Expense guidelines for TGS funded expenses:
Per university policy, in order to obtain reimbursement for personal funds expended for appropriate and approved university travel or university-related expenditures, all expenses must be documented in NUFinancials. Expense reports should be submitted within 30 days after the purchase or completion of travel (or no later than August 15th for TGS awards which expire at the end of the fiscal year). Conference Travel Grant expenses must be submitted within 60 days after travel or the award will be terminated. Students, staff, or faculty who are requesting reimbursement of any expenses charged to TGS funds (e.g., Conference Travel Grant, Graduate Research Grant, Career Development Grant, Cluster funds, admissions recruitment funds, or Ryan Fellowship Research Award) should consult with their home department regarding the process for submitting expenses using The Graduate School’s chartstring provided in the grant/fellowship award notification.
- Reimbursements to individuals will not be made prior to completion of travel to ensure Northwestern related business activity is performed.
- Policy exceptions will not be entertained. Individuals will be responsible for expenses that exceed or fall beyond policy thresholds.
- TGS awards are for one year (usually the fiscal year) and do not roll over into the following year. Expenses should be entered in the system by no later than 8/15 to allow time for all of the approvals. Expenses that do not post within the correct fiscal year or by the deadline specified by the specific award will need to be removed from the TGS chartstring or will count towards the next year's award for multi-year awards.
- TGS does not reimburse for alcohol.
- TGS only reimburses for non-compensation expenses (no salary, add pay, special pay, etc.), except for awards specifically for graduate student funding (years 1-5 only).
- Do not use for campus stockrooms or other purchases where the charges are put directly to the chartstring unless the expense is clearly identified in NUFinancials or processed through NUcore with the awardee name and award type. We are unable to track and identify expenses otherwise.
- Computers purchased on TGS funds are the property of TGS/Northwestern, and may need to be returned to TGS when the student/employee leaves the University.
- If the awardee leaves the University, or is no longer in active student or employee status, the award terminates. Funds are not transferable or “cashable.”
- For travel, only expenses directly related to the travel/conference are reimbursed by TGS. Research supplies, personal supplies/toiletries, luggage, clothing, and entertainment expenses etc., are non-reimbursable. Reimbursable expenses include:
- Airfare (base economy only, no upgrades)
- Meeting registration fees
- Ground transportation
- Mileage, if driving to the conference/event (must be less than the cost of airfare)
- Rental car, if required due to conference and hotel locations (not for personal use)
- Meals while traveling out of town (no alcohol). The per diem method is allowable on TGS funds and is usually easier than saving meal receipts. Note that breakfast and dinner when commuting to in-town conferences are NOT reimbursable. Lunch during an in-town conference may be reimbursable if it is not feasible to return home during the lunch break.
- Poster costs, if presenting a poster at the conference
Tips to expedite expense approvals
- Attach all documentation in one PDF instead of multiple PDFs.
- Clearly indicate, either in the description, in the notes, or in the uploaded documentation, who the award is for and which award it is (e.g., GRG award for Tom Smith, recruitment expenses for history, etc.).
- For travel:
- Make sure all expenses are line itemized, including any expenses already pre-paid/directly charged to Northwestern (e.g., airfare through Egencia, corporate card transactions, etc.). Pre-paid expenses should be marked with “Y” for non-reimbursable, and need to reflect the chartstring to which they were charged.
- Do not include expenses that you are paying out-of-pocket and for which you are not requesting reimbursement.
- Be sure to include itemized receipts for all transactions that detail what was purchased. Credit card receipts and summary receipts are insufficient. Include a line item description for each line.
- For events, include a guest list and flyer/agenda/invitation demonstrating the nature/purpose of the event.
- When more than one chartstring is used (i.e., one from TGS and one from the home department), charge the entire amount of one or two items to the TGS chartstring to use up the funds instead of charging a percentage of all the line items. For example, charge the airfare and a portion of the hotel to the TGS chartstring, up to the target dollar amount, instead of charging a percentage of every line item. This is one of the biggest time savers when approving an expense report.