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Honorarium Payments

Honorarium Payments


An honorarium is a one-time payment of $5,000 or less, made to an individual who is not an employee of the University  of Illinois System for a special and non-recurring activity or event for which no remuneration is collectible by law. Honoraria are typically paid to persons of scholarly or professional standing with the intent of showing appreciation for participation in U of I System educational, research, or public service activities. If payment is negotiated and agreed upon, this is considered a contractual agreement, and should be processed as a payment for professional services, not as an honorarium.

Occasions for an Honorarium

  • Token of gratitude for activities for which custom or propriety precludes a price to be set.

    Examples: A minister or cleric providing an invocation; a distinguished alumnus invited to make brief remarks at the dedication of a new university facility; an individual participating as a judge in a contest; or a Supreme Court Justice invited to judge a moot court competition.

  • Award to an individual for special achievement, or renown for participation in (excluding leading or conducting) a short-term activity or event that is of an educational, research, or public service nature and no specific deliverable or specific result is requested or expected.

    Examples: Guest lecturers; reading of papers; participating in workshops and seminars; presenting research results, an address, or a speech; or an invited noted international scholar participating in a scientific symposium.

Honoraria for Foreign Nationals

Special requirements and conditions apply when requesting honorarium payments for non-employee foreign nationals. Check the Foreign Nationals Payment Eligibility Grid to find out which payments are permissible.


An honorarium may not be used for the following:

  • To replace or circumvent procedures for paying consultants

  • To pay University of Illinois salaried and non-salaried employees

  • As an award to an individual where the primary intent is to confer distinction on, or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration for the recipient

  • When the services require access to University proprietary information

  • Solely as a reimbursement in lieu of undocumented expenses

  • Payments larger than $5000; payments in excess of $5000 require a University of Illinois contract. Contact your campus Purchasing Division for assistance.

Last Updated: July 23, 2018

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