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Guidelines for Allowable Research Expenses

All expenses must be reasonable, and the faculty member must provide adequate documentation of the expense in order to be reimbursed.

Expenses must relate directly to the faculty member's research. 

Any durable goods purchased are the property of the University

Food purchases that are not related to travel, and all hardware (computers, peripherals, tablets, etc.) purchases must be pre-approved by the CAS Budget Team.

If you have questions about whether an expense is allowed, please contact the CAS Budget Team (casbudget@american.edu, x2523 or x2522)

The following is a non-exhaustive list of allowable expenses:

  • Hourly research assistance - Students or part-time staff must be hired through the University, and a hire action must be submitted before they begin work on a faculty member's research project
  • Research related software - Please confirm that the University does not already have a site license for the software you are intending to purchase
  • Hardware/equipment needed to conduct research - Computer equipment must be pre-approved by the CAS Budget Team and will need to be purchased through the CAS Information Technology Manager once approved.
  • Supplies for conducting research
  • Books/subscriptions related to research
  • Research related professional services - In order to have the University pay for contracted services with an individual we will need to have a Professional Services Agreement (PSA) in place with the individual service provider
  • Upgrades to University-owned computers (possibly in conjunction with lifecycle replacements)
  • Travel to conferences for the faculty member
  • Travel to gather data, including travel to libraries and archives
  • Travel for research collaboration
  • Travel to perform, display, or practice one's scholarly craft in a professional venue
  • Internet fees - clearly identified as not in the price of a hotel and necessary for research
  • Visa fees
  • Page/publication charges
  • Book subventions
  • Maintenance or repair of research equipment
  • Rental of space or equipment necessary for research
  • Professional society dues and/or membership

The following are examples of expenses that are not allowable:

  • Faculty stipends, including summer salary
  • Printers
  • Travel and/or expenses for students
  • Travel for non-research essential individual
  • Flight insurance
  • Payments for goods or services paid for using reward points or loyalty program
  • Fees related to cancellation or change of itinerary for personal reasons
  • Accident insurance (e.g. car rental insurance)
  • Commuting costs to/from home, and normal place of business
  • Hotel stays within 50 miles of the University
  • Passport renewal or new passport fee
  • Advertising or public relations
  • Entertainment
  • Tobacco products
  • Other expenses not allowable under Section J of OMB Circular A-21 (Cost Principles for Educational Institutions) dated May 10, 2004

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See also:
Controller's Forms & Resources