National Park Service (NPS) regulations allow school groups and other 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.
Due to an ever-increasing number of academic institutions failing to provide the requested information to receive an academic fee waiver and increased scrutiny by the Department of Interior National Park Service fee collection operations, all schools will now be required to meet the criteria outlined below and provide proper documentation. Any school not providing this information will not receive a fee waiver or any school arriving at the Monument without an approved fee waiver will be required to pay any applicable entrance fees. The following three criteria outline the requirements in order to receive an academic fee waiver.
1. Eligibility Applicants must submit one of the following:
• A statement confirming educational or scientific tax-exemption from the IRS or the applicant’s national, state, or local tax authority; or
• A statement confirming that the academic institution group is visiting for the purpose of providing transferable educational credit based on a curriculum; or
• A copy of the accreditation or recognition as an academic institution from a recognized national, regional, state, or local authority at the applicant’s location.
2. Educational Purpose of the Visit
• Applicants must provide a written statement on the attached form confirming that the visit supports a specific curriculum for which academic credit is offered. A general statement that the visit is for “educational purposes” is insufficient. If the group is on a commercial tour, the applicant must state how the tour supports an academic curriculum.
3. Relevance of Park Resources or Facilities
• Applicants must provide a written statement on the attached form 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.
If your request is approved, you will receive an academic fee waiver which must be presented at the Monument Visitor Center.
If your request is denied, you will receive a call from the park explaining why your group does not qualify for the fee waiver and given an opportunity to provide the necessary information in order to be approved.
Please be aware…
• Visitation date must be scheduled in advance on a first come first serve basis in order to accommodate all groups.
• Only one date will be reserved, rain dates unnecessarily block out dates that other schools may utilize for their visits.
• Fee waivers must be approved before your visit and will not be granted the day of.
• Refunds are not applicable if approved for a fee waiver after your visit.
• Groups must submit separate fee waiver requests to individual parks for approval. There is not a single academic fee waiver issued for use in all National Park areas.
• Service, civic, or fraternal organizations, such as Scouts, Rotary, and Elks, can qualify for an academic fee waiver if the group meets the criteria above.
• Chaperone to student ratio is as follows: Elementary 1:5; Jr. High 1:8; High School 1:12; College 1:20. Chaperones are required to stay with the students in the gift shop.
• If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us at 507-825-5464 ext 214.
4. Prior to arrival, items to discuss with class/group
American Indians consider Pipestone National Park sacred ground – Please treat the facility, trails, quarries, Three Maidens, & surrounding areas with respect.
• Must stay on trial - NO climbing on rocks, quartzite cliffs, trail barriers, or trees.
• Do not touch prayer ties, tobacco offerings or other ceremonial objects along the trail, quarries, or visitor center.
• Be respectful of all visitors – Please use indoor voices while in the visitor center and no running or roughhousing in the visitor center or along the trails.
• Must NOT remove anything from the part, which includes rocks, plants, flowers, seeds, or wildlife.
To request an Academic Fee Waiver call: 507-825-5464 ext 214 or email us