In the Spring of 1986, the Board of Regents adopted a recommendation to permit universities to charge registered students scientific laboratory fees for specific courses upon Regent’s approval. The funds generated by these fees were intended to supplement, not replace instructional resources. In November 1990 (Chancellor’s Memorandum, CM-86-04.1), the Regents delegated the approval authority to each university president. In March 1993, the Board of Regents approved an amendment that broadened the rule to include all disciplines and changed the title to Material and Supply Fees. Effective July 2002, governing authority for the implementation of Material and Supply fees was granted to the University of Florida Board of Trustees (FS 1009.24). The relevant paragraph reads: “(12) Each university board of trustees is authorized to establish the following fees: … (g) Materials and supplies fees to offset the cost of materials or supplies that are consumed in the course of the student's instructional activities, excluding the cost of equipment replacement, repairs, and maintenance.”
In accordance with the administrative code and standard practice, these fees are established for specific courses after approval from the Office of Academic Affairs, which reviews M&S Fee proposals submitted by a Department. The fee proposal must include information about the course, a list of the consumable items for which the fee is needed, an estimate of the annual revenue to be collected, and the fee requested per student. Rotating topic courses (including, but not limited to, Individual Work or Special Topics), because of the changing nature of the course are generally not acceptable for the imposition of M&S Fees.
Course proposals for Material & Supply Fees are submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs biannually through the appropriate College Dean. The Office of Academic Affairs will review courses submitted for M&S Fees for appropriateness and compliance with program guidelines.
Fees are based on a per student/per course basis, rounded to the nearest half dollar. There is no maximum fee, but applications for M&S Fees over $50.00 per student per course will need to be accompanied by a justification for the excessive M&S Fee. The student is billed for the M&S Fees along with his/her tuition. Once the student’s fees are paid, Finance & Accounting will transfer the M&S Fees to the department using an auxiliary trust fund account earmarked for M&S Fees, typically within two weeks after payment.
Personnel in the academic department are responsible for issuing disbursement requests from the M&S Fee funds, and ensuring compliance with the approved expenditure accounts for M&S Fees. For clinical courses, care must be taken to insure that fees are not assessed for materials if the costs of these materials are also included in the patient’s charges. The academic department is also responsible to ensure that the supplies purchased are consistent with the approved items in the fee proposal and that detailed records are kept that track revenue and expenditures by course. For departments with more than one course, only one auxiliary account will be used. For accounting purposes, the department fiscal person should have access to PeopleSoft Query View Report, a report distribution system that gives revenue information on M&S Fees by course number. Departments must track expenses using DEPTFLEX to identify the applicable course that supplies are being purchased for. For departments that have collected M&S fees that are not attributable to any currently approved course, those residual balances may be spent on supplies for (1) previously approved courses, or (2) currently approved courses, in accordance with the approved list of supplies.
More information on the processes and procedures in support of this policy is available on the CFO's Materials and Supply Fees and Equipment Use Fees web page.