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Service Center


How do I know if I'm a service or recharge center?
The determination as to whether you are a service or recharge center is not solely based on providing goods or services to other departments. Service and recharge centers must comply with the federal cost principles for educational institutions contained in OMB Circular A-21 and the federal Cost Accounting Standards. The College’s “official” service centers are monitored by the Controller’s Office, reported to the IRS, and submit rate setting documentation and other information to the Controller’s Office annually. Please contact the Controller's Office for more information.

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I provide goods and services to other College departments. Am I a service or recharge center?
More often than not, the answer will be no. 

In order to answer yes, all of the following criteria must be met to be a service center:

  1. The costs of its goods or services are direct costs that can be recovered by the users of the service provided
  2. Its goods or services benefit instruction and/or research activities
  3. It is not classified as an Other Institutional Activity (OIA) or an
  4. It has a predetermined cost/rate for goods or services
  5. It is not simply redistributing the specific cost of individual terms and/or labor hours

In order to answer yes, all of the following criteria must be met to be a recharge center:

  1. It is an operating unit or department that provides goods or services as a convenience to generally localized users.
  2. It charges users a retroactive monthly fee based on actual usage and specific costs.
Please contact the Controller's Office if you meet the criteria but have not been contacted by the Controller’s Office as to your status.

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How can my unit or department become a service or recharge center?
A department must demonstrate that there is both a compelling need for the center and a clear benefit to be derived from providing goods and services within the College rather than through external commercial markets. Advance approval to create a service center with annual gross expenses over $100,000 must be obtained from the dean or vice-president to which the center reports and the College Vice President and Treasurer’s Office based upon a proposal reviewed and approved by the executive officer of the area.  Advance approval is required from the executive or fiscal officer of the area to establish a recharge center having annual gross expenses over $100,000. Service and recharge centers with $100,000 or less in expenses do not need advance approval and are exempt from the annual rate documentation requirements nevertheless they must comply with the College’s Service and Recharge Center Policies and Procedures.

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I need to set a rate for my service center or recharge center. What do I need to consider?
Rates charged to internal users (College departments and grants) must be based on and designed to recover no more than the direct costs of the goods or services being provided. For external users (faculty, students, DHMC, VA, etc.), higher rates may be established to recover all costs of providing the goods or services, including any indirect costs. All rates must be reviewed and approved in accordance with College’s Service and Recharge Center Policies and Procedures. All internal users must be charged the same rate for the same service under the same circumstances. Rates charged to external users can be higher, but not lower, than rates charged to internal users.

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Last Updated: 5/3/10