Accounting & Financial Reporting

Understanding the A-21 Code

Introduction: What is the A-21 Code?

UC Davis uses a coding system, which the Costing Policy & Analysis Office in Accounting & Financial Services (A&FS) maintains in the Kuali Financial System Account document, to associate each expenditure Account with the appropriate Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Rate Proposal Category.

This system employs the use of Account A-21 Codes, which are based on definitions and information published in the US Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Circular A-21. Because of the significant importance of the F&A rate to UCD, it is important to align the Accounts with the correct A-21 code based on the use of the Account.

OMB Circular A-21 outlines the Cost Principles for Educational Institutions. It was developed by the Federal Government for the main purpose of establishing those principles for determining costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements with educational institutions.

If you have any questions please contact the Costing Policy & Analysis Office at or (530) 752-1886


How and When is the A-21 Code Entered?

The A-21 code is entered on the Account document in KFS, in the Account Maintenance section. The A-21 code will be reviewed by the Costing Policy & Analysis Office.

All Expenditure Accounts will require an A-21 code for the purpose of calculating the F&A rate proposal. If an A-21 code is not entered into the Account document when an Account is created, the Costing Policy & Analysis Office may contact the Account manager to identify the correct A-21 code associated with the activities supported by the Account.


How to Determine Which A-21 Code To Use?

The UCD Account A-21 coding system designates specific A-21 Codes for Sponsored Accounts and Non-Sponsored Accounts and if the activities supported by the Account occur On or Off Campus.

Sponsored A-21 Codes, the Account’s Sub Fund Group Code must be included in one of the following Sub Fund Group Types:

  • C: Federal Contracts
  • F: Federal Grants
  • H: State Appropriations - C & G
  • J: Private Contracts
  • L: Local Government
  • N: State Government FFT (Federal Flow Through)
  • P: Private Grants
  • S: State Government
  • V: Local Government FFT (Federal Flow Through)
  • W: Private Grants FFT (Federal Flow Through)
  • X: Private Contracts FFT (Federal Flow Through)

Off-Campus A-21 Codes are designated by adding an "A" at the end of the A-21 Code. To use the Off-Campus A-21 Codes, the Account Off Campus Indicator must be checked on the Account document.

The key attributes of the A-21 Code are searchable on the A21 Lookup in KFS.

  • Off-Campus Indicator: Is the activity associated with the account going to be on or off-campus (in a UCD facility or in a non-UCD facility)? There are A-21 codes for on-campus and off-campus activities.
  • Sponsored Indicator: Is the activity part of a sponsored program/research?


List of Commonly-Used A-21 Codes for Academic Schools, Colleges, and Organized Research Units (ORUs)

There are several A-21 Codes that are commonly used by Academic Units and Departments, including Dean's Offices within the UCD Schools, Colleges, and Organized Research Units (ORUs).

Below is a list of the most commonly-used A-21 Codes, the required Sponsored Account Indicator and Off Campus Indicator, and the most common Higher Education Function Code associated with the A-21 Code.

A-21 Code Description *Sponsored Account **Off Campus Indicator ***Higher Education Function Code
CA College Administration N N ACAD
CNPC Primate Center – Non-Sponsored Accounts N N ORES
CNPCA Primate Center A-Rate Accounts Y N ORES
CNPCB Primate Center B-Rate Accounts Y N ORES
CNPCC Primate Center C-Rate Accounts Y N ORES
CT Clinical Trials - On Campus Y N ORES, PBSV
CTA Clinical Trials – Off Campus Y Y ORES, PBSV
FINA Student Financial Aid – Non-Sponsored N N FINA
IDR Instruction & Departmental Research - On Campus N N INST, ORES
OIA Other Institutional Activities - On Campus N N PBSV
OSA Other Sponsored Activities – On Campus Y N PBSV
OSAA Other Sponsored Activities – Off Campus Y Y PBSV
PPP Private Practice Plans N N INST
SC Service Centers N N ACAD, INST, ORES
SFA Student Financial Aid - Sponsored Y N FINA
SI Sponsored Instruction Y N INST
SR Sponsored Research - On Campus Y N ORES, OAES
SRA Sponsored Research - Off Campus Y Y ORES, OAES
UR University Research – On Campus N N ORES, OAES
URA University Research – Off Campus N Y ORES, OAES

* Sponsored Accounts represent an award made by a sponsor to UCD in the form of a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, subcontract, or fellowship. Each sponsored project is assigned its own fund number and is separately budgeted and accounted for.

** Accounts are considered On Campus if the activities primarily occur in UCD-Owned buildings and space and the Account Off Campus Indicator is set to No.

*** Most common Higher Education Function Codes (HEFC) – Other HEFC may be allowable for the A-21 code, and the full list is available on the KFS A21 Lookup table.


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