2500 Broadway� �� PO Box 203101� �� Helena, Montana 59620-3101� �� (406)444-6570� �� FAX (406)444-1469


To:���������������� Board of regents

From:���������� Laurie Neils

Date:����������� November 2, 2000

Re:���������������� University system analysis of course fees�����������


In the report from the Regents Task Force on Student Fees, the Montana University System campuses were required to bring their preliminary plans for FY2002 course fees, tuition increases, and other mandatory fee increases resulting from the analysis of course fees to the Regents in November 2000.� The MUS campuses provided a thorough analysis of their course fees to the Office of the Commissioner.�


The course fee analysis, prepared collaboratively by the academic and fiscal offices, is a giant first-step toward better control and accountability of course fees. The campuses used the definitions that were endorsed by the Board of Regents to determine whether a current course fee should be:

�        Continued as a course fee

�        Rolled into tuition

�        Added to the Equipment or Computer Fees

�        Established as a 2-year Program Fee or 4-year Tuition Surcharge.


The Task Force Report provided the following definitions:



  • Faculty salaries (including teaching assistants);

  • All expenditures related to providing instruction, including guest speakers, tutors, and related travel and operating expenses;

  • Equipment (including but not limited to computers, scientific equipment, furniture);

  • Repair and maintenance of equipment;

  • Software including desk top applications (but excluding software students purchase individually and retain);

  • General, nonspecialized supplies (including but not limited to paper, pencils, markers);

  • General, nonspecialized operating expenses (including but not limited to printing of class syllabi and tests).



  • Specialized activities or equipment fees, where payment is made to entities generally conducting these types of businesses (such as downhill skiing, bowling, etc.);

  • Field trips;

  • Pass-through fees (such as Red Cross Certifications, Nursing Liability Insurance);

  • Laboratory consumables, excluding computer supplies and paper products;

  • Materials used by students to create a product that becomes the students� property after use in a specific course.



  • Two-year programs may assess the equivalent of course fees as �Program Fees� that are assessed on all students enrolled in a given program.


The Montana University System collected over $1,900,000 in course fees during fiscal year 2000.�� In order to put that amount in perspective, the campuses collected (net of fee waivers) $98.67 million in tuition for fiscal year 2000.� The campuses are recommending a total reduction to course fees of over $726,000, or about 37% of the course fee revenue.














�Program Fees


�Course Fee


� Revenues

�Computer Fee

�Equipment Fee




The University of Montana





�(Wages & other)



��������������� 587,767

������������������ 12,777

������������������ 30,273


����������������� 81,821

��������� 124,871


��������������� 202,585

������������������ 36,150

������������������ 41,252


������������ �����15,970

����������� 93,372


����������������� 58,404


�������������������� 4,487


����������������� 13,631

����������� 18,118

Helena COT

����������������� 13,575



������������������� 2,705

������������������� 7,070

������������� 9,775

Total University of Montana

�$������������ 862,331

�$��������������� 48,927

�$��������������� 76,012

������������������  2,705

�$������������ 118,492

�$������ 246,136








Montana State University








������������� ��610,003

������������������ 25,199

������������������ 10,528

��������������� 186,200

����������������� 43,540

��������� 265,467


��������������� 321,800



����������������� 50,520

��������������� 162,881

��������� 213,401


� ����������������91,150




������������������� 1,300

������������� 1,300

Great Falls COT

����������������� 64,923





������������������� -

Total Montana State University

�$��������� 1,087,876

�$��������������� 25,199

�$��������������� 10,528

�$������������ 236,720

�$������������ 207,721

�$������ 480,168








System Total

�$��������� 1,950,207

�$��������������� 74,126

�$��������������� 86,540

�$������������ 239,425

�$������������ 326,213

�$������ 726,304


The detailed analysis provided by the campuses, not surprisingly, contains inconsistencies within a campus, within a university, and certainly within the system.� We will continue to scrutinize and refine the analysis and bring a recommendation forward to the Regents prior to your consideration of FY2002 tuition and fees.


Based on their current analysis, the campuses are recommending the following increases in tuition and mandatory fees to offset the decrease in course fees:





�Program Fees



�Computer Fee

�Equipment Fee



The University of Montana





�.05 PCH

�.15 PCH

 $70 per semester



�.90 PCH

�1.03 PCH





�.20 PCH



Helena COT



 $40 per semester







Montana State University








���������������� 186,200





������������������ 50,520







Great Falls COT






Recommendations from The University of Montana campuses include:

�        Missoula eliminates or reduces over 100 course fees;

�        Missoula recommends that Forestry implement a Program Fee;

�        Montana Tech reduces or eliminates many course fees that heavily utilized computer supplies, program specific software or equipment, and tutors;

�        Western reduces or eliminates many course fees within Business and Technology and Environmental Sciences;

�        Helena would reduce six electronics course fees that range from $5-$40 per course to a program fee of $40 per semester.


Recommendations from Montana State University campuses include:

�        Bozeman includes tuition surcharges for Architecture of approximately $30 per semester and Media Theatre Arts of $180 per semester;

�        Bozeman�s $1 per credit in education would roll into tuition;

�        Billings eliminates the COT mandatory Instructional Materials Fee and instead implements program specific fees;

�        Billings Developmental Math and English course fees are eliminated and rolled into tuition;

�        Great Falls continues their existing program fees.


The review of course fees has brought some positive outcomes.

�        The Regents will have better accountability and control over course fees;�

�        Students will be included in the discussion of new or changed course fees;

�        The academic and fiscal officers reviewed each course fee to determine whether it was appropriate to retain the fee as a course fee;

�        New course fees will undergo more scrutiny and a structured review;

�        The presentation of the inventory and fees books will provide better categorization and more useful information of fees to the Regents.

�        A biennial audit of course fees, program fees, and mandatory student fees will be conducted by the internal audit staff of the universities.