Gifts FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding gifts guidelines.

The guideline applies to all award and non-cash gift expenses incurred by the University, the Foundation, The Forty Niner Shops and Associated Students Inc. The Auxiliaries and departments may choose to implement more restrictive policies.

Gifts must be presented in the form of tangible personal property and must not be disguised compensation. 

Occasion Maximum Amount Allowed
Employee - length of service, work achievement, retirement $400.00
Non-Employee – appreciation or recognition $400.00
Sympathy $150.00

Maximum amounts are all inclusive of all charges, such as tax, delivery, engraving etc.

Promotional and commencement items up to $ 75.00 are not considered gifts for the purpose of this guideline.

  • Sympathy Gifts - For Employee
    • Gifts such as flowers/plants may be presented to the family in the event of the death of an employee.
    • Gifts such as flowers/plants may be given to the employee in the event of the death an employee’s immediate family member.  Immediate family is defined as spouse, child, or parent.
  • Sympathy Gifts - For Outside parties
    • Sympathy gifts such as flowers may be presented in the event of a death or major illness

See Allowed Funding Sources

The University does not make donations to other organizations. However, under special circumstances and using specials funds, certain donations may be allowed in lieu of sympathy gifts. For further information, please contact the University Controller for guidance. 

Seek approval from your ASM or Business officer first to be sure your event or occasion is compliant with the guideline. Complete the Gift form, obtain the required signatures  and submit with receipts or invoices to AP.

Employees may occasionally receive promotional items that display the University logo. These items must be intended to provide information, to enhance morale, or encourage good customer relations and service.  These items which may be purchased in bulk, are not considered gifts, and may be treated as supplies. These items should be coded to account 660003, supplies and services, no gift form required. Examples – folios, calendars, key chains, water bottles, T-shirts.

Items that are given to students in conjunction with a commencement ceremony are considered an operational expense, part of the University’s business. These items which may be purchased in bulk, are not considered gifts, and may be treated as supplies. These items should be coded to account 660003, supplies and services, no gift form required.  Examples - sashes/stoles, chords, master hoods, major tassels, medallions.

Approval for all official University gift expenses must be obtained at the appropriate level. Individuals with delegated approval authority shall not approve expenses for which they were the Official Presenter or of a person to whom they directly report. The approving authority is the next highest level of the Official Presenter. See Delegation of Signature Authority.

Appendix B – Award or Gift Funding Source Chart
Recipient Occasion State Funds* Research & 49er Foundation Funds
Employee Length of Service Yes Yes
Employee Retirement Yes Yes
Employee Work Achievement Yes Yes
Non-employee Recognition of Service or Contribution No Yes
Non-employee Expression of Goodwill or Appreciation No Yes
Both Sympathy Gifts (Flowers) No Yes
Both Bottled Alcoholic Beverages No Yes
Both Tobacco Products No No
Both Exceptions to Policy No Contact the University Controller

* Footnote

These are state funds (defined as funds supported by State appropriation or student fees): CEXXX, CFXXX, ERXXX, GF001, HSXXX, PKXXX, SSXXX, UFXXX, 441XX, 463XX, 531XX.

The Official Presenter is an employee representing the University or Foundation who presents the gift or award to the recipient.

  • Unallowable gifts include, but are not limited, to the following:
    • Cash or gift cards
    • Gifts of tobacco products
    • Gifts of alcoholic beverages – only allowed on donor funds
    • Lavish or extravagant expenses for the given situation.
  • Gifts governed by this policy may not be presented to any individual or organization:
    • "Associated either directly or indirectly with a political party, campaign, candidate, or group engaged in an attempt to influence legislation, elections, referendums or when a conflict of interest exists.
      • For example, a personal or social relationship exists between the presenter and/or approving administrator."