CAPS Update

CAPS courses–courses run by the College of Advancing and Professional Studies–have long been a source of confusion and frustration. If you’ve ever taken a course online, over the weekend, or not during the normal Fall or Spring semesters, you’ve probably been in a CAPS course–and been confused about the costs and how it interacts with your tuition waivers.

CAPS had its own policy for waivers that UMass used to try to bypass our collective bargaining agreement. Instead of applying normal tuition waivers, CAPS policy was to only give full-time employees a 50% waiver; all others received a 25% waiver.

But now, finally, CAPS will use the normal graduate assistant tuition waivers! GEO has been in meetings with management since 2015 to normalize this process. Back in March of this year we finally had enough and threatened to take the school to arbitration court. After a long fight, the University finally recognized that tuition is tuition! We’ve won!

For any CAPS course that is part of your degree, and has no on-campus alternative that the student could take, the waiver will now look like the normal tuition waiver.

Graduate assistants can now expect to see those CAPS tuition fees waived at the same percentage as any other course. CAPS courses do have a different price, so if you have questions, come see us for more information–but no matter what your FTE status, CAPS courses have become cheaper under the current system than they’ve been in the past. A lot of members in the GEO bargaining unit will benefit from this immediately and in the future. 

The agreement we worked out with the university only applies for courses that occur during the regular Fall and Spring semesters; we’ll be going back to the table and trying to negotiate an even stronger deal come bargaining. We’ll need your support! 

If you have any questions about this–or aren’t sure if you’re one of the students, get in touch with us! And if you have any other questions, email us at 

Thanks so much for your support!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: