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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

5.5.8 Functional Categories

In addition to space use categories and organizational unit assignment, facilities inventory systems commonly contain a set of categories or codes to allocate space across functional categories (e.g., instruction, research, public service, academic support). This is used primarily to link space allocations to financial data or to institutional missions (e.g., the proportion of space used for public service) or to analyze and compare space allocations across institutions according to commonly used functional categories.

The functional categories recommended for this purpose, outlined in appendix B, are adapted from standard financial reporting categories, including the definitions for these categories as adapted from standard financial reporting guidelines. Coding for function requires identification of the primary (or prorated) functional use of each space.

The categories outlined in appendix B are adapted from the Financial Accounting and Reporting Manual for Higher Education, Release 02-6, by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and OMB Circular A-21, Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions. See these two documents for detailed information. While the functional categories are designed for financial reporting, they can be readily adapted to facilities reporting through limited modifications. For most functional categories, there is a direct crosswalk between NACUBO and Circular A-21. A crosswalk for each major category is provided in appendix B. It is highly recommended that functional activities be identified at the major category level and not at subcategory levels, which will preclude getting involved in detail that may add only marginal value to the identification of an institutionís primary functional activities. Appendix B represents a brief synopsis of the adaptation of these functional categories. For those institutions that are seeking a Facilities and Administrative (F and A) Rate for the recovery of indirect costs associated with sponsored grants and contracts, it is highly recommended that the A-21 functional categories be adopted.

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