Finance & Budgeting
CREATING SELF-SUSTAINING FEE-BASED PROGRAMS
UW Continuum College (UWC²) partners with academic colleges, schools and departments (academic units) to deliver programs on a fee-basis rather than on a state-assisted basis.
Under UW policy, fee-based programs must be self-sustaining and cannot be subsidized using state funds. To the extent that a fee-based program uses state resources, the program must pay its proportional share of those costs. Due to this requirement, fee-based programs are budgeted and operated separately from state-funded programs.
Each fee-based degree must have a fiscal year budget, including target enrollment projections, approved by the school or a college representative. The fiscal year budget will reflect the associated expenses for UWC² services selected by the degree program representative, along with the on- or off-campus UW overhead rate, determined by where the courses are held. For hybrid models, the on-campus rate is charged.
If UWC² shares financial risk or oversight, the Continuum vice provost or their delegate must approve fiscal year budgets and the course or student-credit-hour fee. If an academic unit projects enrollments or costs that are not, in UWC²’s opinion, sustainable or reasonable, the academic unit may elect to proceed with the proposed budget. However, the unit understands any program losses for that budget year are not covered by UWC² and are subject to APS 37.1.
The academic unit will adhere to APS 37.1, with all programs operating within their allotted resources. For fee-based programs, expenses should not exceed revenues.
Academic units are expected to adjust expenditures mid-year to avoid a deficit and work with their school or college and the Office of Planning and Budgeting (OPB) on a plan per APS 37.1. For more information on APS 37.1 - Monitoring, Mitigating and Resolving Fiscal Deficits, visit the UW Administrative Policy Statement 37.1 page.
The annual budgeting process provides an opportunity to evaluate the viability of a fee-based degree program. It is also an opportunity to make any necessary changes in program implementation and delivery to help ensure the program’s success.
Fee-based degree programs should be priced to cover all direct program costs and administrative charges. Per the OPB, fee-based undergraduate degree programs should charge at least the state-mandated per-credit fee for undergraduate programs.
The course or student-credit-hour fees, along with any other fee (e.g., lab fee), are proposed by the academic unit and the program director and are submitted annually to the OPB to initiate the approval process. The final approved rates are posted here.
Zero percent fee increases are discouraged and require additional explanation in support of the annual fee approval process with OPB. All course and program fees must be approved annually by the provost.
STUDENT ADMITTANCE AND FUNDING
Students may be admitted to the fee-based programs on a biennial, annual, biannual or quarterly basis to support the program’s and academic unit’s goals.
Fee-based programs may choose to offer all students the same rate or distinguish between resident and nonresident fees. They may also fund international degree programs abroad, which may not be an option for state-funded programs.
FEE-BASED PROGRAM REVENUE
If revenue exceeds expenses and other current and cumulative program obligations (such as carried forward deficits) at the end of the fiscal year, the campus, college or school will determine the split of net revenue between the campus, college or school and the department.
Since fee-based students have limited options for state or federally funded student aid, fee-based degree programs may create student aid (scholarships) from program revenue at the academic unit’s discretion offering aid for the fee-based degree when included in the approved budget. Selection procedures for recipients of program-based financial aid must follow the requirements of the program’s school or college. Stipends are set up in alignment with processes defined by Student Fiscal Services.
REVENUE FLOW FOR SPECIAL SCENARIOS
The distinction between tuition-funded programs and their courses and fee-based programs and their courses has prompted several questions. The following information aims to answer those questions and provide clarity on the revenue flow for special scenarios.
Fee-Based Matriculated Students Enrolled in Tuition-Based or Fee-Based Courses from Other Degree Programs
In most scenarios, the revenue is allocated to the fee-based program in which the student is enrolled.
If fee‐based degree students enroll in fee-based credit courses not specifically linked to a degree program (e.g., fee-based credit certificate courses and fee-based credit standalone courses), the revenue for such courses will be allocated 100% to the program of instruction and not to the fee‐based degree student’s degree program.
Students in both examples pay the course fees commensurate with their student status as fee-based students.
Nonmatriculated Students Enrolled in Fee‐Based Degree Program Courses on a Space-Available Basis
The revenue is allocated to the fee-based degree program and the nonmatriculated student pays the fee-based course fee.
Revenue Flows for Dual-Major Students Matriculated in Fee-Based and Tuition‐Based Degree Programs
- Revenue for courses attached to the fee-based degree will flow to the fee‐based degree.
- Revenue for courses attached to the tuition-based degree will flow to the tuition‐based degree.
- If a course that meets requirements for both degrees:
- Is offered by the fee-based program and if the student registers in MyUW with payment remitted to Continuum College, the fee‐based program receives the revenue.
- Is offered by the tuition-based degree and if the student registers through MyUW with payment remitted to Student Fiscal Services, the tuition-based degree receives the revenue.
- Is a fee-based credit certificate course or a fee-based credit standalone course (not explicitly offered as part of a degree program) or an Academic English Program (AEP) credit course, the course will receive the revenue. The student will be charged at the higher of the two degree rates, except for AEP courses, which are charged at a flat AEP per-course rate.
Revenue Flows for Dual-Major Students Matriculated in Two Fee-Based Degree Programs, (“A” and “B”)
The students will:
- Be added to two separate programs in the UW Educational Outreach System (EOS) database and the student database (SDB)
- Pay the unique specified rate for courses in degree “A” and the revenue will flow to degree “A”
- Pay the unique specified rate for courses in degree “B” and the revenue will flow to degree “B”
If a course satisfies requirements for both degrees, the student will pay the higher of the two degree rates, and the revenue will flow to the fee-based degree programs that charge the higher rate.
If a course is fee-based, satisfies requirements for both fee‐based degrees and is a fee-based credit certificate course or a fee-based credit standalone course (not affiliated with either fee-based degree) or an AEP credit course, the course will receive the revenue, not the fee-based degree. The student will be charged at the higher of the two degree rates, except for AEP courses, which are charged at a flat AEP per-course rate.
If the course is tuition-based and satisfies the requirements for both fee-based degrees, revenue will flow to the fee-based degree that charges the higher rate.
Revenue Flows for Fee-Based Degree Programs that Charge Students a Flat Rate that Covers All Courses Taken by the Student
Revenue for all credit courses taken by the fee-based degree student will continue to be allocated to the student’s fee-based degree program. Exceptions include the Academic English Program (AEP).
Students cannot use state tuition exemption to pay for fee-based degree programs. However, it is possible for a UW or State of Washington employee who is enrolled in a fee-based degree program to use the Washington State Tuition Exemption program to register for a tuition-based course.
The tuition-based course must be unrelated to the student’s fee-based degree program and not used to earn the fee-based degree. For more details, see the UW Washington State Tuition Exemption website.
RATES FOR SPECIAL SCENARIOS
Fee-based degree students must enroll through UWC² and pay the fees at the rate established by their fee-based degree program for all credit courses. These courses include graduate-level credit courses, undergraduate-level credit courses, credit certificate program courses and credit standalone courses.
- Academic English Program: All students (tuition-based or fee-based) pay the same advertised flat rate per course for Academic English Program credit courses
- Continuum College Noncredit Programs: All students (tuition-based or fee-based) pay the same advertised noncredit rate per course for UWC² noncredit courses
However, suppose both Program A and Program B are offered by the same academic unit (or use the same budget). In that case, the fee-based degree programs may have to pay a proportional share of the instructional cost of the single tuition-based course based on the cumulative fee-based enrollments from Program A and Program B.
If it is necessary to ensure a certain number of enrollment slots in a tuition-based course(s) will be guaranteed for fee-based degree students, a prior agreement must be made for the fee-based degree program to partially fund the instructional costs of an otherwise tuition-based course.
If a fee-based degree program makes specific arrangements to pay a portion of the instructional cost of a tuition-based course that differ from the methods described above, the alternative arrangements may be used if they meet all the following criteria:
- They do not inappropriately or disproportionately use state resources
- They do not inappropriately prevent tuition-based students from enrolling in tuition-based courses
- They pay a fair and reasonable portion of the instructional cost of the tuition-based course