Entrance Fee Waivers
Academic Fee Waiver
Requirements and Application Instructions
National Park Service regulations allow most school groups and other accredited national and international academic institutions to obtain a waiver of park entrance fees, provided the visit is for "outings conducted for non-commercial educational purposes by schools and other bona fide academic institutions." The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows these outings to receive a waiver of park entrance fees. A bona fide academic institution is one that is genuine and applies for the fee waiver "in good faith, without fraud or deceit." Commercial enterprises are not eligible for fee waivers, but school groups using a commercial vehicle for transportation only may apply for a fee waiver.
In some states and counties the Boards of Education mandate the use of commercial tour companies to provide comprehensive services for school groups. In those cases educational fee waivers will only be given to commercial tour companies that can show that the fee waiver will be factored into the tour package price for the bona fide school group. The school group must apply for and meet the criteria for an educational fee waiver and document that the tour provider's package price incorporates the discount. Educational fee waivers only apply to entrance fees. [National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Recreation Fee Management, RM 22A, 10.1.3]
Academic fee waivers are not granted automatically. Applicant groups must demonstrate that they qualify for the waiver. There are three requirements that the group must meet to qualify for an academic fee waiver: eligibility, educational purpose, relevancy of park resources or facilities. (Note - school groups with students all 15 years of age or younger; and including the teachers and chaperones, do not require fee waiver documentation, as the park's entrance fee only applies to individuals 16 and older. However, school groups with students 15 and younger still must check in at the visitor center information desk to have their fee waiver status confirmed.)
Requirement #1 - Eligibility
Applicants must prove they are an academic or scientific institution by presenting one of the following types of documentation:
• A statement confirming educational or scientific tax exemption from the IRS or the applicant's national, state, or local tax authority; or
• A statement from an academic institution that meets one of these eligibility standards confirming that the group is visiting for the purpose of providing transferable academic credit based on a curriculum; or,
• A statement confirming accreditation or recognition as an educational institution from a qualified national, regional, state, or local authority.
Requirement #2 - Relevance of Park Resources
Applicants must provide a written explanation identifying the park resources and/or facilities that will be used to support the educational purpose of the visit, and how they are relevant to that purpose.
Requirement #3 - Educational Purpose
Applicants must provide a written statement confirming that the visit supports a specific curriculum for which academic credit is offered. The specific curriculum must be cited in the statement.
To apply for an academic fee waiver, complete the attached application and include the following:
• Attach current official documentation of recognition as an academic institution by a federal, state, or local government entity, or other evidence attesting to educational status (e.g., accreditation letter, tax exemption status).
• A written statement confirming a direct relationship between the purpose of the visit and the use of the park. The visit must include the study of some aspect or resource specific to the park. A general statement to the effect that the visit is for "academic" or "educational purposes" is, by itself, insufficient. An explanation of what the educational purpose entails and how it is related to park resources is required (e.g., course outlines, lesson plans, copy of the curriculum).
• A written statement confirming that the visit supports a specific curriculum for which academic credit is offered. Documentation such as a copy of the school's course catalog or handbook will also satisfy this requirement.
Submit your application package at least two weeks in advance of your visit. Applications that are incomplete may be denied. If you have questions regarding your application prior to your visit, please call the park's interpretive program coordinator at 757-898-2411.
If the anticipated visit does not apply to the park's resources or facilities, and you are not being escorted by a commercial tour company, you will enter as an "organized non-commercial" group. The following, as outlined in National Park Service Recreation Fee Program, is then in effect:
• Organizations that are generally considered service, civic, or fraternal (e.g., Scouting, Rotary, faith-based organizations, clubs, etc.) do NOT qualify for the academic fee waiver unless they meet the requirements.
• Individuals 15 years of age and younger, not on a commercial tour, are exempt from entrance fees.
• Individuals 16 years of age and older, not on a commercial tour, are charged the non-private fee of $14 per person at Historic Jamestowne or $7 per person at Yorktown. (If visiting both sites; the $14 at Historic Jamestowne includes Yorktown for seven days entrance. The $7 fee paid at Yorktown can be applied to the purchase of entrance at Historic Jamestowne.)
• Interagency Pass holders and up to three additional adults are not required to pay at Yorktown. At Historic Jamestowne, Pass holders and up to three additional adults are charged $5 per person. The pass holder must present their pass, along with photo identification, at the visitor center.
• Groups being escorted by a commercial tour company are charged the commercial tour fee of $100.00 per bus.
Did You Know?
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States at 200 miles long, from 3 to 30 miles wide with an area of 3,237 square miles. Four major rivers empty into the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia: the James River, the York River, the Rappahannock River and the Potomac River.