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Understanding the Purpose of OOEF’s

An “official occasion” is defined as a reception, luncheon, dinner, or similar event that is sponsored and funded by The University of Texas at Austin and is often hosted by an administrative officer. These functions are normally associated with special programs, university guests, faculty, and staff recruitment.

Examples include conferences, workshops, seminars, development events, planned retreats, staff meetings, unit or department morale building events, student membership activities and other similar activities. Further restrictions may apply to grant funding.

Administrative/Business meeting generally involve two or more people, must include a University employee, are agenda driven, and directly concern University Business.

General entertainment expenditures include food and beverages, facility rentals, flowers, invitations, and other similar expenses.


Audience – Who does this apply to?

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students in the College of Natural Sciences, regardless of source of funds.


Audience Responsibilities

Official Occasion Expenditure Forms require approval in advance for the following requests:

  • If the total cost of an event is greater than $3,000, please see the template here.
  • If your account is being IDT’d by AT&T EECC, Division of Housing and Food, etc. and/or…
  • If the event will include having alcohol on campus
  • If you are purchasing an entertainment expense on a procard
  • If you are reimbursing entertainment expenses using a voucher type other than a VPE
  • Activities where the attendees are primarily members of the same department or unit: "Annual events, such as departmental holiday parties and staff appreciation lunches, are allowed and will be approved provided the proposed activities and expenditures are appropriate and reasonable.”
  • Please note that there are NO EXCEPTIONS at this time


CNS Business Services in coordination with the Dean are responsible for auditing, verifying, and approving OOEF’s. Any OOEF that requires the Dean’s signature must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event or any expenses being incurred.

Please note that no expense for an event greater than $3,000 can be incurred prior to the pre-approval. If a deposit is needed for a large reservation, please make sure to have your OOEF approved by the Dean in advance of making the deposit.



Policy References

HBP Part 9.1.1

Entertainment and Official Occasion Expenditure Policy Chart

Accounts Payable

Official Occasion Expense Form




TIPS For Processing OOEF’s

  • Does the purpose of the occasion comply with the definition of “official occasion”?
  • Are the people who are attending, appropriate attendees?
    • Attendees are part of The University of Texas (i.e official visitors, including prospective faculty, and invited lecturers). Guests are not appropriate on OOEF’s. In addition, spouses are almost always not appropriate at a business meetings or meals. There are special circumstances that allow reimbursement, such as during recruiting visits, provided the faculty recruit bringer his/her own spouse or guest.
  • Does the cost per attendee comply with CNS meal Limits (meal limits include tax and tip up to 20% of the subtotal):
    • Breakfast - $30/person
    • Lunch - $40/person
    • Snack - $20/person
    • Dinner/Reception - $75/person
    • Total for the day = $30 + $40 + $20 + $75 = $165
  • CNS will follow University policy related to negotiated agreements. HBP 9.1.1 Section E: “Units will not be requires to get a per person cost when there is a negotiated agreement with a vendor for a total package price that includes food and non-food expenses”. However, amount should remain within reasonable limits.
  • Alcohol may not be the primary expenditure (must be less than or equal to 50% of the subtotal)
  • If the entertainment expense was incurred during travel, please also submit a copy of the approved Request for Travel Authorization (VE5).
  • Meals/entertainment for prospective faculty candidates are not to exceed $870 per day and should still comply with meal limits listed above. Attendees at faculty meals should be limited to the number who can reasonably interact with the faculty candidate and should generally not exceed 6 attendees. (6 attendees at a meal limit of $145 a day equals $870.)
  • Is alcohol allowed?
    • Alcohol is not allowed at any undergraduate student event.
    • Alcohol is allowed at graduate student recruiting events, however there is a two drink maximum per person.
  • Will the account number on the OOEF allow “Official Occasion” expenses?
    • For example – flowers and holiday cards for college-related purposes may be charged to unrestricted gift account only
    • ONLY gift funds – never state funds – may be used to pay for entertainment expenses.
  • Other Tips:
    • Club memberships require advance approval from UT’s administrative officers via the Assistant Dean for Business Services


All forms are to be signed by a department authorized signer and the name printed off to the side or below the signature.


                                                                                                                                Last Updated: 16 November 2018