Professional Memberships – Procedures for Charging University Funds

Current procedures regarding University memberships require approval by the president for institutional memberships costing $5,000 or more. Effective immediately, authority for initial membership approval is as follows:

  1. New institutional memberships costing $5,000 or less per year and are charged to departmental or College/School accounts, may be approved by the Dean of the College/School/Unit. In other areas of the University, approval may be granted by the senior administrator reporting to the President, a direct report to the President, or a Regional Campus Chancellor.
  2. New institutional memberships costing more than $5,000 per year must be approved by the President, a direct report to the President, or a Regional Campus Chancellor. Subsequent renewals may be approved by the appropriate Dean or Vice President.
  3. Institutional memberships charged to the central institutional services account must be approved by the President upon recommendation by the Dean or Vice President, or the Chancellor at the regional campuses.

For memberships of $5,000 or more, prepare a letter requesting approval to the appropriate reviewer for final approval by the President.  The letter should include the name of the organization, association, or society, its purpose or mission, the type of membership being considered, the annual membership cost, the account number to be charged, and an explanation describing how the membership will benefit the University. If approved, a copy of the letter will be filed with Accounting Services. The invoice voucher with the invoice attached should be sent to Accounts Payable for payment.

Individual Memberships

Individual memberships in professional/academic organizations are allowed as long as there is a business purpose and the amount does not exceed $500.  The business purpose and reasonableness determination is made by the Dean or Department Head.  Approval of individual memberships follows the same requirements as institutional memberships.  A memo from the individual should outline the business purpose, the benefit to the University and the account number to be charged.  The letter should be forwarded to the department head for approval.  The business office will review and approve for allowability and availability of funds before forwarding to Accounts Payable for payment.  The business office will track these memberships and their annual renewal dates.  Annually a report of all individual memberships will be forwarded to the department head for review.

Unallowable Memberships

Membership in any civic, community, country club, social or dining club organization is unallowable on University funds.

Funding Sources

Costs of institutional and individual memberships in business, technical and professional organizations are typically not allowable as direct costs to sponsored projects. In most cases, memberships benefit many different activities at the University and are not easily allocable to sponsored program accounts.

There may be occasions where a membership cost can be charged to a sponsored program if the sponsored program activity is the primary beneficiary of the membership.  The cost of the membership must be allocated according to the expected benefits received by the project. This usually requires prorating the cost of the membership and will require an explanation of the benefit to the project and the basis for the allocation.