OPE Policy and Rates
Whitman College OPE Policy and Rates
For the Fiscal Year July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024
Whitman College refers to the concept of other personnel expenses, or fringe benefits and taxes, as "OPE". OPE is only charged for College employees (faculty, staff, and students). OPE covers the costs of the College's contributions toward Social Security, Medicare, retirement, medical and dental insurance, worker’s compensation, tuition remission, unemployment, life insurance, disability, Washington State’s paid family and medical leave, and any other such payroll-related costs. The College pays OPE expenses from a central budget. These OPE costs are allocated from this central budget to individual budgets based on a percentage of salary and wage expenses in each individual budget. The Trustees approve the percentage or full rate of OPE which is designed to allocate the total expected costs for the year. There is certain compensation which may not be subject to all OPE expenses. If the preponderance of wages in any one budget are to some degree ineligible the College may make an adjustment from the full OPE rate when allocating costs to those salaries and wages. Because a mix of compensation may be paid within the same budget it is not possible to adjust to every permutation that may exist. The point of using such a rate is to reimburse the central OPE budget for the approximate total expected costs. These OPE rates will be calculated annually as part of the College’s budget preparation process.
Effective July 1, 2023 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024, there are three OPE rates as follows:
• Full OPE: 35.5% – This rate was approved by the Board of Trustees with the FY 2024 budget.
• Federal Grants Full OPE: 32.5% – This rate excludes the tuition remission benefit, which is unallowable to be charged to federal grants. This rate is applicable for employees who are being paid fully by external federal grant sources only all year round.
• Reduced OPE: 9% – This rate applies to: (1) students employed in the summer, (2) faculty and staff who receive salary/stipends funded by external grant sources only above and beyond their institutional base salary (for faculty this is typically the summer salary/stipends outside of the 9-month contract), and (3) studio music instructors.
OPE will not be charged for students employed during the academic year because Social Security and Medicare taxes do not apply for services performed by students employed by an institution who are also enrolled and regularly attending classes at that institution per the IRS [IRC Section 3121(b)(10)]. In addition, any salaries and wages that are funded from internal sources are not eligible for the Reduced OPE rate and will be charged at the Full OPE rate. If the employee is not eligible for either the Federal Grants Full OPE or the Reduced OPE rates as specified above, then they automatically will default to being charged the Full OPE rate.