Original Issuance Date: February 1, 1993
Last Revision Date: December 19, 2016

1. Policy Purpose

This policy outlines statutory, Board of Regents, and administrative policy provisions with respect to the payment and refund of fees and a variety of specialized fee assessment issues.

2. Responsible UW System Officer

Vice President for Finance

3. Scope

This policy applies to the setting of tuition and fees at all UW System institutions.

4. Background

Academic student fees and tuition for credit instruction are set by the Board of Regents in adopting the annual operating budget, except that the Board of Regents has delegated to the President the authority to approve special service-based pricing for some programs, and UW System institutions are authorized to establish pricing for distance education and certain other programs on a cost recovery basis as described below. Separate per-credit fee levels are established by student level and resident status and, in some cases, by program. The tuition and fee structure adopted by the Board of Regents typically includes a credit plateau within which there is no charge for additional credits. The Board of Regents has approved an alternative per credit fee structure for UW-Stout that does not include a credit plateau. The current fee schedule may be found at https://www.wisconsin.edu/budget-planning/tuition/.

5. Definitions

Fee remission: Tuition revenue foregone as the result of a fee waiver granted to an individual student. For purposes of this policy, the term “fee remission” does not apply to situations where a waiver is granted to the student because the tuition is being paid by a third party.

Non-traditional student: Non-traditional students include students at the graduate/professional level age 30 and older, undergraduate students age 25 and older at the doctoral and comprehensive universities, and undergraduates age 22 and older at the UW Colleges.

Student: Anyone who has ever been admitted to or enrolled at a UW System institution, whether or not the person ever attended or is currently enrolled.

Tuition:  Includes both academic student fees and nonresident tuition. In the State of Wisconsin statutes, the term “academic student fees” generally applies to resident instructional fees paid by all students, and the term “tuition” applies to the additional amount paid by nonresidents.

6. Policy Statement

All students attending UW System institutions are required to pay tuition unless exempt through a fee remission or under the senior audit policy. Tuition is to be assessed at the Regent approved rates in all cases, except where the Board has delegated tuition setting authority to the President or to chancellors. Specific policy provisions are outlined as follows:

Exceptions to any of the stated provisions due to extraordinary circumstances can be made only by the chancellor or the chancellor’s designee(s). Any delegation of authority should be in writing and maintained in the designees’ offices. Documentation justifying exceptions should be maintained. Blanket exceptions are not authorized.

A. Fee Assessment Issues

This section establishes UW System policy for determining student level and resident status, the criteria and process for setting service-based pricing, and addresses a number of specialized fee assessment issues.

A.1 Resident vs. Nonresident

The assessment of resident versus nonresident tuition is based upon s. 36.27(2), Wis. Stats. Nonresidents under the statutes shall pay the nonresident rate, with the exception of residents of the state of Minnesota who are certified to pay the Minnesota reciprocity tuition rate and residents of Menominee County, Michigan, enrolled at UW-Marinette County. There are reciprocal agreements for residents of Iron County, Wisconsin, enrolled at Gogebic Community College, and residents of Marinette County, Wisconsin, enrolled at Bay de Noc Community College.

The UW System has also created additional non-resident rates that are available at certain UW System institutions including Return to Wisconsin, the Midwest Student Exchange Program and the UW-Platteville Tri-State Initiative. The Board of Regents annually approves these rates for the Return to Wisconsin and the Midwest Student Exchange Program. The Board of Regents has delegated authority to approve rates for the UW-Platteville Tri-State Initiative to the chancellor within parameters established by the Board.

A.2 Graduate vs. Undergraduate Level

The assessment of undergraduate tuition versus graduate tuition should be based upon the level of enrollment, i.e., a student enrolled as a graduate student taking some undergraduate courses shall be assessed graduate level fees for all credits.

Conversely, an undergraduate student taking a graduate level course shall be assessed undergraduate level fees for all credits, as long as the graduate level course is not later used toward a graduate degree. If these graduate courses are later used toward a graduate degree, the student may be assessed the fee differential at that time. At its option, an institution may elect to assess tuition based upon the level of credit for which the student is enrolled.

A.3 Zero Credit Courses

Non-remedial courses offered for zero credits shall be treated for fee purposes as if they carry one credit. Exceptions to this provision may be made by the chancellor. This excludes noncredit workshops and seminars.

A.4 Excess Credits Surcharge

All resident undergraduate students who have accumulated 165 credits (or 30 credits more than required by their degree programs, whichever is greater) will be assessed a surcharge, equal to 100 percent of the regular resident tuition, on credits beyond that level. Implementation rules for this policy are contained in the final report of the Excess Credits Policy Implementation Group.

A.5 Special Instructional Fees

Special instructional fees are additional fees approved by the Board of Regents. These fees shall be assessed on a per-credit basis until full-time status has been achieved. Full-time status is defined as eight graduate credits at Doctoral institutions, nine graduate credits at Comprehensive institutions, and 12 credits for all undergraduate special fees. Refunds should follow the normal refund policy and schedule.

Special instructional fees are deposited to the specified Shared Financial System account codes. The current special instructional fees are as follows:

  • Master’s in Business
  • Law School improvement and library fee for UW-Madison
  • Library acquisitions fee assessed to nonresident undergraduates enrolled in the doctoral universities
  • Undergraduate education improvement fee assessed to nonresident undergraduates enrolled in UW-Madison

Minnesota reciprocity students shall pay the Minnesota Reciprocity fee when the Minnesota Reciprocity fee exceeds the resident rate including the special fee. If the resident tuition including the special fee exceeds the Minnesota Reciprocity fee then the per-credit instructional fees shall be assessed to Minnesota Residents in a manner that results in the Minnesota student paying the same total fee as Wisconsin Residents.

A.6 Differential Tuition Program

The Board of Regents must approve any differential tuition rates, whether on an institution-wide or a program specific basis. Differential tuitions that have been approved by the Board of Regents are incorporated in the Regent-approved tuition schedule that is adopted with each annual budget and thus are not an exception to the general rule that Regent-approved rates be charged. For further information, see the Differential Tuition Process Timeline; Institution-wide Differential Tuition; and Program-Specific Differential Tuition. See Regent Policy Document 32-7, Student Involvement in Differential Tuition Initiatives.

A.7 Service Based Pricing

The Board of Regents has delegated authority to the President of the UW System to approve service-based pricing for graduate or non-traditional programs that are designed primarily for adults, provided specified criteria are met. See Service-Based Pricing Guidelines.

A.8 Distance Education Fees

The Board of Regents has delegated authority to the UW System institutions to set distance education fees using a common methodology. UW System Administration will report annually to the Board of Regents on distance education pricing activities. See Appendix C of UW System Administrative Policy 130, Programming for the Non-Traditional Market in the UW System, for principles for pricing distance education credit courses, degree and certification programs.

A.9 Remedial Course Fees

In accordance with Regent Policy Document 4-8, Remedial Education Policy, remedial education courses shall be offered on a fee recovery basis. Remedial education shall be operated out of Fund 136. If a student is taking both remedial and regular credits, Fund 131 and Fund 136 shall share proportionately in the fee revenue based upon the number of credits (pro rata basis). A part-time student will pay the remedial rate times the number of remedial credits plus the per credit rate times the number of regular credits. The maximum charge for a student taking both remedial and regular credits is the full-time rate up to the plateau. Segregated fees shall be assessed on a per credit basis, including remedial credits if a student is less than full-time. In accordance with Regent Policy Document 4-8, each institution shall determine the appropriate credit load for its remedial education students.

A.10 Inter-term Sessions

Inter-term sessions between the fall and spring semesters will be treated as separate sessions for tuition and fee assessment. The normal tuition and segregated fee schedule shall apply. Credits taken during these sessions shall not be combined with an academic semester to determine a student’s full-time status. Note: This provision does not apply to the academic calendar offered by UW-Oshkosh.

A.11 Special Students

Special students are defined to be non-degree-seeking students. Special students shall be assessed tuition and segregated fees according to the primary level of course work for which they are enrolled. Because of the diverse nature of “special students” in the UW System, institutional discretion should be exercised in determining the appropriate student level for assessment of tuition and segregated fees consistent with the general policy.

A.12 Dissertators

Ph.D. candidates who have completed the residency course credit and minor requirements and passed the preliminary examination must maintain continuous academic year registration by paying a three-credit dissertator fee each semester. If a doctoral candidate does not maintain continuous enrollment (three graduate credits per semester), the candidate is assessed a completion fee equal to twelve times the current per-credit dissertator rate. This fee is assessed at the time of dissertation submission. The completion fee is based on the resident and nonresident status that the candidate had at the last term of enrollment. If the candidate breaks enrollment and then reenters, enrolling for less than four continuous terms (12 credits) before completion, the candidate must pay the fee minus all continuous credits paid since the time of reentry. If enrollment is broken, but the candidate reenters and enrolls for at least four continuous semesters (three graduate credits per semester), a completion fee is not assessed. This applies to UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee only.

A.13 Correctional Institutions

Individuals incarcerated in correctional institutions of, or in, the State of Wisconsin or those on parole or probation who are enrolled in credit courses shall be assessed resident tuition, the appropriate segregated fee for services available, and a special course fee to recover additional costs of instruction.

Individuals incarcerated in federal correctional institutions or parolees shall be assessed all applicable tuition and segregated fees. Nonresident tuition remissions may be granted where financial need is demonstrated.

A.14 Audit Policy

In accordance with Regent Policy Document 4-10, the academic fee charge for individuals who register for only noncredit, audit-type attendance of credit classes shall be:

Wisconsin Residents under age 60 30% of the normal per credit academic fee
Wisconsin Residents age 60 or older (as of first day of classes) Normal per credit academic fee waived
Minnesota Reciprocity 30% of the normal per credit Minnesota Reciprocity fee
Nonresidents 50% of the normal per credit academic fee

Audit fees shall not be charged to any disabled Wisconsin resident who is receiving disability insurance benefits under either the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. However, all auditors, including disabled Wisconsin residents and those age 60 or older, shall be assessed any special cost-based course fees that are separately itemized (i.e., not included in academic student fees) and charged to other course participants.

Each institution may determine whether to extend the option to auditors to pay or not pay segregated fees (depending on whether the individual wants access to segregated fee funded services). If segregated fees are not paid, access for individuals who are auditors-only is limited to the library and non-segregated fee funded activities of the student union. No additional fee shall be charged for such access.

Students shall pay the normal per-credit tuition for audit credits until the degree and audit credits equal the plateau where academic fees are level, except that no academic fee shall be assessed Wisconsin residents age 60 or older for audit-only credits. When the combination of degree and audit credits exceeds the full-time fee credit plateau, additional fees shall be assessed, except that no academic fee shall be assessed Wisconsin residents age 60 or older for audit-only credits.

Chancellors may waive the nonresident portion of the per-credit charge for nonresidents.

A.15 Multiple Campus Enrollments

Frequently, students enroll at more than one UW System institution during the same session.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students, including Minnesota reciprocity students, who enroll for more than 18 credits shall be assessed the per-credit fee for all credits beyond 18, excluding any differential rates the institution may have. Credits taken by students enrolled at more than one UW System institution shall be combined in order to determine their tuition assessment. It is the student’s responsibility to present evidence of certification of enrollment, including fees assessed and credits being taken.

If the undergraduate credit plateau (12 through 18 credits) is achieved at the first institution, no additional tuition will be assessed by the second institution unless the total credits exceed 18 credits. When the credit plateau is not achieved at the first institution, the second will charge the per-credit rate until the credit plateau is reached. At no time will the credit plateau assessment be less than the lowest nor more than the highest credit plateau rate of the institutions involved. The first institution shall be generally defined as the one enrolled in for a degree.

An appropriate segregated fee shall be assessed by each campus. Refunds should be calculated in consultation with each institution. Refunds may not exceed amounts paid.

Graduate Students

Credits taken by graduate students enrolled at more than one UW System institution shall be combined in order to determine their full-time status and tuition and segregated fee assessment. It is the student’s responsibility to present evidence of certification of enrollment, including fees assessed and credits being taken. If full-time status (eight credits, doctoral cluster; nine credits, university cluster) is achieved at the first institution, no additional fees will be assessed by the second institution. When full-time status is not achieved at the first institution, the second will charge the per-credit rate until the full-time plateau is reached. At no time will the full-time rate be less than the lowest nor more than the highest full-time rate of the institutions involved. The first institution shall be generally defined as the one enrolled in for a degree.

An appropriate segregated fee shall be assessed by each campus. Refunds should be calculated in consultation with each institution. Refunds may not exceed amounts paid.

A.16 Extension Credit Programs

Credits for courses taken through any campus and sponsored by UW-Extension, which have been approved as part of the student’s degree program, shall be combined with the campus credits when determining tuition and segregated fee assessments. The tuition and fee schedule to be used when assessing extension fees for degree credit instruction shall be the same as those applicable to the campus. Extension fees shall be prorated based upon the number of credits when a student is taking a combination of Extension and campus courses.

A.17 Extension Independent Study

Institutions must reimburse UW-Extension for the Independent Study of full-time students on a pro rata basis, based upon the number of credits taken. Part-time students shall pay UW-Extension and the campus separately.

A.18 Extended Degree Program

An annual contract under the Extended Degree Program (offered at UW-Green Bay, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, and UW-Superior) is considered a separate academic term. An Extended Degree student who enrolls for more than 18 credits shall be assessed the per credit fee for all credits beyond 18. An Extended Degree student who registers for campus credits in addition to those contracted through Extended Degree is to be assessed fees for those campus credits based upon the approved academic fee schedule.

A.19 Application Fees

Under s. 36.11 (3)(d), Wis. Stats., each institution is permitted to assess a uniform application fee for each of the following group of applicants. The institution must receive approval from the Board of Regents in order to change its application fees for these groups of applicants.

  • Undergraduate applicants
  • Graduate school applicants
  • Law school applicants
  • Medical school applicants

A.20 Admission Deposits

An admission deposit, which is refundable until May 1 for admission in the fall semester and November 15 for admission in the spring semester, may be assessed to all applicants that have been accepted for admission. This deposit shall not exceed $200 for undergraduate admission nor $500 for graduate/professional programs at institutions that assess an admissions deposit. The deposit is not required to file an application, but would be required to confirm an accepted application. The deposit shall be applied to the fees for the semester of admission.

If the applicant fails to attend the institution and does not request a refund of the deposit by the stated deadlines, 50% of the admission deposit will be deposited to an institution’s Fund 128 account. The remainder will be retained in the Academic Fee Appropriation (Fund 131).

A.21 Late Registration Fees

At the institution’s option, a late registration fee not to exceed $50.00 may be assessed. Late registration is defined by the institution. Late registration fees shall be deposited to the institution’s Fund 128 account.

A.22 Post Secondary Enrollment Options

High school students enrolled at UW System institutions for high school credit shall have their fees paid by the school district. In the event the student is also taking courses for college credit, the courses taken for high school credit shall be treated as the first enrolled in for the purposes of determining fees to be paid by the student. See UW System Administrative Policy 185, College Credit in High Schools, related to the offering of college credit courses in Wisconsin high schools by university-authorized high school faculty.

A.23 Advance Registration Fee.

Institutions which require an advanced registration fee shall comply with subsection C.4 of this policy when determining the refundable portion of the advanced registration fee due a student that does not complete the registration process or withdraws after registering.

A.24 Student Segregated Fees

Segregated fees may be waived for students enrolled exclusively in courses held off campus. See UW System Administrative Policy 820 (SYS 820), Segregated University Fees, for other policy provisions related to segregated university fees.

A.25 Continuing Education Credit Instruction for Teachers

This provision applies to continuing education credit instruction for teachers at a school district or Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) location. In these cases, teachers enrolled in the course(s) will be assessed the resident tuition rate of the participating UW System institution, minus the value of the facilities and other related services provided by the school district or CESA. The net tuition retained by the UW System institution must be at least 50% of the gross tuition charge. Institutions should maintain records of how the net tuition was calculated.

B. Fee Waivers and Remissions

All students attending the University of Wisconsin System are required to pay tuition unless exempt through one of the fee remission programs described in this policy. Fees waived under the programs described below represent revenue foregone, which is typically recovered through generalized fee increases. Note that this policy places no restrictions on fee waivers granted where the tuition payment is made by a third party rather than by the student directly.

B.1 Resident Tuition Remission and Fee Waiver Programs

Except as provided by statute, only the nonresident tuition and special course fees may be waived as a fee remission. Academic student fees (i.e., the resident portion of tuition) may or must be waived under the following programs:

VeteransSection 36.27(3p), Wis. Stats., requires that academic student fees and segregated fees be waived for certain veterans. See the UW System’s Wisconsin G.I. Bill Frequently Asked Questions for information regarding this program. In determining veteran status for purposes of this waiver, s. 36.27 (3p)(a)1r, Wis. Stats., establishes what criteria must be met. 36.27(3n)(am) 36.27(3n)(b)

Spouse, surviving spouse, and children of certain veterans Section 36.27(3n), Wis. Stats., requires that academic student fees and segregated fees be waived for the spouse, surviving spouse, and the children of certain deceased and disabled veterans who were residents of the state at the time of their entry into the U.S. armed forces. See the UW System’s Wisconsin G.I. Bill Frequently Asked Questions for information regarding this program.

Graduate Assistants – Under s. 36.27(3)(g), Wis. Stats., both resident and nonresident tuition remissions shall be granted, in whole or part, to graduate students who are fellows or who are employed within the System as faculty, instructional academic staff, or assistants with an appointment equal to at least 33% of a full-time equivalent position. Under Regent Policy Document 32-6, Delegation of Authority to Establish Graduate Resident Tuition Remissions, the board delegated authority to establish remissions for graduate assistants with an appointment equal to at least 33% of a full time equivalent to chancellors.

Academic Excellence Waivers – Under s. 39.41, Wis. Stats., the amount of the Academic Excellence Scholarship is limited to $2,250 per recipient per academic year, of which the Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) is responsible for half and the UW institution is responsible for half. Students are responsible for tuition and fees in excess of $2,250, but are eligible for other forms of financial assistance for which they qualify based on criteria other than their being an Academic Excellence Scholar recipient. For ease of administration, each institution will waive academic fees for each eligible Academic Excellence Scholar to a maximum of $2,250 per academic year. Each institution shall deposit the funds paid by HEAB and an institutional cash match equal to the amount expended for the Academic Excellence program in 1991-92 into Fund 131. Remissions should be reported net of the HEAB and institutional cash payments on the year-end remissions report.

Athletic Scholarships – Under s. 36.27(3)(f), Wis. Stats., both resident and nonresident tuition fee remissions may be granted as athletic scholarships up to the maximum number allowed by the appropriate athletic conference.

Children and Surviving Spouses of Certain Public Service Workers – Under s. 36.27(3m), Wis. Stats., full remission of resident undergraduate tuition shall be granted to the surviving spouse or child of an ambulance driver, correctional officer, firefighter, emergency medical services technician, or law enforcement officer who was killed in the line of duty in this state.

Music Clinic – Under a program initially established by the Board of Regents in June 1937, resident tuition may be waived for up to ten new music students each year at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.

Funeral AssistantsSection 36.27(3r), Wis. Stats., provides that a $25 remission of nonresident tuition or academic fees shall be granted to any student enrolled in the system as an undergraduate for each valid voucher issued to the student under s. 45.60(3), Wis. Stats..

B.2 Nonresident Tuition Remission, Reciprocity, and Interstate Programs

The following nonresident remission programs are established under various State of Wisconsin statutes and federal mandates.

Merit – Under s. 36.27(3)(a), Wis. Stats., remissions of nonresident tuition may be granted upon the basis of merit, to be shown by suitable tests, examinations, or scholastic records and continued high standards of scholastic attainment.

Deserving of Relief – Under s. 36.27(3)(b), Wis. Stats., remissions of nonresident tuition may be granted to additional individual students who are deserving of relief from the assessment of nonresident tuition.

Athletic Scholarships – Under s. 36.27(3)(f), Wis. Stats., the board may, as athletic scholarships, grant full remission of nonresident tuition and resident fees, up to the maximum number allowed by the appropriate athletic conference as recommended by the chancellor of each university.

Graduate Assistants – Under s. 36.27(3)(g), Wis. Stats., the board may remit nonresident tuition (and resident academic student fees), in whole or part, to graduate students who are fellows or who are employed within the System as faculty, instructional academic staff, or assistants with an appointment equal to at least 33% of a full-time equivalent position. Under Regent Policy Document 32-6, Delegation of Authority to Establish Graduate Resident Tuition Remissions, the board delegated authority to establish remissions for graduate assistants with an appointment equal to at least 33% of a full time equivalent to chancellors.

Tuition Award ProgramSection 36.27(4), Wis. Stats., provides for an exemption from nonresident tuition, but not incidental or other fees, for up to 300 students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside as juniors or seniors in programs identified by that institution as having surplus capacity, and up to 225 students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Superior in programs identified by that institution as having surplus capacity.

Armed Forces Personnel – Under s. 36.27(2)(b), Wis. Stats., nonresident members of the armed forces and persons engaged in alternative service who are stationed in this state on active duty, and their spouses and children, are entitled to an exemption from nonresident tuition.

Minnesota Reciprocity – Under s. 39.47, Wis. Stats., the Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) negotiates a reciprocity agreement with the State of Minnesota. Minnesota students attending a UW System institution are charged the higher of the UW institution resident tuition rate or the University of Minnesota equivalent institution resident tuition rate. The comparable institution is determined by the reciprocity agreement negotiated by HEAB.  If the Minnesota resident tuition rate is higher than the Wisconsin resident tuition rate, the amount by which this exceeds the applicable tuition for Wisconsin residents is to be recorded in Fund 100 as GPR earned.

Interstate Compacts – Residents of Menominee County, Michigan enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Marinette County are exempt from nonresident tuition. There are reciprocal agreements for residents of Iron County, Wisconsin enrolled at Gogebic Community College and residents of Marinette County, Wisconsin enrolled at Bay de Noc Community College. The UW System has also created additional non-resident rates that are available at certain UW System institutions including Return to Wisconsin, the Midwest Student Exchange Program and the UW-Platteville Tri-State Initiative.  The Board of Regents annually approves these rates for the Return to Wisconsin and the Midwest Student Exchange Program. The Board of Regents has delegated authority to approve rates for the UW-Platteville Tri-State Initiative to the chancellor within parameters established by the Board.

Gifts and Contracts – Fee remissions for students whose fees are paid through contract or gift from an outside funding source are allowable.

Funeral Assistantss. 36.27(3r), Wis. Stats., provides that a $25 remission of nonresident tuition or academic fees shall be granted to any student enrolled in the system as an undergraduate for each valid voucher issued to the student under s.45.60(3), Wis. Stats. Nonresident Veterans and Family Members – Under the federal Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Pub. L. No. 113-146).27(3r), nonresident U.S. veterans and other eligible nonresident benefit recipients are charged the same tuition as Wisconsin residents pursuing the same course or program. The Act covers veterans using VA education benefits and living in the state who enroll within three years of discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more. The Act also covers spouses and children living in the state who are using VA benefits transferred from a veteran and who enroll within three years of the veteran’s discharge from a period of active duty of 90 days or more.

C. Payment and Refund Policy

C.1 payment in full

Total tuition and segregated fees are due on the date established by the institution, but not later than the tenth day of classes. Students who have not paid fees in full, or entered into a partial payment plan, shall be presumed to be on a cash basis. Students are to be assessed an administrative services fee, not to exceed $100, if full payment of fees currently due is made after the established due date. At the institution’s option, the administrative assessment may be prorated for students less than full time. The administrative assessment shall be deposited to Fund 128. The chancellor or designee has the option of reducing or waiving the fee on a case-by-case basis. Continued enrollment in, and attendance at, the university is contingent upon payment of all applicable tuition and fees under terms established and approved by the university. Each campus may exercise an option to conduct cancellation of registration or administrative withdrawal for nonpayment until the end of any session week within the refund period. Exceptions should be documented. The institution has the authority to reregister students who have had their registration cancelled or who have been administratively withdrawn upon the payment of the appropriate amount of tuition and segregated fees, administrative assessments, and any re-registration or late registration penalty consistent with the policy of that institution and the UW System. Institutions may establish separate due dates for registration and payment of fees for students enrolled exclusively in an off-campus or late-starting credit course. Failure to pay fees or make satisfactory arrangements to pay within this period shall result in cancellation of registration or administrative withdrawal.

C.2 Partial Payment plans

Each UW System institution may, at its option, make available a partial payment plan to all full-time and part-time students for the payment of tuition, segregated fees, room and board, and other institution designated charges. Students with a demonstrated poor payment history may be denied access to the partial payment plan.

In order to qualify to pay fees under a partial payment plan, whether open-end or closed-end, students must make a down payment in an amount specified by the institution. The down payment must be made by the date established by the institution and will be applied to the student’s account. The down payment is a cash transaction and is not part of the partial payment plan. Students who enter into a partial payment plan after the established due date may be subject to the assessment of administrative costs at the institution’s option.

Each institution electing to make available a partial payment plan must file a procedural outline of its plan with System Administration. Such plan can be implemented only after approval of the Vice President for Finance or designee. Any change to the approved plan must receive approval from the Vice President for Finance or designee before it can be implemented.

A finance charge of at least 1% per month and not to exceed 1.5% per month will be charged on all balances to any students who participate in the partial payment plan. An institution that uses an open-end payment plan will charge interest on a student’s ongoing credit balance for as long as the student is on the plan. Each open-end payment agreement establishes specific accrual dates for the imposition of applicable finance charges. Use of the alternate option for closed-end credit plans provided by s. 422.201, Wis. Stats., must have prior approval of the Vice President for Finance or designee. An institution that uses a closed-end payment plan requires a student borrower to pay a minimum finance charge that is earned at the time the agreement is entered into. Finance charges shall be deposited to Fund 128.

Students on a closed-end credit plan will be charged a late payment fee in an amount consistent with the requirements of the Wisconsin Consumer Protection Act for failure to meet partial payment deadlines. The late payment penalty can only be assessed on the principal, not on outstanding finance charges. A late payment fee cannot be assessed on open-end credit plans.

Interest on partial payment plans should continue to be assessed based upon terms of the agreement. Open and closed-end credit plans may be arranged so that interest continues to accrue until the debt has been paid in full.

Alternate installment plans must be approved by the Vice President for Finance prior to implementation.

C.3 Electronic Payment of Fees

All UW System institutions are encouraged to offer a web-based Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment option. Institutions may elect whether to accept credit cards for tuition or not. If credit cards are accepted, institutions may elect to charge a convenience fee within the limitations allowed by the credit card companies. The fee may be established at a level sufficient to cover costs but not to generate excess revenue. The amount of the fee shall be approved by the Vice President for Finance.

C.4 Refunds/Withdrawals/Drops

UW System institutions are responsible for complying with federal regulations governing participation in the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. To the extent that these regulations require a larger refund to federal funding sources than the amount specified by the refund policy stipulated below, the student shall be responsible for the difference.

For refund, withdrawal, drop/adds, and late payment purposes, the first session week is defined to end as of the close of regular business on Friday of the first full calendar week or, at the institution’s option, after five class days.

Up to the end of the second session week (as institutionally defined) or the end of the tenth day of class, refunds for any credit reduction shall be at 100% (less the optional withdrawal fee). During the third and fourth session week, the refund shall be reduced to 50%, and after the fourth session week, there shall be no refunds of tuition. At the institution’s option, a flat add/drop fee as approved by the Vice President for Finance may be assessed after the 100% refund period to cover administrative costs. The fee shall be deposited to Fund 128.

The burden of proof in determining the date of withdrawal/drop shall be on the student. The same refund schedule shall apply to both withdrawals and class drops. During the 100% refund period, a student who adds and drops credits of concurrently offered classes within the same session week shall be assessed additional fees or receive a refund based on the net result of those adds and drops. After the 100% refund period, students will be assessed for all adds and drops. If a part-time student only adds credits during the session week, the credits should be assessed at the full per-credit rate disregarding any previous refunds. Undergraduate students who take 12 through 18 credits and graduate students should not pay more than full-time student fees. Undergraduates who take more than 18 credits shall have the refund schedule applied to those credits which exceed the 18 credit plateau. Exceptions to this provision must have the prior approval of the Vice President for Finance or designee.

In those instances in which a student can document nonattendance at the institution after having enrolled in one or more courses, the student shall be assessed fees equal to 20% of the original fees due, reduced to residency rates, plus the late payment fee.

The refund policy may be adjusted for differences in starting dates and session lengths. Exceptions may be made, at the institution’s option, for changing sections within a course.

At the institution’s option, a withdrawal fee not to exceed $50.00 may be assessed during the first session week and up to $100 during the second session week. The withdrawal fee shall be deposited to Fund 128 and used to support the fee collection operations and defray the cost of processing withdrawals.

The following schedule applies:

Refund and Payment Schedules for Withdrawals or Drops
Session Length Refund Schedule for Withdrawals or Drops
Week of Session
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Thereafter
12 weeks and over 100% 100% 50% 50% None
8 weeks thru 11 weeks 100% 50% 25% None
5 weeks thru 7 weeks 100% 50% None None
3 weeks thru 4 weeks 100% 25% None None
2 weeks 100% None
Session Length Payment Schedule for Withdraw, Cancellation of Registration, or Drops without Payment of Fees
(Assessment for administrative costs is in addition to percents noted)
Week of Session
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Thereafter
12 weeks and over None None 50% 50% 100%
8 weeks thru 11 weeks None 50% 75% 100%
5 weeks thru 7 weeks None 50% 100% 100%
3 weeks thru 4 weeks None 75% 100% 100%
2 weeks None 100%

NOTE: For sessions of shorter duration, campuses should extend schedules appropriately.

In those cases where the academic year fee schedule does not properly apply, the schedule should be adjusted in consultation with the Vice President for Finance or designee.

C.5 Transcript Holds for Non-Payment of Fees

Subject to the statute of limitations on contract debt under Wisconsin law, no student shall be issued a transcript (certified or not) until all accounts receivable have been paid or an acceptable payment plan has been entered into with the Bursar. At the institution’s option, this provision may be waived when the accounts receivable are less than $50.00.

C.6 Checks Returned Due to Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF)

Payment by NSF check will be treated as nonpayment of tuition and fees, thereby allowing the institution to charge the late payment assessment in addition to the NSF charge. A charge up to the amount allowed by statute (currently $20) shall be assessed for a check not paid by the bank on which it is drawn and will be deposited to Fund 128. An institution may reserve the right to refuse payment by check to students with a history of NSF checks.

7. Related Documents

Section 36.27, Wis. Stats., Tuition

Section 36.11(3) (d), Wis. Stats., Application Fees

Section 36.27(3), Wis. Stats., Tuition Remissions

Section 39.41(4), Wis. Stats., Academic Excellence Scholarships

Regent Policy Document 4-8, Remedial Education Policy

Regent Policy Document 4-10, Class Audit Policy

Regent Policy Document 32-7, Student Involvement in Differential Tuition Initiatives

Differential Tuition Process Timeline

Institution-wide Differential Tuition; Program-Specific Differential Tuition

UW System Administrative Policy 130 (Formerly ACIS 5.4), Programming for the Nontraditional Market in the UW System

UW System Administrative Policy 326 (Formerly F39), Collections and Write-offs

UW System Administrative Policy 344 (Formerly F22), Extramural Support for Instructional Programs

UW System Administrative Policy 810 (Formerly F45), Study Abroad Programs

UW System Administrative Policy 820 (Formerly F50), Segregated University Fees

UW System Administrative Policy 825 (Formerly G29), Special Course Fees

Service-Based Pricing Guidelines

8. Policy History

Revision 4: December 19, 2016
Revision 3: May 2008
Revision 2: January 17, 1996
Revision 1: January 25, 1994
First approved: February 1, 1993

9. Scheduled Review

Spring 2017