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CBP Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

Furthering the education of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees benefits our workforce and our mission. The CBP Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) enhances educational opportunities for CBP employees through the reimbursement of eligible tuition-related expenses, and demonstrates the agency’s commitment to life-long learning, employee development, and the attainment of employees' educational goals. 

Some highlights of TAP include:

  • Coverage of eligible tuition and associated fees and book expenses, up to $1,500 per course and $4,500 per employee per calendar year
  • Approval for courses at all accredited universities and colleges, for classroom or online instruction
  • Available for all courses leading to professional certification or any type of degree, undergraduate or graduate

This program, from the Office of Training and Development, is competitive with today’s employment environment. The military has used educational benefits as a prime employee benefit for decades. TAP offers more compensation than many Department of Homeland Security agencies and it exceeds employee education incentives from some of the country’s largest corporations.

CBP supports life-long learning and employee development. Consider the impact the TAP could have on your educational goals and career.  Capitalize on your TAP benefits now!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

Who is eligible to participate in TAP?

All permanent, full-time CBP employees with at least 90 days of continuous CBP service and without disciplinary, adverse, or performance-based actions within 30 days prior to submitting a course application are eligible to apply for TAP benefits.

Family members of permanent, full-time CBP employees are not eligible for TAP.

Do student trainees or Pathway Program participants qualify for TAP?

CBP employees in these programs who have not converted to full-time, permanent federal employees do not qualify for TAP.

Eligible Courses

Can I take a course offered by an E-Learning institution?

No, E-Learning institutions such as EdX, Coursera, or Udacity are not eligible for TAP benefits as the courses are not administered through an accredited institution.

Can I take more than one course per semester?

Yes, you may take more than one course per semester. To request TAP benefits for each course you must submit separate applications for each course. See the How to Apply for Tuition Assistance link on the TAP webpage.

You are limited to $1,500 per course and $4,500 per calendar year for TAP disbursements.

Application Process

Will I be required to sign a continued service agreement (CSA) when I complete the online application form? Does the length of the CSA change if I am taking multiple courses?

As part of the application, TAP participants enter into an agreement to work at least one year for CBP; the year-long period starts from the date that the National Finance Center (NFC) issues the reimbursement payment. 

There is no separate, stand-alone CSA to sign.

If you complete more than one course at a time, the CSAs can be served concurrently. If your courses are staggered, your CSAs will end one year from the date your last reimbursement was issued by NFC.

What if my application or reimbursement request was disapproved, can I request a reconsideration?

Yes, waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis. A reconsideration waiver can be requested by email at cbptuitionassistance@cbp.dhs.gov.

The waiver memo must include your reason for reconsideration, and it must be approved and signed by your chain of command, then sent to the Tuition Assistance mailbox.

Reimbursement Process and Payments

When can I apply for reimbursement of my course(s)?

Once you have completed your course and have met the grade requirements put forth by CBP, you may apply for reimbursement.  Reimbursements must be submitted within 60 days of the course end date. 

Does TAP include student loan repayment?

The CBP Tuition Assistance program, administered by the Office of Training and Development, does cover student loan repayment—only courses taken by CBP employees for which they have applied and been approved for TAP assistance, are eligible.

Expenses

What expenses does TAP not cover?

Expenses TAP does not cover include:

  • Exam fees: for college courses or certificates; for entrance exams; for licenses
  • Certification or licensing fees – TAP covers coursework necessary for certification
  • Admission fees
  • Courses completed before applying for TAP benefits

Will TAP cover licensing fees?

TAP benefits apply to academic coursework only. TAP does not cover licensing fees.

Before applying for TAP benefits, employees must be accepted to an accredited degree or professional certificate/certification program at a college or university listed with the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions.

Courses that help you to obtain a license would need to be part of a degree or professional certification program to receive the TAP benefit. Check the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to see if your school/institution is accredited.

Taxes

Are TAP benefits taxable?

TAP benefits are limited to $4,500 per employee per calendar year, which falls within the Internal Revenue Service limits for non-taxable benefits. So no, you will not be required to pay taxes on TAP benefits. TAP benefits are limited to $4,500 per employee per calendar year, which falls within the Internal Revenue Service limits for non-taxable benefits. So no, you will not be required to pay taxes on TAP benefits.

Program Guidelines

What is the maximum tuition-reimbursement amount?

You are eligible for up to $1,500 per course and $4,500 per calendar year for TAP reimbursement.

Your TAP reimbursement totals will count towards the calendar year in which you receive the reimbursement funds from NFC. For example, if you completed a course in December 2018 and requested reimbursement in late 2018, but you received payment in January 2019, the payment will count towards your 2019 maximum payment of $4,500 per IRS rules.

Will I be required to sign a continued service agreement (CSA) in exchange for the TAP benefits? Does the length of the CSA change if I am taking multiple courses?

TAP applicants agree to the following statement when they sign and submit their online TAP application form:

“I will work for CBP for one year following the date of completion of each course for which I receive TAP benefits or I will otherwise repay the government all TAP benefits received during the covered benefits period.”

There is no separate, stand-alone CSA to sign.

If you complete more than one course at a time, the CSAs can be served concurrently. If your courses are staggered, your CSAs will end one year after the completion of the last course for which you received TAP benefits.

What calendar year does my TAP reimbursement totals count towards?

Your TAP reimbursement totals will count towards the calendar year in which you receive the reimbursement funds from NFC. For example, if you completed a course in December 2018 and requested reimbursement in late 2018, but you received payment in January 2019, the payment will count towards your 2019 maximum payment of $4,500 per IRS rules.

Last modified: 
Monday, September 14, 2020 - 09:41