Course Fee Policy


To serve as a policy for the determination and use of course fees collected by academic units at Michigan Technological University.  


Students are assessed tuition to attend courses and earn credit toward a degree at Michigan Tech. The tuition rate is determined based on the total cost to deliver intellectual material in a traditional classroom environment. Included in this tuition assessment is the cost of any administrative and facilities support necessary to fulfill the instructional mission of the university.


It is the option of Michigan Tech to levy fees for any course with a specialized educational component to cover the additional costs of providing important educational experiences.

These fees shall be:

  • deposited to a separate, easily audited account under the direct control of the unit responsible for overseeing the activities or initiatives for which the fees are charged;
  • used for the sole purpose of supporting, maintaining, and improving the educational offering;
  • reviewed for appropriateness as part of the existing budget review process; and
  • established for a specific course; all sections of a course shall levy the same fee and the same amount.

The authority to approve course fees resides with the provost.

Any projected student costs associated with the verification of student identity (e.g., required paid proctoring services that would result in a direct cost to the student) that are not covered as part of a course fee must be disclosed at the time of registration or enrollment.

Acceptable Uses:

Appropriate uses of these funds include:

  • cost of supplies, services, equipment, and improvements (including saving for these items subject to appropriate replacement schedules);
  • transportation costs for student and instructional personnel to off-campus sites;
  • off-campus admission fees for students and instructional personnel;
  • travel, lodging, meals for students and instructional personnel;
  • honoraria for special guests to the course;
  • per-user/seat fees for software or professional exams;
  • equipment and software maintenance agreements that directly contribute to the course;
  • cost of any utilities or space rental charged to the unit specifically for the course;
  • compensation (e.g., direct pay, an equivalent value as tuition, or other compensation) based on an hourly rate for students to support instruction (e.g., peer mentors/course assistants, lab preparation, lab or field assistants), following current guidance from the graduate school for graduate student assistants;
  • staff who provide technical, safety, chemical hygiene, logistical, and/or clerical support directly related to the course;
  • fringes at approved rates for allowable payroll expenses; and
  • training, including required travel and lodging, directly related to the course.

Prohibited Uses:

Course fees may not be used for any the following purposes:

  • salaries, wages, and/or benefits for any academic faculty, except for co-curricular courses like private lessons and physical education courses;
  • special benefits to employees or students outside of the fringes charged at approved rates associated with payroll expenses;
  • graduate student stipends (see acceptable compensation methods above);
  • food and beverages, except when they are a component of the educational experience or there is student travel off-campus for activities related to the course;
  • cell phones and cell phone plans/service costs;
  • standard classroom equipment and maintenance of such equipment (e.g., desks, projectors, displays/monitors); or
  • classroom/lab remodeling.


Units will annually examine their lab fee account balances (and balance history) and maintain proper course funding levels to minimize student costs. Every lab fee must have a spending plan, with the goal of having the average balance over a specified period (set by the unit in collaboration with the dean and provost’s office) be at $0 or no more than 10% of annual expenses.

Changes to existing fees, or newly proposed fees, may be initiated by the unit administrator (department chair, or dean in a college without departments). Course and laboratory fees initiated by department chairs must be approved by the college dean.

All requests should be submitted to the Senior Finance and Planning Analyst in the provost's office who will bring the request to the provost. The provost’s decision will be communicated back to the initiating unit. The unit can levy a new or revised fee as early as the first semester following approval by the provost. If registration is open for an affected course at the time of the change in fee, the department is required to notify each student registered for the course before tuition bills are due.

Questions about course fees may be directed to the provost’s office.

Annual Reporting

A report/spending plan (following a timeline and format provided by the provost’s office) outlining the following items will be submitted annually by units to their cognizant dean for review and approval:

  • the justification and expected use of all course fees in the unit, including new or modified course fees, and
  • financial details (revenue, expenditures, carryforward) for each course fee account.

The dean-approved reports will be forwarded to the provost for final approval.

Establishing New Course Fees:

  • Requests for new fees (on existing or new courses) shall be made as part of the annual reporting process.
  • Fees approved by the provost through the annual reporting process are pre-approved for implementation via the curriculum change process.
  • New courses additionally require a Course Add Proposal and associated documents. See the Course Proposal Guide for forms and details.

Waivers & Off-Cycle Requests:

Requests for fee waivers, fee reimbursements, exceptions to this policy, and fee requests outside the normal submission process must be presented to the provost's office. In the rare situation where a fee is added to a course after students have registered for that course, the change must be directly communicated to students before tuition bills are due.

last updated May 2022