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Purchasing Policies and Guidelines

There are many ways to buy goods and services through the UCSD Campus. Below outlines several ways faculty may acquire goods and/or services. 


Contact Staff Before Purchasing

Purchasing polices at UCSD are complex and there are several methods of acquiring goods and services. Please consult with the department CAO or financial staff at to determine the best method of procurement for your particular situation. There are multiple payment methods allowed by campus however the preferred method of purchase can vary based on the situation:

  • campus will pay directly to the vendor using Oracle Financial Cloud or Concur
  • a campus procurement card (staff only)
  • a campus travel and entertainment card (staff only)
  • reimbursement
It is important to contact the department to setup the correct method of purchase especially if it falls under the category of Goods & Services with Purchasing RestrictionsAdditional information may be found on Procurements -  Responsible Buying and in the UCSD Policies and Procedures Manual - Purchasing section.


Often employees need to purchase goods and services using their personal funds and then apply for reimbursement from the University. Reimbursement is possible only when:

  • Goods and services purchased served a business purpose
  • The purchase followed campus policies
  • The individual had prior approval to make the purchase and/or has their own approved funds to be reimbursed by
Reimbursements typically take 3-5 weeks to process. Please keep this in mind when deciding to make out-of-pocket purchases. To avoid waiting for reimbursement and ensure procurement policies are followed, constact staff in advance to setup the appropriate method of purchase. 

If you need to be reimbursed:

  1. Go to Concur and add Jessica Greenlaw ( and Cayla Regas ( as your Delegates. Directions are located HERE.
  2. Withing 15 days of purchase, email itemized receipt to with the last four digits of card and date of purchase.
  • Attach 1 receipt per page and email each receipt as a separate .pdf file
  • List the business purpose of the transaction (i.e. book for XX research project)
  • If transaction receipt is lost, a bank statement can be provided as proof of payment
  • Receipts submitted after 60 days of purchase will require detailed justification & may not be reimbursable
  • Reimbursements on Hellmann Fellowship or Academic Senate grant should be done monthly. - - Avoid sending more than 10 receipts at a time
  • Reimbursement will be paid by a direct deposit (to current employees registered for direct deposit in UCPATH) or by a check (students who are not currently employed by University need to self-register in PaymentWorks to become UCSD payee).

Meetings and Entertainment

General Policy:

Meetings that include meals or light refreshments must serve a substantial business purpose and have at least one employee present. 

Maximum Meal Expenses including meal, labor, sale tax, and delivery fee: 

  • Breakfast- $31
  • Lunch- $54
  • Dinner- $94
  • Light refreshment- $22 per person

Alcohol is generally not reimbursable and all receipts must be itemized. List of attendees and their affiliation must be supplied. Typically there is no bonafide UCSD business purpose served by a non-employee's attendance. If a guest is in attendance without a business purpose, the employee/student should pay their guest's portion - which is a common practice.

Event types:

Most events for UC San Diego business are 1 of these 3 types of events, each with certain policies and guidelines:

Frequency limits and tax implications:

UC San Diego does not pay or reimburse frequent or routine expenditures for meals or light refreshments for employees as they're considered taxable income by the IRS.

For meetings and entertainment events, limit:

  • Meals to once per month, per group
  • Light refreshments to twice per month, per group

A meal or entertainment expense is taxable income if:

  • The activity is not directly related to the employee's job
  • The expense if lavish or extravagant under the circumstances
  • The official host (or other designated employee) is not present when the activity takes place
  • The expense is not substantiated with supporting documentation and a receipt if an expense is $75 or greater
  • It is deemed the employee did not adequately account to UC San Diego for these expenses within a reasonable period of time

Purchase of Audiovisual Equipment/Supplies and Computer Hardware

The campus preference is to buy equipment from the UCSD Bookstore. To do this, you need to first contact for instructions regarding the recharge process. After the purchase is completed, a copy of the receipt needs to be provided to for department records.

If the UCSD Bookstore does not have the equipment needed or cannot order this on your behalf, contact to start the process of purchasing from an outside vendor. To do this, the vendor will need to be added to the UCSD purchasing system.

The least preferred method of purchase is personal funds (request for reimbursement after the purchase). UCSD Employee Agreement-Electronic Communications form will need to be filled out and submitted when reimbursement is requested in this method. Equipment purchased must have a business purpose. All equipment over $5,000 is considered property of the University and must be included in the department inventory and regularly accounted for.

Purchase of Equipment/Goods

If purchasing equipment or goods needed for your space or research purposes, the first step would be to see if this is available through the UCSD Bookstore. If not, you have two options:

  1. Contact to start the process of purchasing from an outside vendor. To do this, the vendor will need to be added to the UCSD purchasing system. There are many administrative steps to this option however if the vendor agrees to provide the goods and then invoice the campus for payment, the faculty member does not need to use their personal funds. This is not often a preferred option for vendors as they are not paid immediately. 
  2. Purchase using personal funds from a store or vendor directly and then request for reimbursement after the purchase. 
Equipment purchased must have a business purpose. All equipment over $5,000 is considered property of the University and must be included in the department inventory and regularly accounted for.

Payment for Services

One of the most common expenses is the payment for services. These payments need to be paid directly by the university to the vendor. No payments made through PayPal or Venmo for services provided by a 3rd party will be reimbursed. International vendors take much longer to pay and can have additional policies and restrictions. Domestic vendors should be used as much as possible. UCSD procedures for hiring Independent Contactors/Consultants are here.

To pay a vendor:

  1. Prior to receiving goods or services, talk with department financial staff vis regarding the vendor you plan to work with. This email needs to include the vendor full name, company name, email address and whether the work/vendor is domestic or international. 
  2. Department staff will prompt the vendor to register themselves via PaymentWorks.  
  3. The vendor will need to provide a quote for the goods/services they plan to provide.
  4. If the quote is agreeable to the faculty member and aligns with campus policies, department staff will create a purchase order.
  5. Department staff will provide the purchase order to the vendor. This must be included on the final invoice in order to be paid by campus. 
  6. Final invoice provided by vendor. 
  7. Department staff will submit the final invoice for payment. 
Depending on the vendor or purchasing situation, there may be additional paperwork or steps in order to register as a vendor or receive payment.

Inviting a Speaker

If you wish to invite a speaker or a guest lecturer for your class using class or personal funds, provide with the speaker’s full name, email address, date of event, honorarium amount (if any) and project number before making plans for their attendance. Things to know about a speaker:

  • Please allow at least 2 weeks for vendor procurement approval. Do not promise a payment to your speaker until they get approved in UCSD procurement system.
  • Foreign national speakers will be paid by wire payment; the turnaround time is at least 30 days
  • Speakers generally cannot be hired if they were recently affiliated with any UC school as a student or employee.

Honorarium Payments

Guest speakers or participants in special events may be paid honorarium. A typical honorarium payment is $250-$500 and must be approved by the department. UCSD Honorarium procedures are here.

Status of Concur Reports

Office Supplies

The Visual Arts department keeps a store of basic office supplies in Mandeville Room 216. These supplies are meant to support the basic instructional and office needs of Sociology faculty and staff and can be accessed during regular business hours (weekdays 8:30 am - 4:00 pm). Typical supplies kept include the following:

  • Writing instruments - pens, pencils, markers, etc.
  • White board marking pens, erasers and cleaner
  • Writing pads, note pads and post-its
  • Manila file folders, hanging filer folders, etc.
  • Paper clips, binder clips and staples
  • Transparencies and labels
  • Scotch tape, liquid paper, erasers and other miscellaneous items

Items not usually kept in inventory can be ordered from the UCSD Marketplace - typical delivery time for most items is one to two days. An order can be placed with Fiscal Support. Depending upon the item requested, you may be asked for an index/fund source to charge for the supply.

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