Overview and Definitions

Service centers and specialized service facilities are organizational units or activities that provide goods and services primarily to internal University operations and secondarily to external users, and charge the users for these services.

Academic and administrative offices may engage in the direct sale of goods and services to external users only when those goods or services are directly and substantially related to the mission of the University. The University of Maryland, Baltimore differentiates between its service centers and specialized service facilitiesas follows:

  • Specialized Service Facility: Centers whose annual amount of internal billings exceeds $1,000,000
  • Service Center: Centers whose annual amount of internal billings is between $100,000 and $1,000,000

The guidelines included in this manual only apply to service centers and specialized service facilities. This manual does not apply to other revenue-generating or cost-transfer activities. Operations that are established purely to provide clinical services are not service centers and therefore not covered by this manual.

Organizational units or activities whose internal billings are less than $100,000 are not covered by this manual and will not be set up as service center chartstrings. However, these units should:

  • Bill according to actual usage of their services
  • Bill at rates calculated to recover no more than the cost of the goods or services provided
  • Bill all users of their services equally
  • Bill all users of their service after the service is performed 
  • Maintain logs to document these cost allocations (billings).

If these units project that their operations will grow to exceed the $100,000 annual billing threshold, they should submit a service center proposal.

In the following, the term "service center" refers to both specialized service facilities and service centers, unless otherwise noted.