Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 30: Finance

Special Course Fees

BPPM 30.95

For more information contact:
   Provost’s Office
   Bursar’s Office

Form:  Special Course Fee Request

Requesting Fees

Educators and administrators may request the establishment of special course fees to pay for goods and services not provided by state-appropriated funds or general student fees. However, revenues from special course fees are not intended to replace departmental operating budgets. Special course fees are to be considered exceptions to standard budgeting procedures and implemented only when necessary.


University personnel are to use this procedure to request new special course fees, to request changes in existing fees, or delete existing fees. This procedure applies to established WSU courses or new courses which have been approved by the Faculty Senate. An approved special course fee applies to all sections of a given course for the indicated semester.

Prohibited Transactions

Instructors are not to collect money directly from students and then purchase items needed for academic classes. Likewise, instructors are not to purchase items and then sell them to students. Such practices violate University cash handling and purchasing policies. Special course fees may not be used to pay for honorariums.


To be approved, a special course fee must meet at least one of the following sets of criteria:

Continuing Value

The fee provides funds for tools, equipment or products which have continuing value to the specific student charged for the fee. In addition, the items are not normally available for purchase in the local area. Examples include:

  • Minerals and specialized tools for geology courses.
  • Special material swatches for clothing and textile courses.
  • Specimens for science courses.


The fee provides for the purchase of services not normally provided by WSU. Examples include:

  • Specialized field trips.
  • Off-campus fabrication of student designs.
  • Operations expenses associated with computer laboratories (see also BPPM 30.96).


The fee provides funds for purchases of materials that would be hazardous or inappropriate for students to purchase individually. Examples include:

  • Drugs for analyses in chemistry classes.
  • Chemicals for chemistry classes.
  • Small quantities (per student) of required classroom materials normally purchased in large amounts.

Applicable services or materials should be listed in the course syllabus.

Request Procedure

The requester completes and initiates a Special Course Fee Request form.

The requester completes all pertinent blanks on the form down to the approval section (see Figure 1). Sample sections are numerically keyed to the following explanations. Sections without an explanation are considered self-explanatory.

Note: Some data must be entered to complete the form. Required fields are bordered in red in the form.

Fee Amount Requested (1)

Enter the requested amount to be charged each student per semester.

Current Fee Amount (2)

Enter the amount currently charged to each student per semester.

Contact Name/Telephone/Mail Code (3)

Enter the name, telephone number, mail code of an individual able to answer questions regarding this special course fee request.

Semester (4)

Enter the semester the course is taught, e.g., fall, spring, summer.

One Semester Only? (5)

Indicate whether or not the special fees will only be required for a single semester.

Year of Last Fee Increase (6)

Enter the year of the last fee increase for the course. If the course is new, leave blank or list N/A.

Contact E-mail Address (7)

Enter the e-mail address of an individual able to answer questions regarding this special course fee request.

Justification (8)

Indicate why the special course fee is required. Include an explanation of exactly how the revenue from the fee will be spent. Explain how the class situation justifies a fee by applying one or more of the conditions (see Conditions above).


Estimated Expenditures Per Semester (9)

Estimate planned expenditures per semester which will utilize revenue from the special course fee.

Indicate each expenditure item.

Indicate the amount to be spent for each expenditure item.

Indicate the expenditure spend categories for each expenditure item. Refer to the Modernization Foundation Data Model (FDM) website for an explanation of University expenditure spend categories and other FDM terminology and conventions.

Calculate total estimated expenditures. Note: The total calculation automatically completes if the user enters the expenditure items onscreen in the PDF form.

Departmental Worktags (10)

Enter the worktags for the responsible department. Include the following supporting and related worktags:

  • Grant
  • Gift
  • Project
  • Program
  • Cost Center
  • Region
  • Fund
  • Function
  • Alternative Reporting (CAHNRS and Communications only)
  • Extension Reporting (CAHNRS only)
  • Assignee
Estimated Number of Students (11)

Enter the number of students estimated to take the course every semester.

Estimated Revenue (12)

Indicate total estimated revenue. Multiply the fee amount times the projected number of students per semester. Note: Central administration retains five percent of all special course fees collected. If the user enters the fee and student numbers onscreen in the PDF form, the revenue calculation completes automatically.


If estimated expenditures exceed estimated revenues, the requester indicates what funds will be used to replace the deficit. If revenues greatly exceed expenditures at the end of the fiscal year, the continued existence of the fee at the current level may be questioned by the University Controller. A ten percent surplus is considered reasonable.

Requester Name, Title, and Signature (13)

The requester indicates their name and title and signs and dates the request.

Chair, Area Finance Officer, and Dean Name and Signature (14)

Special Course Fee Requests must be approved by each indicated administrator before the new fee can be established.

The requester routes the form to the chair, area finance officer, and dean for approval. The form is then sent to the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office submits the request to the Fee Committee.

Special Course Fee form
Figure 1

Approval or Denial

The Fee Committee either approves or does not approve the request.

If approved, the course budget is assigned a cost center worktag.

The semester the new fee goes into effect is indicated.

After review by the Fee Committee, all special course fee requests are sent to the Bursar’s Office for retention and approved requests are established in the student information system.

The Fee Committee notifies the requester of the approval.


The Fee Committee notifies the requester of the denial. After including additional clarification and justification, the department may resubmit a denied request to the University Fee Committee.


Special Course Fee Requests can be submitted to the Provost’s Office between November and January 5. The Fee Committee meets in January to consider all requests.


Deficits are not allowable in the course account. Expenditures which create deficits are to be transferred to departmental budgets (see BPPM 30.25). See BPPM 30.21 for overdraft procedures.

Allowable Charges

Only expenditures that relate directly to the course are allowable. Inappropriate charges to the account must be transferred to departmental budgets (see BPPM 30.25). Controller’s Office personnel periodically review the appropriateness of expenditures.

Change / Deletion

A revision to an approved special course fee amount or deletion of a special course fee requires resubmittal of the Special Course Fee Request form. 

Revisions:  Jan. 2021 (Rev. 560); Oct. 2018 (Rev. 521); Aug. 2017 (Rev. 497); Nov. 2014 (Rev. 440); Apr. 2006 (Rev. 276); June 2004 (Rev. 245); Mar. 2000 (Rev. 159); July 1996 (Rev. 100); Feb. 1991 (Rev. 85); Nov. 1986 (Rev. 65); Mar. 1984 (Rev. 55); July 1979 – new policy (Rev. 33).