COE Fiscal Office FAQ
Compensation for Extra Work
- I'm performing extra work for another UW sponsored project – can I receive excess compensation?
Excess compensation is explicitly un-allowed on sponsored projects. Individuals can receive a TPS if explicitly allowed by the grant or contract sponsor. Please contact your finance manager and COE HR (email@example.com) group.
- I receive 100% pay during the academic year from the College – can I delay payment for the work I do on sponsored projects until the summer?
No, the work dictates the pay. You should receive compensation in the period that the work is performed.
- Can I receive additional pay types while on sabbatical?
Travel (including conferences)
- What is per diem?
Per diem means "per day". It is a set amount that the college can reimburse travelers for meals, lodging, & other incidentals while in travel status. Travelers can choose to be reimbursed for the per diem rate for meals and incidentals instead of providing individual receipts for each meal that was purchased while in travel status. Additionally, the lodging per diem rate is the maximum amount that the college will reimburse a traveler for their hotel before taxes. Per diem rates are set by General Services Administration (GSA) the and the rates, which can vary by state and city. Lodging per diem can be found here. Meals & Incidentals (M&IE) can also be found at the same site. If in doubt, please ask the finance office.
- What if the conference hotel costs more than per diem?
Lodging expenses over per diem but no more than 150% of the total per diem rate for lodging and meals is allowed if the traveler attends a meeting, conference, convention, or training session where they are expected to have UW business interaction with other participants in addition to scheduled events. As well, the maximum benefit will be achieved by authorizing the traveler to stay at the lodging facilities where the meeting, conference, convention, or training session is held or in general vicinity (5 miles). This exception does not apply if faculty and staff choose to host a meeting with state or federal funds at a location that is over per diem. Travelers must provide documentation that lists the hotel as the conference hotel in order to be reimbursed.
Any lodging (whether conference hotel or not) exceeding 150% of the total per diem, requires prior approval by the Assistant Dean of Finance.
- If I don't stay at the conference hotel, is there any additional information that I need to provide?
If lodging is within per diem, additional information is not necessary, however if the chosen lodging will incur additional costs (i.e. taxi fare), you'll need to provide information for claiming these additional costs and provide documentation of proof of lower costs overall. If the chosen lodging exceeds per diem, you will need to seek prior approval by the Assistant Dean of Finance.
- Can I attend the optional award dinner at the end of the conference?
This depends on the funding source but generally this is reimbursable only if the meal is conference/seminar sponsored and has speakers or pertinent round table discussions. If allowable, the actual cost of the meal will be reimbursed and the corresponding dinner per diem will be removed from the reimbursement. A conference agenda would be required to show that this was a round table discussion as a part of the awards.
- If I purchased a meal for another person while in travel status, do I need to provide receipts?
Yes, you must provide an itemized receipt whenever paying for another person's meals.
- What can I use the College CTA for?
The CTA can be used for airline, rail/bus tickets and can be used for Non-UW lodging be within per diem for the location.
The CTA cannot be used for:
any travel that includes personal time.
used to purchase lodging for UW employees in groups of less than 5.
consultant travel costs. Consultant travel costs should be invoiced for and paid through P2I.
- Do I have to use per diem at a COE organized event (In Seattle or while in travel status)?
For COE organized conferences, meetings, retreats, workshops etc., all costs must be within per diem of the location, unless you have discretionary funds or the costs are for light meals and refreshments.
- How do I get a hotel block for a meeting I want to host?
Pre-approval is needed, as well as an agenda, business purpose, and invitee list. CoE will secure the block, but it is the research group's responsibility to get a contract. When possible, request government rates and/or use a UW contract hotel. If the hotel contract will be in excess of the direct buy limit, a sole source justification may also be needed. Please contact your finance manager with any questions.
- Driving versus Flying - Do I need a comparison fare?
For in-state travel no comparison fare is needed. [new line] For out-of-state travel a list of comparison fares is required and you can only be reimbursed for the lessor of the costs. [new line] In either case, driving can be justified, if a vehicle is necessary to facilitate UW business and the cost of driving (mileage) is less than airfare and ground transportation at the destination.
- What is a Comparison Fare?
A comparison fare is a list of airfares from a travel website that shows multiple airfare costs for business only dates/times. It is required when personal time is taken with any trip or when justifying driving versus flying out of state. You can see an example here.
- Do I have Professional Development Funds if I am faculty?
Voting Faculty have annual professional development funds. The funds are listed in your offer letter if there is an exception.
- What can I buy with my faculty professional development funds?
- Funds may be used to support professional development including:
- conference travel
- memberships in professional organizations
- research travel
- other items allowable by UW expenditure policies.
Prior budget approval is needed when spending professional development funds. This can be sent to PurchasePath. If you do not have access to purchasepath or are unsure how to do this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- What can I use my salary savings or recovery funds for?
Answer: for specific questions, please consult your finance manager.
Unallowable: food, gifts and gift cards, flowers, scholarships, donations, travel costs in excess of per diem, airfare above economy/coach class. Please consult COE fiscal staff for guidance on the allowability of specific costs not identified above.
Allowable: funding course reduced teaching load/buy outs (please see Reduced Teaching Load section below), faculty summer salary, research assistants, course graders, instructional materials, travel, equipment and supplies.
- Can I carry forward my professional development funds?
Faculty must spend their annual allocation by June 30 of each year. If it is anticipated that funds will remain at June 30, faculty may request carry forward of up to a maximum of $1,500 of their total funds Carry forward requests of up to a maximum of $1500 must be submitted to email@example.com no later than the last day of spring quarter and include a brief description of the plan and timeline for spending the funds. Faculty will receive approval of the carry forward request within three business days after the receipt of the request.
- What is the TRF fee?
The Technology Recharge Fee (TRF) was established in 2010. It is a per capita rate paid directly by all UW academic and administrative units. The per-capita count includes all salaried employees whether full- or part-time and regardless of job responsibilities, or location. Also included are graduate students employees paid as professional staff, whether full- or part-time and regardless of job responsibilities, or location. Excluded are graduate students paid hourly and student hourly employees. All the services that are provided by this fee may be found here.
- What does COE pay for the TRF fee?
For FY 18, the College was charged approximately $253,595. Sponsored Research was charged 26% of the cost and 5-6% charged to self-sustaining units.
- How does the College pay for the TRF fee?
Where compliant with sponsor requirements, grants and sponsored research are charged directly for this cost using the proportionate benefit rule. Additionally, revenue generating activities, contracts, and self-sustaining activities are charged to recapture the cost of doing business. Lastly, state and indirect cost recovery budgets are charged in proportion to FTE. Fees are charged when allowable, allocable, reasonable and are consistently applied.
- What is the HRP fee?
The Human Resources/Payroll fee was instituted in the fall of 2017. The College of Education prepaid approximatively $770,000 prior to implementation. These funds were paid fully from College funds. Presently, the College is direct charged approximately 42K a year for HRP. You may read more about the HRP fee here.
- How does the College pay for the HRP fee?
The fee is allocated to appropriate units, budgets and programs. Grants which are not federal and the sponsor does not explicitly disallow the charge will be charged in proportion to the FTE on the grant. The same allocation method is used for self-sustaining and revenue generating activities. Fees are charged when allowable, allocable, reasonable and are consistently applied.
- What is reasonable?
Reasonable is not personal preference. Examples of times where it would not be reasonable to charge the TRF and HRP fee may include but is not limited to: budgets with no salaries or people, equipment grants, supplements for travel, budgets with only hourly students who are not a part of the fee, etc.
- What sponsors disallow this charge?
Federal sponsors and federal flow thru do not allow this charge. Additionally, some foundations may not allow it. Presently, one example is the Spencer Foundation. Check with all sponsors in the pre-award stage by viewing their website and/or RFA or follow up with the Pre-Award or Finance team.
- Is it true that only the College of Education charges sponsored research for HRP and TRF?
Food & Alcohol
- How can I serve food at a meeting or event?
Requests for food purchases on non-food approved budgets must be accompanied by a pre-approved food form, whether they are reimbursements, fiscal office purchase, procard purchase or UW HFS purchase.
All meetings with food must be accompanied by: an agenda; and a list of attendees or a sign in sheet with a copy of the invitation.
- What type of receipt do I need?
All food receipts must be itemized.
- What is a receipt?
All charges are required to have proof of payment. A receipt is proof of payment. Additionally a store receipt is proof of receipt of the goods.
A receipt is a written acknowledgment of having received, or taken into one's possession, a specified amount of money, goods, etc. A receipt is not a confirmation notice or quote. The information on a receipt should include:
- Vendor Name
- Description of purchase
- Amount Paid
- Date Paid
Receipts should be itemized to show exactly what was purchased. For example, if a meal is being reimbursed, include the itemized receipt showing the food and beverages being purchased at that meal.
- Can I charge food on a grant?
Food is allowable on grant and contracts if the sponsor has given explicit approval, and it is an integral part of the meeting or conference. An example would be the language in the NSF award letter that states "Costs of entertainment, amusement, diversion and social activities, and any costs directly associated with such costs (such as meals, lodging, rentals, transportation and gratuities) are unallowable. When certain meals are an integral and necessary part of a conference or meeting (i.e., working meals where business is transacted), grant funds may be used for such meals. Grant funds may also be used to furnish a reasonable amount of coffee or soft drinks for conference or meeting participants and attendees during coffee breaks. No NSF funds may be spent on meals or coffee breaks for intramural meetings of an organization or any of its components, including, but not limited to, laboratories, departments and centers." An email or letter from the sponsor would also suffice.
- Can I charge my grant for a lunch for my staff?
If the lunch is for a working meeting integral to the grant and the sponsor allows it, then yes. Please provide an agenda and list of attendees.
- I have a non-federal grant, can I charge alcohol to it since meals are allowed?
No, only discretionary budgets can be charged for alcohol. If a sponsor allows alcohol, grant and contract accounting can set up a discretionary sub-budget on your grant. Alcohol permits must also be charged to discretionary funds.
- I have a non-federal grant, can I charge in excess of per diem for food?
No, only discretionary budgets can be charged for food in excess of per diem. If the original invitee list was within per diem, but the number of people who attended caused the meal to be over per diem, it is still an allowable charge on the grant.
- Can I charge the college for a catered lunch for my staff and colleagues who were meeting during lunch?
If a recruitment meal, then yes. A grant, contract, or self-sustaining budget can pay for an integral lunch meeting if allowable on that funding source and with pre-approval.
- What documentation is required when asking for reimbursement for or purchasing of food?
If the funding source does not have food approval at the budget level you need an approved UW & COE food approval form – prior to the event.
Prior to the event: This will require pre-approval in PurchasePath with an invitee list, anticipated cost, business purpose, and agenda.
After food has been purchased: A final agenda, an attendee list, a detailed receipt with alcohol broken out.
Invitee list – those invited to the meal/event.
Attendee list – those who actually attended the meal/event.
- If am planning an event and would like to use a local, minority, or women owned catering company. Does UW have a list?
Answer: Yes. See this link https://bdp.uw.edu/tools-for-campus/catering-services-directory
- Can I get reimbursed for bringing snacks to an end of year celebration?
If you have discretionary or gift funding, snacks can be purchased for an end of year celebration. If you are on a self-sustaining program, please contact your self-sustaining finance manager.
- Can we get a water cooler?
Water coolers are paid for on discretionary funding.
- How much does it cost to fully support a grad student?
The cost to fully support a graduate student changes annually and is dependent upon the level of the graduate student in the program. In general, salary, benefits, and tuition can run 42-45K for state funded students. The most current monthly salary schedules can be found here:
https://grad.uw.edu/graduate-student-funding/funding-information-for-departments/administering-assistantships/tara-salaries/ Regular (Non-Variable Rate) TA/RA/SA Salary Schedule
What's required for a student to have a RA/TA appointment?
A graduate student must be registered for 10 credits in the academic year and 2 credits in the summer quarter.
- Can a graduate student get benefits?
Salaried Academic Student Employees are eligible for health insurance and tuition/fees coverage only if:
They have appointments of 50% FTE or more for five out of the six pay periods in a payroll quarter (see below)
They are paid through the UW payroll system, and
They are enrolled in at least ten credits
Summery hourly Graduate Student Research Assistants (GRSAs) are not eligible for health insurance or tuition/fees benefits. However, they will continue to receive benefits if they were employed the previous 3 quarters.
More information may be found on the Graduate School Website.
- (NRD): How do NRD fee waivers work?
If you are a non-resident and you have a COE scholarship you might be eligible for an NRD Stipend appointment. In order to qualify you must meet the following conditions:
1) Have a scholarship(s) that add up to $1250/quarter
2) Approval from Assistant Dean for Academic & Student Affairs
The scholarship award is converted to a payroll appointment called an NRD Stipend Appointment. Using the example above, the $1250 is paid $250 per UW pay period for the first 5 pay periods of each quarter. The entry of the appointment into payroll will generate the NRD waiver by the graduate school.
Incentive payments and research study payments
- I want to pay a stipend/honorarium/incentive to a non-UW personnel for [insert activity] - how do I pay them?
Payment for non-UW personnel can be done through either a P2I or a Non-PO invoice (if the individual is a registered vendor). COE will require pre-approval, a consulting agreement, and an invoice (for services).
- I want to pay a stipend/honorarium/incentive to a UW personnel for [insert activity] - how do I pay them?
All UW individuals, or those who have been paid by UW in the last tax year, should be paid through Workday for consulting and services. UW employees who do not hold a current appointment can receive honoraria via a Payments to Individuals (P2I).
- Can I pay non-UW person with a gift card for speaking to my program or providing a service for my program?
Not unless it is paid with discretionary funds or are a participant support payment. They can be paid via Payment to Individual in Ariba.
- How do I pay a research study subject?
First, contact your finance manager. They will provide you with the study subject log, and discuss payment options.
- How do I incentivize someone as a participant of an event?
Participants can be paid via a P2I or a gift card, depending on dollar amount and population. Please contact your finance manager for payment options.
- Do I need to collect social security numbers?
If the payment recipient will receive more than $600 during a calendar year, then the research group needs to collect the social security number to submit to the Fiscal Office.
- Can I use gift card to pay incentive payment to participants who took part in surveys and/or in similar activities in which their opinions are documented for using apps?
It may be possible. Please contact your finance manager for more information and to discuss any IRB implications.
Memberships and Subscriptions
- Is the cost of Amazon Prime Membership (which would allow for savings on shipping) allowable to a Sponsored Award?
As the benefit to this membership can be received by any number of Awards, the cost cannot be attributed to a single Award. The cost of membership should be billed to either department funds or a discretionary budget.
Institutional subscriptions may be allowable when directly related to the objectives of a sponsored Award. An example of an allowable direct charge of an institutional subscription would be where the objective is to compile data from articles into a database, or as reference material to support the Award. Per GIM 23, individual memberships and subscriptions are allowable only as an indirect cost. This is because professional memberships and subscriptions benefit the staff in all of their professional work; the cost cannot benefit just a single Award. Thus, the cost cannot be included on an Award budget.
Federal regulations allow the cost of the institution's membership in business, technical, and professional organizations as part of F&A, but do not mention individual memberships. Per GIM23, individual memberships are allowable only as an indirect cost. This is because professional memberships benefit the staff in all of their professional work; the cost cannot benefit just a single Award. Thus, the cost cannot be included on an Award budget. As the nature of a membership in one of these organizations provides a benefit to all the work and professional activities of the individual, it is difficult to allocate the cost of this benefit to a single Award. For this reason individual memberships are not allowable as a direct cost to an Award. It is COE policy that the only exception to this would be if the membership plus reduced conference fee is less than the conference fee without membership; in this instance the cost is justified because of a lower cost overall to the grant.
- Am I allowed to purchase memberships, books, or subscriptions as a part of my professional development (i.e., Faculty Allocation/GNM funding)?
- I have an off-campus meeting early in the morning where I will claim mileage. Can I get reimbursed from my home to the meeting?
Yes and no. If employee is spending any part of a workday at their permanent duty station then mileage will be calculated from either duty station or home, whichever is closest.
- My car was damaged while I was driving to an off-site location. Will COE pay for my damage?
No, you are responsible for carrying insurance and liable for any accident occurrence while driving a personal-operated vehicle even while driving to a place of official business.
- Can I get reimbursed for parking on campus if I am a UW employee?
The short answer is no. It is against UW and COE policy to pay for employee parking at their duty station. Contact your finance manager for specifics.
- Can I get reimbursed for parking off campus?
Yes, if you are required to attend a meeting off campus on official business you can get reimbursed.
- Can I use a procard or travel card to pay for parking while in travel status?
No, you can't use a procard to pay for parking while in travel status, but you can use your travel card. You can however use the procard to pay for local parking (within 50 miles of duty station.)
- What documents do I need to be reimbursed for parking?
You need pre-approval, that includes a business purpose, supervisor approval, budget approval, an agenda (if a meeting), the original receipt.
- Are reference books allowed on sponsored research?
It depends. Books, journals, periodicals, and subscriptions are normally treated as indirect costs. This is sponsor specific which is why a benefit to the grant statement must be included in all book purchases.
NSF: Reference books and periodicals may be charged to the grant only if they are specifically required for the project.
Examples of unallowable charges:
General or reference texts, including dictionaries, manuals, reprints that generally assist the PI in keeping up with his/her field of research, publications that provide a general benefit to research and teaching activities subscriptions to journals
These expenditures may be charged as direct expenses only in unusual circumstances. Examples include:
The book or journal is not available in the library and can be associated specifically with the sponsored award
The book or journal is available from the library but is utilized so frequently for a specific award that a library copy is not sufficient
A book contains a specific research technique or information that will introduce efficiencies to the research or improve the quality of results
Books should not be purchased within the last month of a grant unless the business purpose discusses the need so close to the end of the grant (needed for writing the final report, etc.).
- Why do I have to get Pre-Approval?
Pre-approval is important for: ensuring there are enough funds for the cost; making sure the cost is allowable & allocable; getting approval from your PI/Supervisor and letting your Fiscal Manager know of the cost. There are also Washington State laws that govern how the UW buys things. Pre-Approval will ensure that laws are not broken.
- Why do I need a business purpose/benefit to grant statement?
The business purpose is used to determine allowability on the funding source. It should prove that the item/service/etc. is allowable, allocable, and reasonable.
- What is PurchasePath?
PurchasePath is a procurement management system that will replace the need for paper request forms and approval signatures. Almost all procurement/reimbursement requests should be entered into PurchasePath. Please contact your Budget Manager if you need to added or have questions regarding PurchasePath.
- How to do I pay for Transcriptions?
When hiring and paying people for transcription work, we need to pay for it directly from UW. There are tax issues that could arise if the individuals pay for the service out of pocket and then seek reimbursement. We prefer that transcriptions go through rev.com. We have a UW account and can add individuals to have sub accounts. Once they are set-up, the individual performs all of the work with rev.com and at the end of the month coe_fiscal receives the invoice. It is important that before setting up these sub accounts there is confirmation of funding to pay for these services. Occasionally there are instances of students submitting transcriptions that are more than there funding source. It is their responsibility to pay for the overage. If you would like to set-up a sub account at rev.com please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to do this.