Fiscal Guidelines for Faculty Research Funds
The Arts & Science Faculty Research Fund is an annual allocation that may be made to individual faculty members to support their research and scholarship. Only the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of the College or Graduate School, or a Divisional Dean may authorize a Faculty Research Fund.
Typically, research funds are awarded for a period of one to five years, subject to renewal by the Dean based on continued scholarly productivity, availability of funds, and need.
The expectation of the dean in granting a research fund is that it be used to fund direct research expenses (e.g. travel, conference fees, computer equipment and software, publications, and student research assistance), to help the faculty member develop external funding from other sources, and to support such “public goods” as lectures, conferences, visitors, support for graduate students, course enhancements, etc.
When a research fund is awarded, the faculty member is provided with his/her own research fund account. This reduces the cost of administering the funds by allowing the majority of transactions [up to $2,500] to be submitted by the department directly to relevant offices (e.g. purchasing/i-buy, bookstore, accounts payable, etc.) and by allowing faculty members to track their own balances.
Faculty members have discretion in allocating the funds, but all charges made to the account must meet three conditions:
- The charge must be for a research expense or a “public good” for a NYU course, department, program, or school. IRS regulations preclude the Faculty Research Fund from being used to support personal expenditures of the faculty member.
- Only expenditures allowed under University guidelines may be charged to a Faculty Research Fund.
- NYU Travel & Expense Policy
- FAS Travel & Expense Summary Presentation (internal website)
- FAS Faculty Travel & Expense Guidelines (internal website)
- Example exception memo and teaching/research justifications (internal website)
- Only expenditures properly processed in accordance with University guidelines may be charged to a Faculty Research Fund. (see the Purchasing Policies and Procedures Manual, or other related policies). Please note that proper processing includes providing adequate documentation (e.g., receipts, business purpose, etc.). Also, please note that reimbursement requests must be submitted into AP Workflow within 60 days of purchase and/or the travel end date. Departments are encouraged to establish internal deadlines that are less than 60 days to provide sufficient time for processing.
If any one of the three conditions above is not met, faculty will be personally liable for payment. Faculty should check with their Department/Program Administrator before incurring any expense to ensure that the charge is allowable and to determine the proper procedures in which to purchase such items or seek reimbursement.
Research funds are allocated to faculty for a specified period of time. Within this period, unused funds may be rolled over from year to year. At the end of the period, any request for renewal must be sent in writing to the appropriate divisional or school dean, accompanied by a description of how the previous allocation was used, what actions were taken to secure other funding sources, and what “public goods” were supported.
The Faculty Research Fund is intended to provide faculty members with more latitude in administering their funds and make the processing of transactions and reimbursements more efficient. Along with the flexibility and ease of use that faculty have in spending their research funds comes the responsibility to review accounts to ensure that transactions are properly recorded, that budgets are properly established for planned spending, and that the balance is correct on a current basis. Deficits are the responsibility of the faculty member and must be resolved by year end in any one fiscal year (i.e. ending August 31).
The Budget Summary Report is available over the web to the faculty member and Department Administrator through the University Data Warehouse Plus (UDW+) link in the Work section of NYU Home. Faculty should review charges made to the account on a systematic and timely basis. If there appear to be inaccuracies, they should contact their Department Administrator for resolution.
Uses of Faculty Research Funds
Examples of acceptable expenditures are as follows:
- Books, reprints, and subscriptions to academic journals.
- Computer software and hardware: All capital acquisitions remain the property of NYU even if the item is cost-shared with the faculty member's personal funds. All computer orders must be approved by the Director, FAS Computing and Information Technology, and ordered through university systems such as Purchasing/ibuy or the NYU Computer Store.
- Research assistants: If a faculty member hires a full-time RA, the student must meet the requirements of the Graduate School of Arts & Science.
- Travel: Faculty must follow the guidelines for University and Sponsored Programs in order to be reimbursed.
- Part-time employment of GSAS students as research assistants, including salary and fringe benefits.
- Public lectures and conferences held at or hosted by NYU
- Enhancements of courses
- Support for approved Arts and Science visiting scholars
- Summer support for GSAS graduate students
- Undergraduate research projects
Unacceptable Uses of Faculty Research Funds
- Transactions that could be construed as personal expenses (for example, furniture for a home office).
- Items that do not have a clear and direct purpose in supporting the research or “public goods” of the NYU faculty or department.
- Items that do not have a clear benefit to meeting the missions of the University.
- Housing and living expenses for long term assignments (ie: teaching at an NYU portal campus or study away sites) are not appropriate research fund expenses. In certain circumstances, reimbursements for assignments at these locations may be covered by the relevant campus. Faculty should first contact the appropriate office (Office of Global Programs for the study away sites or the relevant campus) before making any arrangements. For acceptable uses of FAS institutional research funds for housing expenses during an approved sabbatical or research leave, please see our clarification communication.
- Mobile cell phone devices, personal/home internet or phone services, and wearable technology are not allowable. Please see our clarification presentation.
Payments from Faculty Research Funds
Faculty members must adhere to University policies and procedures. The appropriate forms must be used to purchase goods or to be reimbursed for expenditures. Otherwise, an expenditure may not be reimbursed. A description of each form and its use is provided below:
- The on-line Accounts Payable Workflow System (AP Workflow) should be used for reimbursement of all expenses incurred during the course of conducting University business. Examples include books, software, or meeting expenses. It is also used for travel expenses. University guidelines apply to all business travel and Federal guidelines apply to any travel that is charged to a federally sponsored research grant. For more information, please review the University Financial Policies (NYU Travel & Expense Policy). Items costing over $1,000 must be ordered through approved University channels (e.g. NYU Computer Store, NYU Purchasing, etc.). Please note that as a general policy, expenses must be:
- Justified under University and FAS expense policies
- Properly documented (e.g., receipts, business purpose, etc.)
- Submitted into AP Workflow (faculty & staff only) within 60 days of purchase and/or the travel end date
- Departments are encouraged to establish internal deadlines that are less than 60 days to provide sufficient time for processing
- Payments to individuals who are not NYU employees or students (e.g., independent contractors and consultants) for professional services, honorariums, etc, must be processed via i-Buy NYU, the University’s online purchasing system. Please note that reimbursements for guests must also be processed via i-Buy NYU. Payments should *not* be made directly from faculty members to students or independent contractors via personal check or cash. For details, please see the Independent Contractor, Honorarium, and Guest Expense Reimbursement Policy and Procedure.
- i-Buy NYU is used to order supplies through the University's Supply Central.
- i-Buy NYU is used to contract for higher-value goods and services that cost more than $1,000. The system is used to generate a Purchase Order, which is the most complex form for ordering goods and services. It is also the form that comes under the greatest University scrutiny since it is a contract between the University and a vendor. Please provide sufficient lead-time for processing of Purchase Orders. Please check with NYU Purchasing on the necessary lead-time, which will depend on the cost of the item or service purchased.
Please note that all transactions up to $2,500 can be approved by the Department/Program Administrator (with the exception of transactions that involve the chair or program director).
In addition, all computer orders, no matter the dollar amount, must be approved by the Directory, FAS Computer and Information Technology. Upon approval, the computer must be purchased through the purchasing system (i-Buy).
Fiscal Authority Guidelines
Listed below are financial guidelines established in managing University funds. It includes types of expenditures, who is authorized to approve expenses, types of expenses, and distribution of forms. Questions or inquiries regarding these procedures should be directed to the appropriate Financial Analyst.
Type of Expenditures Authorized
Other Than Personnel Services (OTPS) expenses charged to funds 10, 20, 21, 22 and 24.
Type of Expenditures Not Authorized
Dollar Limitations for Authorized Expenditures
Dollar Amount: Up to $2,500
Authorized by: Department/Program Administrator
Dollar Amount: $2,501 to $25,000
Authorized by: Financial Analyst, Fiscal Services
Dollar Amount: $25,001 and above
Authorized by: Director, Fiscal Affairs
These limitations apply to the following types of expenditures:
- Expense reimbursement (AP Workflow)
- Request for Advance Form
- i-Buy Orders
- Purchase Orders
- Copy Center (used for duplicating and other copying needs)
- Book Store/Computer Store Requisition Form. All computer orders, no matter the dollar amount, must be approved by the Office of FAS Computer and Information Technology.
Individuals responsible for authorizing expenditures must make certain that:
Accounting information is correct (i.e. the proper FAME account is used).
The purpose of the expenditure is in keeping with Arts & Science and University guidelines (i.e. legitimate instructional, training, research or scholarly purposes).
Documentation necessary to substantiate the expenditure has been submitted (i.e. original receipts are provided).
The expenditure is within the spending limits of the department budget.
For operating accounts (Fund 10), the year-to-date (YTD) amount spent for the fiscal year must be checked to verify that the OTPS bottom line is not in deficit. If the OTPS bottom line is already in deficit, or the expenditure being processed would put the bottom line into deficit, the respective Financial Analyst must be contacted to discuss the situation. The Controller's Department will not process an expenditure request if the OTPS bottom line is in deficit or if the transaction being processed would put the line in deficit.
If operating budget (Fund 10) OTPS funds must be moved from another account to cover a deficit, it can take up to several weeks to complete. Therefore, as OTPS expenditures approach the spending limits of budgets, discussions should be initiated with the appropriate Financial Analyst so that adjustments can be made in anticipation of possible spending overages.
For non-operating accounts (Fund 20, 21 and 22) the balance must be checked for availability of funds. In the case of Fund 24 and 25 accounts, expenses should comply with applicable cost principles and under no circumstance should the overall balance in an account be in deficit.
Once the authorized person has signed payment instruments, they should be distributed as follows:
Document: Expense Reimbursement Form (up to $50)
Distribution: Bursar’s Office, 25 West 4th Street
Document: AP Workflow On-Line/Payment to Individuals Form/Business Payment Form
Distribution: Accounts Payable, Controllers, 726 Broadway, 9th Fl.
Document: Copy Central
Distribution: 547 LaGuardia Place
Document: Bookstore/Computer Store Order Forms
Bookstore: 726 Broadway
Distribution: Computer Store: 242 Greene St.
Copies of all payment requests should be kept in a central file in the originating office. This central file should be kept by fiscal year, with a new file for each fiscal year.
On all forms requiring the signature of the person requesting the funds and an authorized signature, the same person cannot provide both the requestor and approval signature.
A Signature Authorization Form must be on file for each person authorized to sign for any account. To obtain blank forms contact the appropriate Financial Analyst. Once the form is completed, return it to the Financial Analyst assigned to your area for processing. To de-authorize an individual, send written notice to the Financial Analyst for your area, giving the name of the person and the date of de-authorization.
American Express Corporate Card
NYU has arranged with American Express to make available corporate credit cards to qualified faculty and staff for University related travel and dinner/meeting expenses. Information provided by Purchasing Services and Controllers Division describing guidelines on use and procedures for reimbursements are available here.
The card is available to all faculty (including research professionals) and staff who have a need to travel on University business, but is not available to graduate assistants, adjuncts, part-time employees, or employees whose appointments are for less than a full academic year. Cards are issued based on two authorizations. First, Arts & Science authorizes the applicant as eligible to be a ard holder, and then American Express conducts a routine credit check to determine if there is any reason the applicant should not be issued a card.
The card is only a convenience for segregating business related travel from personal travel – it is not a method for charging expenses directly to an University account. The main purpose of the card is to eliminate the need to take cash advances and/or to pay for University related travel on personal credit cards. The card can be used to pay for airline tickets, hotels, restaurants, etc. For incidental expenses paid by cash, card holders are permitted to draw a weekly cash advance.
All charges, without exception, made to the card are the personal responsibility of the card holder until authorized by Arts & Science. The University will not reimburse the card holder or make any payments to American Express for unauthorized charges. Arts & Science will not authorize charges made in the following instances:
- Travel expenses for which insufficient funding exists or funding approval was not obtained in advance;
- Travel expenses that do not comply with the University’s business expense and reimbursement policies;
- Purchases of goods or services.
Because all charges made to the card are the personal responsibility of the card holder and can affect credit histories, it is very important that card holders do not incur charges with the anticipation that reimbursement will be approved after the fact. If reimbursement is coming from a research fund or restricted fund, card holders should confirm the balance available before incurring expenses. Card holders should check on the availability of funds with your departmental administrator. If reimbursement is coming from a department or school account, individuals need to obtain prior written approval for the maximum amount allowed to be reimbursed. Reimbursements from departmental accounts are approved by a Chair, and from school accounts, by the appropriate Dean or Fiscal Services.
In addition to the convenience provided the cardholder, the University will have on-line access to information such as frequently used vendors, destinations, as well as individual card information, from balances to detailed information on charges. Please be aware that the University has the right to cancel cards for misuse. This includes allowing the balance on the card to become delinquent or for making unauthorized charges.
Applications should be submitted to the authorized school administrator, Randall Say, who will then forward the application to the Purchasing Services Division. The latest version of the application can be found on their website.
It is Arts & Science policy to provide basic phone service to all full-time permanent faculty and staff. In general, this means a single-line phone and basic local service. Faculty serving in an administrative capacity (i.e. Chair, DGS, DUGS) are provided multi-line phones. Policies covering long-distance usage are determined on the departmental level. Requests for service (telecommunications, long-distance service, and network services) should be handled through your Departmental Administrator who will coordinate with Fiscal Services for budgetary approval.
Web Sites to refer to for specific information:
- Controllers (fiscal) - FAME system, authorization, chartfields, etc.
- Human Resources (payroll and fiscal).
- Purchasing (fiscal) - NYU policies on purchasing, travel.
- Office of Sponsored Programs (research administration and fiscal) - policies on budgets, fringe benefits, indirect costs.