Purchasing Policy

1.00 Procurement Authority and Regulations

1.01 Procurement Authority

The procurement of supplies, materials, equipment, and services necessary for the operation of the University is the responsibility of the Office of Purchasing. This responsibility has been delegated to the Director of Purchasing and Central Services by the Vice President for Finance and Business Services and the Treasurer, in accordance with Resolution 84-59 of the Board of Trustees of Miami University.

No individual has the authority to enter into a contract for the purchase of goods or services, or otherwise obligate Miami University to purchase indebtedness, without at least one of the following:

Negotiations conducted or commitments made without such authority do not obligate the University, but are the personal responsibility of the individual making the commitment, in accordance with Section 3.12 of the Ohio Revised Code.  Additionally, refer to www.muohio.edu/publications for publication titled Rules for Contracting for further instructions.

Expenditures from all accounts, regardless of its source, are considered University funds and shall be administered in accordance with applicable University policy.

 1.02 General Purchasing Policy

Procurement responsibilities are divided between the Office of Purchasing, Bonham House, and its branch, the Facilities Contracting Service, 181 Cole Service Building. Purchases may be initiated by one of two methods: a Purchase Order (PO) or by P-Card (JP Morgan). A Procurement Card, or a PO must be issued prior to any commitment being made for the purchase of goods or providing of services, and the PO number and/or a hard copy of such order must be presented to the vendor or service provider at the time the purchase is made or contract is arranged. The Office of Purchasing will not issue POs after the fact to cover commitments.

In addition, it is specifically discouraged for employee to process requisitions for personal reimbursement of university supplies and/or services unless under the most extreme circumstances

1.025 General Purchasing Process

The Department of Purchasing implemented a campus-wide e-procurement system on August 16, 2010. The application, known as Miami Buyway, is provided by SciQuest, and is fully integrated with Banner.Miami Buyway is an online marketplace for purchasing goods and services at Miami University.Miami Buyway combines the use of Internet technology with procurement best practices to simplify the purchasing process and reduce costs.

Why Miami Buyway?

How Miami Buyway works:

Miami Buyway presents an easy, user-friendly shopping experience, allowing users to shop on-line, select items, place items in an electronic shopping cart, and submit their requisition. Visit the Miami Buyway page on the Purchasing website to access an Overview, User Manuals, and Quick Reference Guides to learn more about Miami Buyway.

1.026 Campus Delivery Standards

Offices ordering small packages from will receive  desktop delivery from UPS, FedEx, or university mail services. Therefore, it is important for all small package orders via Miami Buyway, P-Card, and any small package orders not associated with a PO to include accurate delivery addresses. The University has utilized a set of predetermined mail stop codes (MSC) which is available on the Purchasing website by opening the Ship-To Codes file. It is imperative that the proper MSC be used. If the package cannot be delivered properly, it may be returned to the sender and additional shipping fees may be assessed. Anything with freight or LTL, such as Roadway, will continue to be shipped to Central Receiving.

1.03 Approval Signatures

A uniform, minimum signature requirement for approval of all requisitions,, Procurement Card statements, travel reimbursement requests, and personal reimbursement requests has been adopted by the University and included as Appendix A. Any purchase commitment or transaction as described above must be approved and signed by authorized individuals in accordance with this policy. The policy allows for delegation of authority where appropriate. The policy does not permit the signing of authorized individuals' names by other individuals.

1.04 Grants, Contracts, Excellence Awards

The purchase of goods and services for grants, contracts, and excellence awards is subject to the same policies and procedures as all other departmental procurement. When award of a major grant or contract that includes any significant purchases that appears imminent, it is suggested that the principal investigator contact the Manager of Academic Procurement in the Office of Purchasing, 9-9204, to discuss specific needs and requirements. Any additional requirements contingent to a grant or contract, such as Federal requirements may be applicable to the purchase activity and also may require additional processing time as part of any resultant bid notice or request for proposal.  All materials and equipment purchased under such grants, contracts, and awards are the property of Miami University unless otherwise agreed to in the contract between the University and the grantor or contractor.

 1.05 Regional Campus Purchasing

The Office of Purchasing is responsible for regional campus procurement and the policies and procedures outlined in this handbook are fully applicable to the Miami regional campuses. Procurement Cards for small orders are issued by the appropriate offices at the respective campuses. Emergency Purchase Order authorization must be sought from the Director of Purchasing and Central Services.

 1.06 Student Organization Purchasing

Student organization funds (Account Index Codes ranging from 9300 to 9900) are considered expended when distributed, and expenditures from these funds are not subject to normal bid and contract requirements. To initiate a purchase or payment with student organization funds, a Student Organization Check Request form is prepared by the organization and signed by the organization treasurer and advisor. The form is then presented at the Accounts Payable Office, 107 Roudebush, where the funds are checked and an "S" number authorization slip is provided. The authorization slip is provided to the vendor at the time of purchase, and returned by the vendor to Accounts Payable, with the invoice.

Student organization accounts may not be cited on POs. However, the Office of Purchasing will, upon request, place orders via PO for items of equipment through State Contracts, IUC Agreements, University contracts, or a competitive bid/quotations process.

 1.07 Agency Account Purchasing

Agency accounts (Account Index Codes ranging from 9000 to 9299) are not considered University funds, and expenditures from these accounts are not subject to University purchasing procedures.

Where agencies have funds on deposit with the University, the agency is responsible for placing their own orders, using agency letterhead or other suitable forms. All orders must be placed in the official name of the agency, not in the name of the University. Invoices should be addressed to the agency c/o Miami University at the proper University address. Payment is then requested by the agency representative using a Buyway direct pay request

With few exceptions, University Purchase Orders (POs) will not be issued for agency accounts.  However, the Office of Purchasing will assist agencies in locating vendors or obtaining materials as requested. When it can be demonstrated that a significant advantage exists for an agency permanently located on campus and having a direct relationship with the University to use a State contract, IUC price agreement, or University contact, a PO may be issued on individual approval of the Director of Purchasing and Central Services. The University purchasing process may not be used by permanent agencies to purchase any items for resale.

 1.08 University Stores

Physical Facilities operates Central Stores where maintenance supplies are stored on campus after being purchased in wholesale quantities. The goods are then distributed from Central Stores and charged to departments. The inventory of maintenance/hardware/cleaning supplies is significant, and departments must use University Stores as the primary source for these items. Maintenance supplies are available from the Storeroom, Cole Service Building. Inventory items are issued by interdepartmental charge.  A valid Banner Index code must be provided at the time of sale.  Monthly itemized statements showing items issued and amounts charged are furnished to departments, with the corresponding summary charge appearing on the departments' monthly accounting reports.

 1.09 Conflict of Interest

Any purchase transaction of the University is a "public contract." With few exceptions, Section 2921.42 of the Ohio Revised Code states:

In addition to the legal implications it is important that, as members of a public institution, University employees avoid transactions that might appear to be a conflict, even if technically no conflict exists.

Please refer to the University's Statement on Conflicts of Interest http://www.units.muohio.edu/secretary/policies_guidelines/policy_info_manual/, or questions regarding potential conflicts of interest in purchasing transactions, may be directed to the Director of Purchasing and Central Services, 9-9203.

 1.10 Personal Purchases

Ohio Law makes it improper for employees to use their influence to solicit or accept anything of value, or to receive any compensation (defined as money, thing of value, or financial benefit) for their work in the institution other than the remuneration provided by the institution. As such, it is improper for faculty or staff to do any of the following:

Additionally, University funds may not be used to upgrade or repair personally owned computers or other equipment, even if such items are used by employees in the performance of their job duties.

Several University contracts with microcomputer manufacturers or suppliers do include personal purchases at educational discounts by students, faculty, and staff. Any personal sales authorized in this manner are handled through the University Bookstore, Shriver Center.

 1.11 Vendor Presentations

The University receives numerous requests from vendors and manufacturers to allow them to hold demonstrations on campus, typically for the general information of University departments, staff, and/or students. While it is important that departments retain the freedom to meet with vendors, view their products, and learn of new processes and technologies, the University cannot sponsor or favor individual vendors and/or provide sales assistance, except where exclusive contracts have been awarded for the benefit of the University.

 1.12 Surplus Property

Section 114.45 of the Ohio Revised Code requires that "all service rendered and property transferred from one institution, department, improvement, or public service industry to another shall be paid for at its full value." The Attorney General's Office has ruled that:

The method by which property is obtained does not affect the means of disposal. Whether the property is purchased with restricted funds, grant monies, gift monies, or is an outright gift, it is the property of Miami University.

The Office of Purchasing has been designated as the responsible agency for the processing and disposal of items which are no longer needed or usable by Miami University. This centralization is important to insure compliance with applicable State statutes, and also to match the surplus of one University department with the needs of another. Departments should notify the Office of Purchasing whenever items become surplus for possible placement in other areas.

An auction of surplus University property is held at least once a year. In addition the Department of Purchasing can assist with an on-line auction process throughout the year for more significant items. No sale of University property will be made to employees or other individuals except through the auction or other advertised sales.


2.00 Bids and Quotations

2.01 Bid Requirements

The Office of Purchasing has the dual responsibility of supporting the needs and requirements of the requestor, while at the same time fulfilling the requirements of the Ohio Revised Code, University purchasing policy, and generally recognized and published purchasing ethics. As a public institution, it is important that the Office of Purchasing ensure competition at all levels of procurement, and provide an opportunity for any capable vendor or service provider to quote on potential University purchases.

Effective July 1, 1997, the State of Ohio revised the requirements for competitive bidding by State agencies. Under these requirements, "competitive selection" is required for:

The above requirements provide significant latitude for the University to make responsible purchasing decisions without the need for a formal bid process. At the same time, it would be totally inappropriate and poor business practice to allow purchases of up to $25,000 or contracts for services up to $50,000, without some form of competitive selection or a justification/approval process to ensure the purchase is clearly in the best interest of the University. With this in mind, the Vice President for Finance and Business Services has approved the following bid/quotation policy for Miami University:


$0 - 500

Only one quote is required, either written, verbal, or copied from an ad or catalog.

$500 - 1,000

Two or more quotes are preferred. Quotes obtained by the requestor are subject to concurrence of responsible buyer.

$1,001 - 4,999

Solicitation from three or more vendors on Price Request (PR) form, or Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by Purchasing Office, preferred. Written quotes are required. Requests for one vendor only are subject to approval of the responsible buyer upon justification by the requestor. -

$5,000 or more

Written solicitation from three or more vendors on PR form, or RFP format by Purchasing Office, required. Written bid/quotation responses from vendors to the Purchasing Office are required. Requests for one vendor only are subject to the University policy on waiver of competitive selection/single source procurement, as discussed in 2.03.


These guidelines apply to all purchases except those being made from State contracts, Inter-University Council of Ohio Purchasing Agreements, or Miami University contracts which have already been awarded as a result of a competitive proposal process.

 2.02 Bid/Quotation Process

Except for construction and renovation projects, the State does not mandate a specific process for competitive selection. Generally, the competitive selection should consist of:

  1. A written solicitation outlining the University s needs, outlining the terms of the purchase, and the award criteria sent to prospective bidders;
  2. Written responses received from prospective bidders; and
  3. An evaluation made by the requestor and buyer, in writing whenever selecting other than the apparent lowest proposal.

Solicitations may be made in various formats including via a Request for Quote form (RFQ), letterhead format, invitation to bid format, or Request for Proposal (RFP) format. Many of the university s solicitations are done on Sourcing Manager, a web enabled bidding process. The form of solicitation will be determined by the respective purchasing agent in accordance with guidelines established by the Director of Purchasing and Central Services.

Except for simple price requests on a specific product or list of products, verbal solicitations should be avoided because it is essential that all prospective responders be provided the same information upon which to base their bid and it is easy to forget certain information or change an instruction when the information is given verbally.

Facsimile transmissions (faxes) or electronic communications (emails) are acceptable forms of written solicitations and responses for most competitive selection processes. Faxes are normally not acceptable for sealed bid openings and formal request for proposal processes.

2.03 Waiver of Competitive Selection/Single Source Procurement

Competitive selection requirements may be waived by the Vice President for Finance and Business Services, or their delegate, whenever, in their best judgment: 


Requests for waiver of competitive bidding must be made using the Sole Source Justification Form in Miami Buyway, outlining the rationale for the request in specific terms and accompanied by supporting documentation. Requests above $5,000 but under the $50,000 aggregate will be approved/ disapproved by the Director of Purchasing. Requests over that amount will be referred, with a recommendation by the Director of Purchasing and Central Services, to the Vice President for Finance and Business Services for approval/disapproval.

Claims that a specified product is the "only one which can be found" are not sufficient justification for a single source purchase as the bid process will either serve to confirm those claims or uncover alternative solutions. Requestors must also be aware that the review, evaluation, and selection of a product without the involvement of Purchasing, followed by the preparation of a requisition with a "single source" justification supporting the selection, is not an acceptable substitute for a competitive selection process conducted by the Office of Purchasing, and will only serve to delay the purchase while such a process is conducted. Requests for more information may be addressed to the Director of Purchasing and Central Services, 9-9203.

 2.04 Buy Ohio Preference

Sections 125.09 and 125.11 of the Ohio Revised Code require that in the evaluation of bids, the University give preference to products which are "mined, excavated, produced, manufactured, raised, or grown" in the State of Ohio, or products offered by bidders who have a "significant Ohio presence," defined to mean that the bidders:

Any bids meeting the above criteria will be given a preference of up to five (5) percent over the lowest price "non-Ohio" bid submitted; except that such preference will not be applied against vendors from bordering states, unless those states have programs favoring their in-state bidders over "Ohio" vendors.


3.00 Purchasing Procedures

3.01 General

A successful procurement program depends upon effective communication - between the requestor and the purchasing agent. The purchasing agent is familiar with the various contracts, and aware of the price practices and discount levels of many vendors. The requestor can best evaluate suitability for intended use, product quality, and level of service. Prior to making any purchasing initiative or vendor contact, the requestor is encouraged to consult with the respective purchasing agent to discuss the best method of handling specific needs.

It is the policy of the University to carefully document all purchase transactions. In addition to any specific requirements for initiating a requisition, it is the responsibility of the requesting department and subsequent approvers to disclose the following business details on any and all purchase documents.

Who: The party who is the ultimate end user

What: A reasonable item description of items or services purchased

When: The date in which the item is purchased or the service is rendered. (i.e. conference date, or project start date)

Where: The campus location where the item purchased is delivered or the service is performed

Why: A reasonable description of the business purpose and reason for the item to be purchased or the services acquired

3.02 Major Purchases

When a major purchase is being considered, the requestor should contact the Director of Purchasing and Central Services, or the purchasing manager/agent assigned to that commodity, and indicate the basic requirements and potential vendors and sources. Purchasing Office staff will research State contract or IUC price agreement vendors, and suggest them as first contacts. The purchasing agent will work with the requestor to further define needs and develop an evaluation process. As soon as the market has been surveyed, and the requestor has a good feel for the level and type of equipment or services that will be required to meet its needs, the bid process may be initiated.

 At this point the requestor and the purchasing agent jointly define requirements in detail and write specifications for the needed equipment or items. Proposals will be solicited from at least three vendors/manufacturers asking them to offer equipment or services meeting the requirements and providing firm prices. (Even vendors on State contracts or IUC Price Agreements often offer better prices in response to formal bid requests.) Upon receipt of proposals, the evaluation process continues, measuring the formal proposals against the requestor's requirements and selecting the equipment/services best suited to the requestor's needs.

The major responsibility for evaluation and selection remains with the requestor. The University is not bound to accept the "low" bid, but can accept the most "responsive and responsible" bid, in the interest of the University. In this manner, the legal requirements are satisfied as well as the requestor's needs, and usually better pricing is obtained through increased competition.

With the complexity and high costs of equipment or services, preliminary investigation and evaluation by the requestor in anticipation of a purchase is extremely important. Because of this, there may be the tendency for some requestors to proceed too far into the procurement process on their own by soliciting proposals and prices, conducting a detailed evaluation, making a selection, and expecting the Office of Purchasing to support the decision and automatically issue a Purchase Order (PO). Where the item or service selected is available from several vendors, the purchase may be merely delayed while the Office of Purchasing checks the prices, attempts more favorable quotations, and/or conducts a formal bid solicitation.

In other instances, the purchase simply cannot be completed because competitive bid requirements were not met and a competitive bid process is no longer possible due to the search already being narrowed to a specific item or service available only from one source. When this occurs, everyone is unhappy.

Faculty and staff are cautioned not to solicit quotations or proceed through an evaluation/ decision process on their own. Although the Office of Purchasing is committed to ensuring that the needs and requirements of the requestors are met, it must also ensure that the transaction meets all procedural, legal, and ethical requirements of the Federal government, State and University. Competitive procurement requirements can be waived only under very limited circumstances, and failure to work through the Office of Purchasing will result in unnecessary delays and, potentially, unpleasant or impossible procurement situations.

 3.03 Blanket Purchase Orders

When departments are faced with numerous repetitive orders for miscellaneous requirements to a single vendor, or when departments have a requirement for a known quantity of an item or items to be delivered over a period of time, a Blanket Purchase Order (BPO) may be issued. Under this order, a requisition is forwarded to the Office of Purchasing indicating a vendor, item(s) or types of items to be ordered, dollar amount, and the period of time to be covered. After issuance of the order, the using department makes its requests as needed to the vendor, giving the Purchase Order (PO) number each time. Invoices are paid against the order until the set dollar amount is exhausted. Requestors having requirements that they feel would be well served by BPOs should contact the appropriate buyer to discuss this purchasing method.

3.04 Consortia Contracts

In many instances, volume discounts are available to the University based upon quantities of items or like items to be ordered over time, or volumes of services to be performed. Specifications are written outlining the product(s) or service(s), estimated quantities, and method, frequency, and size of orders. Vendors then bid unit prices based upon these specifications, and a contract is awarded for items to be ordered or services to be performed over time, normally a one-year period. Whenever the items are needed or services required, a Purchase Order (PO) is written to the vendor at the agreed upon price.

State Contracts and IUC Price Agreements are all Consortia contracts. In addition, the Office of Purchasing has numerous University contracts based upon local requirements,. Many are loaded into Miami Buyway as an e-catalog where users can select items on-line as the most preferred and efficient ordering method. Buyers will check existing contracts whenever seeking a source to meet a department's requirement. This is a primary reason users should check with the appropriate buyer prior to investigating sources on their own.

Purchasing agents regularly review purchasing activity in their areas to see if a buying pattern suggests creation of a contract to enable more effective purchasing. Departments having recurring requirements for goods or services that they feel would lend themselves to a contract should contact the responsible buyer or the Director of Purchasing and Central Services.

The following IUC Purchasing Group Pricing Agreements, which can be found at http://www.iucpg.com/default.asp?strStaticPage=PriceAgreements&SectionDetail=Vendor#Vehicle, are available:


Price Agreement Index



Anti Virus-OSU (Malware) Agreement



Audio-Visual & Video Equipment



Benefits Consulting Services



Bleacher Inspection Services



Computer Hardware

OSU Computer Hardware




Dormitory Mattresses



Employee Assistance Program (EAP)



Ethyl Alcohol



Group Dental Benefits



Group Life & Disability Insurance



Hewitt Associates



IT & Telecommunications Staff Augmentation Service



Laboratory Apparatus, Chemicals & Glassware



Laboratory, Medical & Scientific Equipment



Microsoft Reseller



Miscellaneous Hardware Maintenance



Miscellaneous Office Supplies



Moving Services (household)



Office Furniture



Pharmacy Benefit Management Services



Printers, Plotters & Scanners



Procurement Card Program



SciQuest E Procurement



Search Firm Services






Vehicle Rental Agreement



VMware Software and Maintenance



Vision Services



Other Available Price Agreements Index


Charter Bus Service -- Wright State University



Payroll Processing Service --  Wright State University



Polybag Agreement (Trash Bags)  -- University of Cincinnati



Temporary Staffing Service  -- Wright State University



 3.05 Purchases Requiring Installation

As new and replacement equipment is purchased for use on campus, the requirements for final delivery, set-up, and installation, and costs thereof, may be overlooked. On occasion, the cost of providing utilities, taking care of environmental needs, making necessary room modifications and installing equipment has substantially exceeded the dollars spent on the actual equipment purchase. Yet, no funds were allocated for such work when the equipment was approved and ordered. As a result, departments and users were faced with long installation delays, as well as major unanticipated expenses that cut into other programs, at either the departmental, school, or divisional level.

Therefore, the Office of Purchasing has been requested by the Office of the Provost, Vice President of Finance and Business Services, and Physical Facilities Department to ensure that prior to ordering any equipment requiring installation, the following three conditions must be met: 

To avoid delays in equipment procurement, departments are urged to make installation planning part of their equipment request and approval process. If a room change of use will be made, or additional utilities or room modifications are required, a Project and Space Utilization Request Form will also have to be initiated by the requesting department.


3.06 Order Follow-Up/Change Orders/Amendments/Receiving

For Purchase Orders (POs), the Purchasing Office's responsibility does not end with placing the order. Order follow-up and assistance in resolving vendor problems is provided as required.

Upon receiving the departmental copy of the PO, the requestor should carefully review it to ensure that all information is correct. If there is any problem with the PO as written, the requestor should contact the purchasing agent immediately.

Any delivery time promised by the vendor is typed on the PO. If indicated delivery time presents a major problem, or if the delivery date passes without receiving the items and follow-up is required, the requestor should contact the purchasing agent before contacting the vendor.

Occasionally an order must be changed after issuance. It is extremely important from a contract, accounting viewpoint, and for the protection of all parties, that a written PO change be issued to reflect the modified order. Requestors should not initiate, accept, or approve changes to a PO without the purchasing agent s concurrence. Change orders and receiving will be done within Miami Buyway. The Miami Buyway User Guide is available at http://www.units.muohio.edu/purchasing/documents/MiamiBuyWayHowToGuide.pdf. For instructions regarding how to change an order that has already been submitted, please refer to Section 13. For instructions on receiving and/or returning an order, please refer to Sections 21-23.

Upon delivery, the requestor should perform the following procedures:

1. Check that all items on the packing slips are accounted for, and that nothing is damaged.

2. Save all packing slips, even if nothing is amiss.

3. If there is any damage, save all cartons and packaging.

4. Contact the buyer promptly regarding any problem(s).

5. If reviewing the invoice, carefully check the items against the invoice. If there is any discrepancy, notify Accounts Payable to hold payment, and contact the buyer on vendor follow-up procedures.

6. File the packing slip per document retention policy.

For Procurement Card orders follow-up with the vendor is normally the responsibility of the ordering requestor or department. Requestors should contact the vendor directly regarding delivery status, merchandise problems, or pricing issues. If departments are unable to resolve the problem directly, they should contact the Office of Purchasing for assistance.

3.07 Payment Voucher Requests/Confirming Requisitions

Though most purchases require the issuance of Purchase Orders (POs) or Procurement Card prior to placement of an order or commitment, there are several types of transactions where an invoice is routinely issued prior to a commitment and the payment actually initiates the transaction; or where no PO is issued prior to the shipment of materials or completion of work, even though a contract was approved/entered into by the Office of Purchasing. The following transactions are approved for routine processing on Direct Pay requisitions: 

Confirming Direct Pay Request requisitions for purchases or contracts which were not approved in advance by the Vice President for Finance and Business Services, nor by the Director of Purchasing and Central Services, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for acceptance as an obligation of Miami University. Such requisitions are subject to rejection where the transaction violates state or local policy or where the materials or services were already available less expensively from existing contracts.

 3.08 Prepayments

State statutes generally prohibit the University from making payment prior to receipt of merchandise or rendering of service. Routine prepayments are limited to subscriptions, small book orders, payment for membership or any renewal and conference/seminar registration fees. Other prepayments will be authorized only when absolutely required to complete a transaction that is clearly advantageous to the University.   Routine pre payments are preferred to be handled and processed with the departmental Procurement Card.

When using the Procurement Card for - prepayment, "proof of price" must be provided. This may be an order form, letter from the vendor, copy of an advertisement, copy of a catalog page, or a price list. Requestors should ensure that proof of price is current, and includes any shipping charges.

3.09 Purchasing Cards - revised 10/7/2016

Purchasing Cards are intended for department use to conduct small dollar procurement needs.  Specifically, the purchasing card is the preferred method for pre-payment, conference registration, airline ticket purchases and business use hotel room charges.  The card may also be used for on-line purchases (be sure the site is secure).

To obtain a card, the cardholder will have to complete a purchasing card application. If the cardholder is other than the department chair/director, it requires the approval of the chair/ director.  All applications are subject to approval by the Director of Purchasing prior to issuance.  At the time the card is issued and received, the cardholder will complete a purchasing card agreement. Please refer to the Purchasing Card Program Information webpage to obtain documents or access the Miami University P-Card Policy and Procedure Handbook.


 4.00 Specific Purchasing Transactions

Special guidelines must be followed in performing certain purchasing transactions. These transactions and the appropriate procedures are described below.

4.01 Air Travel Tickets

There are several factors involved in the purchase of airline tickets. Travel Policy and Procedures 6.00 contains a detailed discussion of the policies and procedures regarding such purchases.

4.02 Business Cards, Envelopes, Letterhead

The University has adopted a standardized format to be used for business cards, envelope return addresses, and letterhead stationery. Use of this format is mandatory for all departments. The Department of IT Services, Print Center provides for the production and distribution of business cards by online ordering system. Complete instructions for placing orders can be found at http://www.units.muohio.edu/mcs/mediaservices/print/documents/AlumniOrder_v3.pdf.

4.03 Consulting, Professional Services

Contracts for most consulting and professional services are subject to the same procurement policies and considerations as those of any other purchase, including the requirement for competitive selection. When contracting with individuals, rather than firms, IRS regulations require an "independent contractor versus employee" evaluation. Non-Employee Payment Policy and Procedures 4.00 contains more information on this subject.

4.05 Microcomputers, Peripherals - revised 5/22/06

Standards and specifications for microcomputers, computing equipment and peripherals must be coordinated and approved through the Vice President for Information Technology, who is responsible for the oversight and management of the university s IT assets.  IT Equipment is defined as desktop computers, laptop computers, servers, storage devices, network and communications devices, research computers or workstations, displays, printers, electronic multimedia devices, personal mobile devices and any other equipment designated by the Vice President for Information Technology. Without prior approval by the Vice President for Information Technology, acquisition of IT assets by departments as defined herein are unauthorized.

The University maintains and coordinates contracts and agreements for the purchase of approved and supported hardware and peripherals that result in exceptional discounts and improved overall support. Certain makes and models of computers and associated hardware have been adopted as standards for use at the University. Request for Purchase Order requisitions will be reviewed by the IT Department for standards and specification review and approval prior to issuance of a purchase order by the Purchasing office. If you have questions, please contact Bob Black, blackrw@muohio.edu or 529-1593.

Credit cards may not be used for the purchase of desktop computers, laptops, servers, monitors/displays, printers, and network equipment. These items must be selected via the web page cited above, or otherwise described via requisition sent to the Vice President for Information Technology or his designee.

4.06 Office Furnishings

The Office of Purchasing follows a set of informal standards in the selection and purchase of office furnishings that has been supported by the University Administration over many years of use. These standards are guided by functionality, appearance, durability, cost, and individual duties while being mindful of and respecting individual roles and surrounding architecture and environment. Requestors desiring more information on these standards are encouraged to contact the Furniture Buyer in the Office of Purchasing, 9-6132, or the Space Planner/Interior Designers in the Office of the University Architect, 9-1676 or 9-2361.

Through various Price Agreements the University obtains exceptional discounts on quality office furnishings. Common items in basic colors and upholstery are available in ten days to two weeks after placement of order. Other items are manufactured to order with lead times of 60 to 120 days. It is important that departments plan for furnishing requirements in advance of the needs to allow for contract lead times.

For emergency needs, the Physical Facilities Department maintains a small inventory of used office furnishings. Should some unforeseen need arise; requestors may contact the Office of Trucking Services, 9-7035, for information on availability.

4.08 Physical Facilities Purchases

All work on University facilities and building equipment, including maintenance, repairs, remodeling, minor and major construction, and decorating must be accomplished through the Physical Facilities Department.

Separate procedures and forms for purchase requisitions have been developed for use within and between the Physical Facilities Department. If your department is contemplating any purchase that results in changing, altering or decorating university property, please contact the Physical Facilities Department at 9-7000.

4.09 Printing and Publications

In addition to normal procurement policy and regulation, contracts for printing and publications are restricted by Section 3345.10 of the Ohio Revised Code to contractors having manufacturing facilities in the State of Ohio. This applies to both procurement card and Purchase Order (PO) transactions.

Departments having requirements for printing and publications should work through the IT Printing Manager, 9-6062, or the Director of University Communications, 9-7597, as appropriate, for assistance with specifications and vendor selection. For assistance with office forms, requestors may contact the Printing Buyer in the Office of Purchasing, 9-6132.

Once specifications are determined, a Request for Purchase Order requisition and specifications should be forwarded to the Printing Buyer for bids or quotes and issuance of a PO.

If the printing contract includes mailing materials, such as postcards, envelopes or self mailers, or if mailing services are to be included as part of the printing contract, the department should work with University Mail Services for design approval or authorization for use of mail permits, as applicable.

 4.10 Rentals and Leasing - revised 5/22/2006

All IT-related rentals and leases require prior review and approval by the Vice President for Information Technology, who is charged with the oversight and management of the university s IT purchases. Such agreements should be forwarded to the Vice President for Information Technology or their designee, who will coordinate with the Purchasing Department for the bidding and contracting process as required.

Any rental or lease agreements are subject to the same guidelines as the purchase of goods or services, including the requirement to seek competitive bids or proposals. The total of all payments to be made over the life of the lease or rental shall be the  purchase amount for the purpose of applying competitive bid requirements. Questions regarding rental or lease agreements should be addressed to the Director of Purchasing and Central Services, 529-9203.

 4.11 Software, Information Databases, Application Systems, IT Consultants, IT Contracts (web services, application or database programmers, etc.) - revised 5/22/2006

The University maintains and coordinates contracts and agreements for the purchase of approved and supported software that result in exceptional discounts and improved overall support. Most packaged microcomputer software from major publishers is available, under various education discounts for University use. Software agreements may include provisions for individual sales, some requiring the consolidation of orders for volume discounts, and some as site licenses. Any packaged software from major publishers, and all software from other publishers selling for over $100 should be checked first ordered via the web page at http://www.muohio.edu/itpurchases/ and processed by a Request for Purchase Order requisition and forwarded to IT Services for review and approval, prior to the issuance of a Purchase Order via the Office of Purchasing. Software from small publishers with a sales price under $100 may be ordered on Procurement Cards.

The purchase, rental, or lease of software, information databases, application systems, IT consultants, and IT contracts (e.g., for web services, application or database programmers, etc.) must be coordinated and approved through the Vice President for Information Technology. Without prior approval by the Vice President for Information Technology, purchases by departments are unauthorized.

Requests for needs of this nature shall be made through the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, who will assist the requestor in determining the scope and specifications to meet the need. Any IT related applications to be developed must be reviewed for compatibility and appropriateness in the University s IT network infrastructure, as well as being reviewed by the Office of the Information Security Officer. The purchase, rental, or contracting of services for developing applications and/or databases are otherwise subject to the requirement to seek out competitive bids or proposals, conducted by the Purchasing Department.

Requestors desiring more information on these subjects may direct their questions to Bob Black, blackrw@muohio.edu, or 529-1593.

4.12 Telephone Equipment, Cellular Phones, Pagers - revised 5/22/2006

Purchases of telephones and other telecommunications equipment and services must be made through the Vice President for Information Technology, Office of Telecommunications, to ensure compatibility with the University telephone system. Interested parties should contact the Manager of Telecommunications or the Assistant Manager of Telecommunications for Operations, both at 529-3511, for assistance. Without prior approval by IT Services Office of Telecommunications, purchases of telecommunications equipment by departments are unauthorized.

IT Services Office of Telecommunications maintains agreements and contracts for cellular telephone and radio pager rentals at significant discounts. All requests for these services are to be made to IT Services Office of Telecommunications, which will arrange for the individual pager rentals and set up the proper billing through the University telephone system. Further information may be obtained by contacting IT Services Office of Telecommunication.

4.13 Used Equipment

Occasionally departments find that their needs can be well served by the purchase of used or "demo" equipment. The purchase of used equipment follows the same policies and procedures as that of new equipment, including the requirement for competitive bidding when applicable due to the amount of the purchase. Used equipment may also be purchased from individuals, subject to conflict of interest restrictions (as described in 1.09) and proof of ownership. All purchases of used equipment are subject to review and approval by the Office of Purchasing prior to any commitment.

4.14 Emergencies

The Office of Purchasing is prepared to assist and work with requestors to obtain required materials or services when true emergencies exist or expedited procedures are otherwise required. The Director of Purchasing and Central Services may waive certain policies or procedures within its control if conditions warrant. Whatever the cause of the emergency, departments must work through the Office of Purchasing, explaining the circumstances, and requesting assistance to arrive at a viable solution. Departments cannot make transactions without authority and later justify them as an emergency. The Director of Purchasing and Central Services is under no obligation to assume responsibility for transactions made without authority by after-the-fact approval.

 When the situation requires, and bidding restrictions are not a concern, the Office of Purchasing can issue a standard Purchase Order (PO) immediately upon presentation of a properly signed requisition. - However, requestors must remember that an error on their part does not automatically constitute an emergency on the part of the Office of Purchasing.







Hosting Policy and Procedures

Hosting regulations are based on IRS guidelines, the Administrative Code of the State of Ohio, and the University's determination of reasonable hosting activities. As a steward of public funds, the University has a responsibility to be conservative in its hosting activities.

 1.00 Hosting Definition

Hosting activities funded by the University must be related to University business. Expenditures of a personal nature, unreasonable or excessive expenses, and those not specifically related to the conduct of University business are not allowable. To be considered a business expense by the IRS, meals and hosting expenses must meet the following requirements:

 2.00 Definition of Discretionary and Nondiscretionary Accounts

Hosting expenses must be charged to an appropriate index code. All Miami University index codes, for hosting purposes, are identified as either Nondiscretionary or Discretionary accounts based on their fund designation. (Refer to chart at the end of this section).

Nondiscretionary accounts are generally those which are funded in whole or in part by money received from the State of Ohio. All expenditures from these accounts must comply with the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code and the regulations of the Ohio Board of Regents in addition to the IRS and University rules. Use of Nondiscretionary funds for hosting is limited to specific purposes as outlined in the following sections of this document.

Discretionary accounts are generally those which are funded through gifts, private and local grants, and private and local contracts. The use of Discretionary funds for hosting must still comply with IRS and University rules, but may be used at the discretion of the department within the guidelines of the account. Those guidelines are documented by the Accounting Manual Sheets for that account and outlined in the following sections of this document.

The following table indicates the various types of accounts for various funds (rev. 09/28/16):


Index Code



Fund Code


Education & General













xxxx (four
digit numeric)







G # # # # #

Grants & Contracts

Discretionary &Nondiscretionary


C # # # # #

Cost Share Portion of Grant



D # # # # #

Designated Cost Share Portion of Grant



S # # # # #

Plant Funds

State Funded Capital Improvements



L # # # # #

Plant Funds

Locally Funded Capital Improvements




Each expenditure must be recorded with the appropriate account code. The following sections of this document provide guidance as to which account code applies to specific types of expenditures. Appropriate account codes for hosting are:


Type of Hosting

Account Code



University Guests




University Students
(not as student employees)




University Employees
(including student employees)



Flowers, items of personal nature and celebrations that are not work related (Birthdays, Weddings, Births, etc.) can NOT be purchased from discretionary funds. Flowers for funerals can be purchased from discretionary accounts if done with prudence.   The President's and Vice-President's Offices purchase funeral flowers on behalf of the University community for current faculty, staff, students, faculty and staff holding emeriti rank, and current or former board members.

Any type of equipment for personal use such as heaters, microwaves, fans, coffee pots, etc. must be purchased from Discretionary funds.

3.00 Hosting of University Guests

Hosting expenses are authorized for fund raising, student recruitment activities, conference marketing activities, lecturers, job candidates, workshop attendees, and consultants.  Hosting of University guests may be charged to Discretionary or Nondiscretionary funds as appropriate (See 2.00) using the Account code of 153031.

The following guidelines apply to the hosting of University guests:



4.00 Hosting of University Students

Hosting expenses for students who are volunteering for University-related activities, acknowledgment of academic achievements, student employment training and development, and achievement recognition are authorized from either Discretionary or Nondiscretionary index codes as appropriate (See 2.00) using Account Code 153011.

Any other student hosting expenditure, such as welcome picnics, refreshments served in meetings, and student entertainment must be charged to a Discretionary account using Account Code 153011. Hosting related to student employment is addressed in 5.00.

Student hosting should follow a "test of reasonableness" for the appropriate amount of expense. Costs of student meals should be comparable to the cost of a similar meal in the dining hall system.

5.00 Hosting of University Employees (including student employees)

Hosting expenses for employee development, training sessions, and achievement recognition may be purchased for Discretionary or Non-Discretionary funds.  Employee meals, employee entertainment, celebrations that are work related (Holidays, Welcome Back picnics, end of year parties, retirement parties) and alcoholic beverages may only be charged to Discretionary funds.   Hosting of University employees for functions such as routine meetings, social functions, etc. is discouraged and should not be repetitive.  These expenses must be charged to Discretionary funds in accordance with the terms of the specific account using Account Code 153021. (See 2.00)

Scholarships, awards, gifts, and gift certificates may not be purchased from Nondiscretionary funds. These expenses must be charged to Discretionary funds in accordance with the terms of the specific account. In accordance with IRS regulations, any award, gift, or gift certificate given to an employee over $50 will be included on the employee's W-2 form as compensation and taxed accordingly. For further information on gifts and gift certificates. (See 6.00)

6.00 Hosting Cost Guidelines

Hosting expenses for business meals must meet the "test of reasonableness." Business meals must have a clearly substantiated University business purpose and must be incurred while the employee is performing services as an employee of the University. Business meals subject to reimbursement under these hosting guidelines will also typically involve one or more non-Miami employees. An exception is granted when exigent circumstances apply and the meal is provided during emergency situations or when employees are not able to leave and return in a reasonable amount of time during an all-day training class where it is critical that the attendees be present for the entire session. The amounts below are derived from the maximum allowable reimbursable meal amounts from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) per diem tables (reviewed annually). GSA per diem is recognized by IRS as permissible reimbursement without creating a taxable situation to the employee being reimbursed or being in violation of an entity's accountable plan.


Business Meal Hosting Limits


$20 per person



$40 per person



$70 per person



These amounts are limits for the total of the meal expenditure including tips and/or taxes. Alcohol cannot be charged to a Nondiscretionary account. Alcohol may be charged to a Discretionary account, but must be included in the total allocation for the "test of reasonableness ". Gratuities will be limited to 20%. Exceptions to the hosting limits may be requested through the Vice President.

Effective Date: October 7, 2016 - Business Meal Hosting Limit change

Effective Date: April 1, 2017 - Gratuity Limit change

Updated by Controller's Office

7.00 Hosting Documentation and Substantiation




Documentation requirements are based on the IRS guidelines.

Hosting expenditures may be paid with the P-Card or submitted for payment on a requisition form, or intra-University hosting charge slip. The following documentation is required regardless of the form used:


8.00 Hosting at University Facilities

The University encourages the use of the Shriver Center, Marcum Conference Center, and the Residence & Dining Halls for hosting meals. Charges for meals at these facilities may be paid by payroll deductions or intra-University charges. Reimbursement for expenses paid by payroll deduction may be requested by submitting a University requisition form. Intra-Unversity charges may be made by the responsible departmental individual by completing an intra-University hosting charge slip. They should not be charged to a department P-Card.



Travel Policies and Procedures

1.00 Purpose of Policy

It is the policy of the University to reimburse faculty, staff, students, visitors and any 3rd party vendors for travel expenses incurred during approved University business in the most efficient and cost effective manner. All University travelers seeking reimbursement should incur the lowest reasonable travel expense and should exercise care to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety, including the public perception that a business trip has been taken for personal reasons.


2.00 Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all University travel regardless of the source of funding. The University will prepay most travel expenses by using the University P-Card for travelers attending University approved business away from home or primary work location. The use of personal funds to pay for travel expenses is strongly discouraged. The University does not classify the commute between the employee's home and his/her primary work location as reimbursable travel.

Department heads or those responsible for the accounts being charged are expected to help ensure that expenses are kept to necessary and reasonable amounts.

Employees are responsible for following this policy and, if applicable, the policy of their particular program, school, department, center or division.

Authorized approvers have primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy. Before approving the expense report, the authorized approver must verify, to the best of his/her knowledge, that expenses and expense reports meet the following criteria:


3.00 Spousal Travel

A spouse (or equivalent) may travel at the University's expense if the spouse's presence has a specific University business purpose.

Under IRS regulations, the travel expenses of a spouse are not taxable, provided it can be established that his or her presence serves a bona fide business purpose. A spouse who attends a function is considered to have a business purpose if he or she has a significant role in the proceedings or makes an important contribution to the success of an event.

The Request for Spousal Travel Form must be approved prior to incurring any travel expenses.

If a spouse has no significant role in the proceedings, attendance does not constitute a bona fide business purpose. Such expenses are taxable to the employee and therefore may not be reimbursed under this policy.

4.00 Athletic Travel Spouse and Other family Members

Travel by a spouse or equivalent who accompanies the athletic director (or assistant director or head coach) to sporting events such as bowl games and tournaments is presumed to have a bona fide University business purpose (see 3.00) in situations where the NCAA, MAC or potential donors expect that certain high-ranking members of the athletic department, and their spouses, will participate in events associated with these athletic activities.  The travel expenses of a spouse incurred in the pursuit of such activities may be reimbursed provided documentation, such as an NCAA event agenda, is provided to substantiate the business purpose of the travel.  Travel expenses incurred by other family members generally do not satisfy the bona fide University business purpose test and therefore are not reimbursable.

The Request for Spousal Travel Form must be approved prior to incurring any travel expenses.

If a spouse has no significant role in the proceedings, attendance does not constitute a bona fide business purpose.  Such expenses are taxable to the employee and therefore may not be reimbursed under this policy.

5.00 Authorization of Travel

Travel may be authorized and approved in advance by the appropriate person in the department, through a preauthorization request in the Travel Module. Such approval indicates that the employee is authorized to travel on official university business and that related travel expenses will be covered per this policy. The preauthorization request should include the estimated expenses, account numbers, and electronic signature of the traveler and approver. Preauthorization does not include cash advances (see 9.00).

The faculty or staff supervisor is responsible for reviewing the Expense Report for compliance with policy and for providing proper payment documentation. Supervisors are required to review expenditures. In cases where there is reason to believe the expenditures may be inappropriate or extravagant, reimbursement may be withheld. Deans and central administrative offices also review reimbursements and may question expenditures at any time.

Each department is responsible for ensuring that individual travelers and their supervisors properly implement and administer this policy.


6.01 Common Carrier

Reimbursement for travel by air, rail, bus or other common carrier shall not exceed the cost of coach airfare or the economy rate in the chosen method of travel. Travelers should book airline tickets 14 days or more prior to the flight whenever possible as a cost savings to Miami University. A letter of explanation should be attached if the reservation of the airfare was booked less than 14 days prior to the trip.

Frequent Flyer Credits earned by University employees for travel on University business cannot be used for personal travel (see Ohio Ethics Commission advisory opinion no. 91-010).These credits must be applied towards future University travel.

Dues for memberships in travel related clubs (hotel, air, car, etc.) are not reimbursable.

Additional insurance (medical or trip) for domestic travel is not reimbursable.

If the tickets are paid for personally, reimbursement will be made after the travel takes place and only for the airfare amount. Finance charges are not reimbursable.

6.02 Travel on charter aircraft/private aircraft

Employees may travel on chartered or private aircraft with prior approval by the appropriate Vice President. Reimbursement shall not exceed the equivalent of the lowest available common air carrier rate available at the time the travel was authorized plus necessary commercial ground transportation to the travel destination.

6.03 Foreign travel insurance

Miami University provides comprehensive liability insurance from Chartis Insurance Company covering the University and its employees while conducting workshops or other University programs outside the United States. See Finance & Business Services Foreign Travel Insurance to receive the most updated information regarding liability and medical insurance questions.

6.04 Lost baggage

The airlines are responsible for compensating the owners for lost baggage. The University will not reimburse travelers for personal items lost while traveling on business.

6.05 Unused, voided, or canceled airline tickets

Unused airline tickets or flight coupons may have a cash value and therefore must not be discarded or destroyed.

When a trip is canceled after the ticket has been issued, the traveler should ask about using the ticket for future travel. For a small change fee, many tickets can be used for future travel. Please consult with your travel agency.

Unused tickets should not be included with University Travel Expense Reports.

6.06 Personal Automobile

An individual who uses a privately owned vehicle on university business must meet the liability insurance requirements of the motor vehicle financial responsibility laws of the State of Ohio (see HTTP://BMV.OHIO.GOV/INSURANCE_REQUIREMENTS.STM ) for current requirements.

A traveler may be reimbursed for the use of a privately owned automobile at the federal government rate currently in effect. The current mileage rate can be found on the IRS mileage rate website. The mileage rate will cover all expenses incurred while using your privately owned car. You may choose either reimbursement for mileage or fuel cost (not to exceed the calculated mileage reimbursement) but not both.

When the traveler elects to drive his/her own vehicle, or rent a vehicle, in lieu of using a commercial carrier, reimbursement will be at the approved allowable mileage rate or the applicable coach airfare rate, whichever is lower. 700 miles is the maximum number of miles that will be reimbursed even if the actual mileage exceeds 700 miles. You must obtain flight pricing for the lowest fare available on the travel dates and attach that information as documentation. Claims for meals or lodging for additional travel time cannot be reimbursed. In addition, extra travel time necessitated by the traveler's optional use of private transportation is not considered time worked and must be taken as vacation.

Travelers may be reimbursed for the use of a limousine/car service if the fare does not exceed the maximum allowable mileage reimbursement for two round trips to the appropriate airport/terminal.

When traveling between Miami University or home (point of departure) and another business location (point of destination), the miles reimbursed are calculated as the actual miles driven.

Intra-University and other local travel mileage

Reimbursement cannot be made for commuting from home, regardless of the day of the week or the number of trips in a day. You cannot be reimbursed for commuting to your normal workplace under any conditions.

If you normally work at two or more campuses, you can claim the mileage reimbursement from one campus location to the other . This applies on days when you travel to multiple locations. If you do not go to your primary campus location and go directly to your secondary campus location instead, you cannot claim mileage between your home and your secondary campus location.

Reimbursement for the following round trip mileage between campuses will not exceed:

Oxford to Hamilton campus

32 miles

Oxford to Middletown campus

50 miles

Hamilton to Middletown campus

40 miles

Oxford to VOA Learning Center

50 miles

Hamilton to VOA Learning Center

28 miles

Middletown to VOA Learning Center

30 miles

Mileage will be reimbursed during the academic year for faculty, unclassified staff, and graduate students traveling to teach in-load and overload courses on a campus that is not their primary work site.

Personal automobile travel may be reimbursed between the employees normal workplace or home and another business location. 

A record must be kept of the dates driven to the campus. At the end of each semester, employees must file a university travel report with the Accounts Payable Office in order to receive reimbursement.

Examples -

1.     An employee whose primary worksite is the Oxford campus travels from Oxford campus to a meeting at the Hamilton campus and returns to the Oxford campus. The eligible reimbursement will be the entire roundtrip to and from the Hamilton campus, 32 miles.

2.     An employee travels from their home in Cincinnati to the Oxford campus. Along the way, the employee stops at a print shop in Hamilton to pick up a print order for their department. The reimbursement would be calculated by taking the total mileage for this trip and subtracting the employee's normal daily commute mileage. 
60 miles round trip = total mileage for picking up printing
-45 miles round trip = total mileage from Cincinnati (home) to Oxford (work) 
15 miles will be reimbursed. 

3.     An employee whose primary worksite is the Oxford campus travels 20 miles roundtrip from their home in Cincinnati to a business location in Cincinnati and returns home.  Since the mileage is less from the travelers home than the mileage from the Oxford campus the eligible reimbursement will be the entire roundtrip,  20 miles.

4.     An employee whose primary worksite is the Middletown campus travels 98 miles roundtrip from their home in Cincinnati to a business location in Dayton and returns home.  Since the mileage is greater from the travelers home than the mileage from the Middletown campus the eligible reimbursement will be the roundtrip from the Middletown campus, 52 miles.

6.07 Rental vehicles

Rental car reservations must be made to an approved rental car agency. For a list of approved rental car providers and booking instructions, go to the Business Services/ Motor Vehicle Rental Information Website. If you book a rental vehicle through an unapproved agency, you must prove due diligence. Documentation could be a screen grab from an approved agency that shows no availability at the pickup/drop-off location or similar documentation.


7.01 Allowable lodging expense

Hotel expenses will be paid only when the destination is further than 60 miles from the traveler's primary University work site. Allowable cost for the room is the single room rate plus tax unless the other party is also on authorized University travel. If the lodging receipt states multiple occupancy, the traveler must indicate either the single room rate on the receipt or provide the name(s) of the University traveler(s) sharing the lodging. If all occupants are on approved university travel and under the same funding source, only one charge should be submitted on a travel expense report. The traveler's P-card is the preferred method of payment for hotel expenses.

Travelers should obtain a current State of Ohio sales tax-exempt form for all in-state travel. Miami University is also Tax Exempt in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, & Texas. Tax Exemption status for each state can be found on the Tax Exemption Forms List.

Cost of lodging of members of the traveler's family is not reimbursable.

Most personal expenses incurred while traveling will not be reimbursed. These charges must be paid out-of-pocket at checkout and are not permitted on a P-card. Hotel-related expenses not reimbursed include:

Travelers will be reimbursed for business-related telephone, fax, copying, computer connections and other necessary business costs.

Travelers can be reimbursed for laundry, dry cleaning and pressing if the employee is on continuous travel status in excess of one week without returning home.

7.02 Lodging in a private residence

Travelers who stay in a private residence with relatives or friends while on business will be reimbursed $25 per night for reasonable, actual expenses incurred to extend appreciation to friends or relatives for their hospitality. This private residence cannot be owned by the traveler, traveler's spouse or domestic partner. Name and addresses of those individuals providing hospitality are required on the travel expense report for proper reimbursement to the traveler.

7.03 Meals, tips and incidental expenses

The University will reimburse meals at the IRS standard per diem rate, which varies by city. According to the IRS, if you travel to more than one location in one day, use the rate in effect for the area where you stop for sleep or rest. The per diem allowance includes reimbursement for incidental expenses such as fees and tips for porters, baggage carriers, house-cleaning and bellhops.

7.04 Meals in the continental U.S

The Continental United States (CONUS) standard per diem rate for meal and incidental expenses (M & IE) applies to all locations not specifically identified as having a higher per diem rate. The current federal per diem rates are available on Accounts Payable's Per Diem Rates Page.

Consistent with IRS regulations, employees may not be reimbursed for meal expenses unless traveling on overnight status. (See Internal Revenue Code Section #274 and OHIO REVISED CODE Section 126-1-02-7-D.) When the traveler is off campus on one-day trips, meal expenses are the responsibility of the traveler, regardless of the number of hours travelling.

Meal allowances and incidental expenses may be reimbursed when the traveler is on authorized travel status within the following time frames:

Actual and reasonable expenses for a qualified business meal may be claimed for the traveler with non-employees of the university. Appropriate documentation (itemized receipt with business purpose, persons in attendance, amount, date, etc.) is required. See the Hosting Policy & Procedures for reimbursement rates.

When meals are included in a conference registration or provided as part of a hotel stay, no reimbursement for those meals will be permitted as part of the per diem rate.

A traveler may opt for reimbursement of the actual cost of out-of-pocket personal meals versus using the per diem (not to exceed federal per diem guidelines). Tips are reimbursable up to 15% of meal cost. Alcohol cannot be reimbursed unless the traveler is hosting and has both departmental approval and a discretionary account to which the charge can be billed. Original, detailed receipts are required for proper reimbursement.

7.05 Meals outside the continental U.S.

The maximum per diem rates, based on the worldwide lodgings-plus system, for travel in foreign localities are those established by the Secretary of State.


7.06 Incidental expenses

The University uses the IRS definition of the term "incidental expenses", meaning fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships. This applies to domestic and foreign travel.

7.07 Miscellaneous business expenses

Reimbursable miscellaneous expenses incurred while on University business include:


7.08 Miscellaneous personal expenses

Reimbursement is authorized for reasonable miscellaneous living expenses, including laundry, dry cleaning, personal telephone calls, postage, and other expenses if the traveler is in overnight lodging for more than one week including a weekend. One personal telephone call of short duration will be reimbursed for trips of one week or less. Two personal calls of short duration per week will be reimbursed if travel exceeds one week.



It is the responsibility of the traveler and their department to submit, correct and complete Travel Expense Reports. Travel expenses must be reported in the Travel Module on a travel expense report. The University requires the traveler to attach the documentation in the Travel Module to substantiate expenses if not prepaid by the University's credit card for:

8.01 Missing receipts

You generally must have documentary evidence, such as receipts, canceled checks, or bills, to support your per trip expenses over $75.

EXCEPTION - Documentary evidence is not needed if any of the following conditions apply.

8.02 Timely return of receipts

Since the IRS has determined that 60 days is a Reasonable Period of Time to document travel expenses, this deadline will be strictly enforced. Failure to meet the required deadlines may result in the travel reimbursement becoming taxable income to the traveler. Any travel related expenses paid for personally, reimbursement will be made after the travel takes place and only for the expense amount. Finance charges are not reimbursable.

8.03 International travel

When international travel occurs and currency conversions are involved, original receipts must be turned in for reimbursement. It is suggested that a credit card statement accompany the receipts to show accurate costs. If the traveler decides to make their own conversions, the exchange receipts should be turned in with the expense receipts.  The Accounts Payable office maintains a link on our website for the exchange rates of foreign currency.   If an international travel is turned in without any conversions, the Accounts Payable office will make the conversions.     



Cash advances are available for student field trips, team travel, workshops, and special circumstances when all other payment methods are exhausted. An authorization and a request for a cash advance will need to be entered by the traveler in the Travel Module. Upon return, travelers are required to complete an expense report in the Travel Module alleviating the cash advance with the documentation and the purpose of the expenses. If there are unused funds, employees must provide a personal check payable to Miami University for the difference between the cash advance amount and the receipts. Any expenses over the cash advance can be reimbursed with departmental approval.

Cash Advances must be requested at least 7 days prior to leaving on your trip. You cannot receive the funds more than 14 days before leaving on your trip. You can only have one cash advance at a time. The Accounts Payable office will give cash advances for the following types of circumstances and the amounts you can receive:




Human Research Subjects



Special Circumstances

with proper approval



Student Organizations



Athletic Team Travel



Workshop Foreign Travel



All cash advances are subject to review and approval by the Controller's Office. The traveler is required to sign a cash advance form and attach the form when entering their request for cash advance in the Travel Module .

Documentation of cash advance expenditures of workshop funds is subject to the same rules and regulations as all other University travel expenditures.

Workshop cash advances are subject to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 62(C).

In accordance with these IRS regulations, failure to comply with the above timetable will result in the cash advance amount being submitted to the University's Payroll Office for inclusion as additional income on the employee's wage and tax statement (W-2 form).


The Workshop Declining Balance Card is a MasterCard credit card that gives access to a credit line set up with a specific amount of funds to meet various workshop expenses. The card is issued in lieu of cash advances to meet purchase and travel expense needs of workshops conducted abroad or outside the local area. No checks are actually provided. The card can be used to pay authorized workshop expenses. They can be used at any MasterCard merchant. They can also be used to obtain small amounts of cash through automated teller machines (ATMs) for miscellaneous expenses (cab fares, etc.) where the card cannot be used directly. There will be a 2.5% charge with a minimum of $2.50 cash withdrawal fee plus any ATM fees charged at the time of approval. Any bank charges will be charged to your Workshop budget. The maximum cash amount that can be withdrawn from your Declining Balance card is $2,500 for the life of the Declining Balance Card.

10.01 Issuance

Workshop Declining Balance cards are issued by the Accounts Payable Office, 107 Roudebush Hall.  Issuance will generally be limited to workshops or other programs where travel abroad or travel outside the local area is involved. Cards will be issued in the name of the Workshop Director and the University. Normally one card is issued per workshop or program.  

To request a Workshop Declining Balance Card, please complete the following steps:

  1. Enter a Buyway non-catalog requisition payable to JP Morgan Chase for the amount of the workshop debit card.
  2. Fill out the application form (DECLINING BALANCE CREDIT CARD) and make sure to include the Buyway requisition number on the form.
  3. Mail the completed form to Accounts Payable, 107 Roudebush Hall, Campus Mail or scan and email the form to accountspayable@miamioh.edu.

10.02 Responsibility

The cardholder is responsible for the security of the assigned card. The card is issued in the Workshop Director's name, and it will be assumed that any use of the card is proper and authorized unless the card is reported lost or stolen prior to use.

Issuance of the card will be treated by the University as a cash advance, subject to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 62(C). The card will not be issued more than fourteen (14) days prior to when expenses will be incurred, and all usage of the card must be documented and reported within thirty (30) days after the end of the workshop. Original itemized receipts must be obtained and turned in for every dollar spent. Any individual who uses the card and does not provide documentation of the use of the funds (including individual itemized receipts for each expenditure) within thirty (30) days after the end of the workshop may have the non-documented amount reported to the University Payroll Office for inclusion as additional income on the employees wage and tax statement (W-2 form).

Additionally, use of the card in a manner contrary to University policies and procedures or failure of the cardholder or his/her designee to properly account for purchases/expenditures in a timely manner at the end of the program may result in the creation of a personal liability to the University and/or subject the cardholder to disciplinary action.

10.03 Use

Purchases made within the State of Ohio are to be tax-exempt and any taxes charged will be the cardholder's responsibility. For any purchases within the United States, the purchaser should attempt to make the purchase tax free and be prepared to provide an exemption certificate when requested. Exemption certificates are available on the Tax Exempt Form List. The provider will process the transaction as they would any consumer credit card purchase through the MasterCard network. MasterCard verifies that funds are available for the purchase and charges the account for the amount spent, reducing the available budget.

The charge slip and itemized sales ticket must be collected by the cardholder for each credit card and cash transaction, and turned in to Global Initiatives with the reconciliation spreadsheet after the travel has been completed.

To obtain cash, the cardholder may use any ATM on the MasterCard system. Wherever possible, the card should be used for a direct payment, using cash only for incidentals such as cab fare, parking fees, etc. where a direct transaction is not possible. The ATM receipt as well as receipts for cab fares, parking fees, etc. must be collected by the cardholder and retained for reconciliation to be done upon return from travel.

Purchases made and expenses paid through the credit card, and the use of cash obtained with the credit card, are limited to items and amounts contained in the approved budget for the workshop or program for which the card was issued. Cash obtained with the credit card may not be used to reimburse individuals for their expenses. The check card may not be used in lieu of a Purchase Order (PO), except as necessary to support the workshop or program while in travel status. All purchases of goods and services and payment of authorized expenditures must conform to University procurement requirements, the University travel policy, and the University hosting policy. Purchase of personal items, payment of personal expenses through the card or with cash obtained with the card is not authorized.

10.04 Record keeping

Issuance and use of a credit card requires the cardholder to maintain a card purchase log and individual itemized receipts for each transaction. The log is a Microsoft Excel workbook with tabbed spreadsheets containing a summary information sheet, three separate credit card transaction sheets, and a cash transaction sheet. The Workshop Log is available from the documents and forms section of the Accounts Payable website. The log is kept for the duration of the workshop or program. Individual itemized receipts must be obtained from the provider for each purchase and are kept with the log for reconciliation. At the end of the workshop or program, the log and individual receipts are reconciled by the cardholder, reviewed and reconciled by Global Initiatives and forwarded to General Accounting for final review. If this is not a workshop, please forward directly to General Accounting.

Meal expenses must list the names and number of people and if cardholder was in attendance. If hosting a large group you may use the group name with the number of people attending instead of individual names. Alcohol must be paid for personally or the expenses moved to a discretionary account if authorized by your department.

For cash withdrawals, a single line entry is made in the log denoting the date, location, and amount of the ATM withdraw. The receipts should be turned into Global Initiatives with all other workshop receipts.




 Non-Employee Payment Policy and Procedures

The following guidelines are to be used to ensure compliance with federal regulations governing whether an individual providing service to the University should be considered an employee or a non-employee. Employees are paid through the University's payroll system and are subject to applicable payroll deductions. Non-employees are paid on 1099 requisitions processed through the Accounts Payable Department. Payments for any services rendered to the University have to be paid by Miami University directly to the individual. Miami employees should not pay service providers directly as they will not be reimbursed for such payment. For assistance with determinations, departments may contact the Assistant Director of Financial Affairs, 107 Roudebush, 9-6110.

1.00 Definition of Employees and Non-Employees

Federal regulations include in the definition of "employee" those people previously considered consultants or independent contractors. The following definitions have been established to clarify the exact status of individuals who perform services for the University.

Employee: A person who performs services subject to the will and control of the University (the employer). The University decides what shall be done and how it is done and has the legal right to control both the method and the result of the services regardless of the amount of discretion and freedom of action permitted. In most cases, the University also provides office space, facilities, tools, equipment, and/or other resources necessary to accomplish the task. The person may work on a full-time or part-time basis throughout the year, or only at designated times with hours set by the University. A continuing relationship exists between the employee and the University. The University decides what the employee will be paid and regular payments (bi-weekly or monthly) are made by the University's Payroll Office.

NOTE: Individuals employed by the University will be paid as employees for ALL services rendered to the institution.

Non-Employee: A person who serves as an independent contractor and/or who is in business for him/herself and follows an independent trade in which he/she offers his/her services to the public and provides his/her own Worker's Compensation and liability coverage. The person provides his/her own office space, facilities, tools, equipment, and/or other resources necessary to accomplish the task. The nature of the work is such that it is not, and cannot, be performed by employees of the University.

An exception for a consultant providing services for more than six (6) days/sessions may be granted depending on the circumstances. For more information, departments may contact the Office of the Assistant Director of Financial Affairs, 107 Roudebush Hall, 9-6110.

Human Subjects: Individuals who volunteer to participate in testing or research purposes. Human research subject payment procedures and forms (PDF format)

Research Stipend: An earned sum of money paid periodically for services rendered.

Workshop Participants: Students who receive a sum of money for being registered for a workshop. Their only requirement is to attend/participate in the workshop.

2.00 Guidelines for Determining Employee/Non-Employee Status

The specific type of service an individual provides to the University may determine whether the individual should be considered as an employee or a non-employee. The following guidelines may be used in determining employee/non-employee status.


Type of Service




Accounting/Legal Firms



Architectural/Engineering Firms



Art Models



Clerical Services



Computer Programming (advanced/specialized)

(NOTE: This should be done only on a project basis.)




  • 6 or fewer days/sessions
  • more than 6 days/sessions



Guest Speakers (single event)



Human Subjects






Part-time Temporary Faculty



Research Stipends



Score Keepers at Athletic Events



Sports Officials



Visiting Workshop Faculty/Continuing Education Non-credit Instructors:

  • 6 or fewer days/sessions
  • more than 6 days/sessions



Workshop Participants




1For questions, contact Personnel, 015 Roudebush Hall , 9-3131

2For questions, contact Payroll, 002 Roudebush Hall, 9-6223

3For questions, contact Academic Personnel, 002 Roudebush Hall, 9-6724


3.00 Nonresident Aliens (Non-US Citizens)

The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Immigration and Naturalization have very stringent regulations regarding the hiring and paying of nonresident aliens. Due to the complexity of tax issues in this area, all departments should contact the Payroll Office, 9-7229, prior to making plans for guest lecturers, performers, etc. to ensure that the proper visa classification is obtained and to determine tax liability for such individuals. Any department planning to offer employment to foreign individuals should check with the appropriate Personnel offices to ensure that all of the required documentation is obtained.

4.00 Consulting, Personal Services

Contracts for most consulting and professional services are subject to the same procurement policies and considerations as those of any other purchase, including the requirement for competitive selection.

If considering a personal services contract with an individual, Internal Revenue Service regulations require that first an evaluation be made to determine if the individual should be considered an independent contractor, or considered an employee, even though the appointment would be only part-time or temporary. Guidelines for this determination are included in 2.00 and questions should be referred to the Office of the Assistant Director of Financial Affairs, 9-7229. If the guidelines determine that the individual must be considered an employee, the requestor must contact the Personnel Office to initiate the hiring process.

If the individual can be considered an independent contractor, or the personal services contract will be with a firm or corporation which the consultant represents, rather than with the individual, then normal purchasing procedures apply. A Purchase Order (PO) must be issued prior to making a commitment to the individual or firm, and bidding requirements are applicable to these contracts as discussed in this Handbook, though lowest bid is only one of a number of factors that can be evaluated and considered in the contract award process.

5.00 Contracts with Professional Entertainers and Lecturers

Though contracts for professional entertainers and lecturers are not subject to competitive selection and issuance of purchase orders, all proposed contracts must be reviewed and approved by the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Business Services, 217 Roudebush Hall. Sponsoring departments should book the dates and request the contract from the entertainer or agent. When the contract is received, the sponsoring department should review it to ensure that dates, performances, fees, etc. are correct. The contract is then forwarded to the Vice President with a cover memo outlining the event and who within the sponsoring department should be contacted with any questions.

Departments are not authorized to sign entertainment contracts on behalf of the University without specific delegation authority from the Vice President for Finance and Business Services. Additional information may be obtained by calling the Office of the Vice President, 9-4226.

6.00 Gifts/Gift Certificates

Departments may occasionally feel that it is appropriate to recognize a person by rewarding them with a gift or a gift certificate. Although gifts and gift certificates should not be used as a substitute for compensation, they are a positive way to say "thank you" for a special effort. However, there are certain aspects of gifts and gift certificates that should be considered when planning this type of gift.

6.10 Taxes: IRS rules require that gifts and gift certificates be reported as taxable income. For employees, however, there is an exception for items having a minimal value. Miami University has established the level of "minimal" at $50.



For non-employees, gifts and gift certificates given for personal services rendered, regardless of value, are considered as income and reported on a 1099 if that individual received $600 or more from the University during the year. Any department giving gift certificates to non-employees valued over $50 must provide the name, SS#, and address of the recipient along with the reason for the gift or certificate.

6.20 Cash Equivalency: IRS rules also state that any gift certificate that can be exchanged for cash is to be reported as income, regardless of the amount.



6.30 Processing: Individuals may purchase a gift or gift certificate on a personal credit card and request reimbursement for the purchase on a Requisition form. The Requisition form must include the recipient's name, Social Security number, and address.

Expenses for gifts and gift certificates must be charged to a discretionary account.




Appendix A - Approval Requirements

for Requisitions

This appendix describes the minimum signature requirement for the approval of requisitions, travel reimbursement requests, and personal reimbursement requests at the University.

With the exception of travel reimbursements, approval authority is established electronically. Department chairs and Directors establish approval hierarchies on a department by department basis through consultation with Purchasing and the Controllers office.

1. Requests initiated within the Offices of the President, Vice Presidents, or Deans

A. Requisition (any amount)

One of the following signatures:



B. Travel reimbursement, any other personal reimbursement

Two signatures:



2. Requests initiated within departments

A. Requisitions over $5,000

Two signatures:



B. Requisitions of $5,000 or less

One of the following signatures:



C. Travel reimbursement, any other personal reimbursement

Two signatures:



3. Requests initiated on Regional Campuses

A. Requisitions (any amount)

One signature:



B. Travel reimbursement, any other personal reimbursement

Two signatures:



4. Exceptions/Additional Information

  1. The above listed approval authorities may delegate their authority to their associate, assistant, or designated business officers as appropriate to their organizations. Small purchase authority for requisitions of $500 or less may also be delegated to a department secretary or to another staff member.
  2. For department requisitions above $5,000, the President, Vice Presidents, or Deans may, at their option, delegate single signature authority to their respective Department Chairs/Directors.
  3. All approval delegations must be in writing and filed with the Office of Purchasing. Approval authority received through delegation may not be further delegated.
  4. Any approval authority may establish more restrictive approval requirements for its area of responsibility. However, enforcement of these restrictions shall remain the responsibility of the approval authority.







Appendix B - Hosting Documentation Forms

This appendix contains guidelines and an example which illustrate how to properly complete the University Hosting Documentation Form.

This form must be completed when charging a departmental account for hosting at University facilities. It may be used as an attachment to Limited Purchase Orders or requisitions.

Blank, Hosting Documentation forms are available through the Miami University Web site under Accounts Payable.





1.Date of Function

Enter the date of the hosting function.


Enter the place where the hosting function occurred.


Enter the name of the department which is being charged for the hosting activity.

of Attendees

Indicate the total number of faculty and staff present at the hosting activity. Also, indicate the number of students present at the activity. Also, indicate the number of people who are not faculty, staff, or students who were present at the activity.

of Meal

Indicate if the meal was breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If the meal was none of these, check Other and specify the type of meal.

6.Names &

Enter the names of the people at the hosting function and their business relationship with the University. If it was a large group of people representing an organization, enter the name of the organization, instead of individual names.

7.Business Purpose

Check one of the appropriate boxes and provide the requested details.

8.Account Number

Enter the Index Code and Account number being charged for the hosting activity.


Include the signature of a staff or faculty member authorized to charge the hosting activity to the specified departmental account(s).


Description:HOSTING FORM