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OBFS Certification Program

Certification Tracks 

Certification tracks are comprised of a varying number of courses and are modeled either as a cohort or self-paced. A cohort emphasizes collaboration, and self-paced tracks are arranged at your convenience. For information on participation guidelines, see the Eligibility and Requirements page.

Select a certification track to learn more:

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Service Activity Basics

The Service Activity Basics certification track follows a self-paced model and is designed to provide information and training related to the actual performance of service and storeroom rate calculations. The course moves beyond the Introduction to Self-Supporting funds (GL 105) and Managing Self-Supporting Funds (GL 205). You will also learn about specific rate components and considerations related to service rates.

Program Enrollment Month

If you enroll in...

Program Completion Deadline

You will complete by...

January May 31
June 30
March July 31
August 31
May September 30
June October 31
July November 30
August December 31
September January 31
October February 28
March 31
December April 30

Service Centers

A number of storerooms and service facilities have been established at the University of Illinois System to provide services and supplies to University System departments and units, including sponsored programs administered by the University System. This lesson helps the customer to understand when and when “not” to establish a storeroom or service center.

Accounting Practices

Accurate accounting for service center expenses and revenues is critical for accurate fund balance recording and proper rate calculations. This lesson outlines key elements of proper accounting practices for storeroom and service centers including the like and similar requirement, expense and revenue tracking, usage tacking, billing, rate demonstration, etc.

Identify Risks

The University must comply with federal costing principles for service centers. In addition, as a major state-supported research university, state regulations related to service activities must be followed. This lesson assists with identifying consequences when policies are not followed.

Allowable/Unallowable Expenses

This lesson helps the customer identify typical allowable operating expenses and fixed asset depreciation for inclusion in storeroom and service center rate calculations. In addition, the training assists with differentiating between allowable and unallowable expenses.


Policy and regulations state that only the annual depreciation expense of capitalized assets can be included in service rate calculations, not the full cost of the equipment in the year purchased. This lesson assists the customer in identifying the appropriate depreciation expense for inclusion in storeroom and service center rate calculations. 

Internal/External Rates

Service centers primary purpose is to provide services or goods for the University community, internal users; therefore, sales to external entities is not the primary focus. This lesson describes internal vs external users and provides guidance on how to compile and set rates for internal vs external users.

Over/Under Recovery

Storerooms and service centers are required to operate on a break-even basis. The over- or under-recovery of the service activity adjusted fund balance must be incorporated into the rate calculation. This lesson presents the three step process necessary to meet this requirement. 

Determine Base

Service center managers must track actual usage in order to compile compliant service rates. This lesson addresses usage and base requirements and assists the customer in identifying the appropriate number of goods or services sold to include in rate calculations. Usage examples are provided for customer reference.

Inviting and Onboarding Foreign Nationals

The Inviting and Onboarding Foreign Nationals track is structured as a cohort and reviews regulations, procedures, and resources to help you navigate hiring and paying foreign nationals both within and outside the U.S.

Immigration Overview

Course Description: The University of Illinois System invites foreign national scholars/professionals and students from all over the globe to cultivate its learning community. Foreign nationals who will receive payment of any kind must have the proper documentation. This course reviews the agencies, immigrant categories, and documentation required for foreign nationals studying and/or receiving payment from the University of Illinois System.

Critical Pre-arrival and Arrival Procedures

Course Description: Due to federal documentation requirements, the University of Illinois System's onboarding process for foreign national scholars, professionals and students begins before they arrive, whether it be from another country or another organization. This course gives business managers and other relevant employees a general understanding of the hiring and onboarding process for foreign nationals at the University System. It also covers the required procedures and employment documentation (visas, I-9, i-card, SSN, ITIN, etc.) as locating and using informational resources and contacts when hiring and onboarding issues arise.

Payment Eligibility and Taxation for Foreign Nationals

Course Description: This course will explore the federal regulations and related processes that apply to the payment eligibility of foreign national students, scholars, and other professionals. Immigration status, payment types, and taxation issues will be reviewed and tools that provide guidance and support to University of Illinois System units will be introduced. The consequences of non-compliance with established federal laws and U of I System policies will also be addressed.

Employing Foreign Nationals Working Outside the U.S.

Course Description: Hiring and paying foreign national employees outside the United States is complicated and requires special steps in order to comply with federal regulations. This course will help you learn what you need to do to hire a foreign national employee outside the United States. You'll also learn the special steps to take when you have to pay a foreign national employee outside the U.S., and what to do if a foreign national employee who has been working outside the U.S. enters the United States for a period of time. Finally, you'll see where you can find help for hiring and paying foreign national employees outside the U.S.

Last updated: March 16, 2018

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