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Food and Beverage Purchases


This policy outlines when it is acceptable to use University funds for the purchase of food and/or beverages. It also provides specific examples of when university funds cannot be used for food and/or beverages.

Applies to: 

All units reporting to the Lawrence campus. This policy does not pertain to faculty, staff or students who are traveling for official university business and will be reimbursed following travel policy per diem guidelines.

Juniper Gardens
Policy Statement: 


Official hospitality: Expenditures for an event or item spent to assist a department in fulfilling an objective or goal. Such expenditures may include food and beverages provided to official guests or provided for an official function.

Reimbursement or payment for official hospitality/food/beverages:

Expenditures for food or beverages which are reimbursed or paid with State, auxiliary or required campus fee funds must be for a university business purpose which bears a valid relationship to the mission of the university.

Requirements for documenting Hospitality Expenses include:

1. Itemized receipt or invoice
2. Business justification of the meeting or event
3. The number of people attending and their official capacity

The required information can be included within the system transaction or the Detail for Official Hospitality form can be completed and attached to the system transaction.

Allowable costs:

  • Food/beverages supporting official business (workshop, training session)
    • As evidenced by a formal program agenda, statement of purpose, listing of participants;
    • Food/beverages must serve as an essential ingredient for success, not merely a hospitality enhancement;
    • Provision of food/beverages must serve a clear University of Kansas business purpose.
  • Food/beverages supported by collected event fees (typically within a conference registration fee, banquet fee, etc.)
    • As evidenced by a formal program/agenda, statement of purpose, listing of participants.

Unallowable costs:

  • Food/beverage provided in a largely social setting, such as reception, parties, gatherings which do not serve a clear official business purpose.
  • Food/beverages provided as incidental to normal meetings, typically involving predominantly employees (staff meetings, committee meetings, etc.) on which the success of the meeting does not depend on food/beverages being served. Therefore, the costs of food or beverage should not be borne by state funds.

State Funds:

  • Non-State Appropriation General Use Funds (089 – 099) and Restricted Fees Fund (700) have been approved to pay for any expenditure considered to be “official hospitality.”
  • In accordance with State of Kansas guidelines, official hospitality expenditures may be for food, lodging, transportation, official gifts and favors, official entertainment or other directly related miscellaneous expenses provided to official outside guests of KU. This policy deals only with expenses for food and beverages. To review the State of Kansas Official Hospitality Guidelines please click the following link: A&R PPM filing 3,351 - Official Hospitality Payment Guidelines
  • Examples of allowable costs:
    • All-day or half-day workshops/training sessions
    • Business meetings with external parties over meal hour
    • KU staff meetings over meal hour due to limited schedule availability (Note: Business purpose is justified in that the meeting would not have occurred if staff were not provided opportunity to eat lunch and not all staff have the ability to bring a sack lunch).
    • Conference meals funded from registration fees
    • Employee recruitment
    • Student recruitment
    • Student focus/retention groups (Note – Business purpose justified as food is incentive to get students to participate)
  • Examples of unallowable costs:
    • KU department staff meetings throughout the business day (e.g., a monthly department staff meeting that lasts 1-2 hours & occurs during the morning or afternoon). (Note: In comparison to a meeting over the meal hour, food or beverage for this type of meeting is a “nice to have” but not a necessity in order to have a successful meeting.)
    • KU staff appreciation event

Auxiliary funds & required campus fee funds:

Auxiliary funds including Housing System Operations (555), Parking & Transit (590 & 790), Student Health Fees (510), and Required Campus Fee Funds (741-767) are used for the purpose of administering various student programs. These funds may pay for food/beverages for official events or gatherings specifically covered by their mission.

Grant funds & sponsored funds (e.g. JCERT, Confucius Institute):

Food/beverages may be purchased from grant or sponsored funding only if food/beverages are specifically allowed as an appropriate expenditure by the funding entity (granting agency or sponsor).

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Travel Per Diem

This policy does not pertain to faculty, staff or students who are traveling for official university business and will be reimbursed following travel policy per diem guidelines.

Agency Funds

This policy does not apply to agency funds, including student organizations, in which KU serves a fiduciary role in managing the disbursements on behalf of an organization.

Affiliated Corporations

It does not pertain to expenditure of corporation or Endowment funds, unless transactions are processed through reimbursable funds (e.g. 720, 721 & 725).

Financial Services - Accounts Payable
Approved by: 
Approved on: 
Friday, December 14, 2012
Effective on: 
Friday, December 14, 2012
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Food, Beverages, Hospitality, State Funds, Auxiliary Funds, Required Campus Fee Funds
Change History: 

02/29/2024: Updated Hospitality Form.
12/05/2023: Updated requirements for documentation of expenses. 
02/17/2023: Updated contact section.
04/15/2021: Updated Contact, Approver, and owning unit sections from Comptroller to Financial Services.
08/07/2019: Updated form.
05/22/2018: Updated form.
10/17/2017: Policy formatting and cleanup.
12/14/2012: Revised and retitled as Policy on Food and Beverage Purchases with University Funds.
10/08/2009: Revised.
04/1977: Purchase Food and Beverage Policy approved by the Office of the Comptroller.

Financial Categories: 
Financial Oversight
Operational Categories: 
Student Life Categories: 
Events, Protests & Organizations
Facilities Use & Scheduling

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