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Recharge Center Policy

Background

Recharge Centers are Departmental Operations that provide goods or services to internal users and recover their operating costs through a user fee. Federal regulations require that:

  1. Recipients of Federal funds are not to recover more than the aggregate cost; and
  2. They are not to discriminate in the price of services charged to government users and to nongovernment users.

NYU Approach

Although recharge centers may vary in size, complexity, and services provided by recharge centers, they are required to follow common administrative practices.

Criteria for a Recharge Center

Recharge centers at New York University (NYU) must meet the following:

  • Billing rates or fees must be designed to recover no more than the costs of the goods or services being provided.
  • Costs must be consistently applied to all users and allocations based on actual use.
  • The departments that recharge costs must develop cost data supporting the unit costs charged
  • Recharge to a sponsored project or other funding source may be applied only when there is a direct relationship to the project being charged.
  • Only costs that are reasonable, allowable, allocable and consistently treated should be charged to a recharge center project and included in the rate calculation.

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Annual Financial Review

OMB Uniform Guidance requires recharge centers to adjust rates at least on a biennial basis, where by the University requires an annual cost analysis and review of the rates in relation to changing costs and volume to determine whether an upward or downward adjustment of rates is necessary. Each year, recharge center should submit a budget and rate schedule by May 1 for the following fiscal year for review and approval by Assistant Controller for Research.

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Internal Controls

  • Billing: All charges must be documented and include the nature and components of the charge. The support for the charges should fully substantiate the cost.
  • Equipment Inventory: Equipment depreciation can only be taken on items of equipment purchased from unrestricted funds and must exclude any equipment purchased with federal funds. Equipment purchased for a recharge center must be capitalized based on purchase documents processed by the Asset Management Office.
  • Supplies Inventory:  Unused inventories maintained for resale will need to be accounted for as assets of the University. A recharge center maintaining inventories for these purposes may not treat unused inventory costs as a current operating expense in computing billing rates. A physical count of inventory must be taken at least annually and reported to the Assistant Controller for Research by September 15.
  • Space Survey:  Space occupied by recharge centers should be identified and designated as such.

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Documentation for Subsidized Recharge Centers

The University may choose to subsidize the operation of a recharge center. In such circumstances, all costs attributed to the recharge center, and the sources of funds to undertake the operations of the recharge center’s activity(ies) (a recharge center may have one or many activities), need to be clearly identified and factored into the rates for each activity. The detail costs of subsidies need to be reported to the Assistant Controller for Research at the time of Annual Financial Review.

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Record Retention

All recharge operations must maintain documentation to support expenditures, billings and cost transfers.  Records should be kept for three years.

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Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBIT)

In limited situations, the University may generate unrelated business income tax (UBIT) while operating a recharge center.  This is generated when the University engages in activities unrelated to its mission.

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Deviations

Deviations from the Recharge Center policy may be necessary under special circumstances.  Any deviation from this policy should be reviewed and approved by the Assistant Controller for Research

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Establishing Recharge Centers

Departments should submit a request for establishing a recharge center following the criteria identified in the Recharge Center Policy, to the Assistant Controller for Research.

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Responsibilities

  • The Dean (or equivalent for central recharge center) will fully review and approve the establishment of each new recharge center.
  • The recharge center manager is responsible for monitoring the recharge activity in the general ledger.
  • SPA approves new recharge centers, assists recharge center managers with policy and procedures and performs an annual review.

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