Regulations last checked for updates: Jun 13, 2024

Title 34 - Education last revised: May 29, 2024
§ 5.33 - Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees.

(a) The Department processes a FOIA request for agency records without charge or at a charge less than that established under § 5.32(a) when the Department determines that—

(1) Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government; and

(2) Disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(b) To determine whether a FOIA request is eligible for waiver or reduction of fees pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the Department considers the following factors:

(1) Whether the subject of the request specifically concerns identifiable operations or activities of the government.

(2) Whether the disclosable portions of the requested information will be meaningfully informative in relation to the subject matter of the request.

(3) The disclosure's contribution to public understanding of government operations, i.e., the understanding of the public at large, as opposed to an individual or a narrow segment of interested persons (including whether the requester has expertise in the subject area of the FOIA request as well as the intention and demonstrated ability to disseminate the information to the public).

(4) The significance of the disclosure's contribution to public understanding of government operations or activities, i.e., the public's understanding of the subject matter existing prior to the disclosure must be likely to be enhanced significantly by the disclosure.

(c) To determine whether a FOIA request is eligible for waiver or reduction of fees pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of this section, the Department considers the following factors:

(1) The existence of the requester's commercial interest, i.e., whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure.

(2) If a commercial interest is identified, whether the commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently large in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(d) When the fee waiver requirements are met only with respect to a portion of a FOIA request, the Department waives or reduces fees only for that portion of the request.

(e) A requester seeking a waiver or reduction of fees must submit evidence demonstrating that the FOIA request meets all the criteria listed in paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section.

(f) A requester must seek a fee waiver for each FOIA request for which a waiver is sought. The Department does not grant standing fee waivers but considers each fee waiver request independently on its merits.

(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552(a), 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A), 20 U.S.C. 3474)
authority: 5 U.S.C. 552,20.S.C. 1221e-3, and 20 U.S.C. 3474.
source: 75 FR 33510, June 14, 2010, unless otherwise noted.
cite as: 34 CFR 5.33