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UH and Kuali Project receive $2.5 million grant for open source financial management system

Project also attracts four new academic partners

University of Hawaiʻi
David Lassner, (808) 956-3501
UH Chief Information Officer
Posted: Mar 22, 2005

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi and its Kuali Project partners have received an award of $2.5 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to advance the development of a new open source financial management system for colleges and universities. The design of the system is geared toward the unique financial management needs in higher education.

In 2004, the UH Business Process Council recommended participation in Kuali as the future direction for financial management information systems for the University of Hawaiʻi System.

"We‘re very excited at this rare opportunity to create our own future for financial management in partnership with our colleagues at other colleges and universities," said Russell Miyake, UH director of financial management and controller.

UH Chief Information Officer David Lassner added that "UH has a long history of having to maintain institutional information systems on our own when our technology vendors have terminated support. Kuali offers us a great chance to benefit from the insights and work of others rather than having to do everything ourselves."

Four new academic partners — Cornell University, San Joaquin Delta College, Michigan State University, and the University of Arizona — have joined as core partners with Kuali Project Founders Indiana University, University of Hawaiʻi, National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and the r-smart group to develop the modular financial software.

Brad Wheeler, chairman of the Kuali Project Board and associate vice president for information technology at Indiana University commented that, "The new core partners and this grant are a major vote of confidence in the overall $7.2 million Kuali Project and the Community Source model Kuali embodies. Kuali is aggregating institutional resources to develop and sustain open source software together as we all work to ʻdo more with less.‘"

The Kuali Financial System is based on the proven financial system design that has been used at Indiana University for over 10 years. Its modular design includes a base system of Chart of Accounts, General Ledger, Transactions, Reporting, and Workflow. Additional modules will include Accounts Receivable, Budgeting, Capital Assets Management, Endowment, Enhanced Decision Support/Reporting, Labor Distribution, Purchasing/Accounts Payable, and Pre- and Post-Award Research Administration.

The base Kuali modules are expected to be released in 2006. Other modules will follow as the more than two-year project completes the initial system in summer 2007. The Kuali Project will also release a Fiscal Officer Training Series and Financial Policy Templates to accompany the software.

Kuali is being built using J2EE and a services-oriented architecture to facilitate blending Kuali modules with home grown and commercial software. Indiana University has already integrated some early parts of Kuali with its recently implemented PeopleSoft information systems. The name "Kuali" comes from a Malaysian word for a wok, a humble utensil which plays an important role in a successful kitchen.

All software and materials will be available under the Educational Community License and can be adopted by colleges and universities without licensing fees. This open licensing approach also provides opportunities for support and implementation assistance from commercial providers. Kuali anticipates establishment of both academic and commercial partner programs to help additional institutions that are not part of the core team participate in Kuali implementation, development and ongoing support opportunities.

Kuali is the latest in a number of major initiatives to collaboratively develop open source software for colleges and universities. Other significant community source projects in higher education include the uPortal framework for portals, the Sakai learning management system, the OSPI open source electronic portfolio, and the Chandler/Westwood Personal Information Manager.

For more information about the project, visit

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