At certain University-sponsored events, entertainment may be appropriate. All such costs must be expensed to unrestricted donor funds. Entertainment for faculty and staff events requires the Chancellor’s approval.
Flowers and Other Decorations
Flowers and other decorative items purchased for University events involving University guests, such as table centerpieces, are permitted but must be paid on unrestricted donor funds. This requires Chancellor approval.
The one exception permitted on general funds is flowers for commencement exercises.
See Gifts and Awards section below for information of gifting flowers.
All gift card purchases require FO pre-approval of requests that include the Who, What, Where, When and Why’s in order to receive the correct budget number.
Pcard reconciliation of the purchase of gift cards must include FO approval and attach the Gift Card Recipient Log.
Please refer to FN10 for guidelines for gifts and awards.
Gifts and Awards
Gifts are tokens of appreciation or consolation, while awards are given in merit recognition of notable achievement, including retirement. Door prizes and other prizes are awards for purposes of this policy. Please consult policy FN10 for full description and guidelines.
Generally, gifts to employees are not permitted and no gifts or awards are permitted to be paid on federal or state grants or contracts. Staff and faculty awards must be documented as an FNG04. Please speak to the finance office.
Gifts for birthdays, holidays (including Boss' Day or Administrative Professional's Day), and other personal events are not permitted from any source of funds. These would be considered personal expenses for supervisors or others who wish to recognize their employees or colleagues.
For outside guests, donors, and friends of Penn State:
Gifts and awards appropriate to recognize those who support the University are permitted for, but must be paid on unrestricted donor funds, or funds designated for such a purpose. These are never permitted on federal or state contracts or grants.
Flowers and plants may be given to non-employees, but must be purchased on unrestricted donor funds, or funds which specifically allow for such purchases.
Gifts and awards to students are generally permitted under the following parameters:
- Non-cash awards for academic, artistic or athletic achievement, such as trophies, medallions or plaques, are permitted on general funds if the cost is $425 or less per award.
- Non-cash awards valued over $425 and any cash awards must be paid on unrestricted donor funds or funds designated for the purpose of student awards. The award should be reasonable in relation to the achievement.
- All non-cash awards valued at $425 or more must be entered into the student system for reporting purposes.
- For Student Financial System reporting, gift certificates and gift cards to a specific vendor are considered non-cash awards.
- Non-cash gifts or awards related to competitions, contests, and other incentives, including door prizes, must be paid on unrestricted donor funds or funds designated for that purpose.
- All cash awards must be paid on unrestricted donor funds or funds designated for the purpose of student awards. The award should be reasonable in relation to the achievement.
- All cash gifts and awards to students MUST be entered and disbursed through the student system in compliance with financial aid regulations.
For information on membership, see policy HR12.
All memberships must receive Chancellor and FO approval.
Approvals must be attached to pcard reconciliation in Penn State SAP Concur.
For information on sponsorships/charitable contributions, see policy FN10.
Direct contributions or donations from general funds of the University for any purpose are not permitted.
- Sponsorships require a formal letter justifying the benefit to the University, signed by the Chancellor.
- All charitable contribution must be paid on OGE account
- Marketing, dinning, or any other “goods” from the purchase are permitted on general funds. It is best to ask the vendor the value of these services rather than make a personal judgment.
- Example: a sponsorship costs $1,000 but $500 goes toward advertising and $500 is charitable contribution THEN $500 can be paid on general funds (10010) for marketing and $500 must be paid on OGE fund.
- If the event is purely charitable contribution or is a non-University fundraising event, such as a gala, this must be paid on OGE Miscellaneous funds; approved by the Chancellor.