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Tag Archives: 6.29


S. 3589 / Use Your Endowment Act

115th Congress. Photo Credit: Pew Research Center

The Use Your Endowment Act would ban colleges or universities with endowments above $10 billion from receiving CARES Act funds.

H.R. 3967 / Municipal Bond Market Support

“The Battle about Money” (1570) / Pieter van der Heyden

Tax-Free School & University Financing


Giovanni Paolo Panini, An architectural capriccio with figures among Roman ruins

The #SmartCampus transformation requires significant capital to meet the sustainability goals of the US education industry’s leadership.  Campuses are cities-within-cities and are, to a large degree, financed in a similar fashion.  Municipal bonds* are an effective instrument for school districts, colleges and universities — and the host community in which they are nested — for raising capital for infrastructure projects while also providing investors with $10,000 to $100,000 to allocate toward a tax-free dividend income stream that runs in the range of 2 to 8 percent annually.

An aging population may be receptive to investment opportunities that protect their retirement savings from taxation.

Once a month, we walk through the prospectuses of one or two bond offerings of school districts, colleges and universities and examine offering specifics regarding infrastructure construction, operations and maintenance.  We pay particular attention to details regarding “continuing operations”. Somehow the education industry has to pay for its green agenda.  See our CALENDAR for the next Finance & Management Standards Monthly online teleconference; open to everyone.

We encourage our website guests to visit the EMMA website for more information.  The interactive map below hastens you toward state-by-state listings of tax-free bonds that contribute to the construction and operation of education facilities; some of which involved university-affiliated medical research and healthcare delivery enterprises.



If you need help cutting through this list please feel free to click in any day at 11 AM Eastern time.  Use the login credentials at the upper right of our hope page.  We collaborate with subject matter experts at Municipal Analytics and UBS.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Administration & Management, Finance, #SmartCampus

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, John Kaczor, Liberty Ziegahn


*College and university infrastructure projects are classified with public school districts under the rubric “municipal bonds” at the moment.  CLICK HERE for more information.



Financial Metadata

Luca Pacioli / “Father of Accounting”

The Accredited Standards Committee X9, Incorporated (ASC x9) has filed an announcement with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) about a new standardization project titled X9.145 Framework for Financial Instrument Identification.  From the project prospectus:

Project Need: Adopting an open system (in contrast to singular identifiers) of shared symbology serves to establish the foundation for the needs of any modern data management solutions related to the efficient trading, settlement, and reporting of financial instruments. Such a system will enable firms and technology service providers to shift resources from laborious, inefficient, error-prone, and typically manual processes to new investments in tools and products that will better serve clients, consumers, regulators, and the industry at large.

Stakeholders: Brokerage firms, banks/investment services, hedge funds, investment managers, custodians, utilities/industry infrastructure (exchanges, CCPs, clearing, etc.), regulators, data vendors, technology/software vendors.

Background: Adoption of an open-source data framework of shared identifiers and open-source metadata answers the call for greater transparency for the United States financial market. The Object Management Group Financial Instrument Global Identifier (FIGI) introduces a metadata-driven methodology for the management of identifying financial instruments across contextual use cases, and enabling interoperability between existing identifiers. The FIGI enables financial firms and technology service providers to shift resources from laborious, inefficient processes to new investment in tools and products that will better serve clients. Simply stated, the FIGI provides an open-source industry-wide framework that can be used intra- or inter-company to enable the interoperability of the hundreds of vendor-owned identifiers and existing standards that are not currently interoperable or freely redistributable. The FIGI further enables usability by allowing extensibility without restrictions, aside from maintaining the open source nature of the core standard. The FIGI is the only machine-readable identifier standard that can represent any financial instrument.

No comments are due at this time.  The filing with ANSI is only notification that a new standardization project (PINS) has begun.

The education industry needs to prepare for the digital current transformation so we will keep on eye on it; at least reviewing its status along with other financial standardization activity once a month.  You always get a front row seat on the action when you follow standards action.  See our CALENDAR for our next online Finance & Management standards meeting; open to everyone.

We encourage direct participation in the ASC x9 process by anyone in the education industry (CLICK HERE).


Distributed Ledger Technology

Issue: [19-145]

Category: Finance,  Management

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jack Janveja, Richard Robben

Source: ANSI Standards Action / Page 19


ASC X9 Study Group Report: Distributed Ledger and Blockchain Technology Study Group

ISO/TC 68/SC 8 Reference data for financial services

A Common Language for the Blockchain?



The Italian Luca Pacioli, recognized as The Father of accounting and bookkeeping was the first person to publish a work on double-entry bookkeeping, and introduced the field in Italy.

We walk through action in financial standards that affect the education facilities industry once per month; with special attention to the way money flows into physical infrastructure.   About $75 billion is in play for new construction; often financed through bond offerings.   Another ~$225 billion is in play just to operate and manage the physical infrastructure.  Three hundred billion is about the size of Denmark’s entire economy and would make the wildly fragmented education facility industry a Fortune #3 Company.

Every dollar passing through the business or academic side of the education industry has rules for how it is received and tracked.*   At the moment we track, but do not dwell. on the grant management standards asserted by state and federal funding agencies.  When we do, we place them on the agenda of our Federal Regulations monthly teleconference when commenting opportunities are available.

Send bella@standardsmichigan.com an email for a detailed advance agenda.  To join the teleconference at 11 AM ET today click on the login credentials at the upper right of our home page.

*Electronic Code of Federal Regulations



Standing Agenda / Finance


Sustainability Accounting Standards Board


Hercules Second Labor / Tufts University Perseus Digital Library

Time for a look at best practice literature emanating from the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) — one of the first names in organizations with a solid due process platform for leading practice discovery and promulgation of sustainability concepts for the private sector.   Like the sustainability zietgeist itself; its topical areas are hydra-like — reaching into every sector, industry, and industry subsector — largely because money flows through all of them.

We classify the SASB suite as an open-source, consortia standards suite that challenges niche verticals.    Since the education industry has both a private and public revenue character, we follow SASB standards development and participate in proposal and commenting opportunities whenever possible.

Last year we selected six sector-specific SASB standards that, in our judgment, could lower #TotalCostofOwnership with improved management of sustainability advancement activity (See list below).   We downloaded these standards, looked them over for actionable-specifics, but we did not submit comments of our own because of organizational changes we explain in our ABOUT and also because we could not find an individual institution or education industry trade association interested in collaborating with us on meaningful specifics.  We will try again.

Until we find a collaborator you may be enlightened by the current status of the SASB suite; all of its products available to the public:

Download Current SASB Standards | Credentials required

At the moment two developments at the SASB are meaningful for sustainability professionals in both the private and public sector:

Summary of Public Comments on the Exposure Draft Standards

Note that SASB standards setting committees last month and posted a comprehensive report on its activity:

SASB Calendar of Standards Setting Activities

Its oversight board meets on June 23rd, details below:

Standards Board Meeting Agenda: June 23, 2020

We encourage technical and business subject matter experts in education communities to try not to re-invent the wheel in developing sustainability policy templates but rather to collaborate with organizations whose existing consensus products can be adapted for education communities.   Perhaps post-pandemic, some of the redundancies we have been reporting to the education facility industry will be sun-setted.

We maintain the SASB suite on the standing agenda of our Finance teleconferences.  See our CALENDAR for the next online teleconference; open to everyone.   Use the login information at the upper right of our home page.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Finance, Informatics, Management

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jack Janveja, Richard Robben


Archive / SASB Suite


Qualified Zone Academy Bonds

Image Credit: Envato

From the Wikipedia:

Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) are a U.S. government debt instrument created by Section 226 of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. It was later revised and regulations may be found in Section 54(E) of the U.S. Code. QZABs allow certain qualified schools to borrow at nominal interest rates (as low as zero percent) for costs incurred in connection with the establishment of special programs in partnership with the private sector…

…Funds can be used for renovation and rehabilitation projects (including energy projects), as well as equipment purchases (including computers). QZABs cannot be used for new building construction. The school district must obtain matching funds from a private-sector/non-profit partner equal to at least 10% of the cost of the proposed project. Information on the two QZAB federal mandates, 10% match and academy, can be obtained by visiting the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) school financing toolkit (see resources below).

…The normal annual allocation each year has been $400,000,000. However, during 2008, 2009, and 2010, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased these amounts to 1.4 billion. The 2011 allocation has returned to the $400,000,000 level. The allocation is divided up by all fifty states and US possessions. QZABs are a temporary program, subject to reauthorization. The last authorization was for the calendar years 2012 and 2013. Authorizations must be used within two years following the year for which they were given, meaning that authorizations given in 2012 must be used by December 31, 2014. As of July 21, 2014, the reauthorization of the QZAB program for years 2014 and 2015 has not been passed by the U.S. Congress.  [Emphasis added*]

From the US Department of Education:

…Schools usually fund large projects, like building renovation or construction, through debt mechanisms such as tax-exempt bonds or loans. School districts must then pay a substantial amount of interest on this debt. For schools serving low income students, QZABs reduce the burden of interest payments by giving financial institutions holding the bonds (or other debt mechanism) a tax credit in lieu of interest. The school district must still pay back the amount of money it initially borrowed, but does not have to pay any interest — typically about half the cost of renovating a school. The credit rate for QZABs sold on a given day is set by the Treasury Department…

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting education facility construction projects — and the prospect of at least 10 percent of the built environment rendered redundant for all time — it is enlightening to review the several sources of financing for these construction projects.

We review education industry construction project status and financing at least twice a month during our US Census Bureau Monthly Construction and Finance teleconferences.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.  Use the login credential at the upper right of our home page.


* The Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2019 (H.R. 865/S. 266)

H.R. 865 / Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2019


National Education Foundation 


Data Point: Research Expenditures

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Cloud Management & Security

“Above the Clouds at Sunrise” 1849 / Frederic Edwin Church


Accredited Standards Committee X9 has notified the American National Standards Institute of a new standardization project for cloud management and security.   From the project prospectus:

Project Need: The goal of the Cloud Services Compliance Data Standard is to describe a common set of data needed for automating internal control and compliance testing of cloud service infrastructures. The data standard would be designed to support standard control frameworks, including ISO 2700x, COSO/COBIT, PCI DSS, and others.

Stakeholders: Financial institutions; IT managers; chief risk officers; chief information security officers; compliance officers; internal and external auditors; cloud service providers; infrastructure, platform, and application service providers; cloud service infrastructure providers.

Cloud computing has led the “bleeding edge” of IT for the past 3 years, and the financial industry has led all industries in the adoption of this new computing environment. As such, bankers need to understand these technologies, establish an approach for identifying key risks and controls, and create the requirements for automating compliance reporting against established control frameworks. The traditional control frameworks applied to cloud computing can be effective, but are complicated by the fact that the technologies and control responsibilities are outside of the entity being audited. A key to the success of cloud computing is the ability for end-users to demonstrate defensible compliance reporting against established control frameworks.  To assist in automating compliance reporting, the data standards proposed in this NWI are needed to ensure interoperability between compliance systems at a Bank (e.g., SIEM platforms, Audit and GRC platforms, IT Management Systems) and cloud service provider IT management systems. The data standard would be designed to support standard control frameworks, including ISO 2700x, COSO/COBIT, PCI DSS, and others, used commonly in the marketplace today.

No comments are due at this time.   The project is launched formally through ANSI’s Project Initiation Notification system for all US stakeholders — not the least of which are competitor standards developing organizations — that a platform for leading practice discovery has been established.   For more information contact mbria Frazier, (410) 267-7707, Ambria.frazier@x9.org, 275 West Street, Suite 107, Annapolis, MD 21401

Landing pages for X9 standardization activity are linked below:

Recent Standards

Proposing Changes to Continuous & Periodically Maintained Standards

All X9 consensus products are on the standing agenda of our Data and Information & Communications Technology teleconferences; open to everyone.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.

The Ohio State University 2015 Hackathon

Issue: [20-122]

Category: Data, Information & Communications Technology

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Mike Hiler

Source: ANSI Standards Action


The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing



Not-for-Profit Update

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