When meals or refreshments are arranged in advance for an entire group of persons, these are hosted groups.  Examples of university activities involving hosted groups are conferences, departmental retreats, commencement events, community or public relations events, and student activities.  Refreshments may also be provided at a focus group working session or when hosting an appreciation event for students or volunteers in recognition of specific accomplishment.

Requesting payment:

  • Employee reimbursements – complete a Personal Reimbursement (form) with required attachments and submit to the appropriate Business Center.
  • Vendor invoice payment (caterer or restaurant) - submit itemized receipts to the Luanne Johnson with required attachments


1. 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why) -

  1. Who:    Names of the individuals hosted and the individuals doing the hosting. Also, describe the title/relationship to the University for each attendee to help understand the business purpose.
  2. What:   What was the nature of the hosted event? Was it lunch, dinner, breakfast, entertainment, or something else?
  3. When: The dates and times of hosted events.
  4. Where: Location or locations that the hosting took place.
  5. Why:    Purpose and reason for hosting. Must describe what the benefit gained to OSU was from conducting the hosting.

Note: Names are not required when hosting large informal group gatherings; however, the announcement or agenda of the group gathering indicating the university purpose is to be attached to the reimbursement or invoice payment request.

2. Receipts - meals, gratuities, alcoholic beverages and any charges for room use are to be separately itemized. A "tear tag" showing only the total charge is inadequate for reimbursement. The employee should insist on an original itemized receipt. Credit card charge slips provide proof of payment, but may not provide necessary itemization. In the case where a receipt has been lost, contact the appropriate Business Center.

3. Average Amount - the calculated average cost per person for refreshments or meals must be included on the first line of TEXT of the Banner invoice or journal voucher. The average is determined by dividing the total cost (meal/refreshments including tip and delivery charge) by the number of attendees.

Allowable costs:

1.  Meal and refreshment costs should be reasonable for the occasion. Approved OSU travel per diem rates will be used to check for the reasonableness standard. The 15% allowable gratuity is included in the per diem rate. Meal expenses significantly exceeding the OUS per-diem rates require documentation explaining the reason for the excess and the approval of the department head. The following is considered a best practice for determining what rates may be appropriate when Business Center personnel identify a departmental pattern of significant departure from per diem rates:

  • Business Center management should consult with the department head, administrative head, or Dean to come to an agreement in determining reasonable meal reimbursement rates based on the unique circumstances of a specific or recurring situation.
  • The agreement should be documented and should include an explanation that supports why per diem rates are not sufficient and higher rates are justified.
  • A copy of the agreement should be submitted to Business Affairs.

2.  Gratuities/tips - reimbursement for a tip of up to 15% of the charge is allowable when hosting groups or guests.  The 15% limit does not apply when the establishment adds a service charge for larger groups in lieu of gratuity. In this case, the amount of the service charge is not within the control of the customer.  Tips or fees for alcoholic beverage service are not reimbursable.  These costs need to be separated and included with alcoholic beverage purchase.

3.  Alcoholic beverages -reimbursement of alcoholic beverages is not allowed on institutional funds.  When an alcoholic beverage is served at banquets or group activities conducted as part of a workshop or conference where the full cost of such beverages is recovered through charges to the participants or sponsoring group, the income and costs must be accounted for in the appropriate fund (only allowed on 1xxxxx Auxiliary or 05xxxx Designated Operating funds).  The institution is responsible for compliance with all laws and Oregon Liquor Control Commission regulations, including obtaining a one-day license for serving beer and wine. Expenses for alcoholic beverages must be separately identified and billed directly to OSUF.

4.  Room use charges - establishments may charge a room use fee when there is a large gathering requiring a separate room.  Process payments using account code 28606 Conference Facilities or 24151 Building Rental as appropriate for the occasion.