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What is your Function?

WVU…What’s your Function?

Categorizing Instruction, Research and Service…

The three digit function code that is part of an accounting string in WVU’s financial system is often overlooked but is actually very important.

11.159099999.11100037.5012011. 101.99999999

Function codes are used to classify the University’s expenditures in multiple ways.  

These codes are used in the preparation of the University’s Financial Statements to show how much is spent on the different types of activities at the University such as:Instruction, Research, Service, etc.  The correct coding of function improves the comparability of data among institutions of higher education and provides a mechanism to perform calculations such as the cost of instruction per student.  In addition, function plays a large part in the calculation of the University’s facilities and administrative rates that are approved by the federal government and charged to sponsored awards.

The main categories of Function Codes are as follows:


Function Codes 101 – 109


Expenditures for all teaching and training activities that are part of an institution’s instruction program.  This includes expenditures for Departmental Research (research that is not separately budgeted and accounted for and does not meet the definition of Organized Research) and Department Administration.



Function codes 151 - 152

Expenditures for activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes.

Public Service

Function codes 201 - 204

Expenditures for activities that are non-instructional and have a direct benefit to the general public.  These activities include community service programs and cooperative extension services.

Academic Support

Function codes 251 - 260

Expenditures for activities that provide support to the institution’s primary missions – instruction, research and public service.  Examples include dean’s offices, formal libraries and academic computing support.

Student Services

Function codes 301 - 307

Expenditures for activities whose primary purpose is to contribute to the student’s emotional and physical well-being and to their intellectual, cultural, and social development outside of the context of the formal instruction program.  Examples include Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, and Student Health Services.

Operations & Maintenance

Function codes 351 - 356

Expenditures for activities by a central service organization for the administration, supervision, operation, maintenance, preservation, and protection of the institution’s physical plant. 

Institutional Support

Function codes 401 - 411

Includes expenses incurred by general and administrative offices that serve or benefit the entire University.  Examples include Financial Services, Human Resources, and Purchasing.

Scholarships & Fellowships

Function code 451

Expenditures for scholarships and fellowships in the form of outright grants to students selected by the institution and financed from current funds, restricted or unrestricted.


Function codes 501 - 509

Includes expenditures for self-supporting, necessary business functions that contribute to and relate directly to the University’s missions, goals and objectives.  Examples include Athletics and Housing and Residence Life.

Three Common Function Coding Errors


Overusing the Function Codes for Organized Research The most common function coding error involves incorrectly coding an expense as Organized Research (Function codes 151 and 152).  If an expense does not meet the requirements outlined below for Organized Research, it should be coded as Departmental Research (Function Code 107).  

There are two types of Organized Research:
  • Organized Research at Institutes and Research Centers (function code 151) Expenditures for research activities that are part of a formal research organization created to manage a number of research efforts. Examples include: the Agricultural Experiment Stations; the National Research Center for Coal and Energy; and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center; etc.
  • Organized Research at an Individual Project level (function code 152)            Expenditures for research and development activities that are not managed within institutes and research centers.  Research activities are funded by both external sponsors (Sponsored Research) and by West Virginia University/West Virginia University Research Corporation (University Research). 

Sponsored Research - all research and development activities that are sponsored by Federal and Non-Federal agencies.

University Research - research and development activities that are supported by either of the following:

    1. Cost share expenditures that support sponsored agreements classified as Organized Research, or
    2. Funding that is derived from West Virginia University or West Virginia University Research Corporation through a competitive application and award process, and where the research activity has at least two or more of the characteristics of a sponsored agreement. These characteristics include:
  • A defined scope of work;
  • A line item budget detailing expenditures by activity, function, and project period;
  • A specific commitment regarding deliverables and the level of personnel effort;
  • Utilization and assignment of space;
  • and/or a formal report or response summarizing results or conclusions.


Using the Scholarship and Fellowship Function (code 451) with Line Items Other Than 5010401 (Gen Exp - Awards, Educational Scholarships, Loans, Tuition & Fees Students Only)
Non-central units should only use the function code for Scholarships and Fellowships (451) with the line item 5010401.  If another line item is being used, the function code for Scholarships and Fellowships should not be used.


Non-Central Units Should Never Use the Function Codes 998, 999, or 551 with expenditure line items (line items 5000000 – 5999999).

If you have any questions about the proper use of function codes, please contact: