Course Fee Policy


The College of Engineering is a diverse community of innovators. 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 first-rate, 21st century engineers and leaders. In support of these efforts, fees may be applied to specific courses to pay for specified course-related costs.

The UW policy governing the course fees is described in the User Fee Approval Policy (UW Executive Order 44). The User Fee Approval Policy outlines rules about fees charged to students. The substance can be broken into 3 basic areas. One explains the scope of the course fees themselves: what they can and cannot be used for. Another stipulates who should be consulted during the fee establishment process: faculty and students. Last are issues related to notification and implementation. The remainder of this document highlights specific issues within this policy, but departments must be sure that all the requirements of Section 5a have been met or planned for.

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 must be submitted to the College of Engineering by the following deadlines:

Term of Course Fee Fee Request Deadline
Autumn Quarter April 1
Winter Quarter September 15
Spring Quarter January 10
Summer Quarter March 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 Time Schedule Office. Once approved, your department’s Time Schedule Coordinator will notified and can have the fee attached to the appropriate sections.