Course Fees, Special

Effective: Moved to Policy Library from UPM 2.5(13)
Updated/Revised: November 15, 2010
Contact: Office of the Registrar


Costs of offering a course are expected to be borne by the department offering the course, including materials related to the mechanics of teaching the course, such as course outlines, syllabi, exams, and similar handouts, and the purchase and replacement costs of instructional equipment with a typically expected usable life of more than five years. The department is also expected to bear the costs of staffing courses, including personnel employed to aid in the course such as teaching assistants and guest speakers. Exceptions to this basic principle arise when there are unusual and/or extraordinary costs associated with offering a course.

Policy Statement

Authorization to assess special course fees for exceptional costs will be granted on a case-by-case basis. Examples of costs that may be recovered by assessing a special course fee include:

  • Required travel costs for students to visit off-campus sites as part of the course
  • Consumable supplies, such as art supplies
  • Non-inventoried instructional materials used as part of the course
  • Maintenance costs of instructional equipment
  • Amortized replacement costs of equipment with a typically expected usable life of less than five years

Exceptions to this policy, for unusual situations involving costs not typically associated with courses, must be approved by the office of the senior vice president and provost.

Delivery costs for offering a course off campus are not defined as special course fees and are not included in this policy.

Students are expected to pay the cost of supplemental written materials, such as supplemental readings, if they are to have ownership of the materials. The costs of supplemental written materials will not be assessed through the special course fees system. If the department does not wish to cover the costs of such materials, the materials should be sold to the students through the university book store or other local distributors. This procedure simplifies the financial transaction, and helps to avoid possible copyright infringement.

The fees must be based on plausible estimates of the anticipated costs or previous records of actual costs, and should be kept as low as possible. The deans' offices must keep complete and accurate records of the justification for any fee approved.

See Resources below for Special Course Fees Definitions, Processes and Procedures.