Cost Center Set Up

Cost centers are used to segregate financial activity based on type of operation. It is important to understand how the various types of cost centers operate in order to accurately manage university funds. The information below will assist you with identifying which type of cost center you need and how to get it set up. For additional questions, please contact Diane Ciecior via email or at 472-2705.

Types of Cost Centers

State Aided A state aided unit receives its funds from state appropriations or tobacco, Nebraska Research Initiative (NRI), Programs of Excellence (POE) or Facilities & Administration (F&A) funds .
Auxiliary (AUX)

An auxiliary unit is a self-supporting entity that exists principally to furnish goods or services to students, alumni, or faculty and staff acting in a personal capacity, and charges a fee for the delivery of goods or services. Auxiliary units generally do not support UNL departments. The general public may be served incidentally. Examples include residence halls, food services, intercollegiate athletics, university unions, university stores, alumni travel, parking, and shuttle services.

Contracts/Donations (CON)

Money received in a contract with an outside vendor similar to a Grant that is to be used for a project that is not part of a service center. Therefore not "charging" this outside vendor but rather received money in exchange for a report on an issue. May also be money received from an outside source with no conditions of use placed on the funds.

Indirect Funds (IND)

Funded by indirect funds given back to the departments.

Revolving (REV)

Established to run expenses through but does not charge for any goods or services. They should be direct ins and outs.

Service Centers (SRC, SSC or USR) Organizational units, or activities within units, that charge for goods or services provided primarily to other internal university operations or units, but also potentially to users external to the University. For more information on service centers, see the Service Center Policy.
Student Fees (STU)

Funded by student lab fees that are collected from the students for lab supplies, technology fees, etc.

How do I know classify my cost center?

Answer the following questions to properly classify your cost center.

  1. Is the funding provided by state appropriations?
    1. If yes, classify as state aided.
    2. If no, go to question 2.
  2. Is your cost center a direct pass through for expenses?
    1. If yes, classify as revolving.
    2. If no, go to question 3.
  3. Are you charging for goods or services?
    1. If yes, go to question 4.
    2. If no, where does revenue come from?
      -Classify as student fees, contracts/donations, or indirect funds.
  4. Whom are you charging?
    1. If grants, UNL departments, and related parties, classify as a Service Center.
    2. If outside parties, classify as Auxiliary.

Multiple Uses for one Cost Center

If the Cost Center has multiple funding sources, it should be classified under the category where greater than 70% of the activity is funded. The exception being if $50,000 or more is derived from charging federal grants or UNL departments then it should be split out from the rest of the activity and treated as a service center.

To determine if you have this situation, ask the following questions:

  1. Are UNL department/grant charges more than $50,000?
    1. If yes, classify as a Service Center.
    2. If no, go to number 2.
  2. Are UNL department/grant charges more than 70% of the total charges?
    1. If yes, classify as a Service Center.
    2. If no, classify as Auxiliary.