Purchasing and Reimbursement Resources for Faculty

Faculty members have discretion in allocating research account funds, but all charges made to the account must meet three conditions:
  1. The charge must be for a research expense or a “public good” for a NYU course, department, program, or school.   IRS regulations preclude the Faculty Research Fund from being used to support personal expenditures of the faculty member.
  2. Only expenditures allowed under University guidelines may be charged to a Faculty Research Fund. (see the University Business Expense Policy.)
  3. Only expenditures properly processed in accordance with University guidelines may be charged to a Faculty Research Fund. (see the University Expense Reimbursement Policy, Purchasing Policies, or other related policies).

On this page:

Purchasing vs. Reimbursement
Reimbursement Submission Instructions
Use of Faculty Research Fund
Missing or Inadequate Documentation (Form)

Purchasing vs. Reimbursement

Making purchases directly on your faculty research account is fast, easy, and there is no need to request a reimbursement that may take several weeks to process.  All faculty research account purchases are also tax exempt!  Faculty members are strongly encourage to make purchases directly to their research accounts to cut down on cost and administrative time.  Below is a list of the most common places you can use your research account for purchases:


NYU Bookstore: Tell the cashier you would like to put the purchase on your research account and provide the account chartfield.

NYU Computer Store
: All computer purchases must be made through the NYU computer store.  Smaller purchases of speakers, headphones, and computer software do not need approval but computer hardware, such as laptops and iPads, do require approval.

i-Buy: Faculty can purchase things like printers, cameras, office supplies, toner cartridges and even small office furniture from one of the many vendors available on i-Buy.  Faculty members can feel free to make purchases through the i-Buy site themselves or they can ask the Department Assistant to place to order for them.

Expenses incurred from outside vendors can be submitted to the Department Assistant for reimbursement.  Please see below for reimbursement instructions.

Reimbursement Submission Instructions

All reimbursements must be submitted within 30 days of purchase.  Please be sure to read these instructions carefully.  Incorrect submission of receipts and reimbursement requests will result in processing delays.

1. Organize your receipts: Please group receipts by category, NOT chronologically or by credit card statement.  For example, group all of your book receipts together, all of your travel receipts by trip, all of your business meals, all of your stationary and office supplies, etc.  Please do not use staples, as all receipts must eventually be scanned.  Use tape and paperclips to secure and group receipts.

2. Submit itemized receipts: Please submit detailed/itemized receipts for purchases like food and office supplies.  If you don't have an itemized receipt you will need to submit a Missing Documentation Report along with either a CC statement or the credit card receipt.

3. Include clear explanatory notes: Some reimbursements require explanatory notes.  Please do NOT try to fit them on the front of the receipt.  Write legibly on the back of the receipt or attach a separate page with notes.  Please do NOT use acronyms. This is a list of the most commonly needed notations:

  • Air/Train Travel - Please list dates of travel, destination, purposed of travel (i.e.full name of conference), and attach supporting documentation such as a conference or lecture invitation.

  • Local Travel - Please include with all taxi, subway and MTA tickets your destination and purposed of travel.

  • Business Meals - Please list the FULL names and affiliations of all attendees. 

  • Tickets to a show or exhibit - Please attach a brief memo that explicitly states how the event is relevant to your research interests (even if it seems obvious, it may not be to the auditors)

4. Computer Equipment: Please consult the Department Administrator before purchasing computer equipment.  All computer purchases (including iPads and printers) must be approved by the Director of NYU Computing, Rich Israel.  Computer equipment and software should be purchased from iBuy or the NYU Computer Store, which charges your research account directly, avoiding the need to submit a reimbursement request, AND you will not be charged tax on your purchase because of NYU's tax exempt status.

Uses of Faculty Research Funds

Examples of acceptable expenditures are as follows:
  • Books, reprints, and subscriptions to academic journals.
  • Computer software and hardware: All capital acquisitions remain the property of NYU even if the item is cost-shared with the faculty member's personal funds. All computer orders must be approved by Richard Israel in the Office of FAS Computer and Information Technology, and ordered through university systems such as Purchasing/ibuy or the NYU Computer Store.
  • Research assistants: If a faculty member hires a full-time RA, the student must meet the requirements of the Graduate School of Arts & Science.
  • Travel: Faculty must follow the guidelines for University and Sponsored Programs in order to be reimbursed.
  • Part-time employment of GSAS students as research assistants, including salary and fringe benefits.
  • Public lectures and conferences held at or hosted by NYU
  • Enhancements of courses
  • Support for approved Arts and Science visiting scholars
  • Summer support for GSAS graduate students
  • Undergraduate research projects
  • Office supplies
Unacceptable Uses of Faculty Research Funds
  • Transactions that could be construed as personal expenses (for example, furniture for a home office).
  • Items that do not have a clear and direct purpose in supporting the research or “public goods” of the NYU faculty or department.
  • Items that do not have a clear benefit to meeting the missions of the University.
  • Housing and living expenses for long term assignments (ie: teaching at an NYU portal campus or study away sites) are not appropriate research fund expenses.  In certain circumstances, reimbursements for assignments at these locations may be covered by the relevant campus.  Faculty should first contact the appropriate office (Office of Global Programs for the study away sites or the relevant campus) before making any arrangements.

Missing or Inadequate Documentation

A Missing or Inadequate Documentation Report (MIDR) is necessary under the following circumstances:

  • Original receipt or purchase confirmation was lost
  • missing boarding passes for train or air travel
  • missing an itemized receipt for food/meal purchase (credit card receipts are NOT acceptable because they do not show what was purchased)
  • missing an itemized receipt for office supplies/stationary
  • hand written receipts

In addition to the MIDR you must submit some form of proof of purchase, e.g. a credit card statement, credit card receipt, ticket, hand written receipt, etc.

The Missing or Inadequate Documentation Report is an extremely simple and straight forward form that only takes a moment to fill out.  If you fail to submit a MIDR when one is necessary it may delay your reimbursement by several weeks.