Employee Degree Attainment Program (EDAP)

Announcing a NEW Employee Degree Attainment Program (EDAP) offering tuition assistance for higher education to Virginia State University employees.

The EDAP is a funded Academic Affairs activity initiated by the Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Tia. A. Minnis, as part of the approved FY2023-2024 Title III Part B Program Carry Forward by The Department of Education Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

This is a great opportunity for Virginia State University to invest in their employees' continuous learning and development.

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Project Directors: 

Dr. Michelle Corley (Special Assistant to the Provost)

Dr. Linda Noel-Batiste (Executive Director of Strategic Faculty Initiatives and Innovation)

  1. Activity Title- Employee Degree Attainment Program (EDAP)
  2. II. Rationale for Support Excerpt

With rising tuition costs across the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation, many mid and senior level career employees simply cannot afford a graduate degree. Unfortunately, few employer driven degree opportunities exist. The research literature strongly suggests tuition affordability remains a limiting factor for those mid and senior level career employees who could benefit from professional development and micro credentialing activities, that would lead to a graduate degree   and that would also lead to an increase in productivity and a higher level of workplace efficiency. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in particular, continue to lag behind Predominately White Institutions (PW ls) in their capacity to fund professional development activities for mid and senior level career employees. Funding for an employee professional development program for graduate degree attainment would remove that obstacle.

To keep pace with a workplace that is economically, socially, and technologically savvy, Virginia State University (VSU) must ensure that its mid and senior level employees have the relevant education, experience, and skills to remain competitive and to continue to provide students with a world-class education (Strategic Priority 2: Sustain Academic Excellence). Hence, this program will give those mid and senior level career employees multiple professional development opportunities to stay abreast of new and innovative ideas, processes and procedures that “will continue to provide a rich cultural environment where students receive an outstanding support system that is family oriented and results driven” (Strategic Priority 1: Increase Student Opportunity and Access to Higher Education).

In a rapidly evolving global landscape, it is essential for Virginia State University to invest in their employees' continuous learning and development. This funded initiative presents a plan to offer tuition assistance for higher education, encouraging employees to pursue advanced degrees while contributing to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the workplace.

III. Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of this program are as follows:

  1. Provide a professional development series for mid and senior level career level employees who are seeking to attain graduate degrees.
  2. Provide advanced organizational leadership professional development activities for mid and senior level career employees, which will strengthen the University’s operational effectiveness and efficiency.
  3. Provide tuition assistance to a cohort of mid and senior level career employees who want to pursue graduate degrees at VSU.
  4. Tuition Assistance Program Details
  1. Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for the Workplace Efficiency and Professional Development Program, employees (Staff and Contractual) must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be employed full-time by the Virginia State University for at least two years.
  • Must have a minimum of one year of residency with the Virginia State University before applying            for tuition assistance.
  • Should have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0 during previous academic pursuits.
    • Must commit to serving the Virginia State University for at least three years after completing the degree.
  1. Program Requirements:

Participating employees will be expected to:

  • Pursue a Masters or Doctoral degree in a field relevant to their current or potential roles within Virginia State University.
  • Maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 throughout the academic program.
  • Continue fulfilling their job responsibilities while attending classes.
  • Participate in periodic progress reviews to ensure academic and professional achievements align with program goals.
  1. Application Process:
  • Employees at Virginia State University outline their academic and professional goals.
  • A selection committee will review applications and select candidates based on eligibility criteria and alignment with Virginia State University’s needs.
  • Approved candidates will enter into a formal agreement outlining their commitment to the program's terms and conditions.

VII. Monitoring and Compliance

Virginia State University will establish a dedicated committee responsible for monitoring the progress and compliance of participants. Regular check-ins, progress reports, and academic updates will be conducted to ensure alignment with the program's objectives.

VIII. Employer Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions of the professional development degree attainment Program include:

  • Virginia State University will provide financial assistance to cover a portion of tuition (9 CR hrs.) per semester, and related expenses, subject to budget availability.
  • Employees must maintain their full-time employment status during the duration of their academic program.
  • The employee agrees to work for Virginia State University for at least three years after completing the degree.
  • Should the employee leave Virginia State University before the stipulated commitment period, they may be required to reimburse Virginia State University for the tuition assistance received.