The Coalition Column

National Archives Seeks Comments on Rule to Increase Copying Fees

Lee White, April 2007

On February 26, 2007, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) published a proposed rule announcing its intention to raise its fees for reproducing federal records and historical materials in NARA's holdings. The proposed rule covers federal records created by other agencies that are in the National Archives, donated historical materials, presidential records, Nixon Presidential historical materials, and records filed with the Office of the Federal Register.

The proposed rule, including the new fee structure, is available at the Federal Register's web site at:
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-3160.pdf.

The deadline for submitting comments on the proposed rule is April 27, 2007.

NARA does not receive appropriations from Congress to cover copying costs, and the agency must cover the cost from user fees. This would be the first increase in reproduction fees in seven years. It would apply to everything from self-service copy machines, to mail orders and reproductions. In fiscal year 2006, NARA said its costs for fixed-fee services were more than double the revenue the agency received in copying fees.

Copies made by users at a NARA self-service copier would go from the current 15 cents per-page to a quarter. Paper-to-paper copies made by NARA staff would rise from the current 50 cents to 75 cents per-page. Microfilm to paper copies made by a customer on a NARA self-service machine would increase from the current 30 cents per-page to 50 cents per-page. Certifications would go from the current $6 to $15. There would be a minimum fee of $15 for all mail orders, up from the current $10.

The biggest increase would be in the cost of a complete pension file more than 75 years old that would go from the current $37 to $125. There are also price increases for providing copies of passenger lists, federal census records, and military records, all of which would be raised to $25.

In a separate interim final rule, NARA determined it was not appropriate to apply fee increases to the reproduction of records of other federal agencies that are stored in NARA's federal records centers but are not in NARA's legal custody. This interim rule can be found at: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-3162.pdf.

The deadline for comments on this interim final rule is April 27, 2007, and it will go into effect on May 29, 2007.