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Understanding the Award Process

Through Tuition Exchange scholarships, member colleges and universities offered in the 2022-23 academic year roughly 7900 scholarship awards. Each member school determines its policies and procedures for eligibility and scholarship requirements. That's why working closely with the Tuition Exchange Liaison Officer where you are employed is essential.

Click here to find your TE Liaison Officer.

Tuition Exchange is a member-based scholarship opportunity. There is no guarantee that your student will be selected as an export or that your dependent will be awarded the TE scholarship if chosen as an export. Tuition Exchange is not an employee benefit. 

TE Central has created two Frequently Asked Question documents. You are encouraged to read all, as your student is both an EXPORT and an IMPORT student. We are confident that you will find most, if not all, the answers to your questions.

Who is eligible?
Eligibility is determined by the Export institution (home institution). The school may set requirements for employment status, years of service, or priority status or limit the number of eligible students per family. Ask your TE Liaison Office for eligibility guidelines. The guidelines are often published in the employee handbook or the college's internal website.  

Are all eligible students guaranteed a scholarship?
No. The Tuition Exchange scholarships are never guaranteed. The Tuition Exchange scholarship is competitive and one for which you must apply. Each institution tries to maintain a balance between its exports and imports. Members often set up a mechanism to establish priority for exports. When export requests exceed the number of students looking to attend the member school, the school may not be able to offer new exports. 

How competitive is the award process?

Tuition Exchange scholarships are competitive. Every student must meet the Imports school's admission requirements and application deadlines. Member schools have additional requirements for exchange applicants, such as higher academic standards, living on campus, and completing the FAFSA annually. Other members limit awards to just a few new students each year. You can increase your odds of receiving a scholarship if you apply to one or two schools that offer scholarships to many applicants. Click here for additional information.

When do I apply for admission to the colleges I select?
You should apply for college admission simultaneously with applying for a Tuition Exchange scholarship.

What is the application process?

  • At least 12 months before you hope to access the TE scholarship program, contact your TE Liaison Officer for details on the process and deadlines. Ask for a copy of the Export guidelines and determine how your employer selects Export students.
  • Your TE Liaison Office determines all EXPORT employee eligibility, and their decision is final.
  • TE Liaison Officers at the institutions you apply to will notify you and your home Liaison Officer of the award decision. If you're accepted for admission at a particular school but haven't been notified regarding a TE scholarship decision, contact your Admissions Counselor. 
  • Review the financial aid award notification carefully. It will specify the TE scholarship amount, duration, and conditions of your scholarship, along with details about the institution's charges. Ensure you understand all expenses you're responsible for and any requirements you must meet to maintain the TE scholarship in subsequent years. It is possible that your total award can include federal and state grants and institutional scholarships (academic and co-curricular).
  • The application process starts with the EXPORT TE Liaison Officer. The IMPORT school will update your export TE Liaison Officer when you enroll. If you withdraw or transfer to another institution, promptly notify the Liaison Officers at the school you're leaving and the home institution.  Remember, if you decide to transfer to another TE member school, you start over with the application process. There is no guarantee that your new school will offer you a TE scholarship.

Should I expect a written notification?
The Tuition Exchange encourages member institutions to send a formal letter notifying you of the award and outlining the terms and conditions for receiving and continuing the scholarship. Often this notification is the Financial Aid Award or Notification. If not clear - check with your Admissions Counselor or Financial Aid Office. 

How many semesters does the scholarship cover?
Most scholarships cover four years (eight semesters) of undergraduate education. Institutions have the right to offer scholarships for less than four years.

Some schools allow scholarships to be used for professional and graduate study. Tuition Exchange eligibility is limited to the employee and spouse/recognized domestic partner.  Most schools follow the dependent definition outlined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which outlines students with a bachelor's degree as Independent. For additional information, check with your employer first. 

What must I do to retain my scholarship?
You must meet the institution's standards for academic performance, social and personal conduct, and other terms and conditions of the scholarship. Those requirements vary by school. It is your responsibility to ask and understand the renewal requirements.

What happens if the employee loses eligibility?
The family member whose employment enabled eligibility must continue to meet the home institution's eligibility criteria. Your home institution will process recertification of eligibility each year. If the family member is considering a job change, they should visit HR at the homeschool. 

What is the dollar value of Tuition Exchange scholarships?
Scholarships cover full tuition, one-half tuition for a non-resident at a public institution, or a rate set by The Tuition Exchange. They do not include special fees, course overloads, or room and board charges. For 2023-2024, institutions that charge more than $41,000 are permitted to award less than their full tuition but not less than the set $41,000.

  • Colleges can cover other expenses, such as housing, in their awards. Check the Search Member Schools page for details on which schools offer scholarships that include more than basic tuition.
  • Some member schools reduce their scholarships by the amount of federal and state grants awarded, whether or not these awards are based on financial need.
  • The Application/Certification Form that notifies you of your award should provide specific details. If you're unsure, ask the school to clarify before you accept the scholarship.

Are Tuition Exchange scholarships taxable?
You should seek guidance from your tax professional advisors regarding the taxability of an exchange scholarship. For necessary information, consult the Internal Revenue Service Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, on the IRS website (www.IRS.gov).

Excerpts from Publication 970: "Qualified tuition reduction means a tax-free reduction in tuition provided by an eligible educational institution."... "for education below the graduate level"... "provided to the following individuals: "current employee, a former employee who retired or left on disability, widow or widower of an individual who died while an employee, a widow or widower of a former employee who retired or left on disability, a dependent child or spouse of any person listed above."

It is important to note that graduate education is excluded unless it is provided "to a graduate student who performs teaching or research activities." The tuition reduction benefit "must not discriminate in favor of owners, officers, or highly compensated employees."

What is the role of the Tuition Exchange in the process?
The Tuition Exchange promotes and maintains the exchange on behalf of member institutions. Scholarships are granted by member institutions, not by The Tuition Exchange. The officers and directors of The Tuition Exchange disclaim responsibility for any misunderstandings among applicants, participants, and institutions concerning the value and duration of scholarships or circumstances which might result in the early termination of the scholarship. The Tuition Exchange partnership continues to seek ways to make scholarships more widely available to qualified applicants and strengthen the exchange by adding new members.