24.1 Establishment of Fees
(Last Modified on August 11, 2022)
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 220.127.116.11, 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.” Each institution should form a single “Student Fee Committee” to evaluate all mandatory fees assessed to students within that institution as a whole.
This BOR Policy also stipulates that this fee advisory committee must have at least four student members who must constitute at least 50% of the full committee. Student members of the committee shall be nominated as follows:
- Undergraduate student nominees named by the Student Government Association shall constitute at least 75% of student representatives at institutions that do not have graduate studies.
- Undergraduate student nominees named by the Student Government Association (SGA) – shall constitute at least 50% of student representatives at institutions that have graduate studies.
- Graduate student nominees, named by the Graduate Student Government Association , or by the combined graduate and undergraduate student government association– shall constitute at least 25% of student representatives at institutions that have graduate studies.
- Administration – may nominate up to 25% of student representatives
Further, the Student Fee Committee shall include at least one part time student. If the institution has a fully online population that equals or exceeds 5% of the student body, the fee committee shall include at least one fully online student. Students within these categories may be named by either Undergraduate SGA, Graduate SGA, or by Administration, but they must be part of the committee composition. For purposes of calculating the 5% online threshold, a fully online student is any student enrolled in online courses only during the fall semester of the year. This includes those students enrolled in a fully online program and those students in a face-to-face or hybrid program with a fully online schedule during the fall. Where possible, Student fee committee members should serve two-year terms. Institutions shall document that a campus wide fee education outreach effort has taken place prior to student fee committee meetings taking place. This documentation must be provided with all fee proposal submissions, even if no changes to fee levels are requested. Examples of outreach activities may include, but are not limited to:
- Listening Sessions
- Campus Surveys
- Webinars, mass email, etc.
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.
All proposals for adding new fees, or proposals for increasing any existing individual fee by 20% or more, requires the institution to conduct a campus wide student referendum in which a majority votes cast must be in favor of the fee increase. For institutions that operate on multiple campuses, the required referendum shall be conducted on all campuses to which the fee increase would be applied. This requirement is waived for proposed increases required for debt service coverage.
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.↑ Top