Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Definitions for Functional Classification of Expenditures

Below are abbreviated NACUBO definitions for the functional classifications of expenditures that are available for use in the university’s accounting system.  Please refer to Appendix B of the NACUBO Advisory Report 2010-1 for detailed definitions.


This category includes all activities that are part of an institution’s instructional program.  Included are credit and noncredit courses for academic, vocational, and technical instruction; remedial and tutorial instruction; regular, special, and extension sessions; and community education.  Includes departmental research and sponsored instruction.


This category should include all activities specifically organized and separately budgeted to produce research outcomes, whether commissioned by an agency external to the institution or separately by organizational unit within the institution.

Public Service

This category includes identified activities that are established primarily to provide non-instructional services beneficial to individuals and groups external to the institution. Examples:

  • Community Services
  • Cooperative Extension Services
  • Public Broadcasting Services

Academic Support

This category includes support services for the institution’s primary missions:  instruction, research, and public service.  Examples:

  • Libraries
  • Museums and Galleries
  • Educational Media Services
  • Academic Computing Services
  • Ancillary Support
  • Academic Administration
  • Academic Personnel Development
  • Course and Curriculum Development

Student Services

This category should include admissions and registrar offices and those activities whose primary purpose is to contribute to the student’s emotional and physical well-being and to his or her intellectual, cultural, and social development outside the context of the formal instructional program.  Examples:

  • Student Services Administration
  • Social and Cultural Development
  • Counseling and Career Guidance
  • Financial Aid Administration
  • Student Admissions
  • Student Records
  • Student Health Services

Institutional Support

This category includes (1) central executive-level activities concerned with management and long-range planning of the entire institution, such as the governing board, planning and programming, and legal services; (2) fiscal operations, including the investment office; (3) administrative data processing; (4) employee personnel and records; (5) logistical activities that provide procurement, storerooms, printing, and transportation services to the institution; (6) support services to faculty and staff that are not operated as auxiliary enterprises; and (7) activities concerned with community and alumni relations, including development and fundraising.  Examples:

  • Executive Management
  • Fiscal Operations
  • General Administration and Logistical Services
  • Administrative Computing Services
  • Public Relations/Development

Operation and Maintenance of Plant

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.  This category does not include interest expense on capital-related debt.  This category may be allocated to the other functional categories based on an acceptable allocation methodology such as square footage of buildings.  Examples:

  • Physical Plant Administration
  • Building Maintenance
  • Custodial Services
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Space Management
  • Occupational Health
  • Utilities
  • Landscape and Grounds
  • Major Repairs and Renovation

Scholarships and Fellowships

The scholarships and fellowships category includes expenses for scholarships and fellowships – from restricted or unrestricted funds – in the form of grants to students, resulting from selection by the institution or from an entitlement program.  The category also includes trainee stipends, prizes, and awards for enrolled students.  Recipient of grants are not required to perform service to the institution as consideration for the grant; nor are they expected to repay the amount of the grant to the funding source.  Aid to students in the form of tuition or fee remissions also should be included in this category.  Fellowships include grants-in-aid and trainee stipends to graduate students.  It does not include funds for which services to the institution must be rendered, such as payments for teaching.

Auxiliary Enterprises

An auxiliary enterprise is an entity that exists to furnish goods or services to students, faculty, or staff, and that charges a fee directly related to, although not necessarily equal to, the costs of the goods or services.  This also includes Division I Intercollegiate Athletics.