Common Expenditure Rules

Allocation and Expenditures Must Fit ASUO's Mission

All expenditures must adhere to ASUO’s Mission. As Incidental Fund Trustees, ASUO Officers have been given control of money in trust with a legal and moral obligation to administer it solely for the purposes specified.

Allocations Must Adhere to a Whole Dollar Format

UO budget allocations do not allow “cents.” Always round to the nearest dollar when allocating Incidental Funds.

Funds Must be Viewpoint Neutral 

Incidental Funds are considered a "limited public forum" under the US Constitution's First Amendment. I-Funds must be allocated in a viewpoint neutral manner.

  • Funding decisions cannot be based on a group's point of view.
  • An organization cannot be denied funding because it advocates a particular opinion.
  • Only factors that are unrelated to viewpoint may be considered when evaluating funding proposals.
  • Viewpoint neutrality does not require equal funding. 

Fund Expenditures Cannot be Carried

The UO Fiscal Year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. Expenditures from Incidental Fund budgets must correspond to the budget year for which they were intended. I-Funds may not be allocated for any use that requires expenditures beyond the current fiscal year.

Expenditures Must Fit the Intended Purpose

Line Item Transfers

As long as the organization's entire budget has a positive balance, up to 10% of funds can be transferred from one line item to another, for all line items except food. Transfers can be arranged with ASUO Finance. 

Requests to transfer more than 10% of funds, or to involve food line items, are subject to Senate approval. In addition, stipends not claimed for any particular month are considered forfeited and may not be reallocated toward any other purpose.

Fund Expenditures Must Fit the Line Item Description

Any budget expenditures requested by Student Organization Officers must fit the activity line item from which the expenditure is drawn. This requirement is upheld by ASUO Finance and requires senator diligence when new line items are created.

During the budget process, new line items are authorized by PFC. Throughout the fiscal year, new line items may only be created by Senate. 

Expenditure Contracts

Service arrangements, rentals, speaker fees, and some forms of travel require written agreements. Contracts must be written and approved by authorized UO staff members. ASUO Finance and Dave Phinney, SGES Accounting Technician, are the appropriate resources for ASUO Officers and student organization leaders regarding contracts.

  • Students, faculty and staff are not authorized to bind the university to a legal arrangement.
  • Documentations with a set of deliverables with terms and conditions requiring a signature are legal agreements and must be approved through ASUO Finance. 
  • If a vendor asks for an agreement in advance, a legal contract is usually needed.

ASUO Finance will assist organizations by drafting and finalizing agreements, then coordinating the approval of an officer with signing authority. This process takes several weeks. Generally, 4-6 weeks of preparation time is needed to draft and finalize a contract. ASUO Officers with questions about contracted services should consult ASUO Finance.

Food Rules

According to Senate Rules, student organizations may purchase food with incidental fees only if:

  • The food is integral to the event.
  • Said event is open to all Incidental Fee paying students.
  • The food is needed to provide unique opportunities.
  • The money is being taken out of a food holding account.

Only off-campus retreats with access to a full kitchen can purchase raw meat with Incidental Fees. 

Food and Refreshments at Student Events and Meetings

University policy allows expenditures for meals, refreshments, and snacks at irregularly scheduled student meetings and events. The following conditions are outlined:

  • Meeting documentation is required.
  • Meetings must be irregularly scheduled.
  • Meetings must last two or more hours.
  • Activity must be authorized by ASUO and must benefit student groups.

University policy prohibits expenditures for meals, refreshments, and snacks under the following circumstances:

  • Activity is a regularly scheduled meeting.
  • Entertainment associated with such meals cannot be paid with university funds.
  • External social (non-business) activities. 

Catering Policy

University policy mandates that any food or beverage services scheduled in university facilities be provided by University Catering. This includes delivery. Catering by other food vendors must receive prior written approval from University Catering through the completion of a University Catering Waiver Form. 


  • Food vendors are approved by ASUO during the Street Faire.
  • Food and beverages are purchased from businesses occupying leased spaces in University owned or leased facilities.
  • Groups consuming food are prepared by a student organization in a university kitchen under the supervision of a UO Dining food handler.
  • Foods are pre-packaged. 

Pizza is not exempted from Catering Policy and requires a Catering Waiver. 

Bottled Water

Senate Rules prohibit student organizations from using I-Funds to purchase bottled water. This includes one-time use water bottles, water coolers, and refillable jugs.


The use of institution funds for the purchase of alcohol is prohibited. 


If a student organization receives approval for food or refreshments, and the host is allowed to choose the amount of the tip/gratuity, university policy allows up to 15% of the total charge. 


The UO has numerous travel rules, all of which are published on the Business Affairs website.

A few key rules include:

  1. Documentation of the business purpose for the expense.
  2. Advance registration is required for any student organization-related travel paid for by the I-Fund.
  3. Pre-approval by ASUO Finance is required.
  4. Airfare must be booked using UO approved travel agents.
  5. Per diem rate caps are set and may not be exceeded. Food payments during travel are subject to the rate cap.

Apparel Expenditures

All requests for apparel will require documentation and validation of the business purpose for the expenditure. 

Apparel as Uniforms

Student organizations may purchase uniforms for use at events and activities sponsored by the organization, provided they come from a relevant line item in the organization's budget and are utilized in the same fiscal year purchased. Used uniforms may be stored for re-use in future fiscal years.

Apparel as Marketing

Student organizations may use t-shirts or other apparel items as marketing, provided:

  1. Items are purchased using a relevant line item.
  2. Items do not feature a design which infringes on UO Marketing and Branch Management policies.
  3. Items are distributed in the same fiscal year as the budget they are drawing from. Pre-purchasing for the next fiscal year is not allowed.

Apparel as Prizes

Organizations may give away t-shirts as prizes, however, these purchases must adhere to gift policies and must be made from a relevant line item in the organization's budget.

Prizes and Gifts

The university prohibits institution funds from being used as cash prizes.

The purchase of a gift is acceptable if the gift assists in fulfilling a program's mission, the gift's value does not exceed $25.00, and if the gift is from a relevant line item. There are also some conditions:

  • It is prohibited to purchase gift certificates. Gift certificates to the Duck Store are the only exception and will require documentation.
  • The use of I-Funds to honor an employee's achievements is prohibited. 
  • Gifts exceeding $25.00 in value is considered a compensation, not a gift, and will require the filing of a personal service contract. 

All gifts/prizes with a value over $10.00 require documentation of the recipient names, ID numbers, and the gift/prize value. ASUO Finance also requires documentation outlining the business purpose of the expense. 

Conferences and Retreats

Grey Area

Several grey areas currently exist for conference and retreat-related expenditures. Below are some outstanding questions:

  • Do ASUO Officers have a preferred standard for methods of travel to conferences and retreats? 
  • Do ASUO Officers have a preferred standard for the amount a student organization's budget is devoted to retreat or conference attendance?
  • Do ASUO Officers have a preferred standard for the agenda that must be submitted for conference and retreat expenses?
  • Do ASUO Officers have a preferred standard regarding the maximum number of I-Fund sponsored conferences or retreats that a student organization may attend?
  • Do ASUO Officers have a preferred standard for passing along conference or retreat knowledge to others?

University Policy

University policy requires documentation for retreats. A written agenda with a clear business purpose, a list of attendees and their positions, and a location must be included. 

Expenditures for conferences and retreats must come from a relevant line item in the organization’s budget and must take place in the same fiscal year as the expenditure made. 

University food and refreshment policy overlaps conference and retreat planning for activities on university property. 


Attendees must be selected from a pool of applicants open to the entire student body or all students within a specific school or college when participation in a conference is limited to such students.

Surplus Requests

  • Student Organizations requesting for surplus funds for retreats or conferences must submit a detailed agenda outlining their request and the components of the retreat or conference. 
  • Detailed agendas must be communicated with a student senator.
  • If the requesting organization has not fundraised more than half of the request cost, surplus funds for conferences or retreats require a two-thirds majority vote of Senate.
  • No single group or event may receive more than $10,000 of I-Funds (for combined costs of conferences, retreats, and travel) in a single fiscal year without a two-thirds majority vote of Student Senate.

Conference Expenditures for Non-Students

Senate Rules allow student organizations to pay for university staff members' attendance at conferences, provided the attendee is selected through an unbiased process, and the student organization has made efforts to ensure the experience gained by the attendee is passed along to further the physical and cultural development of the entire student body.

I-Fund and Fundraising/Charity

I-Funds May Not be Used to Avoid Policies or Rules

Student Senate Rules restrict I-Funds from being used to generate income for a purpose that could not otherwise be funded with incidental fees.

Proceeds Must be Deposited into E-Fund

All proceeds from I-Fund-related endeavors must be deposited into the Student Organization’s event revenue fund (also referred to as E-Fund).

I-Funds May Not be Used for Charity or Donations

University expense guidelines prohibit the use of funds for donations or voluntary contributions. Funds raised, however, may be donated to "legitimate charitable organizations" determined by the EMU Director.

Fundraising on Campus Must Meet UO Policy and Approval Requirements

Advance approval of any fundraising endeavors by student groups on campus is required. No student organization may engage in fundraising, except pursuant to prior approval procedures.

To request permission to fundraise, a student organization must seek approval in advance to the Director of the Erb Memorial Union. Written permission is required for all student groups fundraising on the university premises, grounds, and facilities on campus. The application must describe the event, the purpose of the event, where the funds will go, and the use to which the funds will be put.

The following are acceptable uses to which funds raised may be put:

  • The cultural and educational enrichment of University community.
  • The benefit of the student fundraising organization.
  • For donation to legitimate charitable organizations.

Any student organizations engaged in fundraising is required to file a financial report seven days before the end of each term, or within seven days after any fundraising event in which gross receipts exceed $1,000. 

Events Requiring Tickets are Subject to Controls and Audit Procedures

Oregon Administrative Rule 571.011 delegates ticket controls and audit procedures to the Erb Memorial Union staff. It is highly recommended for student organizations engaging in ticket distribution to consult with ASUO Finance to ensure they fully understand how this policy may impact their event.

Computer and Technology Purchases

All technology purchases — regardless of fund source — are subject to UO policies, which specify:

  • Computer purchases must be made using university-approved agents. 
  • Software purchases are subject to university pre-approval.
  • Computer or technology hardware purchases must have a secure storage location. 

Contact SGES Office Coordinator Nicole Nelson for more information on computer and technology purchases.