A gift/contribution is an unconditional transfer of cash or other assets to the university in a voluntary, nonreciprocal transfer by another entity. Several components of this definition merit further definition:
Funding from an external entity, such as a governmental agency, corporation or private foundation, is recorded as grant and contract revenue (sometimes referred to as “sponsored” revenue) when it is for an activity with a defined budget, period of performance, and scope of work undertaken by the university, and with the expectation of an outcome that directly benefits the resource provider. The agreement with the external entity may take the form of a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement, and is generally in direct support of the university’s mission.
Cornell receives appropriations from both the federal government and New York State. Typically, appropriations are awarded based on legislation, and not through an application process, though special reporting may be required to maintain the appropriation. The government appropriations revenue source does not include government grants and contracts (see the Grant and Contract Revenue: Grants, Contracts, and Similar Agreements).
The tuition and mandatory fees category includes all tuition and fees (net of refunds, bad debt estimates, and any discounts recognized) assessed for educational purposes. Tuition and fees that are levied for academic terms that fall entirely within one fiscal year are recognized as revenue in that fiscal year. Take care to ensure that prepaid tuition is deferred and that unpaid tuition is accrued at the end of the fiscal year.
Unknown variances typically are discovered while reconciling asset (other than accounts receivable) or liability object codes. Typically variances are errors that may have accumulated over several years or the object code has not been reconciled. Making corrections may have material impacts to the university's financial statements and could be an indication that the process needs to be revised. Please consult with Accounting for guidance in establishing a new procedures.