3,502: Special Course Fees

Revised: June 2016

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. Special course fees greater than $50 must be approved by the Board of Regents and are only considered at the last scheduled meeting of the academic year.

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 course fees greater than $50 per course must be submitted to the Provost's Office in accordance with the deadline shown on the Academic Affairs Calendar. Proposals for course fees of $50 or less are also submitted to the Provost's Office. Deadlines for receipt of proposals for course fees in both the Spring and Fall semesters are 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 form found at the Provost website: http://www.unr.edu/provost/forms-and-documents. The proposals 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 budget officer prior to submission to the Provost's Office. The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Planning, Budget and Analysis staff review these documents prior to submitting them to the Student Fee Review Committee.

Course Fee Account Management

All approved course fee accounts will be established by the Controller's Office within fund 1212. 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 and Analysis closely monitors cash balances in fund 1212. 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.

Departments are required to justify the continuation of all their special course fees on a three-year cycle.