General Expenses

General Expense Allocation

General expense items include equipment that costs less than $5,000, office supplies, postage, telecommunications, and other types of supplies and services. The general expense allocation is entered in the financial information system as the basis for the Budget Comparison report generated each month by the Business Office.

The DEO establishes a recurring allocation of general expense funds to the various institutional account categories of expense. The DEO may also request from the College non-recurring supplements to the general expense allocation to cover one-time special needs such as recruitment costs or unanticipated repairs.

When the department has general expenses related to grant projects, the grant funds are used to cover the expenses.

Purchases of Food and Beverages

See Food Policy.

Purchase of Alcohol for University Activities

Alcoholic beverages cannot be purchased with state-appropriated funds. If a department wishes to use private funds to purchase alcohol for a function on University property, the alcoholic beverages must be provided by the Food Service of the Iowa Memorial Union, which administers the State of Iowa liquor license held by the Board of Regents. The alcohol may be served in designated non-academic buildings such as the Union, Hancher Auditorium, or the Museum of Art. Contact Banquets & Catering, 335-3110 or 335-3122 for help with the arrangements.

Occasionally, the University grants permission for the Iowa Memorial Union to provide wine and beer service in approved areas of academic buildings for events that are developmental in nature and are not open to the public. Dean Djalali must request this permission from the Vice President for Student Services. The DEO writes the Dean well in advance of the occasion specifying the day, time, location, and purpose of the function and those invited (e.g., faculty, alumni, graduate students). The Operations Manual V-26, contains the complete University guidelines for alcoholic beverage service. All alcohol expenditures must be approved by Dean Djalali or his delegate.

Personal Use of Office Phones

Personal phone calls made on University equipment should be kept to a minimum. Long-distance personal phone calls are the responsibility of the employee. If, due to an emergency or through inadvertence, a personal long-distance telephone call is charged to a University account, the caller will be required to reimburse the University by check. Please see the Operations Manual VI-3.5h for the full policy.


The general expense budget or a gift fund may be used to pay honoraria to individuals who give scholarly lectures or performances or otherwise contribute to departmental curricular and extracurricular enrichment on a short-term visit. Honoraria are not subject to tax withholding if the recipient is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If the individual invited is not a citizen or permanent resident, the department should work with the immigration specialist in the Office of Human Resources to make certain that the appropriate visa is obtained.