Computer Systems Lab
Connecting & Supporting the Computer Sciences Department
Chargeback Policy

Chargeback Policy

Research projects contribute to the Facilities Chargeback Fund to support their use of the computing facilities.

Chargeback System and Fee Structure

  • Charges are divided into the following categories:
    • Per-user
    • Per-computer
    • Charges for special projects
  • All charges except for special projects are semi-annual and can not be pro-rated.
  • All charges must be paid from UW funds.
  • Rates will be set each fiscal year and adjusted for the second half of the year to take into account changing costs.

User Fees

The following user fee categories have been established:

Regular User

  • File service, including backups and restores
  • Printing
  • Accounts on department general access computers
  • Accounts on other computers at the request of the sponsor of that computer
  • Custom software installation and support on CSL managed computers
  • Access to other facilities and resources designated by the department
  • “Help desk” functions

Offsite Collaborator

Offsite Collaborators are non-UW Madison offsite users who make minimal use of CSL facilities, but are working with a CS faculty or staff member. Offsite collaborators may have more than one account, CSL-provided AFS disk space, and modest support (for example, the occassional restore).

Courtesy Account

Courtesy accounts are minimal use accounts requested by faculty or staff for off-site colleagues who are not actively working together on a project. Courtesy accounts must use minimal resources, and are typically limited to one account.

  • The per-user charge is not a fee for specific services, but covers the basic costs of the facility – the infrastructure and staff.
  • Chargeback users include Professors, Visiting Professors, Research Assistants, research staff, Fellows, project-hired administrative staff, and undergraduate students working for research projects. Limited free courtesy accounts are allowed for users who make negligible demands on resources. People who use significant resources should pay the facilities chargeback in order to (a) be fair and (b) stand up to audits.
  • Additional user classes can be established via discussion with the Computing Facilities Committee, subject to the approval of the faculty.

Computer Fees

The following computer fee categories have been established:

Service Regular Minimal
Network connection yes yes
Inventory service yes yes
Hardware trouble-shooting yes minimal
Hardware installation yes minimal
Hardware repair yes parts cost
Replacement/loaner parts and repair yes** no
Operating System installation and support yes no
Software installation OS Dependent no
Licensed Software use yes no
Software support OS Dependent no
Backups OS Dependent no
Security configuration, monitoring and incident handling yes yes

**Replacement parts and repair will only be provided for “reasonable” situations: for some older computers, the cost of replacement and repair parts is prohibitive. Special situations (clusters, dedicated research servers, etc) rates are set on a case-by-case basis.

Hardware Service Examples

  • Regular Service:

    Undetermined hardware problem: The Systems Lab will identify the problem, and provide and install replacement/loaner parts as soon as possible. Lab-supported software will be reinstalled and user data files restored (depending on the operating system and circumstances).

  • Minimal service:

    Undetermined hardware problem: The Systems Lab will do minimal work to identify the problem. The lab will handle warranty returns/replacements/installation. Non-warranty parts will be ordered for the user (at their expense), and installed upon arrival.

Storage Space Fees

  • AFS and SAN space will be allocated from a pool of space maintained by the CSL
  • Projects will be charged for allocated space, in fixed-size increments, when usage is significant

Chargeback Fees for Fellows

The Computer Sciences Faculty has adopted the following policy regarding the Facilities Chargeback fee and graduate students with fellowships: Chargeback for [students with] fellowships beyond their first year and working with a faculty member should be paid by that faculty member. Exceptions are granted at the discretion of the Department Chair. Reasons for such exceptions include:

  • The faculty member has no funds.
  • The faculty member’s only funds are from a grant that is for research unrelated to the work being done by the student.

The intention is that requests for exemptions should be very rare. If this turns out not to be the case, the policy will be re-evaluated.

Chargeback Rates

Listed below are the actual chargeback rate for the past few years, and projected chargeback rates for the next few years, based on a 3% inflation rate. Please remember that these are only estimates, subject to change.

Semi-Annual Charges:

Fiscal Year Regular User Student Hourly User Regular Computer Minimal Computer
2023 $1090 $200 $80 $40
2024 (projected) $1150 $200 $80 $40
2025 (projected) $1200 $200 $80 $40
Past rates:
2022 990 $200 80 40
2021 900 $200 80 40
2020 865 $200 80 40
2019 830 $200 80 40