Revised: April 7, 2006

I. Background

The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is empowered to establish special course fees under the provisions of s. 36.27(1), Wis. Stats. This policy outlines procedures for establishing and approving special course fees for credit courses.

II. Policy

Institutions may assess special course fees to pay for certain instructional costs that are not covered by the institution’s regular instructional budget. Special course fees may be used for a variety of purposes, as deemed necessary by the institution, for the delivery of a credit course. Some examples of purposes for which institutions may charge special course fees include the cost of transportation and admission on field trips; materials for projects that result in tangible products retained by students; and private lessons provided to non-music majors.

Special course fees shall be used solely for approved purposes and in support of the courses for which the fees were assessed. Institutions must strive to provide all students in a course who are charged a special course fee with a reasonable opportunity to benefit equally from the fee.

Institutions may not use special course fees as a substitute for obtaining adequate regular budget support for a course. Institutions are prohibited from charging special course fees for costs that should reasonably be covered by the institution’s regular instructional budget. Examples of prohibited uses are included in the Appendix.

University students sometimes incur personal expenses by directly purchasing required, recommended, and optional instructional materials in support of their educational experience. These personal or incidental expenses do not typically require approval as a special course fee unless the institution collects fees from students to facilitate payment for goods and services needed for a course. Some examples of personal expenses include: textbooks and course supplies purchased from the university bookstore; food, lodging, and incidentals on field trips; and transportation to sites for student teaching and clinical assignments.

III. Procedures

The following are procedures for assessing a special course fee:

A. Approval and Notification

The Chancellor or his or her designee(s) must approve all special course fees and must document and maintain records of that approval. Each institution should develop a standard approval process. Institutions shall notify students of all approved special course fees in the university catalog/bulletin and/or timetable/class schedule prior to registration.

B. Fee Collection

Institutions shall bill students for all approved special course fees through the university billing process. Institutions are prohibited from collecting special course fees in the classroom, and faculty or instructors may not collect fees from students.

C. Fee Expenditures

Institutions may use special course fee funds only for the purposes for which they were intended. Institutions that accumulate cash balances from special course fees shall adjust future special course fees to eliminate the balances.

D. Accountability

Institutions shall establish appropriate procedures and records to account for special course fee revenues and expenditures. Institutions must audit special course fees on a regular basis.