Fee Increases Subject to Initiative 601 Limitations
(Approved by the Provost and Vice President for
Academic Affairs by authority of Executive Order No. 4)
Initiative 601 (I-601) was passed by the voters of Washington in 1993 and
states, "No fee may increase in any fiscal year by a percentage
in excess of the fiscal growth factor for that fiscal year without
prior legislative approval." According to the initiative, "fiscal
growth factor" means the average of the sum of inflation and population
change for each of the prior three fiscal years. The fiscal growth
factor is calculated by the state Office of Financial Management.
The State Attorney General's Office has attempted to interpret
the initiative. One such interpretation involves the term "fee."
The Attorney General's question-and-answer memorandum states "the
term includes charges mandated for a governmental service or privilege,
but would not include charges in commercial transactions where
the state participates as a party to a contract, or as a seller
in the marketplace." Such an opinion requires further interpretation
by the University to identify specific types of fees as either
covered by or exempt from I-601.
The following fees are considered governmental and
subject to I-601 limitation:
A. Mandatory Regular Instruction Fees
Mandatory fees related to the regular state-funded instructional
program or other degree-granting education programs are subject
to I-601, including:
- Application fees to the above programs.
- Registration fees to the above programs (except change
of registration and late registration fees, which
are considered fines).
- Transcript fees.
- Special course fees to cover the cost of individual instruction
in the above programs (e.g., Applied Music).
- Special course fees to cover the cost of required field
trips in the above programs.
- Summer Quarter tuition fees.
- English As a Second Language academic program fees.
- Fees charged to students participating in state-funded
credit classes on a space-available basis.
- Fees set by a consortium of Washington public institutions
which involve access to or placement in the above
programs (e.g., Math Placement Test).
- Fees charged to UW students participating in foreign or
domestic exchange programs.
- Mandatory program fees in self-sustaining degree-granting
programs (e.g., Executive MBA and LLM in Tax Law).
B. Transition School Fees
Transition school fees, where the University is
acting in place of a middle or high school in providing public
instruction, are subject to I-601 limitations.
Fees established or modified by the Washington Legislature
after the 1993 Legislative Session for which the institution sets
the amount are not subject to I-601 if the enabling legislature
does not specifically make them subject to the initiative (e.g.,
the services and activities fee and the student technology fee).
The following fees or types of fees are considered
proprietary and not subject to the I-601 limitation:
- Fees for admission to athletic and artistic performances and museums.
- Parking fees.
- Dormitory and other housing fees, unless residence is mandatory.
- Charges for food in dormitories, cafeterias, vending machines, and coffee
- Non-mandatory course fees related to regular state-funded academic programs
or other degree credit and degree-granting education programs
to cover the cost of optional field trips or extraordinary
supplies which the student could elect to provide themselves.
- Fees for conferences held at the University of Washington.
- Non-degree credit continuing education program fees, including the English
As a Second Language intensive program.
- Degree-credit continuing education program fees that are not part of a
specific degree program, but rather can be applied to
any applicable degree.
- Foreign study program fees intended to cover the cost of lodging, meals,
transportation, and miscellaneous expenses in the foreign
- Fees for use of the Intramural Activities (IMA) facilities.
- Sports skills classes offered by the IMA.
- Fees for use of the Golf Driving Range and the Waterfront Activities Center.
- Hospital and clinic patient care fees and sales of prescription drugs
and other patient supplies.
- Fees for use of the UW name or logo.
- Fees for use of University buildings, equipment, or grounds.
- Periodical subscription charges and book/pamphlet and audio/video tape
- Fees set by a non-University organization but collected by the University
(i.e., doctoral dissertation publication fees for microfilming
and binding are mandatory, but the fees are set by the
cost of a contracted service).
- Fees set by a consortium of institutions which include institutions outside
- Fees set in part by a non-University organization and in part by the University
(i.e., Miller's Analogy Test Psychological Corporation charges $27 per test, and the
University charges an additional $18 to cover the cost of administering the test;
this particular test is not mandatory for UW students, but is used by other schools
for admission to Graduate School).
The following types of transactions are not considered
fees, and rate increases are not subject to the I-601 limitations:
- Fines and replacement charges for lost or broken materials.
- Change of registration, late registration, and late payment charges are
considered fines because they are penalties for not doing
something within prescribed time frames.
- Charges to other University units by the Student Accounts Office to recover
the cost of collecting fees where the amount comes out
of the fee rather than in addition to it.
- Recharges from one University budget to another; these are a means of transferring
the cost of a product or service to the appropriate University budget, and they do not
reflect charges to the public.
New fees for new services may be established at any
appropriate level subject to approval as provided in Executive Order No. 44. The amount of the fee is
not limited by I-601 in the first year, but may be thereafter.
Increases in fees subject to the limitations of I-601
as indicated above require the approval of the Vice Provost for
Planning and Budgeting prior to implementation. Fees requiring
approval by the Provost, President, or Board of Regents (see Executive Order No. 44) must be approved by the
Vice Provost for Planning and Budgeting prior to being forwarded
for final approval. Consultation with the Assistant Attorney General
is encouraged when considering fee increases, because this area
of the law is evolving.