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R517, Course and Program Fees

R517-1. Purpose: To establish the process for establishing, reviewing, revising, and repealing course and program fees for institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education.

R517-2. References

2.1. Utah Code Title 53B Chapter 1 (Governance, Powers, Rights, and Responsibilities)

R517-3. Definitions

3.1. Course Fees: Fees established to cover allowable costs of a particular course not covered by tuition.

3.2. Program Fees: Fees established to cover allowable costs of a particular program of study not covered by tuition.

R517-4. Affordability in the Utah System of Higher Education: The Utah Board of Higher Education has established affordability as a strategic priority. To support that priority, institutions and boards of trustees should consider the impact course fees and program fees have on the cost of attendance.

R517-5. General Principles: In addition to Board-approved tuition and general student fees, institutions may assess course-based and program-based fees established in accordance with this policy.  This policy does not apply to courses or programs that do not charge Board-approved tuition such as continuing education or self-supporting courses.

Course fees and program fees may be instituted to cover direct costs essential to the educational outcomes for specific course or program offerings, and often include materials that cannot be purchased by individual students or for which bulk purchases reduce the cost to students.  Such direct costs include course materials, chemicals, tooling, uniforms, laundry, testing, off-site instructional activities, supplies used in instruction; instructional equipment; student licensure and certifications; maintenance of laboratory equipment, computer software, subscriptions or transportation in which the entire class participates.

5.1. Course and program fees should cover only the specific costs associated with the particular course or program.

5.2. Institutions may not charge course or program fees for costs that are incurred across all programs or courses.

5.3. Course and program fees should recover costs when no other dedicated funds are available for that purpose.

5.4. Institutions should set course and program fees based on the cost of the activity or service for which the fee is levied.

5.5. Institutions may use course and program fees only to support the activity or service for which the fee is being charged.

5.6. Institutions shall track and account course and program fees in such a way that the proper use of revenue can be evaluated or audited.

5.7. With the exception of equipment replaced on a rotating schedule, course and program fees shall be used each academic period for the benefit of the students who paid the fees.

5.8. Course and program fees at degree granting institutions shall not be used to pay instructional services rendered by faculty, staff, and teaching assistants.  Exceptions may include special instructional arrangements such as private music, aviation, clinical, and tutors.

5.9. Course and program fees should not be used to pay for materials that can be purchased directly by students through campus stores or other approved institutional entities.

Exceptions to these general principles shall be documented by the institution and reviewed periodically by the institution’s course and program fee committee.

R517-6. Delegation of Authority to Establish Course Fees: The Board delegates to the boards of trustees the responsibility to review, approve, adjust, and repeal course fees and program fees.

R517-7. Institutional Policy:  Each institution shall develop a course and program fee policy and procedure to govern the institution’s processes for establishing, reviewing, revising, and repealing course fees and program fees.  The institutional policy shall include the following elements:

7.1. Institution Course and Program Fee Committee: Each institution shall establish a course and program fee committee, which shall oversee the establishing, revising, maintaining, or repealing course and program fees.

7.1.1. Appointment and Procedures of the Committee:  Each institution will adopt policies and procedures for appointing members of the course and program fee committee and for the operation of the committee consistent with this policy. 

7.1.2. Student participation in the Committee:  Institutions shall invite student participation in the course and program fee committee.

7.1.3. Duties of Committee: The course and program fee committee shall ensure that course fees and program fees are justifiable, reasonable, and necessary for the specific course or program for which they are proposed.

7.1.3.1. The institutional course and program fee committees shall review all proposals to establish new course and program fees to ensure the proposals meet the general principles of this policy and are supported by a demonstrated need, a clear statement describing the purpose of the fee, and a sound budget plan. If the committee determines the proposed fee meets these criteria, it may forward the proposal to the board of trustees. The board of trustees shall review the proposed fee in accordance with the criteria in this policy and the institution’s program and course fee policy and, if satisfied, may approve the new fee.

7.1.3.2. Institutional course and program fee committees shall review all proposed course and program fee revisions with their associated revised budget plans and evaluate the rationale for the proposed change.

7.1.3.3. Each institution’s course and program fee committee shall review each course and program fee at least once every three years to ensure the fee still meets established objectives. As part of this review, the committees shall review fund balances for particular fees and ensure that the funds generated are used for their approved purpose.

7.2. Sunset of Course Fees: Course fees and program fees shall be repealed after a period prescribed by the institution’s policy if not reviewed and renewed by the course and program fee committee.

7.3. Notice to Students: Institutions shall include information about approved course and program fees in each academic term’s schedule available to students prior to registration.  Any changes to course and program fees must be approved and published in the schedule for the academic term in which the change shall be effective.  Only course and program fees included in the schedule shall be assessed for the academic term.

7.4. Assessing Fees: Institutions shall assess course and program fees subject to the same billing, refund, and collections process as tuition and shall be accounted for through institutional-authorized student and financial systems.

7.5. Allocating Fees: Institutional course and program fees shall be allocated for the approved purpose and accounted for within the institution’s financial system in a manner to facilitate audit verification.

7.6. Board of Trustees Oversight and Review: The institution’s board of trustees shall at least annually review the recommendations of the institution’s course and program fee committee for requests to establish, revise, or repeal course and program fees.

R517-8. Periodic Audit Review:  Institutional or system internal auditors shall periodically review a sample of the institutions’ course and program fees for compliance with this policy.

Adopted May 21, 2021