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UNG Course & Lab Fee Guide

UNG Policy

The University of North Georgia follows Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia (USG) Policy Manual, section 7.3.2.2 and the USG Business Procedures Manual section 24.3.2, regarding course and lab fees.

Elective Fees and Special Charges Requiring Board Approval

View the elective fees and special charges flowchart/decisions tree PDF to determine if Board approval is required.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  

Why did the Board of Regents change Board policy to require Board approval of certain elective fees?

The Board historically has always had oversight of elective fees, and has generally delegated approval of most elective fees to USG institution presidents. The Board policy changes adopted in February 2015 regarding elective fee oversight and approval were made to further clarify the circumstances under which elective fees require Board approval and ensure consistency in how elective fees are applied.

Under what circumstances does an elective fee require Board of Regents approval?

Elective fees requiring Board of Regents approval come under the following categories:

  • Any elective fee or special charge that is required to be paid by any standard subgroup of students based on grade level or previous credit hours earned (e.g. all freshman); or
  • Any elective fee or special charge that is required to be paid by all students in a specific degree program or in a specific course, with the exception of laboratory fees and supplemental course material fees.

If an elective fee requiring Board approval receives such approval, for how long is the Board’s approval of this elective fee effective?

Board approval is effective for only the fiscal year for which it was approved. Board approval must be requested annually should the institution wish to continue the fee beyond the fiscal year for which it was approved.

How do a degree program fee and a course fee differ, and does it matter?

A degree program fee is a fee assessed to all students enrolled in that particular degree program on a one-time, semester or annual basis. A course fee is a fee levied to all students enrolled in that specific course. Annual Board approval is required for degree program fees. Course fees may or may not require Board approval depending on whether or not they meet the criteria to be considered a lab fee or a “supplemental course fee”.

What are the criteria for determining whether a course fee can be considered a “supplemental course fee”?

  • The fee must cover specific costs, such as art materials, course packets/kits, museum admissions, travel to off-campus learning sites, safety equipment, software/videos, and special equipment. Another specific cost which the fee could cover would be the cost of a professional examination/certification, required as a part of the class, and procured by the institution under a group purchase where the fee in this instance would be essentially a pass-through fee, assessed with a very strict focus, in a limited manner.
  • The material or service is integral to the course in order for each student to reach the intended learning objectives.
  • The student can easily identify the direct benefit he or she is receiving from the fee.
  • The fee rate is equivalent to or lower than what the student would expect to pay for the material or service if purchasing independently at market price.'
  • Upon an in-depth review of the fee, the revenue received from the fee would directly align with the institution’s expenditures on the material or service provided.

A course fee not satisfying any of the above conditions would not be considered a “supplemental course fee” and would require Board approval.

Can a “supplemental course fee” be charged for funding services such as tutoring?

Yes, in very limited cases. However, in keeping with the guidance above, the tutoring sessions should be considered an integral or required component of the class, the tutoring services should be obtained for the specific course for which the fee is assessed, and the payment to the tutor should align with the fee revenue. Under these circumstances the fee would be classified as a “supplemental course fee” and not require Board approval.


Are course fees funding a tutoring facility or general learning center permitted?

No. Fees used to fund a tutoring facility or general learning center are not permitted. Tutoring facility or general learning center expenditures should be funded through the institution’s general operating budget with tuition or state funds.

If an elective fee contains the word “lab” in its title, is it exempt from the Board approval requirement?

No. The title of the elective fee has no bearing on whether or not it requires Board approval. Regardless of its title, an elective fee must still satisfy the criteria used in determining the fee’s review status and if it should be Board approved. A laboratory fee may be assessed in a laboratory course or course with a lab component to cover the cost of supplies, materials, and services utilized by students in a lab. The lab must be specific to a course and attendance required as a part of the course.

Can revenue from a laboratory fee be used to cover travel expenses for faculty/staff travel to a laboratory class located on a satellite campus?

No. Laboratory fees may only be assessed to cover the cost of supplies, materials, and services utilized by students in a lab.

Are the student lab assistants mentioned in the Business Procedures Manual (BPM) Section 24 paragraph regarding laboratory fees and their use the same as Graduate Research orGraduate Teaching Assistants?

No. Student lab assistants in this context refer to part-time or full-time hourly institution student employees who as part of their job duties spend a portion of their time cleaning and restocking the lab classroom(s). As such, lab fee revenue can be used to cover only the time student lab assistants spent attending to that specific lab.

UNG Internal Required Procedures:

Procedures for UNG Course Fee / Lab Fee Budget Managers:

Prior to pre-registration each semester, the department manager should run banner common report 1980 (COM1980) to verify all courses will assess (charge) correctly to the student invoice. If there are any changes needed, an email should be sent to the Registrar’s Office requesting the changes prior to pre-registration.

It is the responsibility of the budget manager to ensure all purchases funded by course fee revenues are in accordance with USG policies and procedures. (see website links above)  Periodic assessments will be conducted by the UNG internal auditor to ensure compliance. 

It is strongly recommended that budget managers maintain data for each course fee that is in their area of responsibility. A spreadsheet reflecting courses and current fee rates is a useful tool. In addition, historical data should be reflected on the spreadsheet for the life of the fee. The history should reflect course additions and deletions by term and any rate changes by term. This data helps validate current charges, as well as requests for future increases and/or changes, as well as future budget projections.

For ‘New course/lab fees’ or ‘Revised course/lab fee amount’ proposals, written justification should be submitted to the provost via the respective college dean. If the provost approves the new or revised course fee, this information will need to be submitted to the UNG Budget Office no later than the end of November for inclusion in the upcoming fiscal year’s miscellaneous fee packet to the BOR.

The information submitted to the Budget Office must include written fee justification, planned use of revenue, estimated fee payers as well as the corresponding projected revenue amount by semester.

Procedures for Registrar’s Office:

Course related fees appear on the course approval form. Once it goes through the approval process, the Registrar’s Office adds the course fee in Banner on the form, SCADETL. As new sections of courses are created each semester by the departments, the fee is automatically attached to each section of the course. This process must be completed prior to a student registering for the course section in order for the fee to appear on the student’s invoice. 

Procedures for Bursar’s Office:

Banner detail codes, with appropriate accounts, are created for approved course/lab fees. When fee assessment is processed at the time of registration, course/lab fees are assessed on student accounts for students registered for courses having course/lab fees attached to them.

Procedures for Budget Office:

Based on the college dean’s previously submitted revenue budget estimate for each course/lab fee, the Budget Office will tie the fee budget to the respective actual course/lab fee revenue received and adjust the budget accordingly.  For example: After fall semester stabilizes (after processing final student drop for non-payment, etc), the Budget Office compares the dean’s budget estimate to actuals (shown in Banner) and adjusts that portion of the budget accordingly. At the appropriate time, the same comparison and adjustment is made for all semesters. Since summer semester is split between two fiscal years, each portion is trued individually in its respective fiscal year.

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