Business and Finance
Policy Title: Cell Phone
Created: 07/01/2009  Updated: 07/01/2009

Purpose: Provide information on University cell phone allowances.

The President's Cabinet approved a new cell phone policy effective as of July 1, 2009.

In the last two years, the University has seen a tremendous increase in the demand for University-provided cell phones. The provision and maintenance of these cell phones has become a significant budgetary cost and a workload concern. Moreover, the IRS requires that personal use of business-provided cell phones must be accounted for as taxable income to the employee.

Therefore, to reduce unnecessary costs, eliminate non-strategic administrative efforts, and bring the University into compliance with IRS tax policy, the University is announcing a new cell phone policy, which will go into effect on July 1.

Effective July 1, 2009, Drake University will no longer provide cell phones for campus-based University employees.Below is the new policy:

“Cell Phone (C-P) Qualified” employees

Cell phone allowances of $40 per month will be provided for “cell-phone qualified” employees (defined below). Monthly allowances will be added to “C-P qualified” employees’ paychecks beginning in July 2009.Allowances will be deemed taxable income to the employee, but the employee may be able to claim a business-use deduction on their personal tax return for all or a portion of the allowance.

“C-P Qualified” employees are defined in one of two categories, as follows:

1. Employees who are required at the “University-level” to be available 24-7 for general and emergency purposes.These cell phone numbers will be published in the D-Book and in all emergency guides.(A departmental requirement for 24/7 coverage does not meet the “University-level” requirement and would not be considered “c-p qualified”.)

Only the following employees are required to be available 24/7 by the University in case of emergency:

  • President

  • Provost and Vice Presidents (4)*

  • Deans of the Colleges and Schools (5)

  • Executive Assistant to the President*

  • Dean of Students*

  • Assistant Dean of students

  • Director of Admissions

  • Director of Marketing and Communications*

  • Director of Media Relations

  • Public Relations Specialist

  • Director of Resident Life

  • Assistant Directors of Residence Life (2)

  • Residence Life Coordinators (2)

  • Real Estate Manager

  • Human Resources Director

  • Director of Operations & Support Services*

  • Director of Security*

  • Assistant Director, Campus Security

  • Security Supervisors (3)

  • Security Dispatcher (desk)

  • Senior Telecommunications Analyst*

  • Chief Information Officer

  • Director of Computer and Network Services

  • Director of Campus Information System

  • Dean of Cowles Library

  • Director of Environmental Health & Safety

  • Sodexho Facilities Managers

*See policy on Treos and Blackberrys below

2. Employees who are required to travel a minimum of 30% of their time for either student recruitment or fundraising.The following employees are designated as meeting the 30% minimum travel requirement:

  • All Admissions Directors and Counselors
  • All Major Gift officers
  • Gift Planning Officer
  • Regional Gift Officer
  • Associate Vice President, Alumni and Development
  • Director of Alumni and Parent Programs
  • Director, Extension Education in SOE

“C-P qualified” employees will be permitted to convert their existing University-owned phone and service plan to a personal cell phone plan.Beginning June 1, 2009, Drake Telecom staff will be prepared to assist c-p qualified employees in this conversion.All University cell phones must be converted to personal phones or returned to Drake Telecom no later than June 22, 2009.

"Business-Use Only Cell Phones” for certain Off-Campus Grants

Employees who are responsible for pre-school, elementary &/or middle-school student safety at “grant-funded” off-campus centers will be provided “business-use only” phones. These phones may only be used for business use and phone bills will be monitored to ensure compliance.No taxable income will be attributed to employees in this category since there will be no personal use associated with these phones.

The following employees are designated as grant-funded off-campus:

  • Director of Head Start
  • All Head Start Family Advocates
  • All Head Start Coordinators
  • All Head Start administrative personnel

“Business-Use Only, Push-to-Talk Cell Phones”

In the following cases, University push-to-talk phones will be provided for certain employee groups. A single push-to-talk contract will be negotiated for the University by the Director of Operations and the Senior Telecommunications Analyst; push-to-talk phones will only be provided via this contract. No personal usage of these phones is possible, given the way the phones are configured. No taxable income will be attributed to employees in this category since there will be no personal use associated with these phones.

The following employee categories will be eligible for the “push-to-talk” cell phone option:

  • Security officers, as determined by supervisor
  • Physical Plant staff, as determined by supervisor
  • DTC staff, as determined by supervisor
  • IT employees, as determined by supervisor
  • RAs and Residence Life desk staff
  • Knapp Center/Stadium events employees, if needed. Real Estate Office employees, as determined by supervisor

Treos, Blackberrys and Similar Devices:

Treos, BlackBerrys and similar devices will generally not be provided to University employees. Due to the unique responsibilities of their position, the following employees will be provided a Treo or Blackberry, upon request:

  • President
  • Provost and each Vice President
  • Executive Assistant to the President
  • Director of Operations and Support Services
  • Dean of Students
  • Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Senior Telecommunication Analyst

These devices will remain University-owned property and will be supported by Drake Telecom/IT to ensure their functionality. The approximate cost of the device and the cost of the monthly service plan will be considered taxable income (at 100%) and will be added to the executive’s reportable compensation at the end of each month ($85 per month) beginning July 1, 2009.

A cell phone allowance will not be available to executives who select use of a University-owned Treo or Blackberry instead.

University employees (other than those listed above) who were provided with the use of a University-owned Treo or Blackberry, will be required to return the device to Drake Telecom or convert the device to a personal plan no later than June 22, 2009. If the employee decides to keep the device, the cost of the device will treated as taxable income to the employee beginning in July 2009.

Cell Phone “Trade” Packages—Athletics

Monthly cell phone services provided as part of a “trade” package, as in Athletics, will be considered fully taxable income to each employee receiving the service. The non-cash income of $40 per month (for cell phones) and $85 per month (for Treos/Blackberrys) will be attributed to the employee on a monthly basis and taxes will be assessed accordingly beginning July 1, 2009.


Employees will not be reimbursed for personal cell phone plans or for business calls made using personal cell phones.Cell phone purchases or plans that are not covered in this policy may not be paid or reimbursed with University funds effective June 1, 2009.


Appeals by employees whose positions are not specifically listed above, but who believe that they are “C-P qualified," should be made in writing to the respective divisional Vice President for review.


Questions regarding the policy should be directed to the respective divisional Vice President or to the Vice President for Business and Finance.

Send policy comments to: Web Administrator
Responsibility for Administration: Vice President for Business and Finance
Department Policy Resides in: Business and Finance

Today at Drake
University News
March 24, 2017
Vote Smart, one of the nation's leading sources of non-partisan political information, will formally celebrate the organization's move to Drake University next month.