The CAUBO Reports consist of data covering seven funds:
- General Operating
- Special Purpose and Trust
- Sponsored Research – Entities Consolidated
- Sponsored Research – Entities Not Consolidated
The General Operating Fund covers most of the teaching and central support services, and is broken down into eight functional areas:
- Instruction & Non-Sponsored Research
- Non-Credit Instruction
- Computing & Communications
- Administration & Academic Support*
- External Relations*
- Student Services
- Physical Plant
* The area now named Administration & Academic Support has undergone some changes in the CAUBO reports. In the early years of the study period it was named “Administration & General”, but in 2003-04 some areas (“fundraising, development, alumni, public relations and public information or external communications”) were removed from its scope and placed under a new heading of “External Relations”. After surviving that split, the Administration & General title was recently changed to the better sounding but content-unchanged Administration & Academic Support.
In order to facilitate multi-year comparisons on this site, the Administration & Academic Support and External Relations areas have been combined as Central Administration.
Within each fund and functional area there is a common set of income and expense lines.
In addition to the detailed Income and Expenditure data, the CAUBO Reports include detailed summaries of Net Changes in Assets, from the Financial Statement.
Explanations and definitions covering all the funds, functional areas and account lines can be found in CAUBO’s Guidelines document HERE).
Focus Primarily on the General Operating Fund
The analysis on UniversityFinances.ca focuses primarily on the key General Operating Fund. In its 2008 report “Trends in Higher Education”, Universities Canada (then AUCC – the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada) described the General Operating fund as follows:
- The general operating fund is an unrestricted fund used to finance the primary activities of teaching and research other than sponsored research. Most of the revenues in this fund are derived from provincial operating grants and tuition fees. It is used to pay for faculty and staff salaries and student support services as well as assist faculty in their work and cover administrative costs.
While it is certainly the most important fund for the issues addressed on this site, it is necessary to point out that another, much smaller, fund complements it – the Special Purpose and Trust (SP&T) Fund. The same report describes the SP&T Fund – and its relationship with General Operating – as follows:
- The special purpose and trust fund consists of revenues that have a purpose designated by either a government department or private sector donors. Together, the general operating fund and special purpose and trust fund provide the revenues to fund teaching, academic and financial support services for students, unsponsored research, and community activities. They also cover the costs associated with sponsored research that are not directly funded from other sources.
In an ideal situation the General Operating and SP&T Funds would be analyzed together, but that’s not practical because expenditures from the SP&T Fund are not broken down into the sub-functions that are central to the analysis of General Operating. However, in a small minority of topic areas, such as Scholarship & Bursary expenditures, data from the SP&T Fund may be introduced.
The most important consideration is that expenditures from the General Operating Fund are made at the discretion of the universities, while those from the SP&T fund are generally prescribed by other parties. This is key, because this site discusses patterns of expenditure that result from university decision-making.
Set out below are the descriptions covering areas most frequently referenced on this site. Italicized sections denote direct quotes from the CAUBO Guidelines. Definitions not included in this summary can be found in the latest Guidelines HERE).
KEY CAUBO DEFINITIONS
The term Central Administration (or Central Admin) is used in this analysis to cover the costs of two functions that originally formed part of a single function called Administration and General. Those two areas are now known as Administration & Academic Support and External Relations. Here’s how CAUBO defines them:
Administration and academic support
The Administration and academic support function in the general operating fund covers expenditures in the two broad areas of academic support and other support services. Other support services include administration. These areas are combined and reported in Table 4 under Administration and academic support.
The academic support area of the Administration and academic support function includes all activities provided by an institution in direct support of Instruction and non-sponsored research. This area includes the following types of activities:
- the positions of vice-president academic and research (or their equivalents) and their offices
- faculty and instructional support services
- research administration (including grants and contracts administration)
- registrar’s and graduate students office (including calendars, admissions, student records and related reporting)
- convocation and ceremonies
- co-op program administration
- central animal services
- central shops for instruction and research (machine shop, glass blowing, electronics shop)
- distance education support
- instructional technology and audio visual services
- academic class scheduling
The administration area of the Administration and academic support function includes the following activities:
- administration, planning and information costs and activities associated with the positions of president and vice-president (or their equivalents) and their offices, except for the positions of vice-president academic and research (or their equivalents) and their offices, which are included in the academic support area. Administrative costs for activities such as fundraising, development, alumni and external communications are included in the external relations area.
- finance, including investment management,
- internal audit and accounting
- human resources (personnel)
- institutional research
- board and senate secretariat
- printing and duplicating services
Specific types of expenditures in the administration area include the following:
- professional fees including legal, audit, human resource and other consulting fees that are not specifically attributable to another function.
- Computer consulting fees are included if the computing facilities are decentralized.
- general university memberships including AUCC and CAUBO
- liability and E & O insurance (fire, boiler and pressure vessel, and property insurance are reported under the Physical plant function).
The appropriate reporting for computing, communications, purchasing, receiving and stores will depend upon whether the institution operates with centralized or decentralized facilities. If the institution has centralized facilities for computing and communications, the activities should be reported under the Computing and communications function. If the institution has centralized facilities for purchasing, receiving and stores, the activities should be included in the administration area of the Administration and academic support function.
If any of computing, communications, purchasing, receiving or stores is decentralized, then these activities should be included under the related functions and funds, as appropriate.
The external relations area includes all activities provided by an institution in support of ongoing external relations. These activities include fundraising, development, alumni, public relations and public information or external communications. The related administrative costs from the office of the vice-president(s), or equivalent, responsible for one or more of these activities should be included in this area.
Salaries and Wages
Salaries and wages are categorized as academic salaries (lines 1 and 2) and other salaries and wages (line 3). Academic salaries are reported by academic ranks (line 1) and by other instruction and research (line 2).
The following types of payments are to be reported as salary and wage expenditures:
- compensation payments, such as payments for salary continuance during sick leave or maternity leave,
- severance payments as a result of terminations in the normal course of business, and
- vacation pay (see Section II.E.7).
Certain lump sum payments for current and future fiscal periods to employees who have terminated employment with the institution are reported on an accrual basis as lump sum payments (line 23).
With the exception of vacation pay, the amounts to be reported as salaries and wages in the annual return are to be calculated following the same practices as those used by the institution for its audited financial statements.
Academic salaries are reported by academic ranks and by other instruction and research.
Line 1 Academic ranks
- This line includes payments to both full and part time staff members who hold an academic rank at the reporting institution and are engaged in instruction and research activities.
- The academic ranks include deans, professors, associate professors, assistant professors and lecturers.
- Academic salaries also include payments to staff members in the academic ranks for various types of leave such as administrative, academic or sabbatical.
Line 2 Other instruction and research
- This line includes payments to both full and part time staff and non-staff members without academic rank at the reporting institution, but who are engaged in instruction and research activities.
- The staff and non-staff members include instructors, tutors, markers, laboratory demonstrators, teaching assistants, research assistants, invigilators, clinical assistants, postdoctoral fellows, and others.
- Other instruction and research salaries also include payments made to graduate and undergraduate students undertaking instruction and research activities.
Line 3 Other salaries and wages
- This line includes salaries and wages not reported on lines 1 and 2. Specifically, other salaries and wages includes payments to all full and part time non-instructional (support) staff including among others, technicians, teaching and research laboratory technicians, clerical and secretarial, professional and managerial, janitorial, trades and maintenance.
- Other salaries and wages also includes payments to individuals who may hold an academic rank, or equivalent thereto, but are engaged in activities other than instruction and research. Examples of such individuals include the president, vice-presidents, certain professional librarians and computing center personnel.
Line 4 Benefits
- Pension costs and future benefits, including benefits arising as a result of early retirement, are to be repor ted on the cash basis (see Section II.E.7). Otherwise, the amounts to be reported as benefits in the annual return are to be calculated following the same practices as those used by the institution for its audited financial statements.
- Benefits include the cost of an institution’s contributions (with respect to salaries) for pensions (including payments for actuarial deficiencies and past service liability), group life insurance, salary continuance insurance, dental plans, workers’ compensation, health taxes, tuition remission, employment insurance and other costs of an employee benefit programs.
- Benefits also include the cost of benefits paid during early retirement periods, as well as the cost of post retirement benefits.
- Whenever an institution pays a premium or sets aside a negotiated amount for an employee, these amounts should be included as Benefits
- Memberships or other perquisites of employment are not reported as Benefits
(ii) Tuition and other fees
The types of revenue (Lines 12 to 14) include credit course tuition, non-credit tuition and other fees.
Line 12 Credit course tuition
- Credit courses are courses of instruction or programmed learning that are offered within a degree program; or, that may be granted status equivalent to a credit course within a degree program.
- Credit courses are offered during the fall and winter sessions of a semester type operation, all three terms of a trimester operation and the year round operation of graduate schools and include intersession, spring session and summer session credit courses and credit extension.
- Credit course tuition includes tuition and other mandatory fees related to the instruction of the courses, such as computer and laboratory fees.
- Credit course tuition also includes fees for “makeup” or special courses that are related to the credit offerings of the institution, and fees for auditing in credit courses.
- Credit course tuition should be reported on this line whether the cost of the credit course is subsidized or fully recoverable.
Line 13 Non-credit tuition
- Non-credit programs are courses of instruction or programmed learning that are not credit courses (see line 12).
- Non-credit tuition includes fees for lectures, courses and similar activities that are not recognized by the institution for the purpose of granting credit. Non-credit programs are usually offered through continuing education units.
- Government funds to pay tuition for participants in a non-credit program should be reported as non-credit tuition, rather than as government grants and contracts.
Line 14 Other fees
- Other fees include all compulsory and non-compulsory fees charged to students such as health services, athletics, library, applications, late registrations, lockers and transcripts. These fees would be reported under the General operating fund.
- Other fees exclude fees collected by the institution acting in an agency capacity. An example would be student fees collected on behalf of student controlled and administered activities such as student councils or federations.
General Operating Functions
The functions in the General operating fund are as follows:
(i) Instruction and non-sponsored research
The Instruction and non-sponsored research function in the General operating fund includes all direct costs of faculties, academic departments (including salaries of academic deans and their offices), graduate school, summer school, credit extension, and other academic functions and expenditures attributable to this function.
(ii) Non-credit instruction
The Non-credit instruction function in the General operating fund includes lectures, courses and similar activities that are not recognized by the institution for the purpose of granting credit. Noncredit programs are usually offered through continuing education units. Normally where there is non-credit tuition income reported on line 13 under the General operating fund in Table 1, the corresponding expenditures (not necessarily equal to the income) will be reported under this function.
The Library function in the General operating fund includes the institution’s Archives and other activities related to the institution’s main, branch and faculty or departmental libraries. The expenditures include the salary and wage costs of providing the library services as well as the cost of books and periodicals.
(iv) Computing and communications
The Computing and communications function in the General operating fund includes only the activities of centralized computing and communication facilities. A centralized computing facility refers to computer related activities and resources that have been organized under the management of a central administration. The computing facility is usually seen as an institutional resource that is available on an institutionwide basis and is the most effective way of providing certain services supportive of the institution’s research and administrative activities. Such a facility usually results from factors including economies of scale, a large number of users who require a wide variety of services, and a high degree of technical expertise required in computer operations. This function does not include the activities of local or decentralized stand-alone computer installations that are under the management of, and were established for the main purpose of providing services to, a single division or department. The expenditures for decentralized computing facilities are to be included under the related functions and funds, as appropriate.
A centralized communications facility includes the costs of telephone equipment rental, service, acquisition and switchboard, including related personnel and other costs. The expenditures for decentralized communications facilities are to be included in the related functions and funds, as appropriate.
If an institution employs a charge-out system for central computing time or communications equipment usage, expenditures should be combined and reported under this function. Any sales to, or recoveries from, other functional areas or funds, or outside users, are considered to be either an internal or external cost recovery and are to be reported according to the uniform reporting practice for internal and external cost recoveries (see Section II.E.8).
(v) Administration and academic support – See “Central Administration” above
(vi) Student Services
The Student services function in the General operating fund includes the cost of services (other than direct teaching, research and administrative services) provided to students by the institution. Generally, these services will include:
- the dean of students and the dean’s office
- counseling and chaplaincy services
- career guidance and placement services
- intramural and intercollegiate athletics (not physical education)
- student health services
- student accommodation services (not residences)
- student transportation services
- student financial aid administration
- bursaries, scholarships and prizes
- grants to student organizations, including the student union
- student programs, including music, drama and student center
- student day care center
- any other student services, social or cultural activities funded by the institution
These services may be provided from General operating fund income in whole, or in part by a specific fee included in the student incidental fee structure. Where an institution acts in an agency capacity, however, and collects student fees on behalf of student controlled and administered activities such as student councils or federations, the fees collected by the institution are to be excluded from income of the institution. The amount turned over to the benefit of the student council or federation is to be excluded from expenditures of the institution.
(vii) Physical plant
The Physical plant function in the General operating fund includes expenditures related to the physical facilities of the institution. The expenditures include the physical plant office, space planning, maintenance of buildings and grounds, custodial services, utilities, vehicle operations, security and traffic, repairs and furnishings, renovations and alterations, mail delivery services, long-term space and property rental, and municipal taxes (including those for which compensatory grants are received from government).
Physical plant also includes fire, boiler and pressure vessel, and property insurance. All other insurance is reported in the administration area of the Administration and academic support function.
(viii) External relations– See “Central Administration” above