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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

8.1.3 Determine the Allowability of Specific Expenditures

Policy Statement

Federal and state law, University of Illinois System policy, donor or sponsor conditions, and good business practices set the standards for expenditures of system funds.

As a state entity, the system is held to a high level of accountability for its business practices. Accordingly, every reasonable effort must be made to ensure that funds are used in a responsible and appropriate manner.

All expenditures using self-supporting funds must be directly related to generation of the funds' revenue.

Expenditures of gift or endowment income funds must comply with donor intent restrictions.


To determine whether specific expenditures are allowable:

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Program Books and Brochures for a System Event
Allowable from state, institutional, self-supporting, gift and endowment income, or service plan funds. Institutional funds must use an account code with a "U" at the end for exclusion from the indirect cost study.

Community or Charitable Event
Allowable only from gift, endowment income, or service plan funds.

Performance, athletic, or concert programs are considered advertisements, as are books, brochures, newspapers, websites.

Advertising associated with political events is NOT allowable from any funds.

Beverage and Food Equipment and Supplies for Public Reception Areas

Allowable for system business purposes only, and only when system offices function as public reception areas (such as chancellors, deans, unit heads, or clinical or major research offices). The office typically provides courtesy refreshments to visitors.

The system has contracts that limit soda purchases to:
    Urbana - Coca-Cola products
    Chicago - Pepsi products
    Springfield - Pepsi products

Contact your campus Purchasing office for additional information regarding these contracts.

Coffee, tea, bottled water, soft drinks, related supplies, and small electrical appliances such as coffee pots, microwaves, and small refrigerators.

Allowable Funds
Allowable from state, institutional, self-supporting, gift, endowment income, or service plan funds.

Items that are for the personal use of employees, such as coffee and tea supplies, soft drinks, water, and small appliances (such as coffee pots, microwaves, and refrigerators). Institutional funds must use an account code with a "U" at the end for exclusion from the indirect cost study.

Fund Raising Events

The cost of employee attendance at fund-raising events is allowable when meeting the guidelines below. If the event price includes an amount designated for donation, that portion is not allowable.

Community, Charitable
Expenses related to attendance at a charitable or community fund raiser are allowable only when approved in advance by the President, vice-president, chancellor, or vice chancellor for a system employee representing the system at the event. Expenses paid on behalf of an employee's spouse, guest, or companion are generally taxable income to the employee.

Business, Civic, and Social
Tickets to a business, civic, or social function that advances system programs and objectives are allowable when attended by employees when approved in advance by the President or chancellor (at UIS, the vice chancellor can approve). When spouses, guests, or companions are expected to attend, their expense is allowed and may be reported as a taxable benefit to the employee.

Attendance with a Prospective Donor
Tickets to a fund-raising event attended by a system employee with a prospective donor are allowable.

Charitable organization kick-off breakfast, Chamber of Commerce event

Allowable Funds
Gift, endowment income, or service plan funds

Tickets for attendance to political events (such as fund raisers, receptions, dinners) are unallowable from any funds.

Indirect Cost Study Exclusions

Certain expenditure transactions that are allowable when charged to state-appropriated and institutional system funds must be excluded from the federal indirect cost reimbursement study. (See 16 Grants and Research Contracts - Sponsored Projects Cost Transfers for more information on sponsored research expenditures.) To view FOAPAL hierarchy reports, log in to Mobius View (formerly View Direct). Under the "Topic" section, select "FOAPAL Hierarchy Reports."


Some membership costs are allowable from state, institutional support, gift and endowment income, service plan and self-supporting funds (when directly related to the generation of the fund's revenue):

Professional Organizations - Employee memberships in professional organizations are allowable when the memberships benefit system business purposes and/or the employee's job-related activities. Memberships are normally paid on a yearly basis. Memberships that exceed one year must be approved as an exception.

Institutional Memberships - Institutional memberships (umbrella membership that provides all qualified employees with membership) in professional organizations must be approved by the unit head, dean, or head of the administrative unit purchasing the membership.

Airline Clubs and Lounges - Memberships in airline clubs and lounges (such as Red Carpet or Admiral's Club) must be approved by the President and paid from University of Illinois Foundation funds only.

The following are unallowable from any funds:

  • Social Organizations - Memberships in social organizations (for example, Kiwanis, Lions, etc.)
  • Warehouse Discount Clubs - Memberships in warehouse discount clubs (for example, Sam's Club and Costco) because employees are prohibited from entering into contractual agreements on behalf of the system.
  • City Clubs and Country Clubs (for example, social or athletic clubs, the City Club of Chicago, or Illini Country Club)
  • Health/Athletic club memberships
Mileage and Parking Within Headquarters

Employees may incur travel-related expenses within their headquarters while performing their duties, even though they are not in travel status. Common examples include mileage and parking for attending a meeting across campus or to deliver documents. You may accumulate these expenses on a monthly basis and request reimbursement by following the steps in 8.2.1 Request Reimbursement for Domestic or International Employee Travel and Business Meals.

Parking Expenses and Parking or Traffic Citations

Parking Expenses - University parking hangtags and stickers may be paid from all funds, but only for system guests or employees who are in travel status, away from official headquarters. System funds may sometimes be used for parking hangtags, stickers, and validation codes for employees whose responsibilities require frequent travel within his/her headquarters for system business purposes only.

Parking Citations - Parking citations for guests conducting system business may be paid only from gift and endowment income, service plan, and self-supporting funds (when directly related to the generation of the fund's revenue).

These citations cannot be paid from any system funds:

  • Parking citations/violations issued to employees.
  • Traffic citations incurred by employees.
Personal Expenditures

Expenses of a personal nature are not allowable from any system funds. Following are some examples or items that are considered personal in nature:

  • Childcare expenses of employees
  • Library fines incurred by faculty and staff
  • Health/Athletic club memberships
Postage Stamps

Postage stamps for system mail are allowable from all funds. However, postage stamps purchased with state funds must be perforated with a Block "I" for identification purposes according to Illinois State Statute 30 ILCS 500/25-35. These perforated stamps are available for purchase at:

  • Urbana - Campus Mail (54 East Gregory Drive- Printing Building) or online through Illini Union Campus Mail
  • Chicago - Cashier's Office (809 S. Marshfield Avenue, 1st Floor)
  • Springfield - Campus Services, Mail Department (Building Services Building, Room 139)

Non-perforated stamps are allowable only from institutional, gift and endowment, self-supporting (when related to the generation of the fund's revenue), and service plan funds.

8.9.1 Request an Exception
8.2.1 Request Reimbursement for Domestic or International Employee Travel and Business Meals
16 Grants and Research Contracts - Sponsored Projects Cost Transfers
1.3.2 Initiation, Review, and Approval of University Contracts and Leases

Illini Union Campus Mail
Illinois State Statute 30 ILCS 500/25-35
Section 22 - Self-Supporting/Revenue Generating Activities

Last Updated: August 23, 2018 | Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance | Effective: September 2012

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