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Memberships Paid by University Funds

Effective: 08/24/10 Approved By: Sr. Associate Vice President for Financial Affairs and Deputy CFO
Revised: 11/20/20

Purpose/Scope

This guideline describes requirements and procedures related to:

  • The authorization of membership fees as an allowable expense using University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) funds; and
  • The administrative processes for documentation and payment of authorized membership dues.

Departments may establish more restrictive procedures with respect to memberships at the discretion of the Department Manager.

The information here is provided as a guide for understanding UTSA procedures. It is not intended as tax advice, nor does it guarantee any tax consequences to any employee.

Authority

IRS Publications:

University Guidelines

Table of Contents
  1. Overview
  2. Business and Professional Organization Memberships
  3. Memberships to Secure Periodicals and Online Access
  4. Warehouse Club Memberships
  5. Social, Private Club or Entertainment/Recreational Memberships
    1. Funding Source
    2. Reporting Non-Business Use
  6. List of Approved UTSA Institutional Memberships
  7. Processing Payments
    1. Non-PO Payment Voucher
    2. One Card

A. Overview

As a public institution, UTSA must make the most efficient and effective use of funds entrusted to it by various constituencies and must be able to demonstrate compliance with applicable laws and rules. Membership expenditures by UTSA must support its institutional mission and must not be made for a private purpose.

B. Business and Professional Organization Memberships

Examples of business and professional organizations (i.e., organized for business purposes only) include:

  • Those established to promote universities and colleges, such as accrediting agencies;
  • Organizations of institutional service agencies and administrative officers;
  • Professional organizations such as bar and accounting associations and state CPA societies;
  • Scholarly societies; and
  • Community organizations.

Institutional memberships in UTSA’s name should be obtained whenever possible, as these often allow participation by several or alternate employees. Individual memberships may be purchased only if particular circumstances warrant an exception based on an evaluation of the benefits to UTSA and the relationship to the job responsibilities of the employee who will be designated as the member. Under no circumstances should more than one institutional membership in any organization be purchased by UTSA (see List of Approved UTSA Institutional Memberships for existing memberships).

Membership payments and reimbursements that allow an employee to perform their UTSA business duties generally are not included in that employee’s income.

Although allowable, the cost of UTSA's membership to business, technical, and professional organizations must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Project Administration (OSPA)/Research Service Center (RSC) prior to being allocated as a direct cost of a sponsored program.

Department Managers are delegated authority to approve the use of UTSA funds to join professional organizations that promote the advancement of education and research, enhance the professional standing of faculty and staff, and/or facilitate favorable community relations. Departments are not obligated to pay for an individual membership related to a faculty or staff’s certification/license required for their job duties but can choose to do so, if funds are available. 

When approving new or renewal memberships, the approving authority is responsible for evaluating the request to ensure that UTSA funds are not being used to join organizations that are duplicative in function and membership or to renew memberships that are no longer worthwhile, and for designating those employees who will participate in the affairs of the organization concerned.

Memberships for students may be allowed if there is a quantifiable benefit to UTSA (e.g., discounted registration for a conference that UTSA is paying for the student to attend).

C. Memberships to Secure Periodicals and Online Access

Departments may purchase a membership in an organization to secure its periodicals if the periodicals cannot otherwise be secured. Such periodicals will become the property of UTSA rather than of an individual, and must be made available to all department faculty, staff, and students.

Although allowable, the cost of UTSA's subscriptions to business, professional and technical periodicals must be approved by the OSPA/RSC prior to being allocated as a direct cost of a sponsored program.

D. Warehouse Club Memberships

Memberships to warehouse clubs that provide access to discounted goods may be reimbursed, however the membership card should be used solely for institutional and not personal purchases.

E. Social, Private Club or Entertainment/Recreational Memberships

Social, private club or entertainment/recreational memberships (e.g., private dining clubs, country clubs, golf/athletic clubs, airline clubs) are generally not allowed. In rare circumstances these memberships may be approved if the business purpose can be established and the President's approval is obtained in advance. The Provost is authorized to approve these memberships for college and academic personnel. The Vice President for Business Affairs (VPBA) must approve any membership involving the President. The authority to approve social memberships cannot be delegated. This approval is obtained through completion of a Business Expense Form (BEF) or through an employment offer letter approved by the President or the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System.

1. Funding Source

Typically, such expenditures are paid from an official occasions Cost Center. Such memberships shall not be paid with state funds (E&G), designated tuition, student fees or federal funds. Membership dues for civic or community organizations, country clubs, social or dining clubs are unallowable as a direct cost of a federal grant or contract, per OMB Circular A-21.

Payments for entertainment expenses incurred in connection with the use of a social membership are reimbursable in accordance with the procedures set forth in fmog.0701.utsa.

2. Reporting Non-Business Use

Payment of membership dues for any club organized for a social purpose must be included in an employee's income to the extent that the payment is for personal use (not related to a UTSA business purpose). In order for a portion of the club dues to be excluded from an employee's income as a working condition fringe benefit, the employee must substantiate and document the specific business purpose for that portion of the club dues. For each monthly statement the employee must substantiate the business purpose of business-related charges and indicate any personal charges.

Personal charges are the responsibility of the employee and should be remitted directly to the club. Dues related to the personal use of the club will be included in the employee's income on a pro rata basis. If this is not done monthly, the Payroll Management Services office (Payroll) will request the information annually prior to the last month of the calendar year.

  • Payroll will calculate the value of the employee's non-business use based on the information reported and inform the employee of the amount. The portion of the dues allocable to non-business use will be treated as additional compensation to the employee and included in the employee's income, subject to withholding for income and applicable employment taxes.
  • If employment with UTSA terminates or the employee becomes ineligible to use the membership, any dues paid by UTSA related to non-business use must be reported by the employee to Payroll before the termination or ineligibility status becomes final.

F. List of Approved UTSA Institutional Memberships

Institutional memberships paid from central funds are processed by the Business Affairs Business Service Center. The following is a current listing of approved UTSA institutional memberships paid from central funds on behalf of the entire campus:

NOTE: This list does not include institutional memberships paid from departmental funding.

  • Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas
  • American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE)
  • American Council on Education (ACE)
  • Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
  • Association of Public & Land Grant Universities (APLU — formerly known as NASULGC)
  • The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU)
  • College (Entrance Examination) Board
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • Council on Competitiveness
  • Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors (CPUPC)
  • Engagement Scholarship Consortium
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)
  • National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
  • San Antonio Economic Development Foundation
  • Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE)
  • Texas Diversity Council
  • Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA)

G. Processing Payments

Payment for allowable institutional memberships should be made by UTSA directly to the association through established procedures. In some circumstances, reimbursement to the employee may be allowed upon proof of payment (invoice and/or detailed receipt).

1. Non-PO Payment Voucher

See the Disbursements and Travel Services (DTS) training website for instructions on processing Non-PO Payment Vouchers.

2. One Card
The One Card may be used for:
  • Business and Professional Organizations (Account ID 67101) when the organization allows payment by credit card; and/or
  • Memberships that allow access to periodicals or online access (Account ID 63201) when the amount charged does not exceed $5,000 and/or other prescribed limits. See Financial Management Operational Guideline (FMOG) — One Card for more information.

The One Card should not be used for social club membership expenses; use the Non-PO Payment Voucher instead.

You must have prior approval to pay such dues, as indicated above. The completed BEF must be included in the supporting documentation attached to the Non-PO Payment Voucher before it will be approved for payment by DTS.

Related Forms

  1. Business Expense Form (BEF)

Revision History

Date Description
11/20/20 Specified that departments are not obligated to pay for individual memberships (section B) and that approval for social memberships may be via employment offer letters (section E); updated department/position titles and references to the One Card; removed Centro Alliance, IUPLR and NASPA from the list of centrally-funded institutional memberships (section F); editorial updates throughout.
07/18/16 Added Centro Alliance to Section E.
04/12/16 Updated DEFINE information for transition to PeopleSoft.