45 CFR 2507.8 - How are fees determined?
(a) Policy. It is the policy of the Corporation to provide the widest possible access to releasable Corporation records at the least possible cost. The purpose of the request is relevant to the fees charged.
(b) Types of request. Fees will be determined by category of requests as follows:
(1) Commercial use requests. When a request for records is made for commercial use, charges will be assessed to cover the costs of searching for, reviewing for release, and reproducing the records sought.
(2) Requests for educational and non-commercial scientific institutions. When a request for records is made by an educational or non-commercial scientific institution in furtherance of scholarly or scientific research, respectively, charges may be assessed to cover the cost of reproduction alone, excluding charges for reproduction of the first 100 pages. Whenever the total fee calculated is $18.00 or less, no fee shall be charged.
(3) Requests from representatives of the news media. When a request for records is made by a representative of the news media for the purpose of news dissemination, charges may be assessed to cover the cost of reproduction alone, excluding the charges for reproduction of the first 100 pages. Whenever the total fee calculated is $18.00 or less, no fee shall be charged.
(4) Other requests. When other requests for records are made which do not fit the three preceding categories, charges will be assessed to cover the costs of searching for and reproducing the records sought, excluding charges for the first two hours of search time and for reproduction of the first 100 pages. (However, requests from individuals for records about themselves contained in the Agency's systems of records will be treated under the fee provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) which permit the assessment of fees for reproduction costs only, regardless of the requester's characterization of the request.) Whenever the total fee calculated is $18.00 or less, no fee shall be charged to the requester.
(c) Direct costs. Fees assessed shall provide only for recovery of the Corporation's direct costs of search, review, and reproduction. Review costs shall include only the direct costs incurred during the initial examination of a record for the purposes of determining whether a record must be disclosed under this part and whether any portion of a record is exempt from disclosure under this part. Review costs shall not include any costs incurred in resolving legal or policy issues raised in the course of processing a request or an appeal under this part.
(d) Charging of fees. The following charges may be assessed for copies of records provided to a requester:
(1) Copies made by photostat shall be charged at the rate of $0.10 per page.
(2) Searches for requested records performed by clerical/administrative personnel shall be charged at the rate of $4.00 per quarter hour.
(3) Where a search for requested records cannot be performed by clerical administrative personnel (for example, where the tasks of identifying and compiling records responsive to a request must be performed by a skilled technician or professional), such search shall be charged at the rate of $7.00 per quarter hour.
(4) Where the time of managerial personnel is required, the fee shall be $10.25 for each quarter hour of time spent by such managerial personnel.
(5) Computer searches for requested records shall be charged at a rate commensurate with the combined cost of computer operation and operator's salary attributable to the search.
(6) Charges for non-release. Charges may be assessed for search and review time, even if the Corporation fails to locate records responsive to a request or if records located are determined to be exempt from disclosure.
(e) Consent to pay fees. In the event that a request for records does not state that the requester will pay all reasonable costs, or costs up to a specified dollar amount, and the FOIA Officer determines that the anticipated assessable costs for search, review and reproduction of requested records will exceed $25.00, or will exceed the limit specified in the request, the requester shall be promptly notified in writing. Such notification shall state the anticipated assessable costs of search, review and reproduction of records requested. The requester shall be afforded an opportunity to amend the request to narrow the scope of the request, or, alternatively, may agree to be responsible for paying the anticipated costs. Such a request shall be deemed to have been received by the Corporation upon the date of receipt of the amended request.
(f) Advance payment.
(1) Advance payment of assessable fees are not required from a requester unless:
(i) The Corporation estimates or determines that assessable charges are likely to exceed $250.00, and the requester has no history of payment of FOIA fees. (Where the requester has a history of prompt payment of fees, the Corporation shall notify the requester of the likely cost and obtain written assurance of full payment.)
(ii) A requester has previously failed to pay a FOIA fee charged in a timely fashion (i.e., within 30 days of the date of the billing).
(2) When the Corporation acts under paragraphs (f)(1)(i) or (ii) of this section, the administrative time limits prescribed in § 2507.5(a) and (b) will begin to run only after the Corporation has received fee payments or assurances.
(g) Interest on non-payment. Interest charges on an unpaid bill may be assessed starting on the 31st day following the day on which the billing was sent. Interest will be assessed at the rate prescribed in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the date of the billing. The Corporation may use the authorization of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended, and its administrative procedures, including disclosure to consumer reporting agencies and the use of collection agencies, to encourage payment of delinquent fees.
(h) Aggregating requests. Where the Corporation reasonably believes that a requester or a group of requesters acting together is attempting to divide a request into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding fees, the Corporation may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly. The Corporation may presume that multiple requests of this type made within a 30-day period have been made in order to avoid fees. Where requests are separated by a longer period, the Corporation will aggregate them only where there exists a solid basis for determining that aggregation is warranted under the circumstances involved. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.
(i) Making payment. Payment of fees shall be forwarded to the FOIA Officer by check or money order payable to “Corporation for National and Community Service”. A receipt for any fees paid will be provided upon written request.
(j) Fee processing. No fee shall be charged if the administrative costs of collection and processing of such fees are equal to or do not exceed the amount of the fee.
(k) Waiver or reduction of fees. A requester may, in the original request, or subsequently, apply for a waiver or reduction of document search, review and reproduction fees. Such application shall be in writing, and shall set forth in detail the reason(s) a fee waiver or reduction should be granted. The amount of any reduction requested shall be specified in the request. Upon receipt of such a request, the FOIA Officer will determine whether a fee waiver or reduction should be granted.
(1) A waiver or reduction of fees shall be granted only if release of the requested information to the requester is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Corporation, and it is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. The Corporation shall consider the following factors in determining whether a waiver or reduction of fees will be granted:
(i) Does the requested information concern the operations or activities of the Corporation?
(ii) If so, will disclosure of the information be likely to contribute to public understanding of the Corporation's operations and activities?
(iii) If so, would such a contribution be significant?
(iv) Does the requester have a commercial interest that would be furthered by disclosure of the information?
(v) If so, is the magnitude of the identified commercial interest of the requester sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester?
(2) In applying the criteria in paragraph (k)(1) of this section, the Corporation will weigh the requester's commercial interest against any public interest in disclosure. Where there is a public interest in disclosure, and that interest can fairly be regarded as being of greater magnitude than the requester's commercial interest, a fee waiver or reduction may be granted.
(3) When a fee waiver application has been included in a request for records, the request shall not be considered officially received until a determination is made regarding the fee waiver application. Such determination shall be made within five working days from the date any such request is received in writing by the Corporation.