Moveable Equipment Inventory

Moveable Equipment Inventory

Equipment is an asset of the University that should be safeguarded and used for University programs and purposes. Equipment must be depreciated according to its useful lives established by the University. 

The University must properly classify, safeguard and depreciate its equipment, and must abide by federal guidelines and the terms of sponsored awards with respect to the purchase, use and disposition of the equipment.



For University purposes, equipment is tangible non-expendable University property that has an estimated useful life of greater than one year and a unit value equal to or greater than $5,000 (the capitalization threshold).

  • If component parts are designed and assembled inside the University, the component parts that may cost less than this set unit value must still be considered equipment if the final assembled product costs at least the set unit value and meets the definition of Equipment as stated above.
  • If a component part is purchased from an outside vendor separately from the original purchase of the equipment, the component part will be considered equipment if it meets the above definition.

For a more detailed description on classification of equipment, refer to the Guide Fixed vs Movable Equipment. Question of classification should be referred to the Office of Grant and Contract Financial Administration (GCFA).


Maintenance of an Equipment Inventory

Each department of the University should maintain an accurate inventory of its equipment. In addition, federal regulations require that a complete equipment inventory survey be taken every two years by Grant and Contract Financial Administration (GCFA).

It is the responsibility of GCFA to maintain a Moveable Equipment Inventory (MEI), which lists all equipment by department.

Purchases of equipment made using a purchasing card must be reported to GCFA by the cardholder’s department. Notification must include:

  • equipment account to which the equipment purchase has been transferred, and transaction reference number; 
  • acquisition date;
  • item description and manufacturer;
  • quantity, unit cost and total cost;
  • model number and serial number;
  • building name and room number where equipment is located.

Departments are to notify GCFA of any MEI Change in Status Form of the equipment. A move from one laboratory to another within the same department is not considered a transfer for purposes of the equipment inventory.

Departments may request Oracle on-line access to the MEI by contacting the Office of GCFA at

Disposal of Equipment

Departments are responsible for the equipment they purchase and also their eventual disposal. The business office of each department has the authority and gives approval to dispose of the equipment in their department.

Equipment purchased with grant and contract funds must follow the guidelines as stated in section 4209.3 of this policy. This includes consultation with the GCA Office, the Purchasing Services and the Provost’s Office.

When a department disposes of a piece of equipment included in the MEI, it needs to use the appropriate deletion codes indicating the reason for deletion. This can be done in one of the following three ways.

  1. Indicate the item to be deleted and the reason for deletion directly on the biennial inventory lists distributed to each department.
  2. For those departments with access to the online system, the change can be made online.
  3. Complete the MEI Change in Status Form for Moveable Equipment.

Departments need to notify the Office of Environmental Health & Safety to obtain the appropriate clearance(s) before disposal of a safety -critical equipment. Refer also to Procedure 1610 PR.02 on Disposal of Obsolete Computers and Peripherals.

MEI Quality Assurance Program

Effective October 1, 2006 the Cost Analysis Department has implemented the following procedure in order to both satisfy and exceed the existing requirements concerning assurance of Moveable Equipment:

  • On a regular basis, the staff of the Cost Analysis Department, after notification, shall visit pre-selected University departments in order to verify existing tagged equipment. Monthly, four departments will be identified and five pieces of that department’s equipment will be selected for review. Items, including newly acquired and existing equipment in the MEI database, of high value will make up one half of the equipment selected, with a random sampling making up the other half. 
  • Each piece of equipment shall be inspected for its proper tagging, location, jurisdiction, and useful life.
  • Once a departmental visit is complete, the Cost Analysis department will analyze all results and prepare summary reports describing compliance with, and any deviation from, stated University policy pertaining to Moveable Equipment. A copy of these reports will be given to the relevant department administrator as well as the Manager of Cost Analysis, and the Director of Sponsored Programs.
  • The Cost Analysis Department will work with departments to rectify any deviations from University MEI policy found during the department visits. Department Administrators will be reminded of their responsibility in the safeguard of University assets until all deviations are corrected.

Moveable Equipment Physical Inventory

Under Federal regulations, physical inventories of Moveable Equipment must be taken at least every two years to ensure that Yale has the equipment and that it is usable, used and needed. Many departments have Federal grants and the equipment in most other departments has an effect on the recovery of indirect costs under grants. One of the reasons an accurate inventory is essential is that we not recover equipment depreciation costs for equipment Yale no longer has or that is no longer in use.

Although your department may not be involved in Federally funded research, this inventory verification is important so that we ensure that these University assets are safeguarded and used for University programs and purposes.