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News, University News

EEP participants balance jobs, classes

Full-time employees allowed to take Brown courses, receive financial support

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, March 6, 2020

Since 1999, the Employee Education Program has allowed full-time Brown employees to take college courses for degree programs or job-related development and has provided them with financial support. Programs offered include traditional classes at Brown and other institutions, distance learning and  a combination of the two, according to the EEP’s web page.

As of January 2020, 93 participants are currently enrolled through the EEP, Benefits Program Specialist Michele Wise wrote in an email to The Herald. This includes 26 EEP participants currently enrolled in Brown courses, 12 of whom are participating in graduate degree programs.

“I signed up for it because (getting a master’s degree) was a personal goal of mine… and it was just a good benefit offered through Brown,” said Eric Peterson GS, the assistant director of athletic communications, who is completing his semester in the  American Studies program.

Throughout the past four years, Peterson has been taking one class per semester to balance his work and academic lives. “It’s challenging to find something that fits your schedule all the time,” Peterson said. The University has “been very supportive,” and individual departments are sometimes accommodating of the specific scheduling challenges participants face.

According to Wise, the EEP originally offered only job-related courses. Expansions throughout the years have broadened the kinds of courses provided to cater to participants’ preferred learning methods. These changes were made in response to the needs of students and after surveying peer institutions’ offerings, Wise wrote.

To be eligible to participate in the EEP, employees must have worked for six months and spend at least 67 percent of the time at the University. Eligible participants can qualify for degrees or certifications. Additionally, courses must be offered at accredited “institutions that belong to one of six accrediting agencies in order (for employees) to be eligible for reimbursement,” Wise wrote.

Currently, almost 10 percent of the full-time employee population participate in the EEP. “It’s an investment for Brown in terms of having a well-educated workforce and being able to provide tuition assistance to Brown employees,” Wise wrote. “I’ve been managing and administering the EEP for over 20 years. I have tremendous admiration for EEP participants who are juggling full-time jobs while pursuing degrees or taking courses, as well as managing families and life outside of Brown.”

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