Expense Guidelines for College/Departmental Funds

Gifts of unrestricted dollars from donors are invaluable to Western. These funds are flexible and can be directed where and when they are needed most. Unrestricted funds give us the margin of excellence needed to respond to critical needs as they arise and to remain on the cutting edge of societal issues. These precious dollars are not intended to be used to circumvent the requirement for a prudent purchasing process.

Decisions regarding the use of unrestricted donations are made at the discretion of the vice presidents and deans who determine the greatest needs in their units and consider the outcomes being sought. In making their decisions, the vice presidents and deans ask themselves, “If I called the donor and asked him or her for permission to spend their money in this way, what response would I get?”

These guidelines reflect Western’s culture of celebrating its employees. Departmental events for employees leaving or retiring have now been included as an allowable expense. The President’s Cabinet recommends that when determining which of these events to fund that the following characteristics of the employee are considered: the employee’s longevity, accomplishments, responsibilities and future connections back to Western. Additionally, fundraising in honor of the departing employee is encouraged (e.g., an endowment established in their name).

These guidelines were developed in keeping with IRS guidelines. In the eyes of the IRS, a gift designated to benefit a specific individual is not considered a donation. In instances when the donor is also the fund manager, expenditures must be approved by the supervisor.

Allowable Expenses

Scholarships and Fellowships

  • Scholarships and fellowships may be made to currently enrolled Western Washington University students in good standing. All such expenses must be processed using the scholarship funding module in Banner Finance (SWADESG) and be approved by the Western Washington University Foundation and the Office of Student Financial Aid. The expenses must adhere to federal, state, and university guidelines for financial aid. Preferably, award minimum is $1,500.

Academic Program Support Expenses

  • Research and instructional equipment purchase and maintenance, computer software, travel and lodging costs, conference registration fees, visiting scholar and guest speaker honoraria, journal subscriptions, book purchases, database subscriptions and other expenditures that directly support the academic program.
  • Salary support for faculty/staff/students upon approval from the appropriate academic officer and the Western Washington University Foundation.

Departmental Events

  • Celebration events for employees as they retire or leave the University. These events require approval from the appropriate vice president or dean who will consider the employee's longevity, accomplishments, responsibilities, and future connections back to Western. Fundraising in honor of the departing employee is encouraged (e.g., endowment established in their name).

  • Search committee and designated guest' meal expenses (those that cannot be paid with state of Washington funds) during recruitment interviews for new faculty/staff members.
  • Scholarship or award ceremonies, visiting scholar and dignitary functions, faculty/staff/student recognition events, advisory board meetings and donor cultivation/recognition activities.
  • Attendance costs at functions where faculty/staff or students represent the department, college, or university.

Miscellaneous Expenses

  • Airfare and per diem for spouses of prospective employees and moving expenses in excess of amount paid by University.*

  • Shipping of personal vehicle for new faculty hires.*
  • Fees for professional examinations, if work related
  • Memberships in professional organizations
  • Outstanding service awards for faculty, staff, and students.
  • Gift to outside organizations or distinguished visitors on behalf of the college or department.
  • Incentive awards for phonathon callers or volunteer fundraisers.
  • Departmental/College marketing/promotional efforts including publications, web pages and videos.

*Note: These expenses are considered taxable income to the employee or prospective employee and must be reported to the IRS.

Disallowed Expenses

  • Campus parking permits for employees and employee parking violation tickets either on or off campus.
  • Departmental social events such as faculty/staff birthdays or any personal recognition, except for events for employees leaving or retiring.
  • Personal presents (e.g., retirement gifts and flowers for sickness deaths, and births) for college/department members or their families. Legal expenses incurred by faculty/staff or students.
  • Travel expenses for non-University employees with the exception of faculty, visiting scholars and dignitaries, and professional staff recruitment and their spouses or partners.
  • Travel/meals to a non-work related event.
  • Non-work related expenses (water for water cooler,* supplies, car maintenance items, subscriptions, appliances, etc. that do not support the academic program). *Exceptions to this include units with a high volume of visitors, units were water quality is a problem, and units where there is limited or no access to water.
  • Expenses for which there are no receipts.
  • Other expenses deemed by the Executive Director of Western Washington University Foundation to be contrary to donor intent.

If you are unsure if an expense will be covered by Western Washington University Foundation funds, please call the Foundation at 650-3027 to get approval. If upon review by the Foundation, an expenditure does not appear to fall within the guidelines, it will be referred back to the vice president or dean for additional justification.