The Office of Research Administration Policy & Compliance (RAPC) has the responsibility for the establishment of service center policies. Various Controller's Office units, the Legal Office, Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research Graduate Policy (DoR), the service centers, and school or department administrators and faculty also provide input as needed.
RAPC, CMA, DoR, the Controller’s Office, and school and department administrative offices share responsibility for the development and implementation of service center practices under these policies.
Service centers, their departments, and RAPC/CMA monitor service center practices to conform to these policies.
1. Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research
This office sets and oversees general University research policy of which service centers are an integral part.
Dean of Research is also responsible for the Non-Sponsored F&A policy for the University’s service center external users. DoR determines the F&A rate for external users of the service centers. This office may choose to waive the rate, discount it to 8%, or determine that the external user be charged the full Organized Research F&A rate. The 8% may be increased at any time by the DoR. Contact the DoR if you are requesting a waiver for a new external user’s F&A rate.
DoR has direct oversight of several service centers.
2. Office of Research Administration Policy & Compliance and Cost Management & Analysis
RAPC has primary management responsibility for monitoring compliance with University and government service center policies.
RAPC and/or CMA
- oversees and assists in the formation of new academic and administrative service centers;
- reviews and approves academic service center and VSC budgets and rates annually;
- reviews and approves administrative service center budgets and approves rates annually;
- monitors service center performance during the last six months of the fiscal year to ensure adherence to federal regulations, GAAP and University policies;
- ensures service center compliance with breakeven, non-discriminatory rate setting and other service center policies;
- assists service center users with iLab functions
- updates the service center manual as needed;
- updates the service center online tutorial as needed;
- assists service center managers with policy or procedural matters;
- will open and close service center accounts;
- will visit service centers periodically to get a better understanding of service center needs; and
- will provide service center one-on-one training as needed.
RAPC/CMA also acts as liaison in most service center/Government dealings. This includes:
- reporting to the Government on service center rates and operations annually;
- negotiating long term pricing and/or breakeven agreements (LTAs), when appropriate;
- establishing F&A (indirect) cost rates for service centers designated as "specialized service facilities" (see Section III.D., Specialized Service Facility);
- calculating the “credit” due annually to the Government for unallowable costs in service center rates charged to the F&A (indirect) pools and direct to Organized Research;
- and is the contact with PwC in the annual Federal Uniform Guidance service center audit who contacts service centers to provide the responses.
3. Office of Sponsored Research
The Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) provides pre and post award administration of sponsored projects to the University. OSR reviews proposals, negotiates awards, maintains accounts and records, seeks reimbursement for expenses from sponsors and fulfills sponsor-reporting requirements. OSR also reviews cost transfers over $1,000 to sponsored awards from service centers.
4. Controller's Office
The Controller's Office, FAIR prepares the University's Annual Financial Report, which includes the service centers’ Operating statement. Units within the Controller's Office include: General Accounting, FAIR, A/P, Capital Accounting, Tax, etc.
- assist service centers to process accounting transactions in compliance with University requirements;
- provide assistance with external user transactions i.e. unrelated business income tax issues - UBIT;
- provide guidance on charging F&A costs to associated entities;
- provide guidance on the GAAP regulations;
- will monitor computer programs customized by a service center for billing and pricing;
- monitors that internal revenue and expenses balance and provides revenue/expense policies for the campus;
- assist service centers with the purchase of equipment using debt.
5. School and Department Administrative Offices
These offices are responsible for the operation of their service centers, as are the equivalents of deans or department heads for the administrative service centers. Service center operations must comply with appropriate University payroll, reimbursement, accounting, and personnel policies and practices.
Responsibility for service center operations is normally delegated to the department administrator or service center manager, who monitors operations and break-even position, and takes corrective actions as needed. The department administrator or service center manager review the center's income, expenses, and rates throughout the fiscal year; and see that expenses or rates are adjusted as necessary.
It is recommended that the people responsible for monitoring the service center take at least two classes offered in the campus training program.
- DOR-1101 Understanding Cost Policy - this class will explain how federal government rules and regulations govern the University's cost policy and how to determine which the correct expense code is.
- DOR-1102 Overview of the Research and Regulatory Environment for Sponsored Projects - this class is provided for those who need to understand the regulatory environment under Uniform Guidance (formerly OMB A-21).
Both of these classes are also available as online tutorials as part of the Cardinal Curriculum Level 1.
The department administrators and service center managers must ensure that:
- The service center's budget is reviewed by and coordinated with the department's budget.
- Ensure that service center personnel charges and expenses are correctly allocated.
- The annual budget and rate submissions are prepared and submitted to RAPC on time (between August 1 and September 30th), and as changes in circumstance require a change in budget and/or rate(s). (New fiscal year budgets and rates not submitted by the end of September should be discussed with the RAPC service centers manager in advance.)
- Monthly service center billings are accurate, timely, and adequately documented. The billing rates should be consistently administered to all users of the service, there should not be subsidized rates charged to one set of users i.e. students versus sponsored research accounts.
- The RAPC approved rate schedule is used for all service center billings. Reviews billings for unapproved services and correct application of F&A rates.
- The service center operates at breakeven, and in accordance with its budget (or Long Term Agreement).
- RAPC is notified when a manager's review reveals that the year-end breakeven requirement cannot be met without corrective action.
- Service center records are kept in good order for review and audit.
- All service center equipment, even the subsidized assets, must be identified in Sunflower. Therefore Department Property Associates (DPAs) must be informed by the service center manager of all capital assets used by the center.
- Conducts periodic review of effort of personnel with other tasks performed outside of the service center. Ensure that service center personnel salaries are charged based on actual time spent in service center work.
- The dean or department head, or administrative equivalent is kept informed of service center matters.
- Reviews for unallowable costs in the academic service centers, a periodic review is also made by RAPC.
- If needed, establish and maintain cash sale controls; posts cash on a monthly cycle (this includes credit card sales).
- Ensure that service center’s operational procedures are current.
- Maintain an approved file of external users contracts.
6. University Budget Office
The ITSS and O&M/Utilities Administrative Service Centers and the SoM service centers & VSC enter their FY budgets into the Budget Office’s Tidewater program.
7. Internal Audit
The purpose of the Internal Audit Department is to assist University management and the Stanford Board of Trustees in identifying, avoiding and, where necessary, mitigating risks. Periodic audits have been conducted at various service centers to ensure compliance. In all likelihood service center audits will continue to be conducted in the future.