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Institutional Trust Special Funds

Trust fund legislation was enacted by the 1977 General Assembly and revised in 1998 to include Facilities and Administrative funds (also known as F&A funds or overhead receipts). General Statute 116-36.1 allows the University to establish accounts or trust funds outside State budget codes for certain categories of funds. Departments, organizational units, individuals, or groups may request the establishment of a trust fund or special fund that falls within the definitions and criteria outlined in Understanding Banner Funds and in this Policy. Requests for trust funds that are funded through contracts, grants, and agreements are processed through the Contract and Grants-Post Award Office.

Section 116-36.1(a) of the trust fund legislation states that the "Board of Governors is responsible for the custody and management of the trust funds of The University of North Carolina and of each institution. The board shall adopt uniform policies and procedures applicable to the administration of these funds which shall assure that the receipt and expenditure of such funds is properly authorized and that the funds are appropriately accounted for." The legislation also requires the trust funds to be deposited with the State Treasurer. Section 116-36.1(d) states that trust funds "are subject to the oversight of the State Auditor pursuant to G.S. 147-58 but are not subject to the provisions of the Executive Budget Act except for capital improvement projects which shall be authorized and executed in accordance with G.S. 143-18.1."

Trust Funds Legislation Recap

Trust Fund Types

  • Gifts, Devices, or Bequests
  • Contracts and Grants.
  • Collections to support the extracurricular activities of students
  • Self-Supporting Auxiliary Enterprises
  • Overhead Receipts.

Special Fund Types 

  • Operation of the institutions intercollegiate athletics
  • Agency Funds-Monies held by the institution as fiscal agent for students, faculty, staff and organizations.

Requesting and Maintaining Trust/Special Funds

Each new trust fund must be approved by the Controller. The following conditions must be present to establish an institutional trust fund or special fund:

  • The monies (assets) to be placed in the trust fund must meet the criteria as institutional trust funds or special funds. (See Understanding Banner Funds for criteria.)
  • The monies may be generated in the course of performing departmental research and public service activities that are not State supported. Detailed periodic accounting reports are not required by external organizations or agencies (such as the Federal government).
  • All costs associated with the generation of revenue must be matched with that revenue whether by direct payment of the expense or, if appropriate, by reimbursing another fund that originally incurred the expense.
  • A trust fund should be requested when the anticipated funds qualify under the conditions above.

A fund should be requested when monies are anticipated that qualify under the conditions outlined above. Additionally, trust funds must fit clearly in one of the following categories with respect to sources of receipts.

  • Gifts, devises and bequests

  • Contracts and Grants (Requests for trust funds of this type are processed through the Contracts and Grants Office-Post Award tracts and Grants)

  • Collections to support the extracurricular activities of students

  • Self-Supporting Auxiliary Enterprises - (must complete Sales Activity Questionnaire)

  • Overhead Receipts

  • Intercollegiate Athletics

  • Agency Funds

Sources of significant amounts should not be combined except by type of revenue and purpose of fund. For example, revenue obtained through gifts should be placed in a separate trust fund from revenue generated by contractual services.

Creation of a trust fund which will result in the sale of goods and services must comply with provisions of the Umstead Act. Contact the Controller's Office for additional instructions for this type fund.

Complete the SFA requesting the new fund

  • Retain a copy for departmental reference
  • Submit the original to the University Controller's Office for pre-audit and processing

Each trust fund request (SFA) is examined carefully and must contain the following information about the proposed fund:

  • Description of source of funds and pertinent data or correspondence related to source and purpose
  • Purpose of the fund, how it is to be used, in support of what activity or function
  • Any restrictions on the types of expenditures allowed
  • Any time limits or other information pertinent to the continued existence of the fund
  • Name of person authorized to spend the monies
  • Name of the fund
  • Organization number

After review and approval of the SFA requesting a new fund, University Controller's Office will assign a fund number. The requesting department will receive a notification of the new trust fund number which is to be used as a guide for initiating financial transactions.

Trust funds must at all times maintain a positive cash balance unless prior approval for exception has been obtained from the Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance or his designee.

  • Expenditures from the trust fund must be for the purposes provided for in the original SFA request.
  • Activities recorded in the financial system for the trust fund must be reconciled and reviewed no less than monthly. Documentation of the reconciliation and review should be maintained for audit purposes.
  • Gifts are subject to the Donor’s restrictions and conditions. Expenses must be supported with adequate documentation to ensure compliance.
  • Trust Funds are subject to the same expenditure guidelines as State appropriated funds unless specifically excluded in the University Spending Guidelines.
  • Trust Funds must be self-supporting. Operating costs paid for by other projects must be reimbursed timely.

Submit a revised SFA for any anticipated changes in disbursing authority and/or address, fund name, source of funds, or purpose to the Controller's Office so that a revised fund authority may be processed.

Significant correspondence regarding the trust fund should be copied and forwarded to the Controller's Office to be placed in the official fund folder.

A new trust fund should be requested if significant amounts are received that do not fit the description of an existing trust fund.

If the purpose of the fund no longer exists, the disbursing authority should request that the account be closed. If the conditions of the gift or grant have been fulfilled, unless the grantor has specific instructions, any residual monies, whenever possible, should be used to support a program or purpose of similar nature, or closely related, to the original program or purpose.

The disbursing authority should prepare and submit the Inactive Trust Fund form to the Controller's Office so that the fund may be closed.

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