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Congress’s multi-phase response to the coronavirus crisis has resulted in many new federal programs that are meant to assist institutions and students. As with any federal program, funds provided have compliance, accounting, reporting, and recognition considerations. This library of accounting tutorials has been created for NACUBO members to address frequently asked questions. Each tutorial cites relevant FASB and GASB guidance and provides reference points to NACUBO’s Financial Accounting and Reporting Manual (FARM), the searchable, web-based, and free accounting manual for NACUBO members.

You can also explore NACUBO’s COVID-19 general guidance resources here

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HEERF Programs Grant Accounting

April 14, 2021 – supersedes the 2020 CARES Act Grant Accounting Tutorial. Under FASB and GASB, both student and institutional portions of HEERF I, II, and III are conditional contributions or conditional non-exchange transactions, respectively. Revenue recognition on the Institutional Portion is tied to Student Aid disbursement due to minimal spending requirements (an eligibility contingency under GASB and a barrier to entitlement under FASB). The tutorial provides background, and revenue recognition guidance.


Paycheck Protection Program Revenue Recognition


June 24, 2020 - This tutorial clarifies that PPP loans can be viewed as a conditional contribution (FASB ASU 2018-08) and revenue can  be recognized as barriers to entitlement are satisfied (limited discretion spending).

HEERF Institutional Portion: Allowable Direct and Indirect Costs  

June 19, 2020 - This tutorial addresses allowable direct and indirect costs under the HEERF. It was written to help institutions think through various types of costs that may have supported educational delivery after campus closures. Related legislative and Department of Education guidance is reviewed to support conclusions.  

Employee Retention Credit and Employer Tax Deferral Programs

May 22, 2020 - This tutorial provides an overview of tax credit and deferral programs available to employers under the CARES Act. Revenue and liability recognition are discussed and sample journal entries are provided to illustrate the concepts.

CARES Act: Institutional Aid Expenditures

May 14, 2020 - Funds received under the institutional portion of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) can be spent only on those costs for which there is a clear nexus to instruction delivery changes due to the coronavirus. This tutorial discusses qualifying expenditures and considerations for analyzing and substantiating allowable costs.

CARES Act: Grant Accounting

Updated 8/6/20 (GASB 33 eligibility criteria) originally issued April 30, 2020 - Both student and institutional portions of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants are conditional contributions with revenue recognition considerations. This tutorial explores revenue recognition criteria, examines barriers to entitlement and at-risk considerations, eligibility, restrictions, and more.

Student Refunds

April 30, 2020 - Campus closures resulted in student account credits or refunds for residential services. Through examples, this tutorial provides analysis and approaches with sample accounting entries.

Functional Classification of HEERF Student Aid

April 30, 2020 - This tutorial addresses how to report student emergency aid distributions. Emergency aid distributed is not a discount, but a student grant expense that should be functionalized in the scholarship category for financial reporting and the IPEDS Finance Survey.       

PPP Loans

April 30, 2020 -  SUPERSEDED by June 24, 2020 tutorial: Paycheck Protection Program Revenue Recognition

Financial Reporting Considerations

April 30, 2020 - Expenses to convert to full online instruction, closing facilities, deep cleaning, and grants to students are just some of the costs colleges and universities incurred in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Institutions have also forgone revenue when unearned room and board fees were returned to students. Further, some of the expenses and forgone revenue expenditures may be offset by grants provided under the Coronavirus Aid. This tutorial examines operating and nonoperating financial reporting considerations.

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