Service Center and Recharge Center Fees Policy
Provide oversight and control over charges made between university departments that will ensure compliance with federal cost principles, consistency in accounting and costing practices, and flexibility to meet the needs of different operations.
University of Kansas departments that charge a fee(s) for goods or services provided internally to other University of Kansas departments.
The University has seen a proliferation of fees in which one department of the University charges another. Examples might be the Office of Facilities Operations charging departments for part of the design costs; another might be the Animal Care Unit’s per diem charges to grants and departments for the costs of animal care. The common feature of these charges is that there is no additional income to the University by imposition of the fee – rather money is simply transferred from one unit to another.
Such charges are inherently different from those imposed on an outside agent such as a local business for use of University resources or charges to students for services rendered. While these latter charges must be continuously and carefully scrutinized, they are not the focus of this policy as they are covered by the “Policy for Approval of Charges to Students, Staff and the Public.”
Any fee that is charged to a University department (including grants or other sponsored projects) by another University department is designated a service center or recharge center fee. No service center or recharge center fee shall be instituted or increased without procedural approval as outlined in this document.
A department should not be paid more than once to perform the functions for which it exists. The intent of the charge back system is to reimburse a department for the actual cost of providing services beyond the state or university funded portion of their budget. Exemptions to this general policy may be made by the deciding authority.
Auxiliary services (defined below) are not subject to this service center policy.
NOTE – Any fee that is charged to students, staff or the public must also follow the University’s separate policy for this type of charge, “Policy for Approval of Charges to Students, Staff and the Public”.
A recharge center is an operating unit that exists principally to provide goods or services to KU departments and recovers less than $10,000 in annual operating expenses unless the unit’s primary customers are sponsored projects or external customers.
Operating costs are recovered by charges (sales) to those departments and entities receiving the goods or services. Recharge centers develop rates based on incurred (historical) cost and rates should be designed to break even over predetermined periods of time (not to exceed 12 months).
Example: Academic Units charging for copier and fax machine usage.
Due to their smaller size of operations, recharge centers are not required to obtain administrative rate approval as documented within this policy. However recharge centers are still expected to use the same methodology established within this policy to establish their internal and external rates. Recharge center rates are also expected to be reviewed by department management as often as necessary to ensure compliance with this policy. Reviews should take place at least annually.
A service center is an operating unit that exists principally to provide goods or services to KU departments and recovers more than $10,000 in annual operating expenses or the unit’s primary customers are sponsored projects or external customers.
Operating costs are recovered by charges to those departments and entities receiving the goods or services. Service centers develop rates based on incurred (historical) cost and rates should be designed to break even over a 12 month time period (unless approved in advance by the Chief Financial Officer and Vice Provost for Finance).
Examples: Chemistry storeroom, Animal Care Unit
An auxiliary service is a self-supporting entity that exists principally to furnish goods or services for a fee to students, alumni, or faculty and staff acting in a personal capacity. Independent boards govern auxiliary entities, and rates are established and approved according to separate policies and procedures.
Examples: Residence halls, Campus dining, Parking Services, University health services
Auxiliary services generally do not support KU departments. The general public may be served incidentally. Pricing for auxiliary services may be based on market rates, except when charging for service provided to federal awards. Federal awards must always receive the “most favorable price” charged by the auxiliary service for the good or service provided. Auxiliary services are not subject to this service center policy.
Internal users of service centers are those users whose sources of funds are within KU or flow through KU (i.e., KU federal awards performed on campus). These include academic, research, administrative, and auxiliary units that purchase services in support of KU’s mission.
External users are organizations or individuals whose originating source of funds is outside of KU. External users include students and any members of faculty or staff acting in a personal capacity. Other universities are also considered external users unless KU has subcontracted with them as part of a grant or contract, in which case they will be considered an internal user.
A standing committee will be established to consider all requests for charge back fees or increases in charge back fees. Membership on this committee shall include representatives from:
- Financial Analysis and Reporting
- Budget Management/Fiscal Services
- College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- Information Services
- Office of the Vice Provost for Research
This committee serves to evaluate applications and to make recommendations to the Chief Financial Officer and Vice Provost for Finance. No fee or increase in fee will be allowed without approval of the Chief Financial Officer and Vice Provost for Finance.
Fees that are currently in place will be allowed to continue unless challenged or if, upon review, the Chief Financial Officer and Vice Provost for Finance modifies the fee. Requests to update existing fees should be forwarded by the department that initiated the fee to the Service Center Fee Evaluation Committee for review. At a minimum, the Service Center Fee Evaluation Committee will review all service center fees every two years.
Financial Analysis and Reporting
04/16/2021: Updated Contact, Approver, and owning unit sections from Comptroller to Financial Analysis and Reporting.
03/08/2019: Changed title VP for Administration and Finance to Chief Financial Officer and VP for Finance.
03/18/1991: First issued.