The following step-by-step instructions demonstrate how to request a pre-approval for tuition expenses on the SF Employee Portal. For additional information about the City's tuition reimbursement policies and process, please refer to the Department of Human Resources (DHR) Online Tuition Reimbursement site

References & Additional Tuition Reimbursement Resources

Before you begin: Gather all supporting documents 

Include item price and circle/highlight/underline the event date and item price. 

a. Each union's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has different criteria for who and what is eligible for reimbursement. Review your union's MOU and the proposed eligible expenses.

b. If your request includes travel, please include the applicable documents: 

i. Hotel: The conference sponsored lodging rate or Federal Per Diem rate

ii. Airfare: One travel fare aggregator website (e.g., Expedia, Hotwire, Kayak, etc.) screenshot that includes at least one quote from San Francisco Bay Area direct to the conference/training location. Flight must be economy or coach class only. Upgrades are not reimbursable. Same day or near day tickets purchases are not reimbursable. Travel insurance is not a reimbursable expense. 

iii. Mileage: An online map with number of miles between worksite/home and conference/ training location (For example, to Sacramento, CA or Monterey, CA). Please note that mileage to Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and/or Seattle is reimbursable up to the price of an air fare quote.

If you have any questions about expense policies, please contact your department's Human Resources Representative. 

How to Request Pre-Approval for Tuition Expenses

Step 1) Log into the SF Employee Portal via the SF Employee Gateway:

Step 2) Under the Expense Authorizations section in the Employee Links tab, click Request Expense Authorization


Step 2) Your Disaster Service Worker (DSW) number will auto-populate in the Emp ID field. Click the Add button. 


Step 3) On the Create Expense Authorization page, select Tuition Reimbursement from the Business Purpose drop-down menu.

Please note, you must always select Tuition Reimbursement for expenses to be reimbursed by your union, even if not necessarily tuition. Examples include course registration, conferences, travel, and equipment, if applicable per your union's MOU

MEA Represented Employees: Please select Tuition Reimbursement for Equipment Requests and refer to the Municipal Executives' Association (MEA) Equipment Guidelines for additional information.


Step 4) Provide a short description of the expense in the Event Name field. 

MEA Represented Employees: Please enter laptop, iPad, tablet, or phone in the Event Name field, and refer to the Municipal Executives' Association (MEA) Equipment Guidelines for additional information.


Step 5) Click the magnifying glass next to the Default Location field to enter the location, beginning with the two letter state code, comma, city name (e.g. "CA, S" will display the following results). If you are unsure of the location or the training is online, you may enter CA, San Francisco. 



Step 6) Enter 6/30/24 in the Date From and Date To fields. The system will not allow dates in the past, but you may still be eligible for reimbursement, so please always enter 06/30/24 to allow time for review and approval (even if you already completed your class).

Please note that the system will create a separate line item for each day in your date range, so if you only have one expense to reimburse, you can enter the same date in the Date From and Date To fields. 

Step 7) Enter your four-digit job class, 3-letter department acronym in the Pre-Authorization # field (such as: 2320 DPH, 5201 DPW, 1822 PUC, 1404 HSA). For Department of Public Health (DPH) employees, please list DPH, LHH, or ZSFG. Confirm the Quick Start box shows “A Template” and click GO. 

Step 8) Choose the Expense Types for your Expense Authorization. If your expense authorization is for more than one day and you have the same expenses each day, click the checkbox in the All Days column next to the Expense Type. Otherwise, click the checkbox in the One Day column next to the Expense Type. Click the OK button once all expense types are chosen.


Note: Most employees will see two options under Expense Type: Airfare, which is for flights, and Other Reimbursement. Please select Other Reimbursement for non-airfare costs. 

MEA Represented Employees: you will see a third option under Expense Type titled Equipment. This option is only available for MEA employees for hand‐held electronic devices. 


Step 9) Enter a specific Description and Amount for each expense type line. The Projected Expenses section, including Accounting Details will be pre-populated based on your union, department, and the expense types chosen in the previous step. 


Step 10) Employees are required to provide supporting documentation that shows the cost/registration fee/item price (for example: a registration form, invoice, website screen shot, travel quote, etc.). Click Attachments link or one of the paperclip icons to attach the supporting documentation.


Step 11) Click the Add Attachment button.


Step 12) Click Choose File


Step 13) Select the supporting documentation file(s) on your computer. Click Open.


Step 14) Ensure the filename(s) are noted and click Upload.


Step 15) Employees have the option of adding a Description to the attachments.  Click the OK button when done. Repeat attachment steps 9 - 13 above for each expense line where supporting documentation is required.

Step 16) Click the Save for Later button to save the expense authorization and submit another time; or click Summary and Submit if you’re ready to submit the expense authorization now.

Step 17) Check the box to the left of the sentence, “By checking this box, I certify these costs are reasonable estimates and comply with expense policy.”

Step 18) Click Submit Expense Authorization.


Step 19) Take note of the Expense Authorization number to help track the approval status of your expense authorization(s).


Related Solutions: 

Additional Resources: 

Please submit an SF Employee Portal Support Request if you have any additional questions that are not already answered in the resources linked above.