Business and Finance
Title: Student Accounts Payable Guidelines
Created: April 21, 2009  Updated: August 14, 2009

Purpose: To provide a philosophical approach to expenses that emphasizes a "good steward" mindset.

Drake strives to incur the lowest practical expense for the highest possible value/benefit. This is the basic rationale underlying all University payments. The following Accounts Payable policies are guidelines; they are not intended to address every situation that may arise. They do, however, represent a philosophical approach to expenses that emphasizes a “good steward” mindset:

a. All expenses paid for student related activities should be directed toward the highest and bestuse of those funds, which is toward the fulfillment of the University’s mission and definedstrategic priorities.

b. All expenses incurred must benefit theUniversity as opposed to the individual (or small group of) student(s).

c. All organizations or individuals that receive annual funding or one-time funding from the Student Fees and Allocation Committee (SFAC) are also subject to the SFAC guidelines. (See Student Senate Student Fees handbook )

All expenses must be authorized, allowable, appropriate and documented as defined below:

Authorized – All student related expensesmust be authorized by the appropriate Drake University employeein advance.

Student Life – Assistant Dean of Students

Student Activities – Assistant Dean of Students
Board of Student Communications - Financial Manager of Board of Student Communications

Residence Life – Director of Residence Life
Student Bar Association - Budget & Office Manager, Law School
College specific activities – Budget & Office Manager for the appropriate school


Allowable–expenses are made within the ethical and legal limits as defined by industry, stateand federal regulations. The University will not assume any responsibility for commitments made outside those ethical and legal boundaries.

Appropriate–expenses are reasonable and a prudent use of student activity fee dollars and student tuition dollars.

Documented expenses must be adequately documented.Adequate documentation includes an itemized receipt or invoice and information identifying what was purchased, where it was purchased, who purchased it, and the business purpose for the transaction.

If the original receipt is not provided with request for payment, then a written explanation as to why a duplicate/copy is being used must be provided.

If receipts do not have vendor’s name or item description, the requestor must writethe vendor’s name and description on the receipt.

Itemized receipts are required in all cases.

Credit card receipts that do not include itemized description are not to be submitted – a detailed list of the expenses is required.

Submit receipts within 30 days. IRS regulationsstipulate that expenses must be accounted for within a reasonable period of time.

Proper supporting documentation may include but is not limited to: invoices, receipts, contract letters, and/or copy of University announcements or pamphlets.

Authorizing individuals and the Accounting office have the authority to deny or limit any expense reimbursement if it does not meet the above Allowable, Appropriate and Documented requirements.

All expenses must be approved in advance by appropriate authorizer (see above).

Reimbursement requests must first be routed to the appropriate authorizer who will ensure proper documentation and approval before forwarding the request to the Accounting office.

Table of Contents

Direct Payment Form

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The Direct Payment Form should be used for:

1. Reimbursement of a Student’s authorized University related expenses. These expenses should not be travel related - for travel use the Travel Expense Voucher form.

  • Students should always check with Authorizing individual to see if expenses can be paid directly through the University instead of by reimbursement.
  • Sales Tax will not be reimbursed for expenses that could have been purchased from a preferred vendor (i.e. purchased supplies from Staples that could have been purchased from Office Max).
  • No direct payment request will be processed without supporting documentation and approval from the Authorizing person. See Documentation requirements
  • Purpose must be provided in the Itemization, Detail and Purpose section.
  • If receipt is smaller than 3”x5”, it must be taped or glued to a separate 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. Do not staple.
  • Completed within 30 days of expense incurrence.
  • Allow 5 to 7 business days upon receipt of a properly completed form for payment to be processed.

Please see the following policy for more information.

General Expenses

Travel Expense Reimbursement Form

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The Travel Expense Reimbursement Form should be used for authorized travel related expenses incurred by students traveling.

  • Completed form, with Authorized person’s signature, must be received in Accounting within 30 days of completion of the trip.
  • No Travel Expense Reimbursement Form will be processed without supporting documentation and approval.SeeDocumentation requirements.
  • Allow 5 to 7 business days upon receipt of properly completed form for payment to be processed.

Please see the following policies for more information.

Student Travel Policies

Student Travel Policy

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Student travel relates only to student conferences, workshops outside the metro area. It does not include individual travel, field trips, internships, community service, etc.

Student travel must be authorized in advance of making any travel arrangements.

Authorizing person should make travel arrangements unless otherwise notified. Student travel may be limited due to budget availability – this would be determined before travel begins. If the student is going to be reimbursed for only a portion of the travel, the Authorizing person must ensure the Travel Expense Reimbursement form is reduced to the agreed upon amount.

The University allows students to travel in reasonable comfort, but expects students to exercise prudent business judgment. Travelers have the duty to exercise care and avoid impropriety, or even the appearance of impropriety, in any travel expense.

Reimbursement is allowed for ordinary and necessary traveling expenses incurred by an individual student while more than 50 miles from Drake. Students are not considered “traveling” unless their duties require them to be away from the University for a period substantially longer than an ordinary workday and it is reasonable for them to need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of the task. Approval is at the discretion of the authorizing individual working with Business & Finance.

Students traveling must complete the required travel forms prior to leaving or they will not be reimbursed for their expenses. The following forms are required:

All trips require:

Participating in Trip form – one per trip

Waiver, Release and Indemnification form  – one for each person

If driving own vehicle:

Use of Personal Vehicle form – one form for each vehicle

Motor Vehicle Report - one for each driver

Fair Credit Report - one for each driver


If renting a car or van:

Work with Authorizing individual.

Vehicles shouldnot be rented under student’s name.



See also Transportation Policy and Insurance Guidelines


The Travel Expense Reimbursement Form should be completed for all student travel expenses and submitted to authorizing individual for processing. The form will calculate your total expenses as you complete each field.

See University Travel Policy for details regarding travel expenses.

Be sure you submit original itemized receipts for all reimbursements. See Documentation requirements.

The Travel Expense Reimbursement Form should be completed within 30 days of the completion of a trip.

Events/Meetings Where Food/Snacks Allowed

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University Events

University sponsored events for all students to attend, examples include:

Weekend Programming Initiative

First Year Seminar – occasional food as defined as part of the student experience

Move In weekend – water provided


College Events

Events that are for all students to attend or an all college event (departments in Arts & Sciences) – food allowed


Student Events/Meetings

General student activities sponsoredand funded by Student Activity Fees for students by

Registered Student Organizations Residence LifeStudent Bar Association

will allow food and drink depending on budget availability at the discretion of the authorizing individual.


Groups and organizations should ask the appropriate Authorizing person for clarification on a specific activity before they incur the expense.


Events that are available for all students at the University to attend may provide food as part of their event. General organization meetings do not fit under this policy. All food expenses must be authorized before they are purchased.


All events or meetings that include food must have a list of names of everyone who attended as well as business purpose or a flyer used to advertise the event to attach with the direct pay reimbursement form that is submitted to the authorizing individual.


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Contracts are binding legal documents and cannot be signed by students but must be signed by the Authorizing person who must work with Business and Finance for final approval. Examples include hiring entertainers, speakers or contracts for services. Contracts over $5,000 must be signed by Business & Finance.


Independent Contractors and Consultants

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An Independent Contractor is anyone that an organization hires to take part in an event that is not an employee of Drake. This includes but is not limited to speakers, musicians, and performers. When an organization is hiring such a person they must work with Authorizing individual to make sure the individual can be paid as an Independent Contractor and obtain proper forms for the Independent Contractor to sign.

Gift or Gift Card Policy

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Gifts, up to $25 will only be allowed for certain external individuals volunteering time for the university, for example, a guest speaker who is not paid for speaking may receive a small gift of $25 or less.Immaterial expenses for marketing or promotional items with a value of $10 or less, such as pencils, magnets, etc.) given to individuals volunteering time are considered "incentives" and are not consider compensation for services. This gift card process only applies to compensation for services so the marketing and promotional items would not require completion of the Gift Card Form. Gifts may be allowed for certain events put on by student organizations. All gifts given at events must be approved by the Authorizing individual.The Accounting office will maintain an inventory of gift cards up to $25. When you need a gift card you will need to complete the and bring it to Accounting. No reimbursement will be made for gift card purchases. Gift cards may not be purchased using a purchasing card.The must be completed for every gift card awarded.

Interim Meals

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Individuals required to be on campus when the dining hall is closed may receive a per diem allotment per meal. Per diem rate is an annual rate determined by the Dean of Students Division. For current breakdown is: Breakfast $3, Lunch $5, and Dinner $6. Examples include, Peer Mentors, Orientation Leaders, and Resident Assistants.

General Expenses

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General supplies (for example, binders, notebooks, paper, etc.) need to be purchased only through the University preferred vendor Office Max.For purchase of specialty items not available from preferred vendors (See University Preferred Vendors list), please get approval from the authorizing individual prior to purchase.Reimbursement will not be made for general supplies which could/should have been purchased directly through Drake. Work with the Authorizing individual to purchase supplies directly through DrakeDrake does not reimburse for extraneous personal expenses such as planners, Kleenex, aspirin, candy/treats, flowers, coffee, water, etc. These items are not to be ordered through the office supplies preferred vendor or invoiced directly to Drake.

Raffles or Purchase to Compete Contests

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Raffles and Contests that student must pay to take part in are considered gambling. These may be allowed but must be approved by the Authorized individual who will ensure that Raffle Procedures are followed. Click for Raffle Procedures

Selling of Goods

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Anytime students sell items it must be approved in advance by the Authorized individual who will work with Business and Finance.