Academic Fee Waiver Request Instructions

Thank you for your interest in Indiana Dunes National Park. Beginning March 31, 2022 Indiana Dunes National park will require an entrance pass. Groups visiting the area for educational purposes may obtain a waiver of the recreation fees if the group meets established criteria.

An application for an Academic Fee Waiver can be downloaded here.

To obtain an Academic Fee Waiver you should forward a written request to the park on institution letterhead. The following information must be included with your letter. Incomplete documentation will not allow us to grant your waiver request.

PLEASE NOTE: If your planned educational visit is primarily for recreational purposes, such as swimming, then a fee waiver can not be granted.

1. You must confirm that your group is a bona fide educational or scientific institution. If your group is chartering the services of a commercial bus company, the group must apply for the fee waiver, not the company. To confirm the educational nature of your trip, please supply at least one of the following supporting documents (on institution letterhead):

  • A statement confirming educational or scientific tax-exemption from the IRS or your state or local tax authority.
  • A statement, from a bona fide educational institution, confirming that the group is visiting for the purpose of providing transferable educational credit based on a curriculum.
  • A statement of accreditation, or recognition as an educational institution, from a qualified national, regional, state, or local authority at the applicant's location.
  • A statement describing the group makeup and mission of the group.

2. In your letter, please confirm that your visit supports a specific curriculum for which academic credit is offered. A general statement that the visit is for “educational purposes” is insufficient. You should include course outlines, lesson plans, or a copy of the curriculum. If your group is on a commercial tour, please state how the tour supports the curriculum. State the course number, description and/or a copy of the catalog description for college courses or an outline of student work required for K-12.

3. In your letter, please identify 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.

4. If your planned educational visit includes recreation at the lakefront, such as swimming, an Educational Fee Waiver cannot be granted.

In addition to the waiver criteria information, your letter must include the following visit information:

  • The name and correspondence address of your institution.
  • Group contact name(s) with telephone number(s) and email address.
  • Date and approximate time of arrival and departure.
  • Number of vehicles.
  • Number of students.
  • Number of chaperones, including faculty.

If your group needs to cancel the waiver request, please call the park contact name below before the group’s planned arrival date so your place may be made available to others.

Send your application to the Education Program Ranger:

Christine Gerlach
Education Programs Ranger
(219) 395-1885

To insure that your waiver request can be processed and returned in a timely manner, your letter must arrive at the park at least two weeks prior to your planned educational experience. Applications cannot be granted at the time of visit.

Last updated: April 20, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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