Office of the University Registrar

Fee-Based Programs FAQs

The distinction between regular or state-funded programs and their classes and fee-based programs and their classes has prompted a number of questions from students. The following information aims to answer those questions and provide clarity on the topic of fee-based programs.

What's the difference between Fee-Based and State-Funded Programs?

From the University’s perspective, the difference is financial. Fee-based programs and their classes do not receive direct financial support from the State of Washington. Regular (non-fee-based) classes are funded by both students’ tuition and the State of Washington.

The difference for students is that fee-based programs, in most instances, however, follow a different process to apply, register, and pay for their programs.

There are however many aspects that are NOT different, including the following:

  • Students in a fee-based program are considered regular UW matriculated students;
  • Fee-based students must meet regular UW admission standards;
  • A degree earned through a fee-based program is a regular UW degree from a School or College; it looks exactly the same as a diploma from a state-funded program; and
  • Fee-based students have the same rights, responsibilities, and services as their state-funded counterparts.

How are fee-based programs offered?

Fee-based classes take place year-round, on- and off-campus, during the morning, afternoon and evening. Classes are offered on one of the campuses UW Seattle, UW Tacoma, and UW Bothell, or via online learning technologies.

Why does the UW offer fee-based programs?

Fee-based programs provide another mechanism for the UW to provide access to its many resources. Because the state cannot afford to provide assistance for all of the academic programs designed by the schools and colleges at the UW, fee-based programs and individual credit classes were developed that are funded entirely by student fees.

These non-state-funded programs take advantage of the resources of the UW including the wide array of faculty, the robust technical and capital infrastructures, and the brand of the UW. Though paying for these resources, these programs would not be able to offer the quality nor the wide range of content without the existing capabilities of the UW, which the state partially funds.

How do I apply to a fee-based program?

As with any UW degree, you must apply for admission to the UW. However, with fee-based programs the admissions process is not administered by UW Admissions but by either UW Professional & Continuing Education (PCE) or the individual departments. Each fee-based program has established its own admission requirements.

  • UW Professional & Continuing Education offers some fee-based credit certificate programs. Visit the program site for admission requirements and application procedures.
  • Non-matriculated students may take selected UW fee-based credit courses by registering through UW Professional & Continuing Education.
  • Registering for fee-based classes is also done by PCE or the respective department. Registering for fee-based classes cannot be done through MyUW.

How do I register for fee-based classes?

Your registration and payment method depends on the type of program, administrative department, and student status. This list of fee-based credit programs provides summary information, but you should check with the program office to determine how to register and pay. Additional registration information may be found here:
Fee-Based Programs: How to Register

Am I automatically admitted to both types of programs?

If I’m admitted into a fee-based program, am I automatically admitted into a similar state-funded program?
No. Students gain admission to the UW in a specific program and must apply to other UW programs for admission. For example, students admitted into the undergraduate fee-based evening degree program in the College of Arts and Sciences must apply separately for admission to gain entry into the state-funded undergraduate day program in the College.

Is there a cost difference for in-state (resident) and out-of-state (non-resident) students in fee-based programs and classes?

That depends on a number of factors. Your credit load is one. Tuition for state-funded programs is a flat rate for a course load of between 10 and 18 credits per quarter. Fee-based programs are not subject to that cap. So a part-time student (fewer than 10 credits/quarter) might pay the same amount, but a full-time student may pay more.

Will I pay more, less, or about the same taking fee-based classes than I would taking all state-supported classes?

Fee-based classes are more expensive because they do not have a state-supported subsidy. Most fee-based degree programs have a single program fee for residents and non-residents, though a few have higher program fees for non-resident students. Please check the website of the individual program.

Resident and non-resident students who have not been admitted to the UW but enroll in a fee-based course generally pay the same course fee.

Can a student not admitted into any UW program take fee-based credit classes that will apply to a UW degree?

Students not yet admitted to the UW who enroll and successfully complete undergraduate courses, whether fee-based or state-supported, may apply those courses to a UW degree. Students not yet admitted to a UW degree program who enroll and successfully complete a graduate course may apply up to 12 graduate-level credits to a UW degree if they secure graduate non-matriculated (GNM) status before completing the course. For information about GNM status, please review the Graduate School website.

What do fee-based programs charge?

Each fee-based program charges it own per-credit course fee or quarterly program fee, based upon the costs associated with the program. Please check with the specific program for pricing information.

When can I apply to a fee-based program?

In some cases, programs accept students each quarter. In others, students can apply to a fee-based program only once a year. Please check the specific program of interest.

How and when do I pay for fee-based classes?

Most students in fee-based programs register through the program office, either UW Professional & Continuing Education or the department, online or by phone and pay their program and class fees upon registration. Others register with their program office and then pay through MyUW. Check with your program office to determine how your program registers and pays.

Can I receive financial aid for fee-based programs?

Financial aid is available to fee-based matriculated students with the exception of aid programs that are funded by state tuition revenue. Students who need financial assistance to complete an educational program should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).

Note: In order for financial aid funds to disburse, you must be registered in the UW Student Database. If you do not submit the necessary information to the appropriate office in a timely fashion, there may be a delay in your receipt of aid funds. For more information about Fee-based programs and financial aid funding, please review the Office of Student Financial Aid’s website.

Can I use the tuition exemption program as a state employee for fee-based programs and classes?

No. Students cannot use tuition exemptions for fee-based programs and classes as these programs are not funded by state tuition revenues. A tuition exemption program is a waiver of state tuition revenue.

Can I take fee-based classes and state-funded classes at the same time?

Yes. In some cases, state-funded program students can take fee-based classes as part of their load on a space-available basis. In other cases, they may have to pay additional fees for the class. Likewise, fee-based program students can take some state-funded classes on a space-available basis. Please check with your program adviser for details.

Do I have to pay all the regular student fees if I am enrolled in a fee-based program?

Yes. Students in fee-based programs must pay the Student Technology Fee (STF) and Services & Activities Fee (SAF). These fees fund important aspects of the University and allow you to access student services such as the Intramural Athletics facility, which benefit all UW degree-seeking students.

If I'm enrolled in a fee-based program, can I still get a U-PASS? What about student health insurance?

Because you pay the Services & Activities Fee, you will automatically be signed up for the U-PASS program and will be required to pay the U-PASS fee. And yes, fee-based program students are eligible for all services available to students in state-funded programs, including student health insurance, financial aid, and student housing.