A-to-Z Index

Budget Management-Glossary of Budget Terms



Academic Support


Fiscal Year




Fixed Assets


Administrative Unit


Full-time Equivalent (FTE)








Fund Accounting




General Fund (GF)


Appropriation Act


Indirect Cost


Auxiliary Enterprise




Base Budget


Institutional Support




Maximum Employment Level (MEL)




Non-general Funds (NGF)


Budget Line Item


Operating Budget


Budget Revision


Operating Expense


Capital Project Budget




Capital Outlays


Public Service


Capital Projects Fund




Chart of Accounts




Control Account


Signature Authority




Sponsored Programs


Debt Service


Student Financial Assistance


Detail Account


Student Services


Educational and General Programs (E&G)


Surplus Property




Unrelated Business Income Tax


Financial Procedures Manual



Academic Support - Includes all funds expended (program 104) for activities carried out primarily to provide support services that are an integral part of the operations of one of the institution's three primary programs: instruction, research, and public service.

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Account- A  six-digit numeric reference that identifies revenues and expenses and indicates how these funds are being spent or earned.

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Administrative Unit - A group of organizations which function as an administrative unit (for example, Facilities Management, Finance, Resource Management, Dinning Services, College of Arts and Letters).

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Allotment - Distribution of a biennial appropriation to a specific month and fiscal year. The allotment provides agencies with the authority to spend within an appropriation.

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Amendment - Any change to a previously enacted Appropriation Act.  Amendments can be initiated by the Governor or the General Assembly, and must be approved by the General Assembly.

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Appropriation - An authorization by the legislature to make expenditures or enter into an obligation for specific purposes.  A general fund appropriation is backed with tax payer dollars.  A non-general fund appropriation is dependent on institutional funds to support the expense.

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Appropriation Act -A statute, under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, that generally provides authority for agencies to incur obligations for the acquisition of goods, services, or facilities and to make payments out of the Treasury for purposes specified in the act. The authorization usually expires at the end of a specified term, most often one year.

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Auxiliary Enterprise - An entity (program 809) that exists to furnish goods or services to students, faculty, or staff in support of the traditional missions of instruction, research, and public service.  These enterprises are financially self-supporting and do not receive tuition revenue or a General Fund appropriation.  Auxiliary enterprises are supported by charging for the services provided.  Revenue is generated through cash sales and student fees. 

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Base Budget - In an incremental budget environment, there is usually a consistent funding level from year to year for various programs.  The base budget is the portion of the budget that is identified to fund ongoing operating costs, rather than short-term projects.  While base budgets are dependent on resource availability, as are all budgets, the intent of the base budget is an ongoing allocation.

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Biennium - A two-year period used by the state for financial and budget purposes.  It includes two fiscal years, running from July 1 in an even-numbered year to June 30 of the next even-numbered year.  For example, the 2004-2006 biennium runs from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2006. 

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Budget - A spending plan that balances revenues and expenditures over a fixed time period-usually one year.

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Budget Line Item - A specific category of funds in the budget that has been established to provide funds for an activity being performed, i.e., personnel, telephone, printing, etc.

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Budget Revision - A process by which a change in the established budget is made - a Budget Revision Form may be completed to transfer funds from one org to another org in the same division/department with appropriate approval.  Budget Revisions may also be used to create a budget entry for deposited/recovered funds.  

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Capital Project Budget - The Commonwealth has two types of budgets, an operating budget and a capital budget.  The capital project budget describes large, non-recurring expenditures of funds to purchase, construct, or renovate fixed assets such as land, buildings, and other physical plants, or equipment- costing more than $250,000 to construct or $500,000 to improve.

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Capital Outlays - Expenditures to acquire, significantly expand, repair, maintain, or renovate fixed assets. 

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Capital Projects Fund - A fund created to account for the budget and actual expenses and revenues associated with a particular capital project.

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Chart of Accounts - A chart of accounts facilitates recording transactions appropriately.

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Control Account - The expenditure levels within each organization used by the Financial Information System to verify the availability of funding before transactions are processed into the system.Departmental Codes, Expenditure Codes, Revenue Codes.

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Debt- All long-term or short-term credit obligations.

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Debt Service - The amount of the periodic principal and interest payment owed on borrowed money.

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Detail Account - Budgets assigned by the organization to specific accounts such as student wages, office supplies, equipment leases, etc.

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Educational and General Programs (E&G) - State program code describing all operations related to the institution's educational objectives.  All activities associated with instruction, research, public service, academic support, student services, institutional support, and operations and maintenance of plant.

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Encumbrance - Commitments incurred whereby the goods and services have not yet been received. These commitments are expressed by purchase orders, contracts, future salary, etc. It ceases to be an encumbrance when the commitment is paid or otherwise canceled.

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Financial Procedures Manual - The Financial Procedures Manual contains JMU specific procedures and is maintained by the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Finance. 

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Fiscal Year - A fiscal year is a 12-month accounting period. The fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example fiscal year 2004 is the year beginning July 1, 2003, and ending June 30, 2004.

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Fixed Assets - Things owned by the university that have considerable value and are intended to last a long time (e.g., land, buildings, certain furniture, and other equipment).

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Full-time Equivalent (FTE) - A method of calculating employment and enrollment to adjust for part-time or part-year participation.  For classified personnel, one FTE equals 2,080 hours per year.  Part-time and part-year employees are expressed as a proportion of a full FTE based on the number of hours.  For Graduate Assistants working 20 hours per week, the FTE equivalent is 0.25.

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Fund - A fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources together with all related liabilities, residual equities or balances, and changes therein that are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions, or limitations.

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Fund Accounting - An accounting system organized on the basis of funds, each of which is considered a separate accounting entity.  The operations of each fund are accounted for with a separate set of self-balancing accounts that comprise its assets, liabilities, fund equity, revenues, and expenditures, or expenses, as appropriate.

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General Fund (GF) - The General Fund is the predominant fund for financing state government programs.  The primary sources of revenue for the General Fund are the personal income tax, sales tax, and corporation taxes. The General Fund is a major funding source for higher education.

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Indirect Cost - Sponsored programs and other contracted activities, have an associated cost for facilities and administration.  The university recovers indirect costs related to overhead from the sponsoring agency or organization. 

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Instruction - State program classification (101) that includes all funds expended for activities that are part of the institution's instructional program (e.g., courses and experiences for degree-seeking students). 

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Institutional Support - State program classification (106) that includes support for the day-to-day operations of the university.  Examples include: Executive Management, Fiscal Operations, General Administrative Services, Logistical Services, and Public Relations and Development.

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Maximum Employment Level (MEL) - The maximum number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees that a state agency is authorized to employ.  An agency's total number of employees may not exceed the MEL unless specifically permitted by language in the Appropriation Act.

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Non-general Funds (NGF) - All sources of revenue other than the General Fund.  For example: federal appropriations, tuition and fees, gifts, grants and contracts.

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Operating Budget - The Commonwealth has two types of budgets, an operating budget and a capital budget.  The annual operating budget guides the University's everyday activities.  This document shows spending related to ongoing operations of the programs, services, and activities of state agencies.

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Operating Expense - Payments for general expenses, contractual services, printing, communication, travel, data processing, equipment, and other expenses occurring in the regular operations of a program. Departmental Codes, Expenditure Codes, Revenue Codes.

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Program - Virginia's budget is based on a program structure (see box below), a mechanism for conveniently and uniformly identifying and organizing the state's activities and services.  Under this structure, services that the state provides are classified as items in programs and subprograms.  A program is a distinct organization of resources by a state agency directed toward a specific objective.


Virginia's Higher Education Program Structure

  101. Instruction

  102. Research

  103. Public Service

  104. Academic Support

  105. Student Services

  106. Institutional Support

  107. Operations & Maintenance of Plant

  108. Student Financial Assistance

  110. Financial Assistance for E&G Programs

  809. Auxiliary Enterprises

  998. Capital Outlay

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Public Service - State program classification (103) that includes activities established primarily to provide non-instructional services beneficial to individuals and groups external to the institution.  Such activities could include seminars, projects, and various organizational entities to provide services to particular sectors of the community.

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Research - State program classification (102) that includes all funds expended for activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes and commissioned by an agency either external to the institution or separately budgeted by an organizational unit within the institution.

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Revenue - Any addition to cash or other current assets that does not increase any liability or reserve and does not represent the recovery or reimbursement of an expenditure. Revenues are not available for current expenditure until appropriated or allocated.

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Signature Authority - The Signature Authority is a listing of individuals on record with the University who has authority to initiate fiscal transactions for a specific organization or department.

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Sponsored Programs - Activities of the university that are financed through external funds that support various instructional, research, and public service functions of the institution. 

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Student Financial Assistance - State program code (110) to classify monies given in the form of outright grants and trainee stipends to individuals enrolled in official courses, either for credit or not.

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Student Services  - A state program code (105) including expenses for activities whose primary purpose is to contribute to students' emotional and physical well-being and to their intellectual, cultural, and social development outside the context of formal instruction.

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Surplus Property - University property that is excess to the needs of a department is considered surplus property.  Disposal of surplus items is regulated by the Commonwealth and University Policy.

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Unrelated Business Income Tax -This tax is assessed on the net profit of tax-exempt organizations for activities outside the mission.

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