Skip to main content


Course fee policy


In the College of Engineering, we strive to achieve and maintain the highest levels of excellence in higher education, to contribute to the economic vitality of our region and beyond, and to launch careers of 21st century engineers and leaders. In support of these efforts, fees may be applied to specific courses to pay for specific course-related costs.The UW policy governing course fees is described in the User Fee Approval Policy (UW Executive Order 44). 

Requests to add or change a course fee are approved by the Dean of the College. Requests for new course fees greater than $50 or increases of more than 10% are approved by the Office of Planning and Budgeting.

Monies collected for a specific course may be applied only to expenditures in the course to which the fee is assessed. Course fee monies are to be deposited in self-sustaining accounts, and are not intended to accumulate surpluses or deficits. Academic units within the College are required to review their course fee policies and assessments regularly, and to make adjustments in fees as appropriate.

Departments are encouraged to keep course fees as modest as practicable, and to incorporate the costs associated with offering their courses into the operations areas of their budgets when possible. This will help to make all of our courses accessible to the greatest number of UW students.

Allowable course fees

Course fee expenditures, traceable to a particular course, can include:

  • Materials and supplies
  • Transportation and/or lodging for field trips and related costs associated with off-campus activities
  • Equipment set-up and maintenance costs
  • Tangible resources shared by multiple courses (e.g. software and equipment)
  • Personnel costs (other than faculty and TA) such as a part of the cost of a lab technician

Additional requirements


The costs associated with the purchase of equipment must be shared among all the anticipated enrolled students in all affected courses using the equipment over the expected life of the equipment. In determining the costs associated with the purchase of equipment, academic units must first determine a reasonable replacement schedule and then amortize the costs across the expected period of service for each piece of equipment purchased. Equipment purchased through course fees can be used only by students in the courses for which the equipment is purchased.

Costs of instruction

Course fees cannot be used for course instruction, grading, hiring of teaching assistants, discussion section supervision, or exam proctoring.

Rental/purchase of audio/visual equipment

Course fees cannot be used to pay for the rental or purchase of audio/visual equipment associated with course instruction.

Computer software

Course fees can be used to pay for software and other media licenses provided that those software products and licenses are specific to the individual students taking the course. In general, site licenses may not be purchased through course fees (unless reasonable estimates can be made of the share of use belonging to a particular course, or the site license fee is less than the sum of fees for individual purchase by students).

Software, books, and other media

Where practicable, students should be required to purchase software, books, and other media at bookstores, copy centers, or other appropriate locations.

Application process

In applying for a new course fee or amending an existing course fee, departments must complete and submit the following course fee request documents:

Once completed, these documents may be submitted to the College of Engineering Office of Academic Affairs via email or mail (371 Loew Hall, Box 352180). Course fee request documents should be submitted to the College of Engineering by the following deadlines:

Term of Course FeeFee Request Deadline
Autumn QuarterApril 1
Winter QuarterSeptember 15
Spring QuarterJanuary 10
Summer QuarterMarch 1

If the request is approved, the Dean’s Office will complete the lower fields on the UW Request to Add or Change a Course Fee Form and will submit it to the UW Curriculum Office and, if necessary, the Office of Planning and Budgeting. Once approved, your department’s Time Schedule Coordinator can have the fee attached to the appropriate sections in the Time Schedule. 

Once a new course fee or change to an existing course fee has been approved, the unit is responsible for notifying affected students at least 30 days prior to implementation.  A note added to the Time Schedule comments for the course can serve as notification to all students intending to register for the course. In cases where course fee requests are approved after the fee request deadline for the course term, departments must notify by email any registered students about the course fee change in addition to adding a note to the Time Schedule comments.

Students enrolled in courses with a course fee can provide feedback on course fees at any time. Comments and concerns should be sent to the following contacts in sequential order:

  • Chair or director of the sponsoring department
  • College of Engineering Dean's Office
  • Office of Planning and Budgeting