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Issued throughout the spring of 2020, these accounting tutorials address the types of costs that could be considered pandemic related, classifying Higher Education Emergency Relief fund (HEERF) emergency student grants as an expense, pro-rata and discount considerations for spring 2020 room and board refunds, the paycheck protection program and revenue recognition, employee retention credits and tax deferral programs, and pandemic related financial reporting. 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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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 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 HEERF can be spent only on those costs for which there is a clear nexus to changes in instruction delivery due to the coronavirus. This tutorial discusses qualifying expenditures and considerations for analyzing and substantiating allowable costs.

CARES Act: Grant Accounting

Both student and institutional portions of 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 reported in the scholarship function for financial reporting and the IPEDS Finance Survey.       

PPP Loans

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 foregone revenue when unearned room and board fees were returned to students. Further, some of the expenses and foregone revenue expenditures may be offset by grants provided under HEERF. This tutorial examines operating and nonoperating financial reporting considerations.

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