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Understanding Campus Fees

Provides a description about broad-based fees, the steps needed to establish or modify existing fees and the deadlines for fee approval.

Procedure Information

For additional information about this procedure, please contact the owner Budget and Financial Reporting


  • 7.0 Process

    Step 1 – Internal Assessment

    The majority of fees charged to students attending SUNY Plattsburgh are initiated by the campus, whether it is an individual instructor, department at the college, or campus leadership. All student fees will be assessed using the following metrics when applicable:

    • Does the proposed charge provide special course supplies and/or materials where the students retain an end product of worth?
    • Does the proposed charge provide special and unique services?
    • Does the proposed charge involve extraordinary costs associated directly with degree, diploma, or certification program delivery?
    • Does the proposed charge cover costs associated with a course specific to scientific chemicals, supplies and materials, modest equipment, and/or proper disposal of waste?
    • Does the proposed charge add value to the student body/campus?
    • Does the proposed charge provide a service or savings to students?
    • Is the proposed charge for a service or item that is already provide for under student tuition?

    Answers to these metrics and others as necessary, must be articulated in writing and submitted as part of the Campus Fee Request Form (see Appendix).

    Step 2 – Student Involvement

    Once a new fee or revision to a fee has been determined essential, the campus is encouraged – and in the case of Broad-Based Fees required to engage on the proposed student charge directly with the student population for review and comment. Documentation of strong student consultation should include a narrative description of the participatory process.

    While campuses are encouraged to take into consideration the results of the review and comment, it is important to note that student approval is not required to submit requests.

    Step 3 – Request Submission

    With the exception of broad-based fees that are directly implemented pursuant to the Board of Trustees as part of the budget process, each request for a new or revision to a mandatory or campus authorized fee must be submitted utilizing the Campus Fee Request Form (see Appendix) and sent to the Budget and Financial Reporting Office by the deadlines listed below.

    Academic Term for Fee Implementation Request Due to Budget and Financial Reporting Office
    Fall and Summer Terms Feb 15th
    Spring and Winter Terms July 1st

    Submissions for mandatory and campus authorized fees should include at a minimum:

    • Course numbers and titles (if applicable)
      • If a course number changes while a fee request is pending or after a fee is approved, the department must communicate the nature of the change to the Budget and Financial Reporting Office.
    • Course/program description (if applicable)
    • A memo from the department chair to the Dean explaining the need for the fee
    • A description of the fee to be charged
    • A financial summary for a three-year period (Financial Summary Tab)
    • If waivers are permitted, a fee waiver policy must exist and be included as part of the fee request
    • The method in which the student charge will be administrated
    • Justification for the fee (Justification Tab)
    • Signatures/approval by the appropriate campus leadership as outlined on the Request Form Tab

    Submissions for broad based fees will be prompted by a memo sent from the Budget and Financial Reporting Office. This memo will outline the deadlines and requirements of the five-year Broad Based Fee Budget Request. Justification for broad based fee increases should include:

    • Current commitments and proposed future activities to be supported by increased revenue
    • Documentation of strong student consultant to be completed after the Excel budget has been submitted for initial review
    • Description of impact (if any) on student access caused by the proposed fee or fee increase

    Step 4 – Review

    Once the dean and provost (if applicable) have reviewed and approved the Campus Fee Request Form (see Appendix) all requests should be sent to the Budget and Financial Reporting Office. Each request will be reviewed on the merits of the submission alone. Reviewers, both at the campus level and at SUNY, will make every effort to review submitted requests within a reasonable timeframe.

    Additional documentation or information may be requested.

    Step 5 – Approval

    Broad-based fees and Mandatory fees, including course-based fees must be approved by SUNY. All broad based and mandatory fee requests once received by the Budget and Financial Reporting Office will be reviewed and approved by the president or their designee. Once approved internally, the request will be submitted to SUNY for final review and approval. 

    Campus Authorized Fees are reviewed, approved and established by the president or their designee and do not require SUNY approval.

    Once a fee has final approval, the Budget and Financial Reporting Office will submit notifications to the appropriate office(s).

    No student charge may be imposed upon a student without formal approval by the appropriate level of authority. In the case where review of a new or increased student charge is ongoing during a period when student’s bills are prepared, campuses are allowed to charge the fee “pending final approval”. If approval is not provided, the campus is required to reimburse students for the entirety of the charge. 

    Step 6 – Implementation

    Approved student charges must be properly applied to student bills and revenue generated by such charges will be appropriately deposited in clearly delineated accounts within the General IFR fund, or other appropriate accounting structure.

    In general, chancellor or designee set fee amounts are approved on an annual basis for those fee types that fall within the broad based and mandatory fees category and are held at those levels for the entirety of the academic year.

    Fee amounts set for fees that fall with the course based fees category are approved on a per term basis, in alignment with due date and review periods as set by the SUNY Office of Finance and Budget.

    Approvals for all fees that fall under the authority of campus president or designee are set on an annual basis and are held at those levels for the entirety of the academic year.

    Step 7 – Ongoing Review

    Every two years, student fees and associated IFR accounts will be reviewed for continued need, appropriateness of level, and to ensure that expenditures are aligned with the fee approval and purpose. All course fee revenues and expenses must be charged to the associated course fee IFR account. To create a new account please complete the IFR Account Request Form (See Appendix). 

    Campuses will be required to submit to SUNY a full registry of all student charges/fees governed by the SUNY Fee Policy every other fiscal year. In the off cycle years, an updated registry of new fees must be submitted.

    All fees charged by SUNY Plattsburgh must be approved and on file with the Budget and Financial Reporting Office.

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