Office of Budget and Finance
Special Course Fee Manual
The University of Tennessee is required to follow the fee policy implemented by the University of Tennessee System. The policy, which addresses most fees that are assessed to students, may be found at Policy BT0022 – Approval of Student Fees.
Course fees are those mandatory fees a student is assessed when enrolling in a specific course or courses which have additional instructional costs not provided through maintenance (the In-State portion) and tuition (the Out-of-State portion). These costs will be for labs, music lessons, field trips, international travel, program materials, equipment, etc. Course fee revenues are to be used for costs directly related to the classes for which they are charged.
Examples of Course fee justifications that will not be approved include but are not limited to:
Salaries or wages for any instructor
Classroom space or utility costs and building remodeling or maintenance
Usual classroom equipment
Technology enhancements unless attributed to the specific course
Administrative staff in University Administration Offices
Textbooks and other required printed or copied learning materials
Honoraria or travel expense reimbursement for guest lecturers, off-campus instructors/supervisors of field placements
Course Fee Process
Each year a department head will determine the need for a new course fee or a change to an already approved course fee during the fall semester. The department head will be responsible for identifying the items to be recovered and the cost per student. A request will be submitted to the Dean of the college. If approved by the Dean, he/she will submit the Course Fee Form to the Office of the Provost at a time designated by that office.
Once approved by the Provost, the forms will be compiled by the Fiscal Officer into a spreadsheet with the required information. This will be provided to the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration (SVCFA) at a designated due date. This office will review the request for compliance with the established definitions and be responsible for validating the fee proposals and ensuring adequate documentation is included in the justification of the fee. Once approved by the Senior Vice Chancellor, the fees will be submitted to the Chancellor for approval. Final approval will be made by the President of the University System. This final approval normally takes place in June during the Board of Trustees (BOT) annual meeting.
Once approved by the BOT, the Senior Vice Chancellor’s Office will notify the Provost’s Office who will then inform the appropriate college Fiscal Officer. Also, the Senior Vice Chancellor’s Office will inform the Bursar of the approved fees.
The course fee form requests an account number to place the revenues collected by the Bursar’s Office. If the fee is a new fee, an account number may not be available at the time the form is created, and the department will type in “not available”. The department submitting the course fee form will request an account number for the expenditures and revenues after they have been notified by the College Fiscal Officer that the Senior Vice Chancellor has approved the fee.
There are two more approvals to obtain (the Chancellor and the President) before the Bursar may assess the fee. However, due to timing, the account number must be available in May to assure the fees can be properly assessed in Banner for the fall semester.
The Department Head has the responsibility to ensure the costs for the proposed course fee are legitimate and justifiable. Other responsibilities include:
- Justifying the fee should a question arise from students or others
- Ensuring account number(s) are requested for a new fee at the appropriate time
- Being familiar with refunds and policies concerning course fees should inquiries be made
- Ensuring expenditures with the course fee funds are compliant with the proposed use of the fee including maintaining the proposed course fee form
- Notifying the Bursar should any curriculum changes occur to the courses that have course fees
- Being aware of semester deadlines to ensure any new sections created with fees are done so in a timely manner for the student to be billed properly and before excess financial aid is disbursed
- Assigning an individual to run the Argos course fee report when notified by the Bursar to ensure that the fees to be assessed are indeed correct
- Participating in audits and providing information when requested
- Ensuring ledgers for the expenditures and revenues are reconciled according to the fiscal policy
Estimated Time Line
Below is the estimated time line for the course fee process:
Department Head begins discussions with the Dean on course fees
Course fee discussions with the Provost during planning meetings
Final submission of the completed course fee forms to the Provost
Approval by the Provost; spreadsheet submitted to the SVCFA
Approval by the Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration;
Units submit fee account requests
Approval by the Chancellor
Approval by the President and notification to the Senior Vice Chancellor
Income from the course fees will be posted to the ledgers in the month the students register and after the Bursar releases the fees for posting to IRIS. Typically this falls during the months of:
Refunds for course fees are prorated at the same rate as maintenance and tuition. The percentage to be refunded is posted on the One Stop web site. Exceptions to this refund schedule should be addressed at the time of the submission of the course fee. Refunds for individual students must be submitted to the Bursar via email or memo. Each request must include the student’s name, Banner ID number, course number, section and the amount of the refund. Only a department head may request an individual refund.
Students who wish to appeal a course fee will be directed to submit the appeal in writing to the department head. If approved, the department head will follow the process to refund the student.
Completion of Course Fee Form
The Course Fee Form is to be completed by providing the following information:
Request Type: check one of three options:
- request for a new fee
- change to an existing fee
- cancel a fee
- cross list course
- Flat Rate Fee: fees are set amounts and are the same for each student in the course, regardless of the number of hours.
- Per Credit Hour Fee (called Bill in Banner): fees are a set amount and charged for each credit hour.
- Student: fees are assessed based on the student level, i.e. Undergraduate, Graduate or Law.
- Program: specialized program such as Engineering Management or the MBA program.
Fee Name: print the name of the course fee; limit the number of characters including spaces to 25.
Course Number: list the course number and title. If the fee is to be applied to multiple sections, provide, as a separate attachment, a list of all of the sections to which the fee is applicable.
Area: 1) College – list the college
2) Academic Department-list the name of the academic department
Proposed/New Fee Rate: list the amount of the proposed new fee rate depending on the option chosen under Request Type.
Current Rate: enter the current rate if the fee already exists.
Estimated Revenue per year: for a new fee – list the calculations arrived at the annual revenue anticipated. An attachment is acceptable. If an increase to the fee – report the additional annual revenue projected.
Date of Last Fee Increase or Approval: list the date the fee was approved or the date of the last increase.
Proposed Level: check the appropriate student level for the fee.
Proposed Effective Date: enter the semester the fee is to begin. The beginning semester will be the fall following the Board of Trustees meeting in June unless otherwise justified.
Account Number: enter the income account number to receive the credit for the income. Follow steps in the Course Fee Process section, if the accounts are not yet established.
GL Code: applies to the expense side of the accounts.
Background Information /Fee Justification/Purpose: identify core products or services that will be provided from the funds generated by the fee; explain whether the goods/ services are already being provided, whether those funds will continue to subsidize the requirement and/or the necessity to begin charging for the goods or services. Evaluate the uses for the intended fee to identify expenses that do not qualify for education credits. Examples of these expenses include: room and board; insurance; medical expenses; and transportation. Qualified and non-qualified portions of the fee must be assessed separately for 1098-T reporting purposes. If the fee will cover non-qualified expenses, break the fee rate out between these two categories. Additional guidance can be found at: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/qualified-ed-expenses
Rationale for the Fee Change: provide the revised detailed justification describing the intended use of the previously approved fee.
Cost Basis for the Fee: describe the intended outcomes and benefits to the student/fee user expected from the assessment of the fee.
The department head submitting the form is to sign here, print the name on the appropriate line, and add email address and date.
The Dean of the college will sign on the second line with the name then printed and the date added.
The Provost will approve the final list compiled by the Fiscal Officer of the Provost’s Office which will then be submitted to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.
Further approvals will be obtained on a summary form.
Alternative individual to be contacted: include phone number and email address. Unless this is completed, the department head will be contacted with questions