Course Fee Policy

Policy number04-14
Responsible officeProvost and Academic Affairs
Enforcement officialVice Provost for Budget and Personnel
ClassificationBoard of Trustees-delegated Policy
Category04. Academic Programs and Requirements

Statement of policy

The Course Fee Policy details the types of class fees that may be assessed on students which includes but is not limited to field trips and transportation, labs and consumables, maintenance and service fees, software, and survey instruments and maps. The assessment of class fees must be reviewed every three years. The fees are assessed through the VPAA administrative structure and are managed by the VPBF.

  1. Necessary instructional materials which are available or can be made available through local commercial channels, including Western Michigan University’s campus bookstore, and which are used on an individual basis must be procured and paid for directly by the student and not through a class-related fee.
  2. Instructional materials for use by individual students should be furnished by the University only where there are special considerations of security, storage, safety, availability, quantity and variety. Economy of bulk purchasing is not relevant consideration for substituting University procurement. Such economy tends to ignore hidden subsidies.
  3. Where the use of instructional materials in the class results in the creation of physical end product of value, which is retained by the student, a method of assessing the student for materials is justified.
  4. When deposits are required of students to cover the potential loss or breakage of University equipment, provisions must be made for appropriate and timely refunds.
  5. Difficulty in securing adequate general revenue allocations should not be the determining factor in the decision to charge students a class-related fee.
  6. All academic units must administer class-related fees in ways that give all students paying the fee reasonable equal opportunity to benefit from the expenditure of these fees.
  7. Programs of study that have class fees imposed on more than four courses or have class fees in the aggregate total more than $500 shall inform potential students of these fees.
  8. The University shall seek to eliminate inequity in the assessment of these fees in support of different instructional programs through a periodic review of all fees and through auditing of the use of such revenue.
  9. The rate of the fee charged must reasonably reflect the actual costs to the University of the materials and services for which the fee is collected. These costs must be directly associated with classroom activity and must exclude faculty compensation.

Procedural guidelines

  1. The Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance is responsible for establishing and monitoring procedures of the collection of all fees and their deposit in the University accounts.
  2. Establishing of a class-related fee or a change in amount must be approved by the department chair, the college dean and the Office of the Provost.
  3. Approval of a class-related fee and arrangements for its collection must be completed before any public notice of it is made.
  4. Students shall be given adequate notice of such charges, including amounts (or maximum amounts) during the registration process (ordinarily this will involve listing amounts in the appropriate published semester class schedule). Notice of class-related fees shall be included in any and all information about University tuition costs, including the graduate and the undergraduate catalogs.
  5. Monitoring fees is the responsibility of the department chair.
  6. Class-related fees shall be established (or renewed) for the maximum period of three years. The department and college will review the appropriateness of the fees, the advisability of using other funding, the amounts charged, the size of balance, and the use of funds before seeking a renewal of the funds. Renewal of class fees shall also require review of appropriate expenditure according to University policy.
  7. Auditing procedures will be established to monitor the use of the revenue created. Audits of all course fees must be submitted to the Office of the Provost, director of business operations for academic affairs, by Aug. 15. Audit format will be provided by the Office of the Provost.
  8. Appropriate maximum balances will be established by the department, with college approval for each fee amount to prevent the accumulation of excess reserves.
  9. Categories of class fees are as follows:
    • Field trip and transportation
    • Guest lectures and industry specialists
    • Insurance
    • Lab and consumables
    • Maintenance and service fee
    • Models and special kits
    • Software (including license fee)
    • Special rental and facilities
    • Survey instruments and geological maps
    • Value added property
    • Other (please specify)

Related Procedures and Guidelines 

Course Fee Request Information and Deadline Schedule 


Effective date of current versionMay 1, 2006
Date first adoptedAugust 22, 1975
Revision history
Friday, September 20, 2002 - 23:09 Policy change.

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 23:10 Policy change.
Proposed date of next reviewAugust 1, 2021