Special Course Fee Application

Special Course Fees are fees charged to students in addition to regular tuition and are governed by UW System Financial and Administrative Policy (825), as revised, under provisions of section 36.27(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes. The policy outlines procedures for establishing and approving Special Course Fees for credit courses. Approval is required in writing by the Department Chair and the Chancellor or designee of all Special Course Fees, including new fees, revised fees and deletions. Upon final approval by the Chancellor or designee, the form is submitted to the Controller's Office for implementation. Questions regarding the policy should be directed to the Controller's Office.

Please be sure all requested items on the Special Course Fee Application Form are completed. Incomplete forms or those with inadequate information or justifications will be returned to the requestor.

UW-Platteville has established guidelines to assist you in determining when special course fees may be charged. The guidelines found below include examples of situations when special course fees may be assessed.

UW-Platteville’s Special Course Fee Guidelines


Special Course Fees are defined as charges in addition to the regular instructional fee, segregated fee and tuition. These fees are assessed to all students in a course or assessed or collected from individual students based on student exercised options.

  • May be assessed for certain instructional costs that are not covered by UW-Platteville’s regular instructional costs.
  • May be used solely for approved purposes and in support of the course for which the fee was assessed.
  • Must be administered so that each student charged a fee has a reasonable opportunity to benefit equally from the fee.
  • May not be used as a substitute for obtaining adequate regular budget support for a course.
  • May not be collected by faculty or instructors; OR in the classroom.


Special Course Fees fall into three categories:

  • Direct Billing in conjunction with registration in a course; the fee is included with the initial billing to the student. Notice must be included in the class schedule prior to registration.
  • Individual Billings through the Cashier's Office (manually entered) for variable cost items a student may acquire through the course instructor or department. The instructor must submit a list of students and amount each owes to the UWP Cashier's Office. A notice to the students is required in the class syllabus.
  • Varying Out-of-Pocket (personal) expenses a student may incur for optional or required materials generally available from local retail merchants including the campus bookstore. Examples include books required in addition to text rental material, lab or tool kits, bowling fees, specialty clothing, travel costs, and attendance or admission charges. A notice to the students is required in the class syllabus.

Note: UW-Platteville requires that special course fees for varying out-of-pocket expenses be approved using the same process as direct and individual billings. This is to keep the students informed of the total cost of each course they choose.


  • Special course fees MUST be charged in the following situations:
    • A-1. When a student exercises an option to participate beyond the minimum requirements of a course resulting in additional supplies and expense (S&E) costs to the institution.
    • A-2. When a student consumes the standard resources provided to all students to complete course requirements and requires additional resources to complete the requirements OR upgrades the materials used to complete the requirements.

Examples situations:

  1. A geology course has an optional field trip to view glacial formations.
  2. An art student is required to prepare two weavings for a course and is provided materials to complete the project. The student decides to complete an additional weaving; OR in an art course dealing with metal working, a student elects to make a piece of jewelry out of precious metal, such as gold, rather than the supplied aluminum.
  • Special course fees MAY be charged in the following situations:
    • B-1. For private lessons in vocal or instrumental music to all non-music major students enrolled for private lessons. This fee may also be assessed to music majors who elect to take additional lessons beyond the major degree requirements.
    • B-2. For materials that result in a tangible product that is retained by the student in a credit course.
    • B-3. For transportation and admission costs incurred on field trips required in credit course instruction.
    • B-4. For supplementary textbooks and resource materials; OR
    • B-5. For other special or extraordinary costs of a course:
      • Which is not a requirement for any degree program OR
      • When an alternative course is offered with no special course fees.

Examples situations

  1. A non-music major is taking private piano lessons.
  2. A student is taking an art course where the use of leather results in a belt that is kept by the student.
  3. A student is taking a course involving a required bus trip and admission to a museum.
  4. A magazine subscription is required for a radio/television course due to changing technology; OR the principal text for a geography course is provided through the Textbook Rental Program. The geography department provides a supplementary map book to the students that the students retain; OR a student uses a chemistry lab manual to record lab results.
  5. a. A student is required to take a physical education course as a degree requirement. The Phy Ed department contracts with a local vendor for air tank filling and for rental of the equipment necessary for each student. The student elects to take a scuba diving course to satisfy this requirement. The scuba diving course is not required for any university offered major/minor.

    b. A student is required to take a physical education course as a degree requirement. Horseback riding is offered with a special course fee. Golf is an acceptable alternative course which meets the degree requirement and is offered with no special course fee. A special course fee may be charged for horseback riding.
  • Special course fees MAY NOT be charged in the following situations:
    1. For salaries and wages for any university instructor, support staff or administrative staff.
    2. For the normal level of breakage or consumption of materials purchased by the University for direct use by students in activities that are integral to credit course instruction. However a deposit to insure that UWP equipment and supplies temporarily assigned to students are returned in reasonable condition (normal wear and tear excepted) may be collected.
    3. For standard equipment and maintenance of equipment used for instructional purposes.
    4. For typical instructional handout materials.
    5. For the purchase of laptops, the use of computer and other laboratory equipment usage, operating system software, computer maintenance and related supplies, or expenses covered by the student technology tuition surcharge fee.
    6. For honoraria
    7. For health and/or safety equipment required in carrying out course activities, such as equipment required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
    8. For other course supplies or materials that could reasonably be expected to be covered by an institution’s regular instructional budget.

Examples situations:

  1. The salary for the academic department associate.
  2. Breakage fees beyond normal wear and tear for glassware used in chemistry courses.
  3. Desks, blackboards, computer projection equipment, fitness equipment, or other standard equipment used for instructional purposes
  4. Instructional handout materials such as syllabi, assignments, or examination materials.
  5. Computer access required in an accounting course; OR use of a CAD/CAM or EXCEL software program in an architecture course
  6. A guest speaker is given a gift or gratuitous payment as a gesture of goodwill or appreciation.
  7. OSHA equipment requirements, including but not limited to, safety shields, respirators, eye wash equipment, etc.
  8. Use of chemistry lab; OR specimens for a Biology course
  • The following items are considered to be PERSONAL expenses of students.
    • D-1. Food, lodging and incidentals on all required field trips.
    • D-2. Transportation to sites related to student teaching, clinical assignments and other practica.
    • D-3. Personal health, safety and dress requirements related to instruction
    • D-4. Recommended books and incidentals.

A special course fee may be assessed to students to facilitate the acquisition of items 1, 3, and 4 above.

Example situations:

  1. Lunch on a required field trip.
  2. Costs for education students to travel to local schools for observation and participation.
  3. Gym attire for physical education classes; OR health and safety supplies such as ear plugs, hair nets, goggles, micro-shields, etc.
  4. Calculators recommended in a math course.

The complete text of UW-System’s Special Course Fee Policy (825) includes examples of situations in which a special course fees shall not be charged. The policy is available from Department Chairs and Deans or at the following web address: https://www.wisconsin.edu/uw-policies/uw-system-administrative-policies/special-course-fees/

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