Understanding Fringe, Terminal Leave, and Tuition Remission Charges

How to accurately account for charges such as fringe allocations, terminal leave allocations, and tuition remission charges at UW–Madison.

Fringe allocations

These are typically charges that appear in WISER on a department’s project or fund. These are the employer’s share of an employee’s fringe benefits charged to the department.

Estimating and understanding fringes

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How fringes are calculated

The way fringe allocations are calculated are specific to the type of fund the salary was paid from.

Certain funds use an allocated rate rather than the actual employee fringe costs when charging fringe. These funds are 133, 135, 142, 143, 144,161 and 233. When the allocated rate is used, a pool account (project ID) is used by HRS to post the actual fringe costs for each employee (journal prefix FBxxxxxxxx).

FUND             PROJECT

Fund 133:        1330001
Fund 135:        1350001
Fund 142:        1440001
Fund 143:        1440001
Fund 144:        1440001
Fund 161:        1610001
Fund 233:        2330001

All other funds not listed above are charged the actual fringe cost for each employee.

Please note for Fund 101, the actual fringe costs are used, but are all posted to project 101A000.

How month-end allocation works

At the end of each month the allocation multiplies the salary activity in the General Ledger on each funding string that occurred during that month times the appropriate allocated rate. This amount is charged to the salary funding string and an offset is done to the fund’s pool account/project ID (ie. 1330001/1440001). The journal prefix for the monthly allocation journals is FXxxxxxxxx. The fringe account code used is based on employee category:

  • 1975: Academic-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
  • 1976: Post/Doc-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
  • 1977: Res Assoc-Fringe-Allocated Trf
  • 1978: Grad Asst-Fringe-Allocated Trf
  • 1979: Classified-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
  • 1983: LTE-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
  • 1984: Student-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf


The following example illustrates how fringe benefits are charged to both the salaried project and the fringe benefit pooled account/project ID.

This example is an Academic Staff employee who is paid on Fund 133:

  • Payroll and Fringe Journals from HRS:
    • Debit:  $2,000.00 Account 1051 (Academic Staff) to 133.348700.4.133AB98
      • Credit: $2,000.00 Account 6100 (Cash) to 133.348700.4.133AB98
    • Debit:  $400.00 Account 1921 (Group Health – ER) to 133.348700.4.1330001
      • Credit: $400.00 Account 6100 (Cash) to 133.348700.4.1330001
    • Debit:  $318.00 Account 1907 (Fac/Acad-Retirement) to 133.348700.4.1330001
      • Credit: $318.00 Account 6100 (Cash) to 133.348700.4.1330001
  • Month End Fringe Allocation Journals (at 35% rate *$2,000.00 Salary = $700.00)
    • Debit:  $700.00 Account 6100 (Cash) to 133.348700.4.1330001
      • Credit: $700.00 Account 1975 (Academic Fringe Trf) to 133.348700.4.1330001
    • Debit:  $700.00 Account 1975 (Academic Fringe Trf) to 133.348700.4.133AB98
      • Credit: $700.00 Account 6100 (Cash) to 133.348700.4.133AB98

Table 1: Example of month end fringe allocation journal:

Example of month end fringe allocation journal

Any differences remaining in the pool accounts between the allocated rate and actual fringe costs are taken into consideration when building the new allocated rates each year.

Salary categories and associated fringe rates

There are eight (8) major salary categories, which have different rates to calculate fringes. Faculty/Academic/Unclassified, Classified/University, Graduate Assistants, Research Associates, LTE’s, Post Doc Fellows, Under Graduates/Ad Hoc, and Students.

Fringe rates are updated on July 1 of each fiscal year and can be found on the Research and Sponsored Project website.

All salary accounts are grouped into one of these categories and has its own fringe rate which is determined by Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP):

Salary category Fringe rates (FY24 – effective 1/1/2024) Salary account codes on which % is calculated Account codes where fringe is posted
Regular Faculty and Academic Staff 36.50% 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1009, 1010, 1051, 1052, 1053, 1054, 1055, 1056, 1057 1975 – Academic-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
University Staff 37.80% 1531, 1532, 1533, 1534, 1535, 1536, 1537, 1538, 1541, 1542, 1543, 1544, 1545 1979 – Classified-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
Research Associates and Grad Interns 19.80% 1151, 1152, 1153, 1154, 1155, 1161, 1162, 1163, 1164, 1165 1977 – Res Assoc-Fringe-Allocated Trf
Research Assistants, Project Assistants, Teaching Assistants, Pre-Doc Fellows and/or Trainees 22.50% 1211, 1212, 1213, 1214, 1215, 1222, 1223, 1224, 1225, 1231, 1232, 1233, 1235, 2710, 2712, 2714, 2716, 5712, 5732, 5742 1978 – Grad Asst-Fringe-Allocated Trf
Post-Doc Fellows and/or Trainees 16.40% 2720, 2724, 2726 1976 – Post/Doc-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
Limited Term Employees (LTEs) 4.80% 1601, 1602, 1603, 1604, 1643 1983 – LTE-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
Ad Hoc Program Specialists, Undergraduate Assistants and Undergraduate Interns 6.80% 1076, 1077, 1321, 1322, 1323, 1324, 1325, 1331, 1332, 1333, 1334, 1335 1975 – Academic-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf
Student Hourly Employees 1.50% 1771, 1772, 1773, 1774, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1784 1984 – Student-Fringe-Gift/Fed Trf

Terminal Leave Allocations

UW’s Vacation policy (UW-5052) allows employees to bank unused annual leave. The banked leave does not expire and may accumulate from year to year. At the time an employee retires or terminates employment, they may elect to receive a lump sum payment of the ALRA or sabbatical account balance.

UW has moved away from cash basis payouts and has now created a pool for these lump sum payouts.

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Funds charged a monthly terminal leave allocation

Terminal leave rates will be charged on all funding strings associated with salary payments with the exclusion of the standalone GPR and related PR funds:

  • Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) – Funds 117, 127, 130
  • Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (WVDL) – Funds 126, 165, 166, 199

For fringe pooled funds: 133,135,142,144,161, and 233, the terminal leave rate is included in the total fringe rate that is charged through the monthly fringe allocation.

For all other funds (excluding 117, 126, 127, 130, 165, 166, 199), there is a monthly charge to Account code 3960 (Transfers – Term Leave Allocated) which follows the funding for each employee’s salary payment.

Current (and previous) fiscal year terminal leave rates

Terminal leave rates are updated at the beginning of each fiscal year (July 1) and are calculated based on a three year average of lump sum payouts. Deficits or surplus would be taken into account in the development of future rates.

The rates are broken into two salary categories:

  • Faculty/Academic Staff
  • Classified/University Staff

There are four account codes/appointment types excluded from the monthly allocation, as they are not eligible for Terminal Leave payouts.

  • Account 1002:    Faculty – Academic
  • Account 1003: Faculty – Summer
  • Account 1052: Academic Staff – Academic
  • Account 1053: Academic Staff – Summer

Employee lump sum payout codes and funding strings in the Human Resources System (HRS)

HRS payout codes:

  • TSB/TS8 – Term Sabbatical Payout, Mapped to Account Code 1545 (University Staff-Term Leave-Lump Sum)
  • TAL – Term ALRA Payout, Mapped to Account Code 1009 (Faculty-Term Leave-Lump Sum) or Account Code 1056 (Academic Staff-Term Leave-Lump Sum)

Funding String:

  • Business Unit: Madison
  • Fund: 136
  • Department: 980100
  • Program: 1
  • Project: AAB1193

Please note: Vacation and Personal Holiday payouts cannot be charged to the terminal leave funding, the employee’s departmental funding should be used.

Tuition remission surcharges

Tuition remission is a benefit to graduate students holding a Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Lecturer (SA), or Program/Project Assistant appointment to help alleviate the cost of tuition. The tuition charges, although not segregated fees, are waived for eligible graduate students. A 33.3% FTE per semester is required to remain eligible for tuition remission.

Find eligibility requirements on the Tuition Remission webpage.

As part of this program, tuition remission surcharge is a policy to help recoup the waived tuition costs by University and Wisconsin State Statute. The tuition remission surcharge is calculated based on the percentage of stipend charged/student’s level of work, and is automatically allocated to the funding source(s) where the assistant is appointed.

The monthly tuition remission surcharge process looks to see which employees have at least a total of 33.3% FTE earnings between all of the below salary account codes and is then charged a monthly rate of $1,333.33.

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Surcharge rates

Tuition Remission Rates – Through Spring 2015
Semester – $4,000
Acedemic Year- $8,000

Tuition Remission Rates – Fall 2015 – Spring 2016
Semester – $5,000
Acedemic Year- $10,000

Tuition Remission Rates – Fall 2016 – Present
Semester – $6,000
Acedemic Year- $12,000

Account codes

Account Code 1211
Title: Project/Program Assistant-Annual

Account Code 1212
Title: Project/Program Assistant-Academic

Account Code 1222
Title: Teaching Assistant-Academic

Account Code 1231
Title: Research Assistant-Annual

Account Code 1232
Title: Research Assistant-Academic

Tuition Remission Surcharge Estimation Workbook for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024

The workbook can be used to help estimate the monthly surcharge amount by appointment and funding string.

Tuition Remission Estimator Workbook (Excel)

Tuition remission processing schedule – FY24

Please see below for the FY24 tuition remission processing schedule as well as a breakdown of the monthly tuition remission surcharges and when they will hit during the fiscal year.

Semester Month Pay period IDs Earn dates Running Available in WISER
Fall September Sept A, Sept B 8/27/23 – 9/23/23 10/4/23 10/5/23
October Oct A, Oct B 9/24/23 – 10/21/23 11/1/23 11/2/23
November Nov A, Nov B 10/22/23 – 11/18/23 11/29/23 11/30/23
December Dec A, Dec B, Dec C 11/19/23 – 12/30/23 1/10/24 1/11/24
Spring January Jan A, Jan B 12/31/23 – 1/27/24 2/7/24 2/8/24
February Feb A, Feb B 1/28/24 – 2/24/24 3/6/24 3/7/24
March Mar A, Mar B 2/25/24 – 3/23/24 4/3/24 4/4/24
April Apr A, Apr B 3/24/24 – 4/20/24 5/1/24 5/2/24
May May A, May B 4/21/24 – 5/4/24 5/31/24 6/1/24
Surcharge by month Amount charged Notes
Fall September
October 1,333.33 Sept. surcharge
November 2,666.66 Oct. & Nov. surcharge
January 2,000.01 Dec. surcharge (3 pay periods)
Spring February 1,333.33 Jan. surcharge
March  1,333.33 Feb. surcharge
April  1,333.33 Mar. surcharge
May 2,000.01 April & May surcharge (3 pay periods)

Surcharge calculation exemptions

There are two cases where the monthly charges are assessed, but then reversed out in the same journal entry:

  • Teaching Assistant appointments: Teaching Assistant appointments are used in the calculation of the total employee’s eligibility, but are not charged directly to the department funding like the RA and PA appointments are. These charges are covered via alternative means.
  • Fund 142 appointments: Tuition Remission charges are covered by CALS via alternative means.

Sponsored grants

For sponsored grant related questions, please refer to the Research and Sponsored Programs website.

Bursar tuition remission eligibility

For eligibility questions and resources, please refer to the Bursar’s Office website.

For eligibility questions, please contact Ginger Perkins at the Bursar’s office: remissions@bussvc.wisc.edu or (608) 262-3334

For tuition remission surcharge questions, please contact Aaron Ranke at Business Services: aaron.ranke@wisc.edu

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Where can I look up the tuition remission calculation detail by employee in WISER?

  1. Login to WISER
  2. In WISER, select “Main Menu”
    Screenshot of the WISER system with "Main Menu" in the upper toolbar. Options under the Main Menu can be seen, such as "Departments", "Projects", "AP/PO", "ARBI", "Expenses", "Payroll", and "Detail."
  3. Under the Payroll heading, select “Find Tuition Remission”
  4. Then type the known information into the available search fields and click “Search”:
    Screenshot of the search tool for "Find Tuition Remission" in WISER. Includes search options for: Fund, Department, Project, Employee, and Semester.
  5. The results will show all RA, PA, LSA, and TA appointments and funding for the semester chosen (click example below to enlarge):Screenshot showing an example of a Tuition Remission Adjustment Statement.

What happens if the FTE drops below 33.3% during the semester?

Once an employee drops below the 33.3% FTE, all charges posted to date for that semester will be reversed out in the month that the FTE falls below the 33.3%.

What if a student has two appointments, a 25% PA appointment and a 15% PA appointment (both below the 33.3% FTE), do they receive the tuition surcharge?

Yes, the combined appointments equal a 40% FTE, therefore qualifying them for the tuition remission surcharge.

If a graduate assistant’s appointment is split between 2 projects, will the tuition remission surcharge be split between the projects?

Yes, the tuition remission surcharge will be split between the two projects based on the percent of appointment on each project.

For some departments, it is quite common for their graduate assistants to work as teaching assistants during the academic year and then serve as RAs or PAs during the summer months. How much tuition remission surcharge will be charged for these summer only positions?

There will be no tuition remission surcharge for PA and RA appointments during the summer. The tuition remission surcharge only is applied during the fall and spring semesters (September through May).

If a graduate assistant has a 25% TA appointment and a 25% PA appointment for a semester, what would the tuition remission surcharge be?

In this case the tuition remission surcharge will only apply to the PA appointment, however the surcharge process will initially charge both appointments evenly. The PA appointment would be charged $3,000 per semester or $666.66 per month (4.5 months). The TA appointment, although initially charged $3,000 per semester, would have that charge reversed with the net effect of no surcharge applied to the TA appointment.

What happens if the graduate assistant has a TA appointment at 33% and a RA appointment at 11.2%? Would the TA appointment cover the tuition remission surcharge, or would the RA appointment be charged too?

The surcharge is not applied to the TA appointment. The tuition remission surcharge would only be applied to the RA appointment. In this case the RA funding source would be responsible for 25% of the tuition remission surcharge or $1,500 per semester, because the RA appointment at 11.2% is 25% of the graduate assistant’s total appointment of 44.2%.

What happens with appointment funding that changes from month to month?

The tuition remission surcharge will automatically be adjusted through the monthly tuition remission process to match the cumulative funding source for the graduate assistant stipend.

Does the tuition remission surcharge transfer automatically after a salary transfer is processed?

Yes, but for FY22 – FY24 semesters only. All SCTs that are entered that relate to FY21 or earlier (before single pay) will need a NSCT to move the surcharge – it will not move by itself. For example, when the tuition remission process is run for March 2024, it processes spring 2023-24, fall 2023-24, spring 2022-23, fall 2022-23, spring 2021-22, and fall 2021-22. It will not process semesters prior to fall 2021.

What happens when a student leaves mid-semester?

It depends on the specific case. In the event a graduate student leaves during the course of a semester, the graduate student still may qualify for a remission, while the remission surcharge may or may not be applied, depending on the cumulative appointment level. Contact the Bursar’s Office for eligibility questions and Business Services for questions about the remission surcharge.