Enhancements to Service Center and University Fee Development

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Published September 22, 2017

In an effort to standardize the development and approval of service centers and university fees, forms and policies have been updated. These changes will aid managers and leadership with the creation and sustainability of the services and programs that are offered to our university partners, researchers and students.

Financial Management of Service Centers Policy

Over the past year, financial management has looked at this policy very closely and worked with some of our customers to make these updates. Currently, the updates to this policy are in the legal review process before being approved by the president and updated in the policy library.

These updates are intended to:

  • Clarify some of the grey areas within the development and calculation of service center fees
  • Outline the process and required approvals for charging service center fees on campus
  • Address new policy Safeguarding Cash and Cash Equivalents by adding details to the billing and revenue collection sections of the policy.

Highlight of Updates

  • Equipment Depreciation/Equipment Expense
    • $1 - $999:  Expense the total cost in the year purchased
    • $1,000-$4,999: Expense the cost over a three year period
    • >$5,000: Depreciate over useful life
  • For centers who sell from inventory:
    •  A physical inventory should be completed at least annually and reconciled to the inventory records by completing an inventory settlement.
  • Service centers receiving payments should ensure that the appropriate segregation of duties is maintained to safeguard the funds and the university’s reputation as required by the Safeguarding Cash and Cash Equivalents Policy
  • List of acceptable payment types
    • Internal User – Student billing, Campus Cash, IDI’s, ePay, eReq, Revenue Transfer
    • External User – Wire Transfer/ACH, Electronic Payment (ePay, UBF Checkout), Paper Check, Credit Card (requires prior approval)

Financial Management of University Fees Policy

The Financial Management of University Fees policy is being updated to provide a comprehensive overview of the development and approval process for all university fees on campus. Currently this policy is in the 30 day campus review process and is available for your comments.

Highlights of Updates

Campus specific fees, charges, or deposits are to be administered through an Income Fund Reimbursable (IFR) account, State University Tuition Reimbursable (SUTRA) account or under particular circumstances and with prior approval from Financial Management and the Controllers office with a University affiliate.

List of acceptable payment types

  • Internal User – Student billing, Campus Cash, IDI’s, ePay, eReq, Revenue Transfer
  • External User – Wire Transfer/ACH, Electronic Payment (ePay, UBF Checkout), Paper Check, Credit Card (requires prior approval)

Allowable Costs

  • Administrative staff salaries, wages and fringe benefits
  • Materials and supplies specific to the course that result in a tangible product retained by the student in a credit course, where a special service is provided or that entail extraordinary costs
  • Equipment expense, depreciation and maintenance
  • Food and lodging directly related to students

Unallowable Costs

  • Faculty travel, lodging, food and beverages
  • Consumables used for multiple courses
  • Equipment and maintenance for multiple instructional purposes, unless the cost is identified as a percentage for each course
  • Materials and supplies expected to be covered in regular instructional budget
  • Goods or services for personal use by employees
  • University fee rates must be developed so that revenues offset costs over a defined time period. A surplus is not allowed for fees charged to students. Fee rates charged to external users may include a markup.

Fee Development and Approval Process

Financial Management has developed a more efficient work flow process for the development and approval of fees. This will allow us to work closely with our customers in the development and approval process.

View the Steps in the Devopment Process

  1. Download the applicable approval form (service center, university).
  2. Contact an expert to set up an initial consultation (if desired).
  3. Complete the initial questionnaire tab within the form and provide to Financial Management.
  4. Financial Management in collaboration with the department completes calculations and provides worksheets for review.
  5. Work with managers to finalize rate calculations.
  6. Once rates are agreed upon (managers, Financial Management), the approval process can begin.
  7. The approval process begins within Financial Management then the documents are submitted to the following for approval:
    1. Departmental
      1. Manager (service center, university fee contact)
      2. Department chair
      3. Unit Business Officer (UBO)
    2. University Controller
    3. Provost Designee
    4. SUNY (when applicable)

New Development and Approval Forms

Financial Management has developed new standardized forms for service centers and university fees. Included in these forms are standardized calculations which will provide managers and leadership with a component cost breakdown for the fees, including subsidies, to assist with the sustainability of services and programs.

Description of Tabs within the Forms

  1. Initial Questionnaire – This tab assists the customer with providing the basic information that is needed to develop a fee.
  2. Form - Cover– This form provides the basic information about the university or service center fee.
  3. Approvals - This is the approval page for the signatures.
  4. Rate List – This is the summary of the prices or rates based on the calculation. Included in the list are the following prices or rates:
    1. Internal Rate – To be charged to internal users including academic, research, administrative, and auxiliary units whose originating source of funds is within or flows through the university. This includes state, RF, UBF, and Faculty Student Association (FSA) funds.
    2. Internal Rate + GUSF - To be charged to internal customers paying with another form of payment (i.e. wire transfer, ACH, electronic payment, paper check or credit card (with prior approval))
    3. External Rate - External users are individuals or organizations whose originating source of funds is outside the university. External users include faculty and staff acting in a personal capacity. Affiliated hospitals and other universities are external users unless the university has subcontracted with them as part of a grant or contract, in which case they are an internal user.
  5. Summary by Component – This tab provides a summary of the costs by component as well as an annualized pro forma, which outlines what would need to take place in order to break-even internally in a given year, including any subsidies provided by the department.
  6. Detailed Calculation – Provides a detailed breakout of the cost calculation. Including the following details:
    1. Labor detail such as names, salaries, account paid from
    2. Equipment, asset number, useful life, purchase price
    3. Sources of information such as budget, invoice, purchase order
    4. Supplies, maintenance and other expenses
  7. Approval Checklist – This page provides you with the routing instructions during the approval process.

Master List of Approved Fees

A master price list has been created for all approved fees on campus. The price list includes the following filter options:

  • VP/Decanal, Center Name, Center Contact, Service, Approval Date

A master price list for University Fees is under construction.

We are working to replace the current rate files in SIRI with this updated list.


Financial Management is here to help you thoughout the process of developing and approving your fees.


New Service E-mail address have been created for each type of fee:


A listserv is being created to allow financial Management to communicate with its Service Center and University Fee contacts to provide:

  • Best Practices for billing rates, revenue collections and rate development
  • Policy updates to federal, SUNY and UB policies


Contact the Cost Accounting Team

Ashley Butcher Picture

Ashley Butcher

Asset Management and Cost Accounting

Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-1521

Email: ambutche@buffalo.edu

Valerie Dennis

Valerie Dennis

Asset Management and Cost Accounting

Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-2604

Email: vlb5@buffalo.edu

Ian Frost picture

Ian Frost

IFR, Revenue Accounting and Treasury Management

Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-0232

Email: ianfrost@buffalo.edu

Carrie Hutchins

Carrie Hutchins

IFR, Revenue Accounting and Treasury Management

Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-2640

Email: chutchin@buffalo.edu