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Service Centers and Recharge Centers

Effective December 26th, 2014, OMB Circulars A-21, A-110 and A-133 will be replaced by regulations under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (also known as the Uniform Guidance). Please refer to the University’s Uniform Guidance website http://spa.columbia.edu/uniform-guidance for further details that may supersede information outlined in this policy. Revised policies will be posted once they are available.


Effective Date: Formalized January 1, 2008

Latest Revision: February, 2013

Executive Summary

In carrying out its missions, the University, through its various schools, departments and central units, has created a number of operational units whose primary purpose is to provide one or more services to University users, and, to a limited extent, to outside users as well. The services that are provided range from large and highly specialized facilities (referred to in OMB Circular A-21 as a Specialized Service Facilities) ( a "Service Center") to operational units that provide departmental support functions ( a "Recharge Center"). These Centers charge out the cost of the goods and/or services that they provide directly to the users, including users supported by sponsored projects.

Consistent with OMB Circular A-21, this Policy sets forth specific requirements that these Centers must follow in calculating and charging out the unit costs associated with the goods and/or services provided, and for adjusting as necessary their billing rates on a periodic basis to insure that the costs recovered do not exceed the actual cost of the goods and/or services over a long-term period.

To see the full text of this policy, please use the link on right.

“The Service Center Procedure Manual” is currently under review. For more information about service center administrative procedure, please contact Shabaki Lambert at sl3139@columbia.edu.