Planning for Higher Education Journal

Capital Costs: A Conceptual Framework for Colleges and Universities

Journal Cover
From Volume 32 Number 4 | June–August 2004
By Sam Cash

The increased attention to costs in recent years at colleges and universities draws attention to the matter of whether all costs are reflected and accounted for in the institution’s internal and external financial reports. One category—capital costs—is thought by some to be overlooked at times. The possible neglect of capital costs in institutional planning and in financial reporting has its basis in a theoretical debate on how nonprofit institutions view capital. In order to justify capital as an essential, reportable cost to a nonprofit, it is necessary to see how capital is viewed in the for-profit firm. Even if capital is an essential cost to higher education, accounting and measurement difficulties may arise. This study explores these issues and examines the literature relevant to this topic.

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