Financial Services and Operations

Chapter 2: Definitions and Publications

Property Definitions

Property, as used in the context of this manual, is defined as a tangible item that is owned by, or in the possession of, Michigan Technological University.  This includes equipment, mineral collections, library books, timber, minor equipment, materials, and supplies.

Equipment means a tangible asset that is functionally complete for its intended purpose, durable and nonexpendable. Equipment does not lose its identity or become a component part of another article when put into use.

Capital Equipment is defined as an article of equipment with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more, and the estimated useful life of at least one year with title vested to Michigan Tech upon acquisition. 

Capital Fabricated Equipment is defined as equipment constructed by combining modular components and/or materials into one functional unit.  Finished equipment will have a unit cost of $5,000 or more, a useful life of at least one year, and the capacity to function without the assistance of another item (is not an accessory or component), remaining in possession of and title vesting to Michigan Tech.

Non-Capital Fabricated Equipment is manufactured for sale or delivery to the sponsor or other research organization that will further the sponsor’s research purposes, and will be subject to overhead charges.  Departmental or other labor charges, travel, and other operating expenses associated with the fabrication will not be recorded as costs.

Government Owned Equipment is equipment with title vested to the government. Equipment purchased by Michigan Tech with sponsored funds may vest title with the sponsor or with Michigan Tech depending on agency regulations and the terms of the individual contract. Often a conditional title vests with Michigan Tech, but the sponsoring agency reserves the right to transfer title back to itself or to a third party at the close of the contract. 

Government-Furnished Property is acquired by loan from a federal agency. Such property is usually furnished by the agency sponsoring the research. At the close of the contract, the sponsoring agency may transfer accountability for such property to another receiving contract or direct that the equipment is returned to the owning agency.

Sensitive Equipment is defined as property for which the theft, loss, or misplacement could be potentially dangerous to the public safety or community security if stolen, lost or misplaced, and which must be subjected to exceptional physical security, protection, control, and accountability. 

Minor Equipment and Supplies may be accountable and / or have the same requirements as equipment when acquired with sponsored funding. Minor equipment may also be called “supplies”.

General Purpose Equipment is defined as equipment, which is not limited to research, medical, scientific or other technical activities. Examples may include office equipment and furnishings, modular offices, telephone networks, information technology equipment and systems, air conditioning equipment, reproduction and printing equipment, and motor vehicles.

Special Purpose Equipment is defined as equipment which is used only for research, medical, scientific, or other technical activities. Examples of special purpose equipment include microscopes, x-ray machines, surgical instruments, and spectrometers.