Essentials of College and University Accounting
During this online course, you will learn the basic principles and practices involved in accounting and reporting for the financial activities of a college or university. This course is aimed at a mixed audience of public and independent college and university staff. There are more similarities than differences between the two types of institutions when it comes to accounting and reporting, but there are some major differences.
NOTE: The current iteration of the Essentials of College and University Accounting course is currently undergoing its regular review cycle to check for content accuracy and timeliness. References and best practices referenced within may be outdated due to regular FASB/GASB compliance updates.
After completing this course, you will be able to—
- Compare accounting concepts of institutions to those in the commercial sector
- Understand fund accounting and the activity groups
- Describe the financial statements and their relationship to institutional accounting
With accompanying workbooks, this course includes eight modules.
- Module 1: Introduction. The course begins by examining the underlying theory and financial principles involved in accounting and reporting for the financial activities of a college or university.
- Module 2: Current Operations. This module looks at the activities that form the core of the institution’s mission: instruction, research, and public service.
- Module 3: Student Financial Aid and Lending Activities. This module addresses accounting and reporting for student financial aid, including loans, and other lending activities.
- Module 4: Endowment and Similar Activities. In this module, we will go into the realm of institutional investments, gifts, endowments, and similar vehicles invested by the institution to generate a return that can be used as a source of perpetual revenue over the long term.
- Module 5: Capital Activities. This module addresses accounting and reporting for the Plant Fund, which houses the transactions for new construction, renovations, and purchases that meet the criteria for a capital asset. We also discuss depreciation issues.
- Module 6: FASB Financial Statements. We will cover the financial statements of private institutions and go through the financial statement display.
- Module 7: GASB Financial Statements. We will cover the financial statements of public institutions and go through the financial statement display.
- Module 8: FASB/GASB Differences Financial Statements. Finally, we spend some time comparing the accounting and reporting differences between public and independent institutions.
NACUBO thanks Sue Menditto, director, accounting policy, NACUBO, and Karen Craig, project specialist, NACUBO, for their work on the development of this course.
In addition, NACUBO extends its sincere appreciation to the review committee for their time, dedication and thoughtfulness in developing this comprehensive tool for the higher education community:
- Dale Larson, vice president business and finance and chief financial officer, Dallas Theological Seminary
- Jeffrey West, associate vice president, financial and business services, University of Utah
- Ken Wilson, director, Case Western University
Speakers titles are listed as they were at the time of the recordings and may have since changed.