Affordable Care Act Procedures for Lecturers, 1500 Series Student Faculty Employees and True Fellowships and Stipends


Under the employer shared responsibility provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), 26 U.S.C.A § 4980H, the university must offer medical benefits that provide minimum essential coverage to its "full-time" employees or be liable for a significant yearly tax. A "full-time employee" is defined as a common law employee who is employed on an average of at least 30 hours per week. There is no effect on employees who, by their job classifications, are currently eligible for medical benefits. However, the ACA now requires that we review those employees who are currently ruled ineligible to determine which of those employees would now be eligible for coverage under the ACA's definition of full time employee.

When determining which employees are full time, the final regulations allow employers to use different measurement methods for different classes of employees, including salaried and hourly employees. 26 CFR 54.49880H-3(e); 26 CFR 54.4980H-3(d)(v). The university will use the monthly measurement method for employees with only salary appointments (Salaried Employees), and the look-back measurement method for hourly employees and hourly employees who also have a salary appointment (Hourly Employees).

Types of Employees and Recommended Measurement Methods

1. Lecturers have temporary, salary-only appointments, based on the credit hours assigned for a particular term. We recommend that UCCS follow System guidance and impute three (3) hours of service for each credit hour assigned/taught. These three hours of service will represent the total hours of instruction, preparation, and any required office hours and meetings for each credit hour assigned/taught.

Example of Calculation:

1 credit hour = 3 hours worked

3 hours worked/40 hours in a work week * 100 = 7.5% time per credit hour

7.5% time per credit hour * 3 credit hours = 22.5% time

For this example 22.5% time will be entered as the percent of time in HRMS.

Beginning June 1, 2015, Employee Services will conduct a monthly check to add the percent of time for all credit hours assigned/taught.

Employees may go in and out of coverage depending on the nature of their appointments.

2. For Hourly Employees, including student hourly employees who are not reasonably expected to be full-time employees (variable hour employees), the University will use the look-back measurement method (26CFR 54.4980H-3(d)). Under this method, if an employee works an average of 30 hours per week over a standard-measurement period (look-back period), he/she will be eligible for university medical benefits during a subsequent stability period. The stability period is a period of time immediately following the look-back period which is at least the length of the look-back period (26 CFR 54.4980H-1(a)(45)). The University of Colorado has chosen 12 months as its look-back period and stability period. If an employee worked on average at least 30 hours per week during the previous 12 month period, the university must offer the employee medical benefits during the subsequent 12 month stability period, regardless of the employee's actual number of hours worked during the stability period.

While student employees are, in general, treated as regular employees when determining full time status, the final ACA regulations exclude any hours of service performed by students in positions subsidized through the federal work study program or a substantially similar state program.

3. Student Faculty (1500 series employees) are those students who are hired by the university to perform services such as classroom or laboratory instruction, supervision or research assignments within an academic department, or who perform administrative functions within the university, such as counselors in the residence halls or student employment office. Wherever possible, students should be paid on an hourly basis. We will review all requests for positions paid monthly to evaluate if monthly or hourly payment best fits. However, if these positions are reimbursed for services through a tuition waiver and/or stipend, we require that these employees be issued a Student Statement of Employment reflecting the FTE equivalent of the combined stipend and tuition waiver (see the Student Statement of Employment on the HR Forms page).

Monthly salaried student positions include the following:

Graduate Assistants (Job Code 1502); Graduate Part-time Instructors (Job Code 1503); Research Assistants (Job Code 1505); Teaching Assistants (Job Code 1506); Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (Job Code 1507); and Undergraduate Non-Teaching Assistants (Job Code 1508).

Hours Imputed per Week
Tuition Waiver
Imputed Percentage of Time (FTE)
3 credit hours
15% (.15 FTE)
4 credit hours
20% (.20 FTE)
5 credit hours
25% (.25 FTE)
6 credit hours
30% (.30 FTE)
7 credit hours
35% (.35 FTE)
8 credit hours
40% (.40 FTE)
9-18 credit hours
45-50% (.45 - .50 FTE)

NOTE: Appointment percentages that fall between listed percentiles will always carry the tuition credit associated with the lower number. For example, a 38% appointment would carry a tuition credit of 7 credit hours.

If a stipend is granted, either alone or along with a tuition waiver, a similar computation would need to be applied, with the full FTE/Appointment Percentage included in the Student Statement of Employment. The computation of FTE for the stipend shall be completed by the appointing department.

Please Note: Graduate Readers (Job Code 1504) are paid on an hourly basis only.

4. Fellowship Job Codes (3200 Series): Job codes in the Fellowship job code series are entered into HRMS for the sole purpose of paying training grants awarded as stipends. The payments allow students to continue their education and no service to the university is expected; therefore students receiving Fellowships do not qualify as employees under the common law definition of employee. No salary is imputed, and no taxes or deductions are taken. We recommend that appropriate documentation of the fellowship, signed by both the university and the student, outline the terms and specifically reference the fact that no service is expected for payment of the stipend.