Business Office


​Food Purchase Policy

The University of Georgia Policy on Purchasing Food

This University of Georgia policy and the related procedures conform to Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia policies.

Food includes meals, beverages, and snacks that may be consumed by students, potential students, volunteers and employees. This policy covers the use of institutional funds (all funds held in University accounts) while paying for food.

Student Activity Fee funds may be used to fund food as part of a sponsored program or event. However, food purchases must be specifically requested and budgeted for any program or activity funded in whole or in part by Student Activity Fees funds or designated as a funded activity. The Student Activity Fee General Guidelines state that food expenditures cannot exceed more than 10% of the overall budget and may include additional policies and procedures not outlined in this document.

Food for Students

Students include individuals enrolled to take classes at the University of Georgia, including students enrolled in Continuing Education. It is expected that the use of Student Activity Fees to purchase food should only include students who have paid the activity fee for the semester in which the event is taking place.

University funds may be used to purchase food for students as follows:

  • Sanctioned Student Events – events sponsored by recognized student groups and other campus events open to the general student body and designed to further the development and education of students.
  • Classroom and Academic Programs – instances where food is an integral part of the instructional methodology (food or cooking course).
  • Student Recruiting Events – potential students and their parents may be provided food at an event designed to encourage the student to attend UGA.
  • Volunteer Events – events where students participate as volunteers along with other non-students.

Allowable participants: Students, Volunteers, Employees whose participation is required, and non-employees.
Potential Funding: Departmental Sales and Service, Student Activity Funds, Agency Funds, Auxiliary Funds.
Purchasing Methods: Petty cash, check requests, P-card (no agency accounts or volunteer events).

Food for Volunteers

Volunteers include individuals that provide benefits to the institution (serving on an advisory board, student mentors, etc) without receiving compensation. This would include volunteers as part of an advisory board. However, food purchased solely in connection with volunteer appreciation or volunteer recognition events would not be allowable using any type of UGA funds. This expense may be paid using Foundation funds.

Allowable participants: Students, Volunteers, Employees whose participation is required and not part of their normal job, and non-employees.
Potential Funding: Student Activity Funds, Agency Funds, Auxiliary Funds.
Purchasing Methods: Petty cash, check requests

Food for Employees

Employees include temporary, part-time, and full-time staff, faculty, administrators, resident assistants, graduate assistants and other student workers. The employee’s participation must be required, essential, and in furtherance of an official institutional program.

  • Employee Group Meals – group meals should be held only to facilitate the effective and efficient operation of the department.
  • Group meals should only be provided in those instances where the meeting lasts for at least four hours.
  • Group meals held at the start and/or finish of a meeting are not eligible for payment. Purchase of a group meal is authorized solely as a convenience to the employer and in those instances where employees may not leave for a normal meal due to time constraints.
  • Group meals for a “lunch meeting” in which the meal and the meeting are one and the same are prohibited.
  • Purchase of such meals must be approved by the Dean or Vice President prior to the date of the event. Prior approval must include
    • The purpose for the meeting or event
    • A formal written agenda including session times
    • A list of attendees (UGA and non-UGA personnel) with their associated departments
    • The expected cost of the meal per person.
    • Requests should utilize the “Employee Group Meals Request Form” available on the University website and have all documentation attached.
    • Requests must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students Business Office for review, who will forward to the VP for Student Affairs.


Allowable participants: Employees whose participation is required and non-employees whose participation is necessary.
Potential Funding: Sales and Service Revenue, state appropriated funds, UGA Restricted Funds which allow for the expense, Student Activity Funds, Agency Funds
Purchasing Methods: Petty Cash, Check Requests and P-Card (no agency accounts)

Student recruiting- an employee may be reimbursed for food purchased at a meeting whose primary purpose is the recruitment of an individual to attend the institution. The employee’s participation in this meeting should be required as part of his or her job performance.

Allowable participants: Non-employees, Employees whose participation is required.
Potential Funding: Foundation funds or UGA Restricted Funds
Purchasing Methods: Foundation check requests, UGA check requests

Food for Contract Hospitality

Some student sponsored events involve performance contracts where food is a written requirement in the contract and agreed to by UGA.

Allowable participants: Non-employees
Potential Funding: Student Activity Fees, Agency Funds, Departmental Sales
Purchasing Methods: Petty Cash, Check Requests

Food Purchased for Conferences & Workshops

UGA units hosting and coordinating conferences and workshops collect registration fees that may be used for food for meals and breaks which are an official and integral component of the conference or workshop. In general, departments or student organizations should contract with a caterer to provide the necessary meals and breaks. Non-catered food purchases (i.e. individual items purchased from a grocery store) must be accompanied by a written justification as to why the food was purchased outside of a catering arrangement. This justification is necessary to substantiate that there has not been personal use of food purchased. This justification may come in the form of a letter addressed to the Office of the Dean of Students Business Office and attached to the method of payment.

Allowable participants: Conference & Workshop participants
Potential Funding: Departmental Sales or Agency Funds
Purchasing Methods: Check Request, P-Card (no agency funds).

Food for Educational or Business Meetings

Student organizations may hold a business meeting and require participation by members and/or officers. Organizations funded by the Student Activity Fee are prohibited from holding this type of meeting.

Allowable participants: Students, volunteers, and employees whose participation is required.
Potential Funding: Agency Funds
Purchasing Methods: Petty Cash, Check Request

Documentation Requirements

All payments for food purchases, either to a business vendor or to an individual on behalf of a student organization, must include the following documentation:

  • An original receipt or invoice from the vendor
  • Flyer, email, agenda, or other documentation substantiating that the event was an official event.
  • Food purchased at a restaurant or on a per person basis should include a list of participants using the Reimbursement of University Related Entertainment form ( http://www.busfin/ )
  • Food purchased for student events on a large scale (more than 25 participants) will not require a list of participants but must document that per diem limits were followed.
  • Campus Life Food Justification Form
  • UGA Check Request, Petty Cash Disbursement Form, P-Card documentation\

Per Diem Limitations

Per diem limits for the University of Georgia are as follows. In the event that funds used for food exceed the authorized per diem policy then the excess must be covered/reimbursed by the employee making or authorizing the expenditure.

Limits: $6.00 for breakfast; $7.00 for lunch; $15.00 for dinner. (allowable per person except for student organizations with agency funds accounts)

Administering Funds Used for Food Purchases

Employees with responsibility for administering institutional funds and employees requesting reimbursement should ensure that funds are spent only for legitimate purposes. The misuse of institutional funds may result in both employment termination and various civil and criminal penalties.