Service Centers

Service centers are operating units within an institution that provides a service or group of services or product or group of products to users – principally within the institution for a fee.

There are two types of service centers:

  • Specialized service facilities, as defined in Unifrom Guidance, Subpart E, 200.468.
  • All other service centers, which are service centers that do not meet the definition of a specialized service facility.

Specialized Service Facilities: Specialized service facilities (SSFs) provide highly complex or specialized services to a select group of users (rather than the general campus community) and have combined annual direct operating costs and internal service center overhead of $1,000,000 or more, as well as, material charges (over $250,000) to federal programs. Examples may include animal care facilities, wind tunnels, reactors, and mass spectrometers.

Other Service Facilities: "Other services centers" include those of a less specialized nature that do not meet the definition of or the criteria for an SSF. These usually involve State-funded and income fund reimbursable services or RF-administered services and facilities.

Examples of State-funded service centers include motor pool, mail and messenger, computer, stockroom, and central duplicating and printing. Examples of RF-administered services and facilities include technical research equipment and laboratory analysis.

Helpful Information 

Service Center Policy
This document provides information to ensure compliance with U.S. Federal Government requirements for service centers and guidance on how to operate service centers.

Service Center Training Presentation
Background information on service centers, best practices, common mistakes and the impact on F&A proposals.

Service Center Monitoring Process
Overview of procedures performed by Central Office in monitoring service center activity.

Cost Analysis and Rate Setting for Animal Care Facilities
Provided by The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Service Centers: Billing Rate Example
This example shows how to develop a billing rate for a photocopy center using direct operating costs.

Service Centers: The Not So Simple Basics
A presentation from the NCURA Financial Research Administration conference that provides general background and guidance for service center operations.

Specialized Service Center Facilities Best Practices
Guidance on the operations of specialized service facilities and special considerations for animal research facilities.

Central Office Contacts

Chris Wade, Senior Director of Cost Accounting and Procurement
David Martin, Campus Financial Services Manager