The requirements of this policy are in addition to the program proposal requirements for all for-credit academic programs.
Per UW System policy service-based pricing programs are designed primarily for non-traditional students and meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Flexible scheduling packages
- Flexible course delivery options
- Ancillary services such as evening or weekend services (academic advising, registration, financial aid, etc.), program specific career advising, free or dedicated parking, book delivery services, etc.
- Degree completion programs
- Geographic dispersion
- Collaboration with area employers to develop programs to meet training needs
- Certificate and customized graduate degree programs
Characteristics of service-based pricing programs at UW-Madison include:
- Demonstrated workforce demand for the program graduates
- Defined program learning outcomes oriented to market considerations
- Structure that fits within standard academic administrative structures. Service-based pricing programs will have a plan or subplan attribute of ‘Special Plan/OPT Type’.
- Tuition structure that is either market-based or online/distance
- No funds from the tuition pool
- Applied, practice-oriented curriculum, or integrated practice with theory. Research programs such as PhD and related master’s programs are generally not eligible.
All academic programs offering service-based pricing are subject to the following fiscal requirements:
- The dean of the academic division and division budget officer must agree to assume fiscal responsibility for program costs not covered by non-pooled tuition revenue and must cover shortfalls using non-state funding.
- The tuition rate is to be based on market and competitive pricing research and is to reflect fixed and variable costs, future enrollments, and frequency of offerings, along with new and additional program costs. Market research is to be updated and reviewed regularly. A program approved for the service-based pricing tuition structure may propose a change in tuition rate if there is evidence that the current tuition rate is not appropriate.
- The program must demonstrate the capacity to be self-sustaining (margin positive) within three years of program launch. Program revenues must exceed expenses, including fringe benefits. Expenses include the campus assessment which supports institutional costs related to support these programs.
- The program must appropriately reflect costs, including the reimbursement of credits in courses funded by the tuition pool. If the program leverages instruction and other services funded by the tuition pool, the program must show it has reimbursed the pool for these expenses.
- Enrollment in the program must generate enough tuition to cover instructional costs, direct student support costs, and any other fixed or required costs. 750 credits per year is the expected minimum necessary to properly fund program costs. A program with three-year average enrollments below these credit thresholds may trigger a financial and operational review of the long-term health of the program.
- Tuition for all students in a service-based pricing program is to be charged outside of the credit plateau. The rates available under the service-based pricing structure can be found in the procedures knowledgebase. The Service-Based Pricing Program Committee evaluates requests for additional tiers.
- Tuition revenue for a service-based pricing program is to be deposited to the Fund 131 account of the academic unit that owns the program.
Each service-based pricing program will undergo financial and operational reviews as part of the academic program review process (three-year check-in, five-year program review, and every 10 years thereafter). In addition, program reviews may be triggered by low enrollment, other operational or fiscal challenges, or at the request of the Dean’s office or the Service-Based Pricing Program Committee. The program review process requires an updated budget spreadsheet populated with data from the previous and current year, along with projections for the next three to five years.
Students and Curriculum
All academic programs offering service-based pricing are subject to the following curricular requirements:
- Courses which are part of a service-based program are not open to student auditors (see also Auditing Courses).
- A student enrolled in a service-based pricing program may not be concurrently enrolled in any other degree/major program.
- The defined curriculum is “self-contained” in that program students are confined to courses from the approved, prescribed curriculum with few options or electives. The program offers a predictable timeline for course offerings and program completion.
- Curricular requirements for the program must follow a prescribed series of courses specified by subject and catalog number that are logically connected to the program learning outcomes. Elective options must also be defined by subject and catalog number.
If the program requires a course that is outside of the academic division offering the program, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is required between the academic division offering the program and the academic division offering the required course. The MOA must address cost, capacity, and other operational needs. The UW-Madison Campus Standard Memorandum of Agreement may be used.
- Graduate-level degree/major programs must use Graduate School standards for English proficiency. Capstone certificate programs must be designed so that admission requirements ensure that English as a Second Language (ESL) support is not needed. Programs may not admit students who need ESL services without building sufficient ESL support into their fiscal model and having an explicit MOA with the ESL provider about funding to support ESL services.
- Students must adhere to the policy on Graduate Assistantships and Service-Based Pricing.
- Students in service-based pricing programs are not entitled to access student services that are funded by the tuition pool which includes career, learning support and advising services offered outside of the program’s home academic unit. Service-based pricing programs are presumed to offer such services to their students.
- The program must provide students with information about the limitations placed on them as part of a service-based pricing program, including information about prohibitions on concurrent program enrollment and out-of-program course enrollment, as well as information about the Graduate Assistantships and Service-Based Pricing policy. Programs must note these points in admission and recruitment materials, on the program website, in the program handbook, and on the program orientation and Guide pages.
This policy was revised in 2023 to better articulate the requirements of the policy. There may be isolated instances of existing programs that do not meet all requirements. All new programs are expected to meet all aspects of this policy.