Academic Fee Waivers

Academic fee waivers are granted to educational institutions whose curriculum relates specifically to the resources at Big Bend National Park.



Applying for a Fee Waiver

National Park Service regulations allow school groups and other approved national and international academic institutions to apply so that they do not have to pay the park entrance fee. The National Park Service considers applications and may approve a request if the visit is for educational or scientific purposes and the resources or facilities that the group intends to use support those purposes.The National Park Service does not grant academic fee waivers automatically. Applicants must show that they qualify for a fee waiver. There are three requirements (listed below) to qualify for an academic fee waiver:

Criteria #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.

Criteria #2 - Educational purpose

  • Verify how this visit supports a specific curriculum for which academic credit is offered. For example, attach a course syllabus/description, course catalog, lesson plan, letter detailing the educational purpose, etc., and/or describe below.
    • A course syllabus, copy of the course catalog, or a handbook may satisfy this requirement.

Criteria #3 - Relevance of park resources or facilities

  • Identify the pertinent park resources and/or facilities and detail how they are relevant to support the educational purpose of the visit (attach letter or describe below).
    • You must demonstrate what the academic purpose entails and how it relates to park resources.

If your group does not meet the three requirements your group may be considered as a Non-Commercial Organized Group. Youth 15 years of age and younger would be exempt from fees. See the fees and passes page for more information.

Groups that do not qualify for an academic fee waiver will be charged the appropriate entrance fee. The entrance fee for non-commercial organized groups is $15.00 per person for all individuals 16 years of age and older. Big Bend Annual Pass, Interagency Annual, Interagency Senior, Interagency Access, and Golden Access Passport holders and their immediate family members (parents, spouse, and children) do not have to pay the per person entrance fee.


Read These Requirements Before You Apply for an Academic Fee Waiver


Submitting an Academic Fee Waiver Request for a Field Trip

Before you send the form, read the requirements above so that:

  • You submit all of the required documentation to show that your group is eligible for a fee waiver.
  • You have a plan to comply with park requirements regarding bus or vehicle parking and group size limits on trails.
  • You are aware of the requirement for Special Use Permits.

At least 30 days before your trip, fill out our fee waiver form and email submit with the appropriate supporting


Form Guidance

Big Bend uses a Department of the Interior standard form for field trip academic fee waivers as well as for other purposes. Learn which parts of the form you need to fill out if you are applying for us to waive the park entrance fee for a field trip.

Section 1: Contact Information

  • Required: Every applicant must share contact information.
    • In the box labeled "Describe Need," please include your group's proposed itinerary.

Section 2: Group Details

  • Required: Every applicant must share your group details.
    • Read above for requirements, and be especially mindful of your group size.
    • Provide details on number and type of vehicles (car, van, coach, etc.)

Sections 3 and 4

  • Not for field trip academic fee waivers.

Section 5: Academic Fee Waiver

  • Required: You must fill this section of the form out and share documentation to demonstrate your qualification for a fee waiver.

Academic Fee Waiver Form

Official standard form to be used for NPS Academic Fee Waiver Requests

Get the Form Here

Email Us Completed Forms

Submit 30 days before your planned visit.
We will send you an email when we receive your form and after we review it to confirm group details.

Last updated: April 30, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129



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