Service Centers & Service Center Rates

A Service Center (also known as a Recharge Center) is an operating unit that exists principally to provide goods or services to internal university departments, sponsored projects or external customers.

The University has developed several policies regarding determination and usage of fees charged by university departments.   Any fee that is charged to a University department (including sponsored activity) by another University department is designated as a service center or recharge center fee. Service centers that recover $10,000 or more in annual operating expenses or whose primary customers are sponsored projects are required to obtain procedural approval for establishing or changing service center fees.

Policy for Approval of Charges to Students, Staff and the Public

Service Center and Recharge Center Fees Policy

Service Center and Recharge Center Fees Process & Procedures

Service Center & Service Center Rate Fees

Units wishing to establish a service center fee must prepare a detailed justification and submit it through the appropriate administrative channels to Recharge Center Rate Reviewer.

The proposal for establishing a service center fee should present a clear and compelling argument for its implementation. Answers to the questions should be as full and precise as possible.

Service Center Request Form (.xlsx)

Service Center Review Workbook with Instructions (.xlsx)

Deans, directors, or department chairs approve the creation of a service center and service center rates.  The benefits of a proposed service center must be weighed against the benefits of obtaining similar goods/services from commercial or other University sources.

If approved by the Department Head/Dean, the department approved administrative official will forward the proposal and justifications to the Service Center Rate Reviewer.

The Service Center Rate Reviewer, Sarah Carver, Financial Analyst, will carefully scrutinize the submitted justification and, if necessary, request further information about the proposal. Prior to making a recommendation, the reviewer may consult with the proposing unit or appropriate office to modify the proposal. In addition, the reviewer may contact units likely to be impacted by the fee.

Based upon its evaluation, a recommendation to approve or disapprove the fee will be made to the Vice Provost for Finance. The reviewer will work as expeditiously as possible, but departments should recognize the evaluation of fees is a complex process that may take considerable time.

KU must comply with the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance cost principles. Compliance with Uniform Guidance is implicit in KU’s policy.

After approval by the Vice Provost for Finance, a review of the rates will be conducted every 2 years.  New service center rates will be reevaluated after 1 year. A review of rates can be done at any time upon request.

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-funded portion of their budget. Exemptions to this general policy must be approved by Vice Provost for Finance.

Operating costs are recovered by charges (e.g. sales) 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 Vice Provost for Finance).