Policy Steward: 
Director of Financial Accounting and Reporting
Format Updated: 
University Policy & Standards Converted: 
Revision Date: 
Monday, April 22, 2024
Next Review Date: 
Sunday, April 22, 2029

* This information replaces FIS 507 OSU and OSU Foundation Relationship & all related activities

Printable Version


1. Summary

1.1. The OSU Foundation (OSUF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 1947 to support the mission of Oregon State University (OSU) through fundraising, donations and investment activities.

1.2. Through donor directions or per the OSUF Board of Trustees in response to priority requests from the president of OSU, assets and earnings are distributed to colleges, departments and programs of the university.

1.3. All Budget Authorities, Managers, Supervisors and any employee who would be in a position of accounting for activities pertaining to university business when paid by OSUF funds should be informed and understand this rule.


2. Compliance Requirements

2.1. Contributions Received

2.1.1. Private gifts for the benefit of the university are to be paid to OSUF and managed in accordance with donor intent, per OSU board policy 580-046-0005 Standards for Recognition of a Foundation, unless otherwise identified.

2.1.2. Contributions for facility and building projects are to be processed through OSUF. This includes major capital campaigns, unless otherwise identified.

2.1.3. OSUF is the recognized OSU-affiliated organization for most endowed student scholarships.

2.2. Allowable Expenses

2.2.1. OSUF must follow Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code as a tax-exempt charitable organization, the service contract with OSU, the Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) that govern the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) and any restrictions or direction imposed by donors.

2.2.2. The OSUF President and Chief Executive Officer makes all final decisions regarding OSUF policies and procedures, including the OSUF Distribution Policy and the OSUF Gifts & Sponsored Projects Policy.

2.2.3. Any costs not associated with fulfillment and administration of OSU's mission (instruction research and public service) should be paid directly by the foundation (see section 3.2).

2.2.4. All costs associated with fulfillment and administration of OSU’s mission must be paid through OSU and included in OSU’s financial records.

a) Some expenses may be reimbursed by OSUF (see section 3.3).

b) Any reimbursements must be consistent with limitations imposed by their status as a non-profit corporation and OSUF’s fiduciary duties under Oregon law.


3. Required Process

3.1. Eligible transactions are processed using online systems including OSUF Direct Payment System, OSU Reimbursement System and Scholarship System.

3.2. Direct Payments by OSUF

3.2.1. To pay for fundraising or public relations expenses directly from OSUF without going through the OSU financial system, payment requests must be processed through the OSUF Direct Payment System.

3.2.2. Documentation should include the original vendor invoice and the approval for payment from the budget authority.

3.2.3. Expenses that must not be paid through OSU and may only be paid through the OSUF Direct Payment System include:

a) Alcoholic beverages (except when cost is included in conference registration fee, used in a research or teaching activity or used to prepare meals within university dining facilities)

b) Alumni, donor relations and fundraising activities (including hosting guests)

c) Commencement events (except costs allowed under Meals, Refreshments and Events policy)

d) Flowers (except those allowed under Miscellaneous Expenses policy) ​​​​​​

e) Gifts to donors and volunteers

f) Gratuities above and beyond a reasonable amount

g) Greeting Cards (except those allowed under Miscellaneous Expenses policy)

h) Hosting expenses (over limits defined in Meals, Refreshments and Events policy)

i) Professional licenses (except those allowed under Licenses and Occupational Fees policy)

j) Promotional activities related to fundraising

k) Receptions for memorials, remembrances, celebration of life or other life events

3.2.4. An OSU credit card can be used for restricted expenses when using an employee's personal credit card and getting reimbursed is not practical. These transactions must be properly accounted for to ensure a direct payment request is created as an offset for the credit card expense. For more information on proper accounting of these transactions please contact Travel & Expense.

3.3. Reimbursements from OSUF to OSU

3.3.1. Payments are generally made through OSU to vendors and contractors who provide goods or services directly to the university, as well as reimbursements to employees for allowable expenses, in conformity with OSU policies.

3.3.2. Per the OSUF Matrix, some expenses are reimbursable through OSUF

3.3.3. Requests for reimbursement from OSUF are processed through the OSU Reimbursement system.

3.3.4. OSUF funds must not be overdrawn at fiscal year-end (FYE). Requests to the foundation to reimburse funds should be processed as soon as possible after the expenditures are made (no more than 20 calendar days from posting to OSUF reimbursement system request).

3.3.5. Non-cash employee awards less than $400 can be processed through either OSU or the Foundation (see Employee Recognition policy for more information). As a reminder, gift certificates are considered the same as cash and must go through OSU Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

3.3.6. For more information, see Decision Support for OSUF Systems on the Institutional Analytics and Reporting site.

3.4. Recording Expenses

3.4.1. Expenses are either paid directly by OSUF or through the index where the Fund, Organization and Progam codes best fit the activity/function. See section 2.2 for specific details about allowable expenses.

a) FSxxxx (FS) OSUF Pass-Through funds

  • Administrative operations of a department, unit or Dean’s office (index generally ends in “D”). Program code 01800 Departmental Academic Support, 30600 Academic Administration or 61000 Institutional Management.
  • Instructional/Departmental Research (index generally ends in “N”). Program code 01100 Regular Instruction/Department Research or 01200 Instruction/Department Research – Start-up Allocation.
  • Developmental or costs connected with fundraising, promotional advertising or donor hosting (index ends in “V”). Program code 30600 Public Service.
  • Scholarships (index generally ends in “0” [zero] or “H”). Program code of 82001 Scholarships & Fellowships.

b) 438xxx or FExxxx Endowment earnings

c) 809xxx Plant Construction Funds

3.4.2. Distributions for scholarships, fellowships or awards to enrolled students are paid through the Scholarship System on FSxxxx indexes with a program code of 82001.

a) Only expenses applicable to Student Aid account codes 51101 Scholarships and 5210x Fellowships may be posted to these FS indexes.

b) Scholarship funds need to be reconciled with the Financial Aid Office and OSUF on at least a quarterly basis.


4. Related Information

4.1. Please check with your supervisor for unit-level procedures related to this rule and other resources that may not be listed below.

4.2. University Policy 03-100 Fiscal Policy Program Authority

4.3. Exhibit 003-34 OSUF Expense Processing Matrix

4.4. OSU Foundation Website

4.5. Definitions of Terminology

4.6. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


5. History

5.1. Original Issue Date:  01/2003 (FIS 507 OSU and OSU Foundation Relationship & all related activities)

5.2. Previous Versions:  01/2009 & 12/2010 & 05/2013

5.3. Next Scheduled Review Date:  04/2029


6. Contacts

6.1. Policy Steward:  Director of Financial Accounting & Reporting (contact info)

6.2. Program:  Fiscal Policy Officer (contact – for program inquiries only)