Business Procedures Manual

Essential business procedural components for University System of Georgia institutions.

24.1 Establishment of Fees

(Last Modified on December 28, 2016)

The Board of Regents annually approves purposes and rates for all mandatory fees and those elective fees requiring Board approval. All requests to establish a new mandatory fee or to retain, modify, repurpose, or repeal an existing mandatory fee must be submitted to the BOR, through the Office of Strategy & Fiscal Affairs, according to deadlines set on the USG Budget Calendar (http://www.usg.edu/fiscal_affairs/functions/budget_calendar).

A change in the purpose of a mandatory fee includes any instance where the original purpose for the fee has expired or institutional priorities have changed. An example of an expiration of purpose would be a fee charged to finance lease payments of a student recreation center where the term of the lease has expired. An example of a change in institutional priorities would be a request to utilize a fee that was originally approved to support parking operations to also include shuttle services.

As a matter of practice, when submitting annual documentation for the mandatory fee request, institutions should include pertinent information such as expected revenues, use of increased revenues and any applicable sunset dates and information on how the use of the fees will be monitored to ensure fees are spent according to the approved purpose. A strong business case must be presented along with the fee request to demonstrate the need for the fee and the efforts to minimize the financial impact to students. The USG Budget Office will provide forms and templates on which the institution is to provide this information. Business cases for fees that support auxiliary enterprises and student activities must align with the submitted Five-Year Business Plan.

All mandatory fee requests must follow BOR Policy 7.3.2.1, which states in part, “Proposals submitted by an institution to increase mandatory student fees, proposals to create new mandatory student fees, or a change in the purpose of a mandatory fee, shall first be presented for advice and counsel to a committee at each institution composed of at least fifty percent (50%) students, except in special circumstances when a general purpose fee is instituted system-wide by the Board of Regents.” This BOR Policy also stipulates that this fee advisory committee must have at least four student members. Copies of the documents provided to the fee advisory committee and evidence of the committee vote must also be provided along with the request.

Before submitting a new or increased mandatory fee to the Board for approval, institutions are encouraged to engage the student body to gauge student support. This engagement should go beyond the mandatory membership of students on the fee advisory committee referenced earlier in this section. Demonstrated student support through focus group participation, social media engagement, student body referendum, etc., is viewed as a positive factor when considering whether to approve an institution’s fee request.

Elective fees that do not require Board approval must be established through procedures developed by the institutional business office. Elective fees must include approval by the department head, cabinet level leadership of the department assessing the fee (usually the Chief Academic Officer), the Chief Business Officer, and the President. These procedures must include documentation of purpose, rate, and accounting detail of where fee revenues and expenditures are recorded. The business office must maintain an exhaustive list of all elective fees assessed.

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