National Park Service (NPS) regulations allow school groups and other bona fide national and international academic institutions to obtain a waiver for park entrance fees, provided that the visit is for educational or scientific purposes, and the resources or facilities the group proposes to use support those purposes.
Academic fee waivers are not granted automatically. Educational groups must apply and meet criteria to receive a fee waiver. There are three criteria to qualify for an academic fee waiver: eligibility, educational purpose, and relevance of park resources or facilities. These criteria are detailed below:
ACADEMIC FEE WAIVER CRITERIA
Educational groups must prove they are a school or bona fide academic institution by submitting one of the following types of documentation:
A statement confirming educational or scientific tax-exemption from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the applicant's national, state, or local tax authority; or
A statement, from a bona fide academic institution meeting one of these eligibility standards, confirming that the group is visiting for the purpose of providing transferable educational credit based on a curriculum; or
A statement of accreditation or recognition as an educational institution from a legitimate national, regional, state, or local authority for the applicant's location.
2. Educational Purpose of the Visit
Applicants must provide a written statement (documentation) verifying that the visit supports a specific curriculum for which academic credit is offered. If the group is on a commercial tour, the applicant must state how the tour supports the curriculum.
3. Relevance of Park Resources or Facilities
Applicants must provide a written statement 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.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AN ACADEMIC FEE WAIVER AT THOMAS EDISON NHP
If you meet the criteria above, submit the following to the address below. Please allow 2 weeks for processing.
- Current, official documentation of eligibility such as described above. It is insufficient to merely state or imply this on the organization’s letterhead. Your fee waiver request cannot be approved without one of these documents. See Eligibility, above.
- A cover letter, on letterhead, explaining what the educational purpose is and how it is related to park resources. (A general statement that the visit is for “educational purposes” is insufficient.) If your group is using a commercial tour company, the group (not the company) must apply for the fee waiver, and must state how the tour supports the curriculum. See Educational Purpose of Visit, above.
- Provide the name of the course and a brief description. The applicant must be providing educational credit hours based on a specific course of instruction.
- Attach all information and complete the Academic Fee Waiver Request for Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
- Number of Chaperones allowed free entry under academic fee waiver:
Per 10 High School students – 1 Chaperone
Per 10 Elementary students – 1 Chaperone
- Mail or e mail all documentation detailed in the “How to Apply for an Academic Fee Waiver section above to:
ATTN: Carmen Pantaleo
211 Main Street
West Orange, NJ 07052
PLEASE BE AWARE
- Fee waivers are not available on the day of your visit.
- Academic fee waivers cannot be granted for hardship factors.
- Service, civic, or fraternal organizations, such as Scouting, Rotary, and Elks, does not quality for an academic fee waiver unless the group meets the criteria above.
- “Blanket” academic fee waivers for all national parks are not issued or accepted. Groups must submit separate requests to individual parks for approval. A list of parks and contact addresses is at www.nps.gov.
If your request is approved, you will receive a signed academic fee waiver. If your request is denied, you will receive a letter from the park explaining why your group does not qualify.
To apply for a awaiver, the group must complete the Academic Fee Waiver Form.
If you have any questions, please e-mail e-mail us 973-736-0550 ext. 33