Policy FI - Student Fees, Fines, and Charges
Issue Date: August 17, 2022
Updated: March 15, 2023
As used in this policy, the following definitions apply.
- “Fee” means (a) something of monetary value (b) requested or required as a condition to a student’s participation (c) in an activity, class, or program which is provided, sponsored, or supported by a school. It includes money or something of monetary value raised by a student or the student’s family through fundraising.
- “Something of monetary value” means a charge, expense, deposit, rental, fine, or payment (regardless of how it is described) in the form of money, goods, or services, whether it is directly or indirectly requested or required.
For example, it includes:
- Charges or expenditures for a school field trip or activity trip, including related transportation, food, lodging, and admission charges;
- Payments to a third party providing a part of a school activity, class, or program;
- Supplies (classroom or student) or materials;
- A fine, unless that fine is within the scope of the definition in Non-Fee Charges, below.
- “Requested or required as a condition of a student’s participation” means impliedly or explicitly mandated or necessary for a student, parent, or family to provide so that a student may:
- Fully participate in school or in a school activity, class, or program;
- Successfully complete a school class for the highest grade; or
- Avoid a direct or indirect limitation on full participation in a school activity, class, or program, including limitations created by:
- Peer pressure, shaming, stigmatizing, bullying, or the like; or
- Withholding or curtailing any privilege that is otherwise provided to any other student.
- “Provided, sponsored or supported by a school” means an activity, class, program, fundraiser, club, camp, clinic, or other event that:
- Is authorized by the District or a District school, according to Board policy; or
- Satisfies at least one of the following conditions:
- It is managed or supervised by the District, a District school, or a District employee in the capacity of their District employment;
- It uses, more than inconsequentially, District or a District school’s facilities, equipment, or other resources; or
- It is supported or subsidized, more than inconsequentially, by public funds, including school activity funds or minimum school program dollars.
- Is not a noncurricular club as defined by Policy FG.
This definition applies regardless of the time or season of the activity, class, or program (for example, summer camps or clinics are sponsored by a school if the foregoing requirements are met).
- “Student supplies” means items which are the personal property of a student which, although used in the instructional process, are also commonly purchased and used by persons not enrolled in the class or activity in question and have a high probability of regular use in other than school-sponsored activities.
- It includes pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons, scissors, basic clothing for healthy lifestyle classes, clothing that is commonly found in students’ homes, and similar personal or consumable items over which a student retains ownership.
- It excludes any such items if, to create a uniform appearance not related to basic function, the school imposes specific requirements such as brand, color, or a special imprint.
- “Textbook” means instructional material necessary for participation in an activity, course or program, regardless of the format of the material. It excludes instructional equipment and instructional supplies. It includes:
- hardcopy book or printed pages of instructional material, including a consumable workbook;
- computer hardware, software, or digital content; and
- the maintenance costs of school equipment.
- “Instructional equipment” means an activity, course, or program-related tool or instrument that is required for a student to use as part of an activity, course, or program in a secondary school, typically becomes the property of the student upon exiting the activity, course, or program, and is subject to fee waiver. This excludes school equipment. This includes:
- Shears or styling tools;
- A band instrument;
- A camera;
- a stethoscope; and
- sports equipment, including a bat, mitt, or tennis racquet.
- Prescriptive footwear;
- Brushes or other art supplies, including clay, paint, or art canvas;
- Wood for wood shop;
- Legos for Lego robotics;
- Film; and
- Filament used for 3D printing.
- “School equipment” means a durable school-owned machine, equipment, or tool used by a student as part of an activity, course, or program in a secondary school, including for example a saw or 3D printer.
- “School day” or “regular school day” means the same as “school day” is defined in Utah Administrative Code R277-419-2.
Utah Admin. Rules R277-419-2(31) (March 15, 2022)
- “Co-curricular activity” means an activity, course, or program, outside of school hours, that also includes a required regular school day program or curriculum and which is: an extension of a curricular activity, included in an instructional plan, and conducted by a teacher or education professional.
- “Curricular activity” means an activity, course, or program which is intended to provide instruction, is sponsored by a District school, and is conducted only during school hours.
- “Extracurricular activity” means an activity or program for students, outside of the regular school day, that is provided, sponsored or supported by the District or a District school but is neither:
- Directly related to delivering instruction; nor
- A curricular activity or a co-curricular activity.
Utah Admin. Rules R277-407-2(3) (November 10, 2020)
Certain items of monetary value provided in connection with students and schools are not considered fees.
A student fine is not a fee if it is specifically approved by the District and is imposed for one of the following:
- Failing to return school property;
- Losing, wasting, or damaging private or school property through intentional, careless, or irresponsible behavior; or
- Improper use of school property (including a parking violation).
Utah Admin. Rules R277-407-2(19)(b)(iv) (November 10, 2020)
When fines have been assessed to a student for damaging or losing school property, the school shall not exclude the student from school for nonpayment but may withhold a transcript or diploma to obtain payment of such charges pursuant to the Board policy regarding defacing or damaging school property. However, a school may not withhold student records which are required for student enrollment or placement in a subsequent school. In addition, if the Department of Human Services or a licensed child-placing agency has been granted custody of the student, that student’s records, if requested by the department or agency, may not be withheld from the department or agency for nonpayment of damages.
Utah Admin. Rules R277-407-8(11), (12) (November 10, 2020)
A school may impose a reasonable charge to cover the cost of duplicating, mailing, or transmitting transcripts and other school records. However, no charge may be imposed for duplicating, mailing, or transmitting copies of school records to an elementary or secondary school in which a former student is enrolled or intends to enroll.
A cost, payment, or expenditure that falls into one of the following categories is not a fee.
- A personal discretionary charge or purchase, including:
- A charge for insurance, unless the insurance is required for a student to participate in a school activity, class, or program;
- A charge for college credit relating to successful completion of a concurrent enrollment class or an advanced placement examination; or
- A charge for a personal consumable item such as a yearbook, class ring, letterman jacket or sweater, or other similar item (unless requested or required by the school or District).
- A charge which is subject to sales tax.
- Payment for a school uniform unless the uniform policy requires clothing that is expensive or prescriptive. (See Policy FK.)
- A charge for school lunch or breakfast.
- A deposit that is a pledge securing the return of school property which is refunded upon return of the property.
- A charge for a replacement for damaged or lost school equipment or supplies.
Additional Discretionary Projects
In project-related courses, projects required for course completion shall be included in the course fee. However, a student may be required to provide materials or to pay for an additional discretionary project if the student chooses a project in lieu of or in addition to a required classroom project. This requirement is not considered a fee. However, the school may not require such an additional project as a condition for enrolling, completing, or receiving the highest possible grade for a course. (Such requirements would result in the project being a fee.) Schools shall avoid allowing high cost additional projects, particularly where authorization of an additional discretionary project results in pressure on a student by teachers or peers to also complete a similar high cost project.
Donations of Supplies to an Elementary School
An elementary school or elementary school teacher may compile and provide to a student’s parent a suggested list of student supplies for use during the regular school day so that a parent may furnish, on a voluntary basis, those supplies for student use. Such a list must include and be preceded by the following language:
“NOTICE: THE ITEMS ON THIS LIST WILL BE USED DURING THE REGULAR SCHOOL DAY. THEY MAY BE BROUGHT FROM HOME ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS, OTHERWISE, THEY WILL BE FURNISHED BY THE SCHOOL.”
Utah Admin. Rules R277-407-3(1)(c), (6) (November 10, 2020)
For a donation not to be a fee, it must not affect the participation of an individual student. Donations are generally governed by Policy GF. Donations or contributions may be invited on forms provided to parents of students but must clearly state that donations and contributions are voluntary and are not required for participation in an activity or class.
Students and families may be notified that they may voluntarily pay an increased fee amount or provide a donation to cover the costs of other students and families. Any such payments are considered donations and are not fees. In order to accept such payments, schools shall require that the payment be clearly designated as made for the purpose of covering the costs of other students.
No fee may be charged by the District, a District school, or any District officer or employee unless the fee has been authorized by the Board as required in this policy and applicable law. This includes any and all fees as defined in this policy, including those related to curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities.
Process to Adopt Fee Policies and Schedules
The Board shall annually adopt fee policies and a fee schedule in a public meeting held on or before April 1. The Board shall consult with stakeholders and shall encourage public participation in the development of the fee schedule and of waiver policies. Before taking action to approve the policies and fee schedule, the Board shall provide the opportunity for public comment on the proposed fee schedule during at least two public Board meetings. In addition to the notice required for a regular Board meeting, the Board shall provide notice of these meetings using the same form of communication regularly used by the District to communicate with parents (such as email, text, flyer, or phone call).
After the annual adoption of the fee schedule, the Board may amend the fee schedule by following the process described in the preceding paragraph (other than the April 1 deadline).
The Board shall annually review the District’s policies on fees, waivers, fundraising, and donations.
A fee must be included in the Board approved fee schedule in order to be charged. The fee schedule shall include the specific amount for each fee and a spending plan for each fee. The spending plan shall provide transparency to students, parents, and employees by identifying the uses of a fee. The spending plan shall identify the needs for which the fee is being charged and include a list or description of the anticipated types of expenditures (either during the current fiscal year or as carryover for use in a future year) that are funded by the fee. The fee schedule shall include the maximum fees allowed per activity and per student. If there are multiple fees related to one activity, class, or program, the fee schedule shall include an easy to understand delineation of each of the fees and the fee total for the activity, class, or program. The fee schedule shall also include the District’s fee waiver policy, including an easily understandable statement informing a parent that a student may be eligible to have one or more fees waived and may appeal a denial of a requested waiver. By July 1, the Board shall determine whether each fee on its approved fee schedule is curricular, co-curricular, or extracurricular.
Notice of Fee Policies and Schedules
The District shall provide annual written notice to a parent of each student attending school in the District of the current and applicable fee waiver policies and fee schedules. The District shall annually publish the fee waiver policies and fee schedules on each school’s publicly available website and shall include a copy of these materials in registration materials (including providing them to a parent of a student who enrolls after the initial enrollment period). The written notice shall be in a form approved by the State Board of Education and shall also include:
- For elementary schools:
- School Fees Notice for Families of Students in an Elementary School
- Fee Waiver Application (Elementary School)
- Fee Waiver Decision and Appeal Form
- School fees poster for elementary school
- For secondary schools:
- School Fees Notice for Families of Students in Grades Seven Through Twelve
- Fee Waiver Application (Secondary School)
- Fee Waiver Decision and Appeals Form
- School fees poster for secondary school
If the District’s parent or student population in a single written language other than English exceeds 20%, then the District shall also publish the fee waiver policies and fee schedules in that other language. If a student or parent’s first language is not English, and the District has not published the policies and fee schedules in that other language, then a District representative will meet personally with each student’s parent or family and make available an interpreter for the parent to understand the policies and fee schedules.
Standards for Fees
In setting fees, the Board shall establish the following maximum fee amounts:
- The amount that a school may charge to a student in a year for each course, program, or activity.
- The aggregate amount that a school may charge to a student in fees in a year.
These maximum amounts include the amount of revenue raised by a student through an individual fundraiser. The maximum amounts also include the total per student amount expected to be received through required group fundraising. (See Alternatives to Payment of Fees, below.)
In order to preserve equal opportunity for all students and to limit diversion of money and school and staff resources from the basic school program, the Board’s fee policies shall be designed to limit student expenditures for school-sponsored activities, including expenditures for activities, uniforms, clubs, clinics, travel, and subject area and vocational leadership organizations, whether local, state, or national.
The Board may establish a reasonable number of activities, courses, or programs that will be covered by the annual maximum fee amount.
No fees may be charged in kindergarten through grade 6 in connection with regular school day instruction or activities (including assemblies and field trips.) Fees may be charged to students in grade 6 if those students are attending a school that includes any of the grades 7 through 12. A school that provides instruction to students in grades other than grades 6 through 12 may not charge fees to students in grade 6 unless for those students the school follows a secondary model of instruction.
The Board may charge a fee related to a student’s enrollment in supplemental kindergarten.
Fees may be charged to elementary school students for activities which do not take place during the regular school day so long as participation in the activities is voluntary and does not affect a student’s grade or ability to participate fully in any course taught during the regular school day.
Textbook fees may be charged to secondary school students up through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, textbooks may not be sold to students and fees for textbooks or the maintenance costs of school equipment may not be charged to secondary school students except for textbooks required for an Advanced Placement or concurrent enrollment course.
All fees, including fees for co-curricular and extracurricular activities, must be within the maximum amounts established for the activity by the Board.
A fee may not be imposed or increased in order to supplant or subsidize another fee. Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, the amount of a fee may not be increased to offset the cost of fee waivers. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, the fee imposed on a student for a particular activity, course, or program cannot exceed the expense incurred by the school in providing that activity, course, or program.
In establishing fee schedules, the Board may also review and consider the following as to each school in the District:
- The cost to the school to provide the activity, class, or program;
- The student enrollment;
- The median income of families within the attendance area or enrolled at the school;
- The number and monetary amount of fee waivers (designated by individual fee) annually granted in the prior three years;
- The historical participation and school interest in certain activities;
- The prior year fee schedule;
- The revenue collected from each fee in the prior year;
- Fundraising capacity;
- Prior year community donors; and
- Other resources available (including through donations and fundraising).
Alternatives to Payment of Fees
The Board recognizes and allows the following provisions in lieu of fee payment. (A “provision in lieu of fee payment” means an alternative to either payment of the fee or waiver of the fee.)
Consistent with Policy GF, students may avail themselves of optional individual fundraising opportunities to raise money to offset the cost of the student’s fees. Required individual fundraising is prohibited. Student membership in or participation on a team or group may not be denied based on non-participation in any kind of fundraiser (individual or group).
Waiver of Fees
A “waiver” means a full or partial release from the requirement of payment of a fee and from any provision in lieu of fee payment. (A “provision in lieu of fee payment” means an alternative to either payment of the fee or waiver of the fee.) All fees are subject to waiver. Non-fee charges (see above) are not subject to waiver.
“SSI” means “Supplemental Security Income for children with disabilities,” which is a benefit administered through the Social Security Administration that provides payments for qualified children with disabilities in low-income families.
“TANF” means “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families,” which is a program (formerly known as AFDC) which provides monthly cash assistance and food stamps to low-income families with children under age 18 through the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Eligibility for Waiver
A waiver shall be granted to a student if charging the fee would deny the student the opportunity to participate in a class or school-sponsored or supported activity because of an inability to pay a fee.
A student is eligible for waiver upon providing verification that:
- The student qualifies based on income eligibility levels established annually by the State Superintendent;
- The student receives SSI;
- The family receives TANF funding;
- The student is in foster care through the Utah Division of Child and Family Services; or
- The student is in state custody.
A student who does not qualify based on the foregoing may also be granted a waiver if the student is not reasonably capable of paying the fee based on extenuating circumstances. Such circumstances might include exceptional financial burden, loss or substantial reduction of income, or extraordinary medical expenses.
In the event that circumstances change for a student or family such that fee waiver eligibility no longer exists, the school may charge a proportional share of a fee or a reduced fee reflecting the change in eligibility.
Process for Waiver
The principal, or the principal’s designee, shall review and make decisions regarding fee waiver requests, verifying eligibility as required (including obtaining the required documentation). The decision shall be made promptly and if possible before the fee becomes due. A family may not be subjected to unreasonable demands for re-qualification.
Parents shall be provided the opportunity to review available provisions in lieu of fee payment.
The waiver process shall be administered fairly, objectively, without delay, and in a manner that avoids stigma, embarrassment, undue attention, and unreasonable burdens on students and parents. There shall be no visible indicators which could lead to identification of waiver applicants. The privacy requirements of FERPA apply and shall be followed. Other students may not assist in the waiver approval process. Students who receive a waiver may not be treated differently than other students. Students who receive a waiver may not be identified to other students and may not be identified to any other person (including staff members) who do not need to know of the waiver.
The waiver application and associated required documentation shall incorporate and conform to the regulations issued by the State Board of Education, which will specify the forms of documentation and verification which are acceptable.
In lieu of income verification, the school may rely on the following alternative forms of verification:
- If the student’s family receives TANF, an electronic copy or screen-shot of the student’s family’s eligibility determination or eligibility status from the Utah Department of Workforce Services which covers the period for which waiver is sought;
- If the student receives SSI, a benefit verification letter from the Social Security Administration;
- If the student is in state custody or in foster care, either or both of the following when provided by a case worker from the Utah Division of Child and Family Services or the Utah Juvenile Justice Department:
- The youth in care required intake form;
- The school enrollment letter.
The principal or designee may grant a full or partial waiver or deny the request. Upon determination by the principal or designee, the parent shall be provided a written decision using the standard written decision and appeal form authorized by the State Board of Education. A full or partial denial decision shall include the reasons for the denial and give notice of the procedure to appeal the decision.
Appeals of the principal’s decision on the granting of fee waivers may be made to the superintendent. Appeals of the superintendent’s decision may be made to the Board.
The requirement that a student pay a fee shall be suspended during any period when the student’s eligibility for waiver is being determined or when an appeal of a denial of waiver is in process.
Addressing the Effect of Waivers
The District shall identify and address potential inequities due to the impact of the number of students who receive waivers with each of the District’s Schools. The Board shall distribute the impact of fee waivers among the schools of the District so that no school carries a disproportionate share of the District’s total fee waiver burden, including by sharing revenue among the schools to remedy that lost through waivers.
Students may not be involved in the collection of fees.
The school may allow a fee to be paid through an installment payment plan. However, such a plan may not be required in lieu of a fee waiver.
The District may pursue reasonable methods of collecting fees. However, the District may not, as a result of unpaid fees:
- Exclude a student from school or from an activity, class, or program during the regular school day;
- Refuse to issue a course grade; or
- Withhold official student records, including written or electronic grade reports, diplomas, or transcripts.
If the school has been provided with a copy of a court order allocating responsibility for school fees between a student’s parents before the day on which the school first issues a bill for a school fee, the school shall, upon request from either parent, separately bill each parent for the share of the fee that the parent is to pay under the court order. Each parent is liable only for the share of the fee the parent is required to pay under the court order, and regardless of whether the court order is provided to the school before or after the bill is issued for the fee, the school may not make a negative credit report relating to a fee about a parent who has paid the share of the fee required by the court order. The school may bill a parent for that parent’s share of the fee even though the other parent has obtained a full or partial fee waiver.
Employees of the District shall receive, on at least an annual basis, training on fee policies specific to the employee’s job function. Such training shall make use of the resources and training materials provided by the State Superintendent.
The District’s annual year-end report to the State Superintendent shall include (1) a summary of the number of students in the District given fee waivers, the number of students who worked in lieu of a fee waiver, the number of students denied fee waivers, and the total dollar value of fees waived by the District; (2) a copy of the District’s fee and fee waiver policies; (3) a copy of the District’s fee schedule for students; (4) the notice of fee waiver criteria which is provided by the District to parents or guardians; (5) a fee waiver compliance form for the District and each school (using the forms approved by the State Superintendent); (6) the total count of fees approved on the District’s fee schedule; and (7) the total dollar amount of all fees charged to students within all the schools in the District.
The District and each school shall complete and submit such compliance forms as are required by the State Board of Education.
Required Notices and Action
The District and each school shall use the following standard forms as they are provided by the State Board of Education:
- Standard parental notification letter (“School Fees Notice for Families of Students in Grades 7-12” or “School Fees Notice for Families of Children in Grades K-6”);
- Standard fee waiver application (“Fee Waiver Application (Grades K-6)” or “Fee Waiver Application (Grades 7-12)”);
- Standard written decision and appeal form (“Fee Waiver Decision and Appeal Form”);
- School fees service agreement (“Service Agreement, Verification, and Appeal Form”);
These standard forms as drafted and adopted by the State Board of Education are hereby incorporated into these policies. (The forms are also available in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Somali.) The District and each school shall adhere to the terms and conditions set forth in the standard forms.