FOIA permits agencies to charge for the actual costs of responding to requests, such as time spent searching the requested records, copying costs or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records. Charges cannot include general overhead costs. 

  • JMU begins charging at one hour of time spent on any FOIA request for the time it takes to research for potentially responsive records and produce those records. 
  • The hourly rate (base rate of pay) of the JMU employee(s) conducting research and/or preparing the response and the number of hour(s) required to fulfill the request will be used to calculate a total time-cost estimate to the requestor. Charges include the time for research, locating records, data analysis and redaction if required. 
  • If the time-cost estimate exceeds $200, we require you pay in full before proceeding with your request. 
  • JMU will charge for the actual cost to produce records to include printing costs per sheet of paper or records turned over on a CD-DVD. 
  • JMU waives fees for a request that takes no more than one hour of total time spent to research for and produce records. 

The university’s decision to deny access to public records sought by a FOIA request because those records are, in whole or in part, exempt from disclosure does not excuse the person who files that FOIA request from payment of fees for the work undertaken by the University in response to that request. 

You may request that we estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested. This will allow you to know about any costs upfront or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs.

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