MTSU employees Nicole Leonce, Alonzo Bouldin and Amanda Arnold came to the Student Union Building recently for virtually the same reasons.
They were interested in pursuing a perk offered at the university — taking a class and, potentially, pursuing a degree.
MTSU held a three-hour event July 28 to raise awareness about the opportunity for employees to take up to four classes in a year for free or at reduced cost. Campus representatives helped employees explore degree options and enrichment opportunities so there is “no money left on the table.”
All full-time employees can take one course per semester and up to four courses per year free of charge using their state employment fee waiver.
MTSU Online, University College, College of Graduate Studies, College of Education and Master of Arts in Liberal Arts had representatives available to answer questions about a variety of topics.
Fees may be involved if they are registering at MTSU through the admissions process for the first time, textbook fees or if there is a course fee.
For those registering from July 29 through Aug. 15, the deadline to pay fees/confirmation is 6 p.m. Aug. 15. For those registering Aug. 16-21, the pay fees/confirmation deadline is 6 p.m. Aug. 29.
Bouldin, who lives in Murfreesboro, said the process is fairly easy once you figure it out. He added the fee waivers are all online at the HR (human resources) website.
“I have very high interest,” said Bouldin, assistant director of housing operations in Housing and Residential Life, who said he is enrolled with another university. “But being at MTSU and being a part of this system, not leaving money on the table as an employee is definitely beneficial to all of us here.”
“Being able to access it readily is definitely a benefit and not necessarily having to carry around a paper application to everyone that you need those signatures from helps,” Bouldin said. “But that value of getting that done and getting those classes free is definitely improving the workforce here at MTSU.”
An English Department secretary, Leonce calls the perk “a great opportunity. I’ve been here a few years and have yet to take advantage of it. I saw this email (about the event). I thought this is something I want to get more information about. It’s a great program and opportunity to take classes like that.”
Arnold, an alumna with a business administration degree from MTSU in 2011, said she “started with a basis of no knowledge about these resources for MTSU employees and after having spoken with the people here, I’m excited about the additional chances I have to increase my education with MTSU. I think it’s an awesome opportunity.”
University College Dean Rick Sluder said there’s been “a more limited approach previously where we’ve invited our employees and staff to come and look at one program, and so what we have today is a variety of programs that have been asked to come over and talk with prospective students.
“These are our employees who in so many cases are not taking advantage of a tuition benefit for being an MTSU employee. I met one young woman today who had been here four days and she was intrigued and came by. I believe she’ll enroll.
“Another employee I met said, ‘I’m not sure,’ and she talked about ‘taking a baby step.’ And this was the baby step to get connected to get enrolled. And, so, we have all these people on our campus who have this wonderful opportunity. Today’s effort is to try to make them aware of that. And to make it easy so if they are interested, we’re right there ready to help.”
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)