Guidelines Related to Fees for Field Trips

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) regulates fees that universities can charge to students.  Fees charged in addition to tuition are governed through the MCU ancillary fee protocol, which are amended from time to time.

These University of Waterloo Guidelines relate to field trips associated with credit-earning courses that are paid for by students in addition to tuition fees.  The MCU Tuition Fee Framework and Ancillary Fee Guidelines for Publicly Assisted Universities consider a compulsory non-tuition-related ancillary fee to be “a fee which is levied to cover the costs of items which are not normally paid for out of operating or capital revenue.”   

  • Instructors shall indicate as early as possible (e.g., in the course syllabus made available at the start of the term, and certainly no later than the course add deadline) whether additional fees related to field trips are associated with their courses, and the fee amount.

Students can only be charged fees for the reasonable, direct costs of travel and accommodation on compulsory field trips within the province of Ontario. 

  • For the purposes of these guidelines, a field trip is compulsory for a student if it is part of a course that the student must complete in order to fulfil the requirements of their degree or program, and the field trip is required to complete the course successfully.
  • Charging fees that are not directly related to student’s direct costs is prohibited (e.g., travel costs for instructors/teaching assistants, additional salaries for instructors/TAs).
  • Students cannot be charged fees for compulsory field trips outside the province of Ontario.  Exemptions may occasionally be granted by the Ministry.  To discuss requesting an exemption, please contact Institutional Analysis & Planning.

Students can be charged fees for the reasonable, direct costs of travel and accommodation on elective (i.e., non-compulsory as defined above), credit-earning field trips both within and outside the province of Ontario.

  • The fees charged to students can contribute to offsetting the travel and accommodation costs of instructors or teaching assistants participating in the field trip but not their salaries and benefits. Any fees charged to students which offset instructor or teaching assistant costs must be approved by the Dean of the Faculty. Instructors are encouraged to seek financial assistance from their department or faculty in helping lower students' costs, where possible, and to make trip costing information readily available to students.


Please direct any questions regarding the MCU ancillary fee protocol and the use of digital learning resources to David DeVidi, Associate Vice-President, Academic at, or Carrie MacKinnon, Institutional Analysis & Planning at