If you ever ask yourself “can I buy x with state funds?“, the answer will very likely be in the Spending Guidelines.
One of the unique characteristics of being a public university is the wide variety of sources of funds that we manage, each of which has its own spending characteristics.
The Spending Guidelines have been designed to help employees become knowledgeable of the rules, regulations and precedents that have been put in place to ensure wise spending decisions are made at all times. Through this knowledge, university employees will be empowered to carry out the university’s mission effectively while engaging in spending practices that are legal, fiscally responsible, and politically sound.
This article offers an overview of allowable and non-allowable items. For further details and other useful information, please refer to the Spending Guidelines.
Identification of Fund Type
The table below breaks out project groups by type of funding received. This is helpful for determining what type of guidelines are specific to a project.
Another helpful classification is Program Code. A list of program codes and how they are used is available on the Controller’s website.
|Type of |
|Fund Code||Class Code|
|State Appropriations: Academic Affairs||20 |
|16030||212: State Appropriated|
215: Distance Education
216: Pass through Transfer
|Facilities & |
|91000||261: F&A – University Revenues|
262: F&A – Overhead/Indirect Costs
|State Appropriations: Academic Affairs||30 |
|16030||23375: EdTech Fee prior to FY13|
23376: Appropriated Receipts
23377: External Consortiums
23379: Premium Tuition
|Auxiliary Sales and |
Sales and Service
3410: Service center w/user rate
3420: Service center w/o user rate
35: Student Fees
36: Centennial Campus
37: Vet School
38: Misc Sales and Service
|Education and |
|361xxx||91000||39: Education & Technology Fee ETF|
|Agricultural Research||40 |
|16031||41xx: State and Federal Appropriations|
|Cooperative Extension||44 |
|16032||42xx: State and Federal Appropriations|
|Contracts & Grants||50 |
|Foundation Funds||60 |
62/6290: Temporary Restricted
63: Permanently Restricted
64: Agency funds
|Gifts, Loans||70 |
71: Loan Funds
|4xxxx||81: Capital Improvements|
|Debt Service||80 |
|91000||82-83xx: Debt Service|
84xx: Investment in Plant
|University Clearing||95||–||90: Clearing|
|–||91xx: Agency Funds|
92xx: Fiduciary Funds
Unallowable purchases from State Funds
|Alcoholic beverages and “setups”||None|
|Coffee, tea, drinks, candy, snacks, break refreshments, etc. for consumption by employees or guests||Travel related per diem for employees and visitors OR Refreshments allowed under the conference and training, external and internal rules (See below)|
|Flowers, plants, food||When used in research, education, or for consumption by research animals rather than decorative or personal use.|
Plants and flowers purchased by the Facilities Division as part of campus maintenance.
|Framing of pictures, art, diplomas, etc. for use in a personal office for decorative purpose||Purchase or framing of motivational or informational wall hangings which are functional rather than decorative in nature and are intended for departmental use rather than for one individual’s office.|
Exception: Purchase of a plaque or for the printing and framing of a certificate may be expended, not to exceed $100 per employee for recognition of meritorious service based upon the Office of State Human Resources service award program as authorized in G.S. 126-4(8).
|Get well cards, sympathy cards, birthday cards, Christmas or other holiday cards||None|
|Gifts or flowers for an employee or non-employee||None|
|Items for personal use||None|
|Medication and/or medical supplies||If required by federal or state regulations or for emergency first aid|
|Microwave ovens, coffee pots, refrigerators or related items for personal office use||Equipment or supplies utilized for educational or research purposes or for equipment purchased for all employees’ use in the outfitting of a building.|
|Party items or other decorative items to decorate an office for a holiday or party or general decorative use including balloons and other like items||None|
|Penalties and Fines||None|
|Personal clothing items which are not part of a required uniform, safety related, or program related.||Exceptions must be approved in advance.|
|Personal / Individual membership fees||See Membership fees below|
|Picnic items (paper plates, cups, napkins, forks, spoons, etc) for office and/or employee use||None|
|Picnic tables for a department||Purchased, constructed by the Facilities Division as part of the campus maintenance function.|
|Rental or purchase of water dispensers and the purchase of bottled water||In the event that the quality of the water in a campus building is in question, the department should call the Environmental Health and Safety Office to have the water tested. The Facilities Division may be contacted to determine if additional water fountains are needed in a campus building. |
Outside of Wake County, the local water utility or health department should be contacted. A portable water dispenser can be rented or bottled water purchased from state appropriated or overhead funds only if there is a health/safety reason for the purchase.
Examples would be if a temporary condition existed where water quality in a facility was below state standards or when university personnel (for example, Facilities’ personnel or farm personnel) are working under weather or other conditions where water is not available otherwise.
|Transfer to capital improvement||None, except for year-end carry forward exception. (See Appropriated Carry Forward Funds.)|