APS 4011 - License and Certification Fees, Memberships, or Dues

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Policy Profile

Policy Title: License and Certification Fees, Memberships, or Dues
APS Number: 4011
Effective: January 17, 2013 
Approved by: President Bruce D. Benson
Responsible University Officer: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Responsible Office: Office of University Controller
Policy Contact: The appropriate campus Controller, who will consult with the University Controller as appropriate, will respond to questions and provide guidance regarding interpretation of this policy.  Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the University Controller.
Supersedes: License and Certification Fees, Memberships, or Dues, June 1, 2006
Last Reviewed/Updated: January 17, 2013 
Applies to: All campuses

Policy Snapshot

Brief Description: Sets forth the requirements for using University funds to pay for license fees, certification fees, memberships, or dues.

I.  Introduction

This policy sets forth the requirements for using University funds to pay for license fees, certification fees, memberships, or dues.

This policy governs both direct payments to the relevant entity and reimbursements paid to the benefiting individuals.

This policy applies to all employees, associates, and affiliates.

II.  Policy Statement

A.      License Fees or Certification Fees

Organizational units may designate unit resources for the payment of license fees or certification fees when all three of the following conditions are met:

  1. The license or certification is required for University employment. “Required for University employment” means that the license or certification is indicated as a mandatory criterion for employment, not as a preferred criterion or an absent one.
  2. There must be an equitable provision of the licenses or certifications throughout the department.
  3. There is a reasonable expectation that the license or certification will be used solely for the purpose of providing services to the University, and not for providing services to others for a fee or other compensation. Organizational units should inform employees that if a license or certification paid for by University funds is used for anything other than University business, then the additional compensation generated by the license or the certification, or the value of the license or certification fee (whichever is less), must be reimbursed to the University.


University funds may not be used for a license or certification that does not benefit the University and is solely for the professional development or advancement of an employee. Benefit to the University is measured through the receipt of support or information, as a result of having the license or certification, which is necessary to accomplish or foster the educational, research, or public service mission of the University.

B.      Memberships or Dues

The University may establish membership in organizations that promote the advancement of education and research, enhance the knowledge or tools required by employees to carry out their assigned responsibilities, and/or facilitate favorable community-campus relationships.

Evaluation Criteria

When establishing a membership in an organization, the following criteria must be observed:

  • A membership can be obtained only after careful evaluation of the costs of the membership in relation to the tangible and demonstrable benefits afforded to the University as a result of the membership. When evaluating a membership request, the organizational unit must be sensitive to the availability of funds, the relevance of the membership to the role and mission of the organizational unit, and the importance of the membership with respect to the discipline.

    In general, memberships should offer benefits directly relevant to individual job duties and/or organizational unit focus and mission, such as:
      • Providing scholarly journals, professional publications, and employment information;
      • Offering contact and information exchange with other professionals in the area of interest;
      • Affording instructional enhancement;
      • Supporting scholarly research and creative work; and
      • Improving community-campus relations critical to the University’s mission.
  • Memberships should be cost effective. That is:
      • Each membership should provide its associated benefits at the least expense to the University.
      • Emphasis should focus on securing limited numbers of quality memberships rather than having a broad coverage of potential memberships.
  • Where possible, a general, rather than an individual, membership should be obtained, because a general membership often allows participation by several or alternative members.
  • The number of memberships acquired shall be restricted to the minimum number required to meet the needs of the organizational unit.

Memberships and their related evaluation requirements are further segregated as follows:

  • University-wide Memberships:  This type of membership is one that reflects University-wide interests and that would normally be held in the name of the University or the campus (not in the name of an individual) . A University-wide membership must be approved by the Vice President or Vice Chancellor of Finance or his/her delegate to reduce the likelihood of redundant expenditures.
  • Specific Interest Memberships:  Memberships and fee payments associated with a specific interest membership are of primary concern to specific organizational units of a campus. When examining a request for a specific interest membership, the approver should ensure that the principles and criteria described within this Administrative Policy Statement have been met.


No payment is authorized for memberships in organizations that are primarily social, i.e., where the membership benefits the relationships of the employees, associates, and affiliates without making a direct contribution to the advancement of the University’s mission.

As an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, the University prohibits the expenditure of its funds for membership in organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, color, national origin, or individual handicap.

Political Action Committees

In some instances, societies, associations, or similar organizations may establish separate Political Action Committees, commonly referred to as PACs, to attempt to influence legislation of interest to the organizations. As part of the membership or dues application, a voluntary contribution to the PAC is frequently requested. Under no circumstances will University funds be used for a voluntary contribution to a PAC.

When a separate PAC does not exist, organizations are required to estimate the amount of each base membership that is used for lobbying expenses. The estimate frequently is printed on the bottom of the invoice for membership dues. As long as the portion of the base membership related to lobbying expenses is not voluntary (i.e., the University must pay the full base membership to be a member) then it is permissible to use University funds to pay for the full base membership. If the portion of the base membership related to lobbying expenses is voluntary, then only the portion of the membership related to non-lobbying expenses can be paid with University funds.


In some cases, a portion of the dues or membership fees may be the equivalent of a donation to the organization. If the donation portion is voluntary, then the donation portion must be excluded from the dues or membership fee paid with University funds, unless the specific donation has been approved in accordance with the Administrative Policy Statement Donations.

III.  Procedures, Forms, Guidelines and Resources

  1. Related Administrative Policy Statements (APS) and Other Policies
  2. Related Procedures
  3. Resources
    • Educational resources including guides, training notifications, and newsletters are announced and available on the PSC website.

IV.  Definitions

Italicized terms used in this Administrative Policy Statement are defined in the Policy Glossary

V.  History


    • Administrative Policy Statement License and Certification Fees, Memberships, or Dues dated June 1, 2006
    • Accounting Directive No. 95-2 “Guidance on Political Expenses, Donations, and memberships” dated November 30, 1995
    • Administrative Policy Statement “Association Dues” dated February 1, 1990

VI.  Key Words

License, certification, fees, memberships, dues, University funds