Date Established: 3/21/2001
Date Last Updated: 5/15/2018
Vice President for Finance and Administration
This policy provides guidelines for the financial management of university fees to support:
The University at Buffalo (UB, university) establishes and maintains university fees in accordance with the State University of New York (SUNY) Fees, Rentals, and Other Charges Policy. In addition, these general principles govern the development of new fees or changes to existing fees:
|Level of Authority ||Types of Fees|
|SUNY Board of Trustees Authorized Fees and Charges|| |
Charges and other university-wide fees paid by students as a condition of attendance:
|Chancellor or Designee Authorized Fees|| |
Fines, fees, deposits and charges:
• Mandated Fees - fees with set amounts to be assessed due to a student’s action or inaction:
• Campus specific fees - mandatory campus-specific fees that are not covered under the campus authorized fees
Campus specific fees, charges or deposits are 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 with a university affiliate.
|Campus President or Designee Authorized Fees|| • Residence Hall |
• Board plans
• Career Services
• Library fees/fines
• Non-credit bearing instruction
• Patient/Clinic care
• Parking and related fees
• Student Government
• Voluntary student health services
• Student voluntary activities
• Recreational facilities not funded by mandatory university broad-based fees
The cost of providing an activity or service is charged to users through a fee. Fees are developed to cover the cost of operations, including but not limited to salaries, benefits, supplies, maintenance, and repairs. All costs included in developing the fee must be:
The department must:
|Equipment Purchase Price ||Expense Time Period|
|$1 to $999||Expense the total cost in the year purchased|
|$1,000 to $4,999||Expense the cost over a three year period|
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.
Amounts charged to external users in excess of the internal university fee rate should be excluded when calculating the surplus or deficit.
Internal university users should be charged the same fee rate. However, if some users are charged a reduced fee or are not charged a fee, the standard (non-subsidized) fee rate must be imputed in calculating the fee’s annual surplus or deficit. This is necessary to avoid having some users pay higher rates to make up for the reduced rates charged to other users.
The university may choose to charge some users a lower fee or no fee; however, the fee rate must be calculated for all users based on total expenses.
The cost used by the subsidized user group must be recorded to ensure that they are not inappropriately charged to other users.
University Provided Subsidy
University fee rates must be fully costed (i.e., the fee rate should include all allowable costs associated with the activity or service provided); however, the university may choose to subsidize the costs of a fee. When fee rates are lower than cost, the resulting deficit cannot be carried forward as an adjustment to future fee rates. In instances when subsides are required to cover costs, the source of funding and account must be identified.
Rates for External Users
The university allows external users to be charged a higher fee rate than the fee rate charged to internal users. However, revenues and costs associated with external users must be tracked separately to avoid the perception of overcharging.
|Internal User|| • Student billing system (HUB) |
• Campus Cash
• Interdepartmental Invoice (IDI)
• Purchase Order (eReq)
• Revenue Transfer
|External User || • Wire Transfer/ACH |
• Electronic payment (ePay, UBF Checkout)
• Paper Check
• Credit card (requires prior approval)
Departments collecting fee revenue should ensure that the appropriate segregation of duties is maintained to safeguard funds and the university’s reputation, as required in the Safeguarding Cash and Cash Equivalents Policy. For instance, a person who receives payments should not be the person who deposits payments or reconciles the account.
When staffing resources make segregation of duties difficult, compensating controls must be implemented to provide the appropriate checks and balances to detect errors, deter fraud, and prevent concealment of irregularities. Read about compensating controls in the Safeguarding Cash and Cash Equivalents Policy.
All newly established university fees must be deposited in a separate account. The preferred funding source is a State IFR account. However, it may be necessary to establish a UB Foundation (UBF) account with payment through the UBF checkout system based on the nature of the fee. This requires prior approval from Financial Management and the University Controller.
The department must maintain fee rate development documentation. Documentation includes the actual costs of providing the service, units of service provided, billings, collections, and the annual surplus or deficit.
These records are subject to SUNY external audit and internal review.
In the event that a fee is imposed upon students without following the guidelines in this policy, funds collected will be refunded to the payee in full upon request made to the campus or by directive from SUNY System Administration. Requests for refunds must be made within three years of the collection of the fee.
The SUNY Board of Trustees established levels of authority and requirements for university charges, as described in the SUNY Fees, Rentals and Other Charges Policy. This policy provides a framework for consistent operational guidelines to:
This policy applies to all university fees administered through State, FSA, and UBF accounts that are not related to service centers.
The amount determined when costs exceed revenues for a given fiscal year.
An allocation of the cost of equipment over its useful life. Straight-line depreciation is calculated by dividing the original cost of the equipment by the estimated useful life.
An item of tangible personal property having a useful life exceeding one year.
Organizations or individuals whose ultimate source of funds is outside of the university. External users include faculty, staff, and students acting in a personal capacity. Affiliated hospitals and other individuals are also considered external users unless the university has subcontracted with them as part of a grant or contract.
The 12 month period used for accounting purposes; the university’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30.
General University Service Fee (GUSF)
Fee charged against external revenue. The service fee is a flat rate charged across all entities on funds generated through the use of university faculty or staff time and/or use of university facilities.
An academic, research, administrative, or auxiliary unit whose ultimate source of funds is within or flows through the university (including State IFR, Research Foundation, UB Foundation, and Faculty Student Association funds).
Additional funding provided by a department or the university that assists in covering the costs.
User who is charged at a lower rate or not charged at all.
Personal property that is expendable with a useful life of less than one year, and that cannot be classified as equipment.
The amount determined when revenues exceed costs for a given fiscal year.
Costs that cannot be included in calculating the cost of a service or activity.
Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)
Taxes that result from income produced by the sale of goods or services to external users not substantially related to the university’s tax-exempt purpose.
The period of time over which a piece of equipment is expected to provide service.
|May 2018|| |
• Changed the title of the policy from Setting Fees, Fines, Deposits, and Service Charges to Financial Management of University Fees.
• Updated the policy to provide additional guidance and clarification related to fee development including: