is unavailable to SMCPS to fund this reimbursement in any given fiscal year, then reimbursement will be limited to employees with at least one full year of prior SMCPS service.

3. Eligible employees may apply to be considered for sabbatical leave in accordance with Article VIII, Section C.4.d for consideration, to include student internships.

4. See Section VI.B for description of placement on the salary scale.

5. Upon graduation and award of a Maryland teaching certificate, the employee granted the extra educational assistance must guarantee to teach for SMCPS for a period of three (3) years unless SMCPS does not offer the employee a full-time position.

An employee who has been employed by the Board in a full-time position outside of their area of certification and does not complete the three-year guarantee period will be required to repay tuition reimbursement to the Board.

If the employee accepts a teaching contract in another school system within their area of certification and chooses to submit verification of such employment to the Superintendent, then the repayment provisions will be adjusted as follows

• Resignation during year 1 = 100% repayment

• Resignation after year 1 = 90% repayment

• Resignation after year 2 = 80% repayment

6. If the employee leaves the Board’s employ within one year after receiving Praxis/assessment reimbursement, the employee shall re-pay the full amount of such reimbursement.

7. The Board may deduct such re-payment from any remaining pay owed to the unit member. The employee will have the option when possible (based on remaining 42 number of paychecks) to have the deduction divided into two or more paychecks. The Board will attempt to deduct the money evenly from remaining checks owed.

8. These repayment provisions shall not apply in the case of a unit member who must leave the Board’s employ due to military transfer, spousal job transfer more than 50 miles from the St. Mary’s County line, personal or family illness, divorce or child custody issues, involuntary termination by Board, nonrenewal, or other cause approved by the Board.

9. If the employee who was granted a waiver pursuant to this subsection returns to the same position within 50 miles of the St. Mary’s County line, Maryland, within one year of leaving the Board’s employment, they shall reimburse the Board according to the above provision unless they sought employment with the Board and was not offered a contract. Any employee forced to repay such reimbursement shall have that same reimbursement reversed (tuition repaid) upon returning to the employment of the Board and successfully completing two more years of employment.

Non-Certificated Employees 

This program is designed to provide training and advanced education for permanent employees who wish to improve their performance in their present positions, in preparation for advancement, or as part of an approved career development plan.

a. Tuition reimbursement (fees and materials are not included) will be provided for appropriate courses leading toward (1) initial certification, (2) renewal of Standard Professional Certificate, (3) Advanced Professional Certificate, (4) Master's Degree, (5) continuation of other professional license or certificate required for employment, or (6) any other approved course work.

b. Employees may be reimbursed for tuition under the following conditions. SMCPS is not responsible for courses selected by the employee that do not meet the criteria for certification or reimbursement. While not required, SMCPS encourages employees to verify courses with the Department of Human Resources via the SMCPS tuition reimbursement form.

1) The course/credits taken are appropriate for the position and certification of the individual employee.

2) The employee has not been previously reimbursed for the same course.

3) The course/credits are from a regionally accredited college or university (if pursuing college credits).

4) The following documentation is required to be submitted the Department of Human Resources within 45 days of the completion of the course (as indicated on the transcript or grade slip): (1) A reimbursement request form (pre-approval is not required for tuition reimbursement), (2) official transcript of grade received with a minimum of grade “C”, and (3) original receipt or electronic confirmation of payment (if no hard copy receipt is provided) from the college or university. If an extension is needed, the employee must request it in writing within 45 days of the completion of the course.

5) The employee’s tuition reimbursement is allocated each July 1 for the coming year and runs through the following June 30. Tuition reimbursement up to the annual allowable amount will be deducted from the employee's annual allocation based on the date that the credits were earned as indicated on the official transcript or grade slip that must be submitted within 45 days of the credits being earned.

6) SMCPS will provide reimbursement within 45 days of receipt of the required documentation.

c. Employees enrolled in courses through Direct Pay agreements for non-SMCPS courses must submit for pre-approval to the Department of Human Resources prior to registration per the memorandum of understanding with each participating Direct Pay school. Pre-approval is not required for SMCPS Direct Pay courses, although the employee will be responsible for completing any paperwork required by the university and for any amount that exceeds their annual tuition allocation.

d. If the employee wants to confirm the appropriateness of a course prior to registration, advance written approval may be sought via an SMCPS Tuition Reimbursement Request form submitted to Human Resources. The Superintendent will sign the SMCPS Tuition Reimbursement Request Form, indicating approval or denial, and return the signed form to the employee within ten workdays of its receipt in the Department of Human Resources.

e. The reimbursement will not exceed the actual amount the employee paid for tuition.

f. Appropriate credit will be determined by the current requirements for certificates for administrators, supervisors, and teachers, and by the current professional licensure and/or certification requirements for bargaining unit members. In order to receive tuition reimbursement for credits leading toward an Advanced Professional Certificate or a Master's Degree, the employee shall hold a valid Standard Professional Certificate or professional license/certificate for their present assignment.

g. Reimbursement for tuition shall not exceed the following amounts. In determining whether the annual maximum reimbursement amount has been reached, the year to which the reimbursement applies will be based on the date of issuance of the grade slip for a completed course.

Non Certificated - Total Annual Maximum (Not Cumulative)

PurposeFY2021FY2022FY2023FY 2024
General $3,250 $3,400 $3,500  $3,500
Pursuing Initial Professional Teaching Credential $4,250 $4,400 $4,500 $4,500
Pursuing Ph. D. or Ed.D. $5,150 $5,300 $5,400 $5,400


h. An employee who has received a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. may receive an additional $3,000 professional stipend up to a maximum of three years for completing a study or problem of practice approved by the Superintendent.

i. Based upon successful application process, tuition reimbursement may also be applied as a fee waiver up to the maximum yearly amount for the following certifications and designations.

● Certificated Employees: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification

● Speech and Language Therapists: National Certificate of Clinical Competency (CCC)

● Nurses: Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN)

● Occupational Therapists: Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (DOT)

● Physical Therapists: Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT)

● Audiologists: Fellow of American Academy of Audiology (FAAA)

● School Psychologists: Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP)

● Behavior Analysts: Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

j. In accordance with the provisions of COMAR Section 13A.12.01.14, the Board will not require coursework for certification renewal for professionally certificated employees who are 55 years of age or older or who have been employed for at least 25 years in public school service or approved nonpublic school service.

k. Employees who pay a fee for transcripts necessary to verify course completion may be reimbursed upon submission of a receipt up to 45 days following payment; such reimbursement will be deducted from the year’s annual course reimbursement allocation based on the date on the receipt for transcript payment, limited to one transcript reimbursement per semester per university or college.

l. Any employee who leaves the Board’s employ within one year after completion of a course for which they have received reimbursement from the Board shall re-pay the full amount of such reimbursement to the Board with advance written notice to the employee. The Board may deduct such re-payment from any remaining pay owed to the unit member. The employee will have the option when possible (based on remaining number of paychecks) to have the deduction divided into two or more paychecks. The Board will attempt to deduct the money evenly from remaining checks owed. This repayment provision shall not apply in the case of a unit member who must leave the Board’s employ due to military transfer, spousal job transfer necessitating a move of over 50 miles, personal or family illness, divorce or child custody issues, involuntary termination by Board, non-renewal of nontenured employees, or other cause approved by the Board. If the employee who was granted a waiver pursuant to this subsection returns to the same position less than 50 miles away within one year of their leaving the Board’s employment, they shall reimburse the Board according to the above provision unless they sought employment with the Board and were not offered a contract. Any employee forced to repay such reimbursement shall have that same reimbursement reversed (tuition repaid) upon returning to the Board and successfully completing two more years of employment.

m. All non-certificated, current full-time employees who decide to become teachers and are enrolled in an accredited college program leading towards an initial Maryland professional teaching credential, shall have access to the benefits below with the following terms.

1) Tuition reimbursement will be allowed for all coursework in an initial Maryland professional teaching credential program up to the limit specified in Article 10, Paragraph G above.

2) All Praxis and other assessments required for the initial Maryland professional teaching credential will be reimbursed when passing scores are received. If grant funding is unavailable to SMCPS to fund this reimbursement in any given fiscal year, then reimbursement will be limited to employees with at least one full year of prior SMCPS service.

3) Eligible employees may apply for Sabbatical Leave in accordance with section 8.9 for consideration, to include student internships.

4) See Appendix G for description of placement on the certificated employee salary scale.

5) Upon graduation and award of a Maryland teaching certificate, the employee granted the extra educational assistance must guarantee to teach for SMCPS for a period of three years unless SMCPS does not offer the employee a full-time position. An employee who has been employed by the Board in a full-time position outside of their area of certification and does not complete the three-year guarantee period will be required to repay tuition reimbursement to the Board. If the employee accepts a teaching contract in another school system within their area of certification and chooses to submit verification of such employment to the Superintendent, then the repayment provisions will be adjusted as follows.

● Resignation during year 1 = 100% repayment

● Resignation after year 1 = 90% repayment

● Resignation after year 2 = 80% repayment

6) If the employee leaves the Board’s employ within one year after receiving Praxis/assessment reimbursement, the employee shall re-pay the full amount of such reimbursement.

7) The Board may deduct such re-payment from any remaining pay owed to the unit member. The employee will have the option when possible (based on remaining number of paychecks) to have the deduction divided into two or more paychecks. The Board will attempt to deduct the money evenly from remaining checks owed.

8) These repayment provisions shall not apply in the case of a unit member who must leave the Board’s employ due to military transfer, spousal job transfer more than 50 miles from the St. Mary’s County line, personal or family illness, divorce or child custody issues, involuntary termination by Board, nonrenewal, or other cause approved by the Board.

9) If the employee who was granted a waiver pursuant to this subsection returns to the same position within 50 miles of the St. Mary’s County line, Maryland, within one year of their leaving the Board’s employment, they shall reimburse the Board according to the above provision unless they sought employment with the Board and were not offered a contract. Any employee forced to repay such reimbursement shall have that same reimbursement reversed (tuition repaid) upon returning to the employment of the Board and successfully completing two more years of employment.

n. The school system will pay for the cost of the Paraeducator Assessment Test, including any required sitting/proctor fee, one time only when an employee presents appropriate documentation that they have passed the test and a receipt for the cost of the test. If grant funding is unavailable to SMCPS to fund this reimbursement in any given fiscal year, then reimbursement will be limited to employees with at least one full year of prior SMCPS service.

o. SMCPS and EASMC will collaborate to provide meaningful professional development opportunities for education support professionals.