Case Western Reserve has joined a consortium of more than 600 colleges and universities that provide tuition assistance to dependents of individuals who work at participating schools.

Campus families with children planning to attend college—particularly those who would enroll in 2013—are encouraged to attend an information session about the program this Thursday, Dec. 20, from 8:45 to 9:30 a.m. in Nord Hall 310. Representatives from the offices of enrollment management and human resources will provide details regarding eligibility, scholarship amounts and other elements of the program—with a particular focus on those considering undergraduate options for this fall.

“High school seniors who applied early are receiving responses now,” President Barbara R. Snyder said, “and most deadlines for regular admissions arrive within a few weeks. We wanted to get out the word about this new option as soon as it was finalized.”

The consortium the university joined is called The Tuition Exchange, which involves more than 600 colleges and universities. Participating institutions range from Boston University to the University of Southern California, Syracuse to Pitt, and Pepperdine to the Florida Institute of Technology. In some instances, the assistance provided would cover full tuition, while in others parents would have to fund part of the cost. Meanwhile, this approach allows Case Western Reserve to increase options offered without bearing an untenable expense.

Case Western Reserve is exploring the option through a four-year pilot program. University leaders will assess the initiative throughout to determine its appeal to members of the university community as well as its financial impact. The goal and expectation is that the program will be budget neutral.

“As an institution of higher learning, we are dedicated to supporting efforts to advance education—especially within our own community,” Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack said. “As we researched this initiative, we found it answered that commitment in a manner that allowed us to maintain fealty to our core campus missions.”

The Faculty Senate’s Committee on Faculty Compensation played a key role in advancing the initiative, the president and provost explained, noting in particular the efforts of committee member Sean McDonnell, the university’s men’s varsity basketball coach. Also playing a prominent role was the Staff Advisory Council.

Administrators will provide more comprehensive information about the program in The Daily and on the human resources website early in 2013. Given the timing of the college admissions cycle, however, leaders wanted to notify families of the new option as soon as possible. Those who cannot attend Thursday’s session but would like more information should contact benefits@case.edu.