FOIA Fees and Waivers
The FOIA allows certain fees to be charged to certain types of requesters; it also provides for waivers or reductions in fees. The fee schedule is provided in SECNAVINST 5720.42F . The FOIA requires that requesters be placed into one of the below categories for fee purposes:
Commercial - Requesters who seek information for a use or purpose that furthers their commercial, trade, or profit interest are considered commercial requesters. Commercial requesters pay all fees for search, review and duplication.
Educational - Institutions of education, including preschools, elementary or secondary schools and institutions of higher learning, qualify as educational institutions. The records must be sought in furtherance of scholarly research. Educational requesters pay only duplication fees, unless it is determined that fees are waived or reduced in the public interest. The first 100 pages are provided at no cost.
Non-Commercial Scientific - A non-commercial scientific institution is operated solely for conducting scientific research. The records must be sought in furtherance of scientific research. Like educational requesters, these requesters pay only duplication fees, unless it is determined that fees are waived or reduced in the public interest. The first 100 pages are provided at no cost.
News Media - A representative of the news media is a person actively gathering news for an entity organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. News media pay only duplication fees, unless it is determined that fees are waived or reduced in the public interest. Again, the first 100 pages are provided at no cost.
Other Requesters - Requesters who do not qualify in another category are considered "other" requesters, and normally make requests for agency records for their personal use. "Other" requesters receive two hours search, all review costs, and the first 100 pages at no cost.
All requesters must state a willingness to pay fees regardless of the fee category; however, this does not mean you will be charged fees.
The fees charged for search and review by NAWCWD are at the allowable rate of $44.00 per hour, charged in quarter-hour increments. Reproduction is charged at $0.15 per page. Other mediums and audio visual type products are charged based on actual costs.
Fee Waivers can be requested when the information requested is in the public interest. Public interest is defined as "information which significantly enhances the public’s knowledge of the operations and activities of the Department of Defense." If a fee waiver is requested, the requester must provide enough information for a decision to be made. The following factors are weighed in determining a fee waiver:
- Requester’s ability to disseminate the information to the public;
- Requester’s expertise in the subject area of the request and ability and intention to disseminate the information to the public;
- How disclosure of the requested documents would significantly contribute to the public's understanding of the operations or activities of the Department of the Navy;
- Who in the public would be benefited; and
- The current level of public attention to the general subject to which the information relates (newsworthiness).