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Approval Of Special Course Or Program Fees (Policy 4200)

University Policy 4200

Download a Printable Version of Policy 4200

Effective Date

December 1993

Last Revision Date

September 21, 2023

Responsible Party

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, (208) 426-1202

Scope and Audience

This policy applies to all academic units seeking to propose or increase a course or program fee.

Additional Authority

State Board of Education Policy, Section V.R

1. Policy Purpose

To provide for the fair and consistent approval and application of special course or program fees.

2. Policy Statement

The amounts charged for tuition and fees usually cover course related expenses. Some courses however have extraordinary expenses associated with them, and in such cases and pursuant to this policy, Boise State charges additional fees in amounts approximate the added instructional or laboratory costs.

3. Authorized Fees

Ordinarily, special course or program fees may be charged for the following:

a. Expendable supplies or materials, such as art supplies (paint, jewelry metals, photographic paper and chemicals, etc.) or laboratory or clinical supplies (dissection specimens, disposable syringes and latex gloves, chemicals, glassware, video tapes, or other use-intensive educational aids, etc.).

b. Special services or facilities offered as a convenience or enriched experience for students, such as individual lessons in music, live models in drawing classes, golf course privileges, distance education, etc.

c. Materials, supplies, tools, etc. ordered in quantity by the department as a convenience or cost-saving measure for students, or when such items are not readily available locally.

d. Access to specialized or enriched computer laboratory services (including hardware, software, maintenance, and staff) that exceed the level of access and service that is basic to instruction and would thus be funded by the academic unit or campus-wide computer fee.

e. Pass-through fees for malpractice insurance, certification examinations required before student clinical practice, required immunizations, or assessment examinations required by national accrediting agencies.

f. Course-related student travel and lodging, such as supervised field trips and course-related faculty travel and lodging, when associated with supervision of internships, externships, optional field trips, or other enrichment experiences.

g. Faculty travel associated with supervision of internships, externships, student teaching within the Boise State service region, or clinical or field experiences required of students.

h. Equipment used exclusively for instructional purposes such as microscopes, analytical equipment, anatomical models, ceramics wheels, etc.

i. Staffing used specifically to aid in instruction, such as laboratory coordinators.

4. Unauthorized Fees

Ordinarily, special course or program fees may not be charged for the following:

a. Supplies, materials, equipment, and services that have broad departmental usage (e.g. paper, photocopying, department-specific software, clerical assistance, etc.) and that are customarily funded through departmental operating expense or equipment budgets.

b. Fixed equipment; equipment that is physically installed such as fume hoods, dishwashers, or kilns.

c. Equipment to be used primarily for research. The purchase of equipment for graduate education must not consume an excessive proportion of the budget.

d. Materials, supplies, and services related to the advertising and promotion of courses or workshops offered for credit.

e. Books or periodical subscriptions for departmental libraries or shared use by students and faculty.

5. Guidelines

a. The cost/benefit ratio to students is paramount in determining which special course or program fees are approved or disapproved by the Deans’ Council and Executive Team.

b. Approved fees may be charged at a level sufficient to partially or fully offset costs, but should not be used to generate substantial surplus, unless that surplus is being accrued for a planned purchase of a particular item(s). A department may choose to temporarily charge each student less than the approved amount, and do so without submitting paperwork.

c. Should a professional or program fee be applied to a course, the course fee shall be evaluated for addition or removal. Except under unusual circumstances, it is expected that when professional or program fees exist, course fees will not.

6. Procedures

a. Academic units that wish to propose a special course or program fee or to increase a fee must submit a Special Course Fee Request form and a detailed written proposal and justification to the Provost no later than January 1 for fees to be implemented in the subsequent fall semester, and no later than September 1 for fees to be implemented the subsequent spring semester or summer session.

b. The written proposal and justification shall contain the following information for each course affected (or each group courses similarly affected) by the proposed fees:

  • A detailed description of the expenses that make necessary the charging of a fee.
  • A projection, based on past and/or expected enrollments, of income from the proposed fee.
  • A description of the proposed distribution of the collected fees among general classes of expenditures, e.g., to staffing, to equipment, to field trips, and to expendables.
  • An explanation as to why departmental funds are insufficient to fund the described expenses.

c. Special Course or program fee proposals are reviewed by the Dean’s Council, which in turn will forward its recommendations to the Executive Team no later than January 15 for Fall and no later than October 1st for Spring/Summer. The Dean’s Council and/or the Executive Team may request further clarification of proposals or may request modification of proposals.

d. The Provost will notify the Registrar’s Office and Student Financial Services immediately of all special course or program fees that have been approved. A separate Department ID shall be established for each approved Special Course fee request.

e. In the following cases, course fee requests may be submitted outside the two due dates and approved by the Provost. Approval is for one Semester only:

  • Courses numbered 97, 197, 297, 397, 497 and 597 Special Topics
  • Summer Field Trips

f. All special course or program fees must be listed in the Class Details within the online Course Catalog to provide students advance notice; fees not listed will not be collected.

g.  At the end of each academic year, the academic unit shall prepare a Special Course or Program Fee Annual report that describes the income secured from fees, the expenditures for which those fees were spent, the balance of fees remaining at the end of the year, plans for that balance (e.g., accruing funds for a major purchase). If either or both of the surplus for the fiscal year (FY) and the expected carryforward to next FY are greater than 10% of income for the year, provide a reason for having this surplus or decrease the fees.

h. That report shall be reviewed by the Dean to ascertain that the amount of fees collected is justified and that the expenditures of funds are for acceptable purposes. The Dean shall sign the report and add it to the master list of approved special course fees and review the master list annually to determine if course fees shall be removed. A copy of the master list with copies of the Annual Review forms shall be submitted by the Dean to the Provost no later than September 15 of each year.

i.  Departments may request appropriate special fees for Special Topics courses. Such requests must be made sufficiently early so that they may be included in the printed Schedule of Classes. Requests shall be made via memo to the Provost’s office.

j. In recommending approval or disapproval of proposals to charge or increase special course or program fees, the Deans’ Council and Executive Team will observe the following guidelines.

7. Division of Extended Studies

a. The Division of Extended Studies may charge special course fees, consistent with State Board of Education policy, for:

  • Courses in approved self-support academic programs;
  • Courses delivered online or off-campus;
  • Concurrent enrollment courses;
  • Teacher in-service courses;
  • Workshops; and
  • Noncredit Courses.

b. Requests for and increases in special fees on credit-bearing Extended Studies courses must be approved by the Provost prior to student registration in affected courses.

c. Funds from Extended Studies course fees must be utilized for the purposes stated in the authorizing documents approved by the Provost.

8. Forms

Special Course Fee Request Form

Revision History

July 1995; April 2005; December 2013; October 2014; December 21, 2021; September 21, 2023