3,502: Special Course Fees

Revised: June 2018

Students pay a per credit hour registration fee that is intended, along with the state general fund appropriation, to cover the normal and customary expenses of their education. Board of Regents policy does, however, permit campuses to charge special course fees to support extraordinary costs of instruction. Courses with special fees should be an exception rather than standard practice. Special course fees up to $50 are approved on campus. Proposals for special course fees $50 or less can be approved by the university's Student Fee Review Committee and effective the following semester. Special course fees greater than $50 must be approved by the Board of Regents and are only considered once per calendar year at the last scheduled meeting of the calendar year. Fees approved by the Board of Regents at this last meeting of the year are not effective until the following Fall semester.

Use of Special Course Fees

Special Course fees are intended to cover extraordinary expenses directly associated with a specific course. Examples of allowable/extraordinary expenses include:

  • Transportation costs associated with field experiences
  • High cost or specialized consumable materials
  • Course specific software or equipment
  • Repair or maintenance of equipment used as part of the course
  • Payments to third parties for use of facilities
  • Salaries of support staff - not course instructors - who provide individualized instruction, maintain equipment, or assist students in some manner directly related to the specific course.

Special course fees cannot be used to supplement departmental operating accounts. Acquisition of general office or lab supplies, paper, photocopy charges, or general use software are not allowable expenditures of special course fees.

Deadlines and Review Process

All special course fees are reviewed by the Student Fee Review Committee. The committee meets semi-annually in February and September.

Proposals for special course fees must be submitted to the Provost's Office in accordance with the deadlines shown on the Academic Affairs Calendar. These deadlines are fixed and will not be extended. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered until the subsequent review cycle.

Proposals to establish or modify a special course fee must be submitted on the Special Course Fee Request Form found on the Provost's Office website: http://www.unr.edu/provost/forms-and-documents. The proposal must include a justification for the new or increased fee, as well as anticipated revenues and a detailed expense budget. All proposals must be reviewed with the appropriate college fiscal officer and signed by the fiscal officer or dean prior to submission to the Provost's Office. The Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs and Planning, Budget & Analysis staff review these documents prior to submitting them to the Student Fee Review Committee and may request revisions. Departments or colleges with fee proposals on the committee's agenda must have a representative who is knowledgeable about the fee request present at the meeting to summarize the fee request and answer any questions committee members may have.

Course Fee Account Management

All new approved course fee accounts are established upon request to the Controller's Office within FD217. Standard practice will be to approve individual accounts for specific course fees to eliminate co-mingling of funds and provide a clear audit trail. The amount of revenue generated by the special course fee should closely match expenditures made from the account. The purpose of the special course fee is to cover the extraordinary expenses associated with the class. Significant cash balances should not accumulate in special course fee accounts unless there is a need to build a reserve to replace or maintain course-specific equipment. Planning, Budget & Analysis closely monitors cash balances in FD217. Transfers out of course fee accounts will not be allowed unless the transfer is specifically addressed in the fee proposal approved by the committee or necessary to correct a processing or allocation error.

Re-Justification Process

Colleges and departments are required to justify the continuation of all special course fees on a three-year cycle. Planning, Budget & Analysis maintains a scheduled for re-justification by college and notifies appropriate fiscal officers in August of each year if the college is up for re-justification. A Special Course Fee Re-justification form, similar to the original request form and located on the Provost's Office website, is completed for each course with an existing special course fee. Completed forms are due to Planning, Budget & Analysis by December 1 of each year. Re-justification forms are reviewed by Planning, Budget & Analysis staff, with final approval by the Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs.