Kuali Foundation

Software solutions for higher education

Kuali Financial System

Overview of KFS

The Kuali Financial System (KFS) project is working to create and enhance a comprehensive suite of financial software that meets the needs of all Carnegie Class institutions. Its partner institutions are colleges, universities, and interested organizations that share a common vision of open, modular, and distributed systems for their software requirements.

Since early 2005, the then "Kuali Project" has focused on developing an enterprise-level financial system. After receiving a substantial grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Kuali turned its teams of functional experts and developers drawn from participating institutions to building KFS.

An important element of Kuali software is its modular architecture. Institutions may implement only those functional elements they need. The KFS can be scaled in turn for complex, multi-campus, research-intensive institutions as well as smaller private, liberal arts, or community colleges.

KFS also takes full advantage of Kuali Rice, an enterprise class middleware suite of integrated products that allows both Kuali and non-Kuali applications to be built in an agile fashion, such that developers are able to react to end-user business requirements in an efficient and productive manner, so that they can produce high quality business applications.

The community source nature of the work gives Information Technology professionals the ability to engage in continuous improvement and innovation in the Kuali applications. They share web-based KFS tools so user communities can execute the same systems at their own colleges and universities. KFS provides program managers and administrators with ready access to current information for analysis and decision-making.


KFS is entering a new phase of maturity, focused on harvesting contributions. Prior to release 5.0, the project accepted over 200 contributions, and, in release 5.0, nearly 300 more will be included. Most of those 500+ contributions were bug fixes, performance improvements, and enhancements to the customizability of the software. Over 100 enhancements, which represent over 18,000 hours of development and include two new modules, have been proposed for subsequent releases.

We are very excited about this transition, which we believe demonstrates the true power of the community. Project team overhead to integrate contributions is a fraction of the time taken to develop them, so the size of our “team” is truly approaching the sum of the staff on all of the implementation teams, the increased rate of output will be a huge benefit to the community, and partners will avoid the upgrade cost that would otherwise be incurred if they were maintaining those contributions as customizations.

To get involved or see what others are contributing, see the Kuali Sharing documentation.

Test Drive

Hands-on, self-guided tour of Kuali Financial System.


Download Kuali Financial System.
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KFS in the Cloud

Learn more about KualiCo's cloud offering of Kuali Financial System.


Facts about KFS

  1. Was designed and developed by universities and colleges
  2. Is freely available with no license fee
  3. Is currently in use by institutions of all sizes: large research, community college, small public
  4. Has successfully completed year-end audits with full compliance
  5. Can be implemented by an experienced commercial partner
  6. Can be supported by a commercial partner
  7. Includes enhancements like endowment management and travel modules without an additional license fee
  8. Facilitates collaboration and sharing with peer institutions
  9. Is built using current technologies that provide process flexibility
  10. Provides a significantly lower total cost of ownership