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.

Learn about leaves, changing ministries, and leaving the public service.


Eligible Expenses

  • Tuition and required books (including e-books) are the only expenses eligible for scholarship reimbursement.
  • Your scholarship doesn't 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 won't "top up" applications beyond the prescribed level of funding in order to ensure consistency across the BC Public Service so that more people can benefit from the program.
  • You can take any number of courses in your approved program within the 12 month scholarship period, but the maximum reimbursement for this period doesn't change.
  • Any unused portion of the scholarship at the end of the scholarship year doesn't carry over to future years.
  • If you have to repay money for any reason, you're responsible for contacting your ministry immediately to arrange repayment.

More Information on Reimbursements

  • Transfer evaluation costs, prerequisite coursework (including CPA-PREP) and PLAR aren't eligible for reimbursement.
  • Preparatory exams courses are only covered if they're a mandatory part of your approved program curriculum.
  • Master’s or graduate diploma or certificate programs are funded at the $5,000 level. To qualify for the $7,500 level of funding, you must be enrolled in a doctorate (PhD) or post-graduate degree program (Master's/Juris Doctorate/LLM), or the Chartered Professional Accountant Professional Education Program (CPA-PEP).
  • You're eligible for reimbursement if you challenge a course for credit as long as you pay tuition, not an exam fee.

Reimbursement Process

  • 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. Receipts must be received no later than the last day of your scholarship year or they will be ineligible for reimbursement.
  • Submit your receipts directly to your ministry, as your organization is responsible for reimbursing your tuition and books. Contact your 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 outdated, and your organization hasn't provided you with updated information, email Pacific Leaders Scholarships for Public Servants for further information.

Rules for Taxes

  • The Pacific Leaders Scholarship doesn't affect your taxes because it's 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're eligible.
  • A tax receipt won't 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 won't be included on your B.C. Government employment T4.
  • If you've received an additional T4 or T4A from your ministry, don't 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.

Return of Service

For every 12 month period that scholarship funding is provided, you commit to a "return of service" agreement, which means you'll 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, whereas two scholarship years requires 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 N/A N/A
Return of Service N/A 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's 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 Mar. 31, 2018 April 1, 2018 Mar. 31, 2020
May 2017 Sept. 1, 2017 Aug. 31, 2018 Sept. 1, 2018 Aug. 31, 2020
Sept. 2017 Jan. 1, 2018 Dec. 31, 2018 Jan. 1, 2019 Dec. 31, 2020

How Leave Affects Return of Service

Time on leave (for example, parental leave) impacts your return of service. If you're a scholarship recipient on leave, you're 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're 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 Sept. 1, 2015 - Aug. 31, 2016 Sept. 1, 2016 - Aug. 31, 2018 12 months
Time Spent on Leave During Return of Service Sept. 1, 2016 - May 31, 2017

Nine months added to return of service

May 2016 Sept. 1, 2016 - Aug. 31, 2017 Sept. 1, 2017 - Aug. 31, 2019 12 months
N/A Projected Return of Service End Date May 31, 2020

Leaving the Public Service & Impact on Return of Service

If you haven't completed your return of service, but plan to leave the BC Public Service, you're 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 didn't repay through return of service at an eligible public service organization.


You're 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're 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 Sept. 1, 2014 - Aug. 31, 2015 Sept. 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 can't 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've tendered your resignation and will no longer be employed by the BC Public Service. As you haven't completed your return of service commitment, you're obligated to repay the funds.

Other Information

  • Working part-time during your return of service doesn't affect the duration of your commitment. You can complete it by working either full or part-time.
  • If you're 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'll have a work opportunity within your field of study for your return of service commitment, but you must still honour the commitment regardless.

Changing Ministries

  • If you're a scholarship applicant, recipient, or in the return of service phase, you're 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're 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 aren't eligible or don't participate in the Pacific Leaders program. If you take a position in a non-eligible organization, you're required to repay funding on a pro-rated basis if the return of service commitment is incomplete, and you'll be ineligible for future funding.
  • If you're considering a temporary assignment of any kind and you're 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're in your return of service phase, it's 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.


Scholarship approval doesn't imply entitlement or approval for time off or leave. If you wish to apply for educational leave, discuss with your supervisor. Your ministry or organization has sole authority over all leave requests. The Pacific Leaders Scholarship program has no authority over requests for leave or time off and is unable to assist with your educational leave request.

Find out about educational leave.

The scholarship is considered to be developmental training and is defined by the Learning & Development policy as "voluntary."