The instruction classification includes expenses for all activities that are part of an institution’s instruction program. Expenses for credit and noncredit courses; academic, vocational, and technical instruction; remedial and tutorial instruction; and regular, special, and extension sessions are included.


The research classification includes all expenses for activities specifically organized to produce research, whether commissioned by an agency external to the institution or separately budgeted by an organizational unit within the institution. Subject to those conditions, the classification includes expenses for individual and/or project research as well as that of institutes and research centers.


The public service classification includes expenses for activities established primarily to provide non-instructional services for the benefit of individuals and groups that are external to the institution. These activities include community service programs (excluding instructional activities) and cooperative extension services. Included in this classification are conferences, institutes, general advisory services, reference bureaus, radio and television, consulting, and similar non-instructional services to particular sectors of the community.


The academic support classification includes expenses incurred to provide support services for the institution’s primary programs of instruction, research, and public service. It includes the following activities: The retention, preservation, and display of educational materials, such as libraries, museums, and galleries. The provision of services that directly assist the academic functions of the institution, such as demonstration schools associated with a department, school, or college of education Media, such as audio-visual services, and technology, such as computing support Academic administration (including academic deans but not department chairpersons) and personnel providing administrative support and management direction to the three primary missions Separately budgeted support for course and curriculum development For institutions that currently charge some of the expenses—for example, computing support—directly to the various operating units of the institution, this classification does not include those expenses.


The student services classification includes expenses incurred for offices of admissions and the registrar and activities that, as their primary purpose, contribute to students’ emotional and physical well-being and intellectual, cultural, and social development outside the context of the formal instruction program. This classification includes expenses for student activities, cultural events, student newspapers, intramural athletics, student organizations, intercollegiate athletics (if the program is not operated as an auxiliary enterprise), counseling and career guidance (excluding informal academic counseling by the faculty), student aid administration, and student health service (if not operated as an auxiliary enterprise).


The institutional support classification includes expenses for central, executive-level activities concerned with management and long-range planning for the entire institution, such as the governing board, planning and programming operations, and legal services; fiscal operations, including the investment office; administrative information technology (when not accounted for in other categories); space management; employee personnel and records; logistical activities that provide procurement, storerooms, printing, and transportation services to the institution; support services to faculty and staff that are not operated as auxiliary enterprises; and activities concerned with community and alumni relations, including development and fundraising.


This subclass includes expenses for activities to maintain relations with the community, alumni, or other constituents and to conduct activities related to institution-wide development and fundraising.


The scholarships and fellowships classification includes expenses for scholarships and fellowships—from restricted or unrestricted funds—in the form of grants that neither require the student to perform service to the institution as consideration for the grant, nor require the student to repay the amount of the grant to the funding source. In public institutions, they may result from selection by the institution or from an entitlement program. The classification also includes trainee stipends, prizes, and awards. (However, trainee stipends awarded to individuals who are not enrolled in formal course work should be charged to instruction, research, or public service.)


The distinguishing characteristic of an auxiliary enterprise is that it is managed to operate as a self-supporting activity. Over time, the revenues will equal or exceed the expenses, although in any individual year there may be a deficit or a surplus. Examples are residence halls, food services, intercollegiate athletics (if operated as essentially self-supporting), college stores, faculty clubs, parking, and faculty housing. Student health services, when operated as an auxiliary enterprise, also are included. Hospitals, although they may serve students, faculty, or staff, are classified separately because of their financial significance. The auxiliary enterprise category includes all expenses relating to the operation of auxiliary enterprises. Because of a desire to assess whether the enterprise is self-supporting, expenses for operation and maintenance of plant, depreciation, interest, and administration may be charged directly or allocated, even though that allocation is not required of public institutions for financial statement purposes. (Independent institutions, however, are required to make the allocation.) Also included are other direct and indirect costs, whether charged directly as expenses or allocated as a proportionate share of costs of other departments or units. To ensure that data regarding individual auxiliary enterprises are complete and adequate for management decisions, cost data should be prepared using full costing methods. Full costing means that the costs attributed to each enterprise includes a portion of indirect costs related to that enterprise, as well as the costs directly attributable to its operation.


The operation and maintenance of plant category includes all expenses for the administration, supervision, operation, maintenance, preservation, and protection of the institution’s physical plant. These expenses include items such as janitorial and utility services; repairs and ordinary or normal alterations of buildings, furniture, and equipment; care of grounds; maintenance and operation of buildings and other plant facilities; security; earthquake and disaster preparedness; safety; hazardous waste disposal; property, liability, and all other insurance relating to property; space and capital leasing; facility planning and management; and central receiving. For external financial reporting purposes, independent institutions are required to allocate the costs assigned to this classification to the other functional categories. However, most independent institutions still use this functional expense category internally to to capture costs prior to allocation. Consequently, although this category is necessary and important to an independent institution’s general ledger structure—and a necessary cost pool for cost reporting under the Uniform Guidance—the expenses are not considered a functional expense category (for GAAP reporting) for independent institutions.