Food Cost Exemptions
Food costs are not normally allowable as direct costs on a sponsored project under federal, state and university guidelines. However, food costs for workshops or conferences directly related to the project may be considered exempt from this rule and be allowable if they meet certain conditions.
To be exempt from the rule, food costs for a workshop or conference must minimally meet all of the following requirements.
- Be directly related to the purpose of the project
- Be planned in detail in advance
- Include a formal agenda or curriculum
- Include a written invitation to participants
- Meal costs must be included and approved in the sponsored project agreement
- The costs must be reasonable, certified and approved by the department or unit head.
Refreshments for coffee breaks are also allowable if certain conditions are met:
- Minimum of twenty (20) registered participants
- Costs not exceeding $5.00 per participant per day
Thoroughly review the proposal and award for references to a conference or workshop where food costs would meet state and university guidelines, focusing on the following:
- Was the conference/workshop described in the original Statement of Work?
- Were budget items set aside for these costs?
- Is budget money available in an appropriate category to accommodate food costs (Current Services – 53990)?
- If prior approval needed from the agency on an existing project, request approval prior to staging workshop/conference via PMR system.
- Complete a Food Costs/Project Exemptions Form and submit it to the project Fiscal Manager for review.
- Once reviewed and approved by C and G, your college will receive a letter (sample) stating that the project has been approved for exemption with notes regarding compliance with all State and University guidelines for payment.
- File this approval letter with your project documents.
Follow these steps to process conference and workshop expenses for payment:
- Accept only the original itemized invoice from a commercial establishment.
- The conference authorization must include:
- Number of persons expected to attend
- Purpose and duration of the conference
- Specific meals served at the conference
- Approximate daily subsistence cost per person
- Name of the conference center, hotel, etc.
- Copy of the agenda
- Verify grant documentation with proposal/budget indicating amount allowed for conference meals. (Conference meals can be no more than the budgeted amount.)
- If PMR was completed to add conference cost, include this documentation.
- Invoice must be signed by the department head or dean.
Other Chartfield Requests
The following are other circumstances requiring Chartfield Requests:
- Participant Support Costs
- Program Income
- Cross-Campus Project Collaborations
- Multi-Year Supplemental Funding