Number: INST 180
Effective: June 6, 2018
Department: Instruction
Last Revision: June 6, 2018


To provide for the fair and consistent approval and application of special course or program fees.


This policy applies to all credit-bearing courses offered at CWI via any delivery modality.


Special course or program fees – fees to offset extraordinary expenses associated with those courses not covered by tuition or fee payments. A special course fee includes subcategories of fees including online fee, included fee, and open educational resource (OER) fee.


The amounts charged for tuition and fees usually cover course related expenses. Some courses however have extraordinary expenses associated with them and, in such cases, a Special Course Fees (SCFs) may be charged at the point of registration.  The College of Western Idaho strives to provide accessible and affordable learning opportunities for students and makes a conscious effort to apply Special Course Fees reasonably, affordably, and sparingly.  


I.  Authorized Fees

Ordinarily, special course or program fees may be charged for the following:

  1. Expendable supplies or materials, such as art supplies (paint, jewelry metals, photographic paper and chemicals, etc.) or laboratory or clinical supplies (dissection specimens, disposable syringes and latex gloves, chemicals, glassware, video tapes or other use-intensive educational aids, etc.).
  2. Special services or facilities offered as a convenience or enriched experience for students, such as individual lessons in music, live models in drawing classes, etc.
  3. Materials, supplies, tools, etc. ordered in quantity by the department as a convenience or cost-saving measure for students, or when such items are not readily available locally.
  4. Access to specialized or enriched computer laboratory services (including hardware, software, maintenance, and staff) that exceed the level of access and service that is basic to instruction and would thus be funded by the academic unit or campus-wide computer fee.
  5. Pass-through fees for malpractice insurance, certification examinations required before student clinical practice, required immunizations, or assessment examinations required by national accrediting agencies.
  6. Course-related student travel and lodging, such as supervised field trips and course-related faculty travel and lodging, when associated with supervision of academic work.
  7. Equipment used exclusively for instructional purposes such as microscopes, analytical equipment, anatomical models, ceramics wheels, etc.
  8. Staffing used specifically to aid in instruction, such as laboratory coordinators.

II. Unauthorized Fees

Ordinarily, special course or program fees may not be charged for the following:

  1. Fixed equipment (equipment that is physically installed such as fume hoods, dishwashers, or kilns).
  2. Materials, supplies, and services related to the advertising and promotion of courses or workshops offered for credit.
  3. Books or periodical subscriptions for departmental libraries or shared use by students and faculty.

III. Guidelines

  1. The cost/benefit ratio to students is paramount in determining which special course or program fees are approved or disapproved by the President’s Cabinet.
  2. Approved fees may be charged at a level sufficient to partially or fully offset costs, but should not be used to generate substantial surplus, unless that surplus is being accrued for a planned purchase of a particular item(s) related to direct instruction.
  3. The Executive Vice President (EVP) will maintain a continuous list of board approved SCFs.
  4. The minimum amount for a SCF will be $5.
  5. The following courses are not eligible to request SCFs at this time:
    • Dual Credit – unless consumables are used
    • Technical Dual Credit
    • Credit Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
  6. The effective date of approved SCFs will be the semester following the date of board approval:
    1. SCFs approved in February will be effective the following Fall.
    2. SCFs approved in September will be effective the following Spring/Summer.
  7. SCFs attached to courses that are inactivated or retired will be inactivated as well.  A Special Course Fee Request Form does not need to be submitted to remove the SCF.
  8. Departments may request appropriate special fees for Special Topics courses. Such requests must be made with sufficient lead time and in conjunction with SCF approval cycle.
  9. By April 1 of each academic year, department chairs will prepare a report that describes the income secured from fees, the expenditures for which those fees were spent, the balance of fees remaining at the end of the year, plans for that balance (e.g., accruing funds for a major purchase). If either or both of the surplus for the fiscal year (FY) and the expected carryforward to next FY are greater than 10% of income for the year, provide a reason for having this surplus or decrease the fees.
  10. That report shall be reviewed by the Deans to ascertain that the amount of fees collected is justified. The annual report is due to the Assistant Vice President of Instruction (AVP)/EVP by June 1 of each year.
  11. To facilitate spending authority over SCFs, the budget should equal the fund balances at the tenth day of each semester.
  12. Departments are responsible for verifying accuracy of SCFs on class schedule prior to open registration.
  13. SCFs will be listed in the schedule of classes at the point of registration.

IV. Procedure

  1. Proposing special course fees (SCFs) is a biannual occurrence.
  2. All official forms, including procedures, for SCF process are located on myCWI under Instruction/Special Course Fees.
  3. Faculty, department chairs, or deans who wish to propose or modify (increase, decrease or delete) a SCF, or change SCF description, must follow established procedures and timeline.