Rice University Research Policy No.
Service Center Policy
Service (recharge) centers are entities within the university
established for the specific purpose of providing products or
services to other areas within Rice University. Services may
occasionally be provided to others. Because of government costing
requirements, charges for services must be based on actual costs
incurred; a service center may not generate a surplus. Also,
allowable costs are defined by government regulations (OMB Circular
A-21) and exclude some costs normally associated with service
centers. Service center administrators should become familiar with
Service Center Procedures
document, which gives details of how this policy is administered.
This policy applies to all units within the university which
regularly charge other cost centers within the university for goods
or services provided. Areas which bill out small items (faxes,
copying) at a flat rate are excluded, provided that all of the
1) billings do not exceed $5,000/year
2) no surplus is generated and
3) all users are billed at the same rate and on the same basis.
Rates charged must be based on actual direct costs incurred,
excluding unallowable costs as defined by OMB Circular A-21.
Equipment purchases (see
, II. General Information, A. Definition of Equipment) may not be
charged to a service center; however, a charge for equipment
depreciation may be made each year to recover equipment costs over
time. Equipment purchased with government funds may not be included
in a service center rate calculation. Unless a longer break even
period (maximum of five years) is authorized in advance, a service
center must break even during each fiscal year. Break even is
defined as having a surplus or deficit no larger than 5% of the
service center's annual billings.
All revenues and related allowable costs (including salaries and
fringe benefits) must be charged to the same fund, organization,
and program. Allocations of various types of indirect costs which
(administration, space, utilities, etc) may not be included in the
calculation of service center rates are charged to other Rice
Service centers may provide services only to other Rice
departments, unless the Dean or Division Head has approved
providing services to outside users and the Controller's Office has
evaluated any potential tax issues.
Billing rates for charges which are to be paid by outside users
must include indirect costs at the negotiated federal on-campus
indirect cost rate. Members of the Rice community are "outside
users" when they are not conducting Rice business.
Policy No. 836
Issued: October 3, 1996
Revised: February 8, 2003