At the University of Washington Bothell, course fees are a mechanism to add value to state-supported course offerings by deepening the experience students receive, especially in laboratory and field courses where additional resources translate directly into experiential learning.
Rules governing costs that may be covered by course fees are explicitly covered in the University of Washington's Executive Order No. 44.
Why Add a Course Fee
To allow a course to provide more in-depth experiential learning not otherwise possible due to financial limitations.
How to submit a Course Fee
Complete the Course Fee Request Form (a Word version is also available). Follow these guideline when filling out the form:
- Follow instructions on the form
- Document all allowable expenses and estimate the per student costs
- Have Dean of the School approve and sign document
- Send to: Kendra Yoshimoto (firstname.lastname@example.org), Becky Collord (email@example.com), Rachael Gilchrist (firstname.lastname@example.org)
UW Bothell has a standard approval process for all course fees. The School submits a course fee request which includes the Dean's signature approval, followed by a Fiscal and Audit Services, ASUWB review, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the Chancellor approval. If the new fee request is greater than $50 or an existing fee increase is greater than 10%, the Provost must approve.
To ensure that your new or existing course fee request is approved prior to registration, please adhere to the following approximate deadlines set forth by the course fee administrator.
Autumn Quarter - April 1
Winter Quarter - September 15
Spring Quarter - December 15
Summer Quarter - March 1
Definition and Purpose
Why do we have course fees?
Course fees are charged in addition to tuition for courses that offer an added benefit to students. For example, lab supplies and field trips are additional costs that are not covered by tuition and therefore need to be recovered as course fees.
What do course fees cover?
Course fees are additional charges to students that are intended to pay for specified course-related costs.Course fees may be used for materials, supplies, and equipment, as well as non-personnel costs associated with field trips, technology, and related costs of set-up, maintenance, and cleaning for materials, supplies, and under certain circumstances equipment. Course fees may also be used for tangible resources that are utilized to different degrees in multiple courses (for example, the slide collection in the Art Department). Course fees may be used for personnel costs other than faculty and teaching assistant time that are related to a particular course offering (for example, part of the cost of a laboratory technician supporting a chemistry lab could be recovered through a course fee). Course fees may not be used to pay for standard instructional salary costs (i.e., faculty and teaching assistant time) except where the student is receiving and paying for individualized instruction/tutoring.
What is the purpose of a course fee? Why can't the university fund it for us?
Tuition covers the baseline educational costs for students (faculty, TAs, staff) in order to run the institution. In some cases (resident undergraduates), the cost of tuition is far below the actual cost of education. In the same way that students charge S&A fees to cover services like student government, course fees are needed to cover additional costs for courses that are more expensive to offer.
What's the difference between a course fee and tuition?
Course fees are additional charges to students that are intended to pay for specified course-related costs. Course fees are charged for some course sections in addition to tuition. Academic departments, with the approval of the respective Dean or Director, may add course fees to specific sections. New course fees in excess of $50 or course-fee increases in excess of 10% of the prior approved fee amount must also be approved by the Office of Planning & Budgeting. Course fees are subject to the same billing and collection process as tuition. Any financial aid a student is receiving will apply to course fees
Why would a course fee would be considered reasonable even if it is high?
This really depends on what the course fee is and it's purpose. Most of our course fees are tied to lab supplies and support. Requests for larger course fees are scrutinized to a higher degree.
Why do course fees differ per major and class?
Courses have different needs. One class may require course fees for a field trip, whereas another may use it for lab support, and another for consumable art supplies in the art room, for example.
Paying Course Fees
What would be the alternative to this fee? Would it be more expensive to pay for this seperately?
In some cases, it benefits the student by having the fee wrapped into their tuition rather than paying out of pocket. For example, a professional membership or test fee required to complete a course could be offered at a discount if the department buys in bulk. Supplies for labs are also much cheaper when purchased in bulk.
What is the benefit of having a course fee versus paying for it separately?
Course fees apply to services that enhance a student's learning. Because course fees are wrapped with tuition, it is covered by Financial Aid.
Why would a course have a fee as compared to requiring students to individually buy their X (ex: software licensing)?
In some cases, students are required to purchase an item (like a lab kit, calculator, or response clicker) in order to participate in a course. Course fees are more often charged for items that students would not be allowed to purchase or that can be purchased in bulk by the University (like chemicals and hazardous substances in labs, lab supplies, etc.). For field trips, transportation, meals, and lodging can often be purchased cheaper by the department, then recovered through a course fee.
Do students pay for the course fees separately?
No. The course fees are charged in addition to tuition, but on the same bill as tution. Any Financial Aid covers course fees in addition to tuition.
What if I can't afford the course fee? Can I get a scholarship or support?
Course fees are required and charged with tutition. They cannot be separated nor are charged separately from tuition. If a student is getting Financial Aid, it will be covered by Financial Aid.
Process for Course Fees
Who decides course fees?
The Schools and faculty decide whether or not they have a need for course fees.
What is the course fee approval process?
Course fees are approved by the Vice Chancellor, the Chancellor, and the Provost's Office, if over $50, or over 10% increase per year. In addition, course fees are reviewed by the Office of Planning and Budgeting and by ASUWB student representatives before approval.
Are students involved in the course fee process?
Yes, student review is required by E.O. 44, and our ASUWB student government representatives review course fees. If you are interested in being involved in the conversation reach out to email@example.com.
Do the course fees stay the same every year?
Some do. However many course fees change according to the needs of the classes and with cost of living increases. Additionally, some courses may reduce fees or no longer charge a fee depending on the needs of a course. Schools can also charge less than an approved amount in a given quarter if the activities involved are less expensive than a previous quarter.
Is there a specific percent cap?
No. However, if an existing fee is increased more than 10% in a year, it must have additional approval by the Provost's Office.
How often can a course fee be increased? What's the amount it can increase without major approvals (provost)?
Course fees are reviewed once per year. The 10% increase cap applies per fiscal year. Otherwise approval is needed by the Provost's Office
Following up on Course Fees
If a student wanted to follow up on a fee in a class, how could they find out the details about it?
They should contact the chair of the department offerring the course in question. Additionally, they can contact Rachael Gilchrist at firstname.lastname@example.org who can direct them to the appropriate person.
If students have questions on course fees who do they go to?
They could contact the School that houses the fee. Additionally, they can contact Rachael Gilchrist at email@example.com who can direct them to the appropriate person.
Who manages the course fees once they are collected from students?
The Schools that offer courses receive course fee revenue and manage the expenditures of that revenue.
If there are any residual fees after the course, what happens to them?
There should be no residual fees. According to E.O. 44, fees charged to University employees and students must be set to recover not more than the cost of the goods or services provided. Course fees are continually monitored by Departments to ensure that balances and deficits do not occur, and if that happens, fees are adjusted accordingly.
Please contact Rachael Gilchrist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-352-3620