Effective fall 2022, the Instructional Resilience and Enhancement Fee (IREF) is a course materials and services fee that supports tools, infrastructure and staff to support in-person and remote instruction. The cost to students is $106 per semester or $212 for academic year 2022/23, and is in response to additional remote instruction needs that the campus faces due to circumstances like wildfire and the pandemic. The IREF addresses the changing requirements and expectations of instructors and students regarding software and classroom-related technology.
Previously, some of these software and support services were funded by the Student Technology Fee, which had substantial support from the student population. IREF also provides access to additional software, technologies and services that enhance student learning and provide a foundation for instructional resilience. In addition to software licensing Microsoft Office, Zoom Pro and the Adobe Suite, the fee will provide funding for the Student Technology Equity Program (STEP), which provides laptops and other hardware to students in need.
The IREF is also in line with several other UC campuses (UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine), which have already instituted a course materials fee that funds a wide variety of instructional technology. Those fees vary from $324/year (UCLA) to $112.50/year (UC Santa Barbara) for the 2021/2022 academic year.
We recognize students may be concerned about any proposed new fee. We are committed to keeping the overall cost of a UC Berkeley education as low as possible and providing financial aid to help students (including low-income) finance the full Cost of Attendance, including tuition and fees. Students receiving financial aid are supported in covering the costs of fees like the IREF.
- What is the full list of software this supports?
IREF includes: Zoom Pro for Students, Google Workspace for Education, Microsoft, VPN for students in other countries, Adobe, funding for the Student Help Desk, funding for the Student Technology Equity Program (STEP), Kaltura, Discussion Platform, bCourses, Canvas, GradesScope, Turnitin, AWS infrastructure, Ally, SensusAccess, Alt Media, Poll Everywhere, iClickers, funding for classroom tech support, funding for instructional computing labs, Zoom webinar licensing for large course, and Hypothesis.
- What is STEP?
The Student Technology Equity Program (STEP) began during COVID-19, and is a program that provides laptops and other hardware devices to students in need.
- Does financial aid cover the fee?
For certain students, financial aid will cover IREF.
- What happened to the previous Student Technology Fee?
The previous ($51 per-semester) Student Technology Fee expired in Spring 2021. While the majority of voting students voted to approve the fee, the minimum vote threshold required for a student referendum was not met.
- How much will it cost?
The cost to students is $106 per semester or $212 per academic year.
- Does anyone else have this fee?
UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara all have course materials and services fees that fund similar software and support services.
- Is there any oversight on this fee?
An IREF Advisory Committee composed of campus leadership, students and staff experts will be established.
- Can campus absorb the cost rather than charge additional costs to students?
Many of these costs have long been shared between students and the campus via the long-standing Student Technology Fee. When the Student Technology Fee expired in Spring 2021, the campus found and implemented a more stable means to continue this cost-sharing tradition via the IREF.
- I’m a graduate student. What options do I have to cover the cost of this fee?
If your funding package from your academic department includes tuition and fees, contact your home department. Departments that cover fee balances not covered by a partial fee remission will pay this additional charge.
Students who have applied for and are receiving financial aid will have this included in their Cost of Attendance and aid packages.
Graduate students without those options will need to cover the cost of this fee.
- I’m a graduate student. Why isn’t this fee covered by my fee remission?
Fee remissions, depending on whether Partial, Full, or Full with Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition, cover Tuition, Student Services Fee, SHIP, and in some cases the Class Pass, Campus Fee, and NRST. Unfortunately fee remissions, per the current ASE collective bargaining agreement do not cover Course Materials and Services Fees. The IREF is a Course Materials and Services Fee. Here is information about the types of fee remissions, and what they cover.
- I’m a staff member and I have questions.You can direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.