Hospitality Expense Reimbursement


Hospitality expenses (including food and food related items) may be paid with university funds to the extent that the purchase and use of these services and items is consistent with the mission and fiduciary responsibilities of the university. This policy applies to activities that promote the university to the public and the provision of hospitality in connection with official university business and specifies the university funds that may be used for such purposes. In addition, this policy applies to those circumstances where it is appropriate to purchase food items.


Executive Order 761 and Education Code sections 66600, 89030, 89035, and 89044.


Approving Authority - The University Controller has been delegated authority by the President to approve expenses in accordance with this policy. The University Controller is the final determinant when deciding whether charges are appropriate or not.

Auxiliary Organization Funds - Funds held by a recognized auxiliary organization.

Award - A tangible personal property item in recognition of service or achievement directly benefiting the university.

General Fund Appropriations - Funds appropriated to the university by the State legislature for support expenditures of the university.

Gift - Anything of value given or bestowed upon an individual, group, or entity with the expectation of benefit accruing to the university.

Hospitality - The provision of meals (catered or restaurant) or light refreshments (beverages, hors d'oeuvres, pastries, cookies, etc.), promotional materials, gifts, and travel expenses of official guests of the university. Hospitality includes expenses for activities that promote the university to the public, usually with the expectation of benefits accruing directly or indirectly to the university and may include the provision of gifts, awards, and promotional materials.

Business Meetings - Administrative meetings of employees of the same work location (the main campus) generally scheduled to last less than four hours. Food and non-alcoholic beverages are allowable only if the provision of hospitality is a necessary and integral part of the meeting. It does not include departmental celebrations (which are addressed in Note a. below regarding employee morale), officially approved retreats, or collegial dining among coworkers (which are non-reimbursable).

Official Host - A university employee who hosts a meeting, conference, or event.

Official Guest - A person invited by an official host to attend a university meeting, conference, reception, or event. Examples of official guests include employees from another campus, members of the community, or media representatives. Employees of the university are not considered official guests.

Official Campus Function - An event that has been approved by the President or Vice Presidents.

Promotional Materials - A gift of tangible personal property that is distributed to promote the . name or image of the university, to provide information, or enhance university productivity. Promotional items are of minor value and bear the logo or other icon or information identifying the university such as a pen, folder, calendar, or clothing.

Retreats - Administrative meetings of employees of the same work location, generally scheduled to last for four hours or more, and held on an infrequent basis. These meetings are concerned with the welfare of the university, as well as the employee morale of the department. Food and non-alcoholic beverages are allowable only if the provision of hospitality is a necessary and integral part of the retreat. Retreats must have an agenda and be approved in advance by the applicable vice president.

Special Funds - Funds authorized for support of activities that are supplemental to the primary mission of the university and are paid for by fees and revenues other than general appropriations. Special funds include, among others, Continuing Education Revenue Funds, Lottery Education Funds, Trust Funds, and Special Project Funds.

Allowable Expenses and Occasions

Hospitality expenses must be directly related to, or associated with, the active conduct of official university business. When a university employee acts as an official host, the occasion must, in the best judgment of the approving authority, serve a clear university business purpose, with no personal benefit derived by the official host or other university employees. In addition, the expenditure of funds for hospitality should be cost effective and in accordance with the best use of public funds.

When determining whether a hospitality expense is appropriate, the approving authority must evaluate the importance of the event in terms of the costs that will be incurred, the benefits to be derived from such an expense, the availability of funds, and any alternatives that would be equally effective in accomplishing the desired objectives.

Prohibited Expenditures

Regardless of funding source:

  • Employee birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, showers, and other personal celebrations or acknowledgements.
  • Employee farewell gatherings that are not official campus functions. Designation of farewell event as an official campus function requires vice presidential approval or approval of the executive manager of the auxiliary organization. Official campus functions do not include off-site parties, dinners, or similar events organized by coworkers and friends. [Retirement events are distinct from "farewell gatherings" and are allowed. Refer to the next section for guidance.]

Funding Sources

Expenditures are allowed from the funding sources indicated below.

Expenditure Funds
Employee Morale [see Note a. below] All Funds
Official campus functions, including retirement receptions [see Note a. below] AllFunds
Gifts and awards to employees
[see Note a. below]
Axuliary Organization Funds

Special Funds (consistent with fund purpose)
Food and beverages when hosting non-campus persons. [see Note b. below] Axuliary Organization Funds

Special Funds (alcohol prohibited)

General fund (alcohol prohibitid)
Food and non-alcoholic beverages for business meetings attended only by employees of the same work location (other than retreats). Axuliary Organization Funds

Special Funds (consistent with fund purpose)
Food and non-alcoholic beverages for university-hosted receptions for employee recognition. Axuliary Organization Funds

Special Funds (consistent with fund purpose)
Promotional items All Funds
Relationship-building activities with donors and others [see Note c. below] Axuliary Organization Funds

Special Funds (consistent with fund purpose)
Travel (transportation and lodging) [see Note d. below] All Funds
Community involment donations. [see Note e. below] Axuliary Organization Funds
Food and beverages for officialy aproved retreats. Axuliary Organization Funds

Special Funds (alcohol prohibited)

General fund (alcohol prohibitid)
Alcoholic beverages Axuliary Organization Funds Only


a. Positive employee morale is a valuable resource. Accordingly, within the constraints imposed by system policy, particularly E.O. 761, this policy allows for expenditures supportive of employee morale (other than those previously identified as prohibited). Official campus functions, such as Staff Awards Day and retirement receptions, are included as they promote employee morale.

b. Food and beverages when hosting non-campus persons for the purpose of promoting the campus are allowed. Alcoholic beverages cannot be purchased with State funds.

c. Upon the judgment of the approving authority, activities other than dining may be used as venues for cultivating donor support or for establishing and building relationships with individuals or corporations, which are of benefit to the university. An example might be golf or sporting events. Documentation must address and support the benefit to the university. Entertainment of vendors must be carefully executed in order to avoid giving the appearance to other vendors of impaired impartiality. Entertainment of vendors to solicit donor support should be restricted to those situations where (1) the university already has, through contract or purchase order, established the business relationship with the vendor; or (2) the university does not intend to do contractual business with the vendor. At the judgment of the administrator, entertainment of vendors to establish or improve relationships dependent on personal interaction is allowable.

d. Upon the judgment of the approving authority, travel for building relationships with individuals or corporations, including cultivating donor relationships, is permitted. This includes reimbursement of travel expenses of invited university guests. Alcoholic beverages cannot be paid from State funds. (See Note b.)

e. Community involvement donations include purchases of tables at fund-raising events of, and contributions toward not-for-profit organizations whose purposes intersect with or promote the mission of the university.

Documentation Requirements

All expenditures must have a properly approved food justification form (see Informed Filler, "Foodjst") and the document must be submitted to Procurement and Support Services for approval.

The office of Procurement and Support Services (559) 278-2111 should be consulted if you have procedural questions or if there are doubts about the validity of the intended purchase. Any hospitality purchases not in conformance with this policy will become the personal liability of the person making the purchase.