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Distance Education Tuition and Fees

Memo from the Provost

Date: March 14, 2012

To: Deans, Directors, and Department Heads

From: Warwick Arden, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Subject: Distance Education Tuition and Fees

Distance Education offerings have grown significantly in recent years, and many students enrolled in traditional, campus-based degree programs have chosen to take advantage of the flexibility afforded by this mode of instruction. Unfortunately, our original structure for calculating tuition and fees did not anticipate this type of “blended” model where students would concurrently take online and face-to-face courses. The separate methods of calculating tuition and fees result in an inequity when students enroll in a mix of online and face-to-face courses which, in general, disadvantaged full-time students while favoring part time students.

The Distance Education Strategic Task Force proposed a model which eliminates the inequity by applying a tuition and fee formula based on the classification of the student. The proposal recommends that a student enrolled in an on-campus degree program be charged tuition and fees based on the current ¼ stair step model, capped at 12 hours for undergraduates and 9 hours for graduate students. This tuition structure would apply to all courses taken, whether distance or face-to-face. Similarly, students enrolled in a distance education degree program would be charged tuition and fees on a per credit hour basis, consistent with the original legislation and UNC policy.

This proposal was vetted with the UNC General Administration and determined to be consistent with the intent of the UNC policy. Therefore, NC State will implement the task force recommendations on tuition and fees effective with the Fall 2012 semester. Please make your faculty, staff and students aware of this change. Please refer to the Cashier’s website,, for additional and updated information.

NOTE: See Provost's 5/04/12 memo for additional clarifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: See Cashier's Office: Tuition and Fees - Distance Education for most current FAQs.

Q: I am student enrolled full-time and pursuing a degree at NC State.  How will this change impact me?

A: As a full-time student admitted to a traditional, campus-based degree program, you will simply pay the full time tuition and fee rate, period.  There will not be additional charges if one or more of your courses is a Distance Education course.

Q: How does this change impact students pursuing a degree through Distance Education?

A: Students who have been admitted to a Distance Education degree program will be charged tuition and fees at the approved Distance Education rates.

Q: How will this change impact Non-Degree Studies (NDS) students?

A: For now, this change applies only to degree-seeking students. Non-Degree Studies students will not be affected by this change. NDS students will continue to pay DE rates for distance education courses and on-campus rates for on-campus courses.

Q: How do I know if I am a Non-Degree Studies student?

A:  The Non-Degree Studies (NDS) Program is administered by the Department of Registration and Records and provides individuals who have not matriculated into a degree program access to credit courses at NC State University on a part-time basis. Permission to attend as an NDS student does not guarantee or imply admission into a degree program.  For additional information see:

Q: How will this change affect tuition and fees for summer school?

A: Tuition and fees for summer school, both on-campus and DE, will not be impacted by this change at this time.

Q: Are students enrolled in distance education programs eligible to take courses on campus?

A: In general, it is expected that students enrolled in a distance education program will take all of their coursework by distance education. However, at the option of the program, a distance education student may take some of their coursework on campus.

Q: If a distance education student takes a course on campus, may he/she take advantage of fee supported services on the campus, such as the Student Health Center?

A: No. Current state law prohibits charging distance education students for campus service fees; therefore, distance education students are not eligible to take advantage of these services.

Q: Will this change impact the availability of online courses to students?

A: No. However, we anticipate that online sections of courses may fill up more quickly as a result of increased demand.

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