Scholarships for Public Servants - Reimbursement, Return of Service & Employment Change
This page covers information on reimbursements, taxes and return of service commitments as they apply to the Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants program. You can also learn how your return of service commitment may be affected by leaves, changing ministries and leaving the public service.
- Tuition and required books (including e-books) are the only expenses eligible for scholarship reimbursement
- Your scholarship does not cover any fees or other costs, including application fees, student membership costs, the shipping of books, supplies (including software), exam fees (if separate from tuition), union dues or travel/accommodation expenses
- The Deputy Ministers' Council has agreed that ministries will not ‘top up’ applications beyond the prescribed level of funding, in order to ensure consistency across the BC Public Service and so that more people can benefit from the program
- If you were reimbursed and failed to maintain a satisfactory grade (see the rules around grades on Application Process and Renewal) or had to drop out for some reason, you must notify your ministry contact immediately and then repay the funds. You are not eligible to enrol in further classes or apply for another scholarship until proof of repayment is provided
- If you have to pay back money for any reason, you are responsible for contacting your ministry immediately to arrange repayment
More information on course reimbursements:
- Prerequisite coursework is not eligible for reimbursement. This includes the Chartered Professional Accountants Prerequisite Education Program (CPA-PREP) and any expenses related to Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)
- Preparatory exams courses are only covered if they are a mandatory part of your approved program curriculum
- You can take any number of courses in your approved program within the 12-month scholarship period, but the maximum reimbursement for this period does not change
- Master’s or graduate diploma or certificate programs are funded at the $5,000 level. To qualify for the $7,500 level of funding, a program must result in a post-graduate degree.
- You will not be reimbursed if you change your program during your scholarship year because your approval was based on the program for which you applied. If you change programs during your scholarship year, your scholarship becomes invalid. Contact your ministry if you are considering a program change
- You can transfer educational institutions while receiving the Pacific Leaders Scholarship as long as the new institution is eligible and you do not change your program. If you do transfer, notify Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants and your ministry contact
- The transfer of courses between educational institutions in permitted, provided that both institutions are designated and have agreed to the course transfer(s), and that you have confirmed that the course(s) you are transferring will count toward the completion of the program for which you received a scholarship. Proof of this confirmation may be required in order to process your reimbursement
- You are eligible for reimbursement if you challenge a course to complete an accreditation program as long as you pay tuition, not a fee
- Any unused portion of the scholarship is eliminated at the end of the scholarship year and does not carry over to future years. If you are unable to participate in your studies and/or do not make claims on your scholarship, formally withdraw from the program for your scholarship year by asking your organization to provide written verification that you did not/will not make claims on your scholarship for a given scholarship year, and forward this to PacificLeadersEmployeeScholarships@gov.bc.ca.
Begin your reimbursement process by following these steps:
- After you pay your tuition and books, submit receipts to your ministry for reimbursement up to the allowable maximum. Your receipts must clearly break down your expenditures; failure to provide detailed receipts may delay your reimbursements
- You can submit your receipts before or during your scholarship year, but your courses must begin within your scholarship year
- Submit your receipts directly to your ministry, as your organization is responsible for reimbursing your tuition and books. Contact your strategic human resources department or the individual named on your approval notification email for more information about the reimbursement process for your organization
- If your organization’s contact information (as listed in your approval notification) is out of date and your organization has not provided you with updated information, email Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants for further information
- The Pacific Leaders Scholarship does not affect your taxes because it is employment-related training and is considered a reimbursement, not a taxable benefit
- If you paid more tuition than you received from the Pacific Leaders Scholarship, you may be eligible to claim the difference (for example, if your tuition was $7,000 and your scholarship reimbursement was $5,000 you may be able to claim the $2,000 difference). Tax regulations are always evolving, so check the Canada Revenue Agency website to see if you are eligible
- A tax receipt will not be issued by the Pacific Leaders program and no reference to your scholarship is required to be made on your tax return
- Your reimbursement amount will not be included on your BC Government employment T4
- If you have received an additional T4 or T4A from your ministry, do not report any Pacific Leaders Scholarship component as income on your income tax return
- If you require a letter regarding your scholarship reimbursements for tax purposes please contact your ministry's Pacific Leaders Scholarships contact
- For further personal tax information and help, please contact the Canada Revenue Agency or a tax professional
For every 12-month period that scholarship funding is provided, you commit to a "return of service" agreement, which means you will work in the BC Public Service for an additional 24 months beyond your scholarship year. For example, one scholarship year requires a two-year return of service commitment; two scholarship years require a three-year return of service commitment, provided you continue to work during your participation in the program. This binding agreement can only be completed while working in eligible organizations.
Sample of return of service commitment
|Scholarship years||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Return of Service||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
Your return of service repayment begins after you complete the first 12-month scholarship period, regardless of how much time you spend in studies during that period.
For example, if your scholarship year is September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017, your return of service repayment period would begin on September 1, 2017.
See Section 3 of your application form for your return of service commitment details.
Sample application information
|Intake||Scholarship Year||Return of Service Commitment|
The Scholarship Year is based on the intake period in which you apply. It is the same for everyone in that intake, regardless of when your courses begin or end. The first day of your Scholarship Year is the earliest date that your courses can begin.
The start of the return of service is the day after the end date of your Scholarship Year. The end of your return of service is calculated by adding two years to your Scholarship Year’s end date.
|State Date||End Date||Start Date||End Date|
|Jan 2017||April 1, 2017||March 31, 2018||April 1, 2018||March 31, 2020|
|May 2017||Sep 1, 2017||Aug 31, 2018||Sep 1, 2018||Aug 31, 2020|
|Oct 2017||Jan 1, 2018||Dec 31, 2018||Jan 1, 2019||Dec 31, 2020|
Time on leave (for example, parental leave) impacts your return of service. If you are a scholarship recipient on leave, you are not fulfilling your return of service commitment. Any leave time (exclusive of annual vacations) is added on to the total return of service owed. The return of service commitment is mandatory, regardless of whether you are on leave or continue to work while attending classes.
You received two years of scholarships for $5,000 each and took education leave of eight months during the second scholarship year. Your last scholarship's return of service plus the eight months on leave would mean your return of service would end eight months later than what was on your last scholarship application form.
Sample of return of service commitment after leave
|Intake||Scholarship Year||Return of Service||Length of Return of Service|
|May 2015||Sep 1, 2015 - Aug 31, 2016||Sep 1, 2016 - Aug 31, 2018||12 months|
|Time Spent on Leave During Return of Service||Sep 1, 2016 - May 31, 2017||
Nine months added to return of service
|May 2016||Sep 1, 2016 - Aug 31, 2017||Sep 1, 2017 - Aug 31, 2019||12 months|
|Projected Return of Service End Date||May 31, 2020|
If you have not completed your return of service but plan to leave the BC Public Service, you are required to inform your ministry Pacific Leaders contact and your supervisor of your return of service status. When you apply for and accept scholarship funds, you agree to repay on a pro-rated basis any funding that you received but did not repay through return of service at an eligible public service organization
You are awarded a $5,000 scholarship and are reimbursed for the full amount. You finish your scholarship year and begin a two-year return of service. Six months into your 24-month return of service you leave employment with the BC Public Service, with 18 months of return of service still outstanding. You are expected to repay $3,750, which is 75 percent of the $5,000 awarded, for the remaining return of service.
|Intake||Scholarship Year||Return of Service||Status of Return of Service|
|May 2014||Sep 1, 2014 - Aug 31, 2015||Sep 1, 2015 - Aug 31, 2017||Incomplete - approximately 18 months remain after leaving the BC Public Service on Feb 28, 2016|
- $5,000 divided by 24 months total return of service is approximately $208.33 per month, pro-rated
- $208.33 for each of the remaining 18 months of return of service amounts to $3,750 in repayment for outstanding return of service
You cannot postpone your return of service. This includes a situation where you resign to take care of a sick relative and plan to use the Bridging of Service to allow you to come back with full seniority within the six years allowed. Although you plan to return, you have tendered your resignation and will no longer be employed by the BC Public Service. As you have not completed your return of service commitment, you are obligated to repay the funds.
- Working part-time during your return of service does not affect the duration of your commitment. You can complete it by working either full- or part-time
- If you are on educational leave and take a co-op position with an eligible BC Public Service ministry/organization, that time counts toward your return of service
- There is no guarantee that you will have a work opportunity within your field of study for your return of service commitment but must still honour the commitment regardless
- If you are a scholarship applicant, recipient or in the return of service phase, you are required to ensure your potential new employer is fully aware of your status related to the scholarship program when the offer of employment is made
- If you are permanently hired by another ministry, the future financial responsibility for your scholarship shifts to the new ministry. Your new organization is also responsible for ensuring you complete your return of service obligation and may require copies of your previous applications and approval details
- Some organizations are not eligible or do not participate in the Pacific Leaders program. If you take a position in a non-eligible organization, you are required to repay funding on a pro-rated basis if the return of service commitment is incomplete, and you will be ineligible for future funding
- If you are considering a temporary assignment of any kind and you are a scholarship applicant, recipient or in the return of service phase, you must discuss your scholarship status in advance or risk losing your scholarship. Your base ministry remains responsible for reimbursements unless an alternative agreement can be mutually agreed upon by both organizations
- If you are in your return of service phase, it is your responsibility to ensure that your new employer is an eligible organization
- Email the Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants program before considering a change in position or employment status, if you have any questions about your continued eligibility
- Acceptance into the scholarship program does not entitle you to any time off or leave, such as educational leave
- Developmental training is defined by the corporate Learning & Development Policy as ‘voluntary’; approval for time off or leave is not an entitlement. Your ministry/organization has sole authority to approve any requests for leave or time off. Speak to your supervisor for further guidance
- If you apply for educational leave, a separate return-to-work agreement will be required. It is up to your organization to determine whether to consider your request for leave; this decision is not implied by an approval for the Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants program