Standard for Conferences and Events
The purpose of this standard is to provide guidance on the requirements for the use of University funds to pay for professional business activities considered external conferences, internal conferences, training sessions, or retreats.
This standard applies to all situations where University funds are used.
Direct any general questions about this standard to your department’s business officer or fund administrator. If you have specific questions, please refer to the contacts for fund use guidance listed in Appendix 1 of the University’s Financial Management Guidelines.
- External conferences, internal conferences, and training sessions: Operating funds may be used for external conferences, internal conferences, or training sessions, subject to the provisions below.
- The conference or session must be planned in detail in advance, have a formal agenda or curriculum, and have a written invitation to participants.
- The conference must be held in state facilities when possible.
- The conference or session must be attended by ten (10) or more participants in order to use The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds for refreshments, limited to $5.00 per person per day.
- External conferences: An external conference is one that is attended by persons other than employees of a single agency. The registration fee must include meal costs in order for the University to pay for meals from the General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds. The registration fee cannot, however, consist exclusively of meals. Registration fees cannot include costs of entertainment, alcohol, setups, flowers, and promotional (gift) items. Any registration fees collected in excess of related expenses cannot be used for other programs and must revert to The General Fund. The General Fund may not be used to pay for conference meals if a conference fee was not charged. Grant or trust funds that allow for the provision of conference meals can be used for that purpose if explicitly stated.
- Internal conferences: An internal conference is one that is attended by employees within a particular agency only. A routine staff meeting is not an internal conference. No payment for meals is allowable from The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds unless overnight travel criteria are met.
- Training sessions: Training involves courses that further develop an employee’s knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the duties of their present job, such as courses on computer usage or management skills development. No payment for meals is allowable from The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds unless overnight travel criteria are met. The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds may be used for training books and materials related to training sessions, provided those books are required to participate in the training sessions. These books are considered the property of the University, not the employee.
- Discretionary funds may be used for any costs not allowed under the provisions listed above as long as the event has valid University business purpose.
- Retreats: The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds may only be used for management retreats held by the Chancellor for their management team. Discretionary funds may be used for other University-related retreats with a valid University business purpose.
- University Policy 601.8, Appropriate Use of University Funds
- Standard for Meals and Entertainment
- Allowable Fund Usage Table
- University Financial Management Guidelines
- North Carolina Budget Manual
- Initially approved May 1, 2017
- Updated May 12, 2017
- Revised July 10, 2017
- Revised May 5, 2020
- Revised April 1, 2021
 Refer to OSBM Budget Manual, Section 7, “State-Sponsored Events”
 Refer to OSBM Budget Manual, Section 7.6, “Management Retreats.”
Last Updated: April 1, 2021