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Funding Guidelines & Opportunities

Funding Guidelines & Opportunities

Looking to host an event or initiative and need to understand how to make purchases and request funding? Below are guidelines on spending and additional funding opportunities for your organization. 

The SOBO - Student Organization Business Office is present to assist student organizations with any purchasing or money-related questions.

Faculty, staff members, and students are responsible for expending all university [held] funds in an appropriate, reasonable, ethical, and fiscally responsible manner consistent with the mission of the university [Learning. Discovery. Engagement] - Cornell University Business Expense Policy 3.14.

General University Guidelines

(additional restrictions could apply depending on funding source)

Daily Sun Advertisement

  • All Cornell University registered student organizations are able to use the Student & Campus Life Student Organization Contracted Rate for Daily Sun expenses regardless of the Cornell funding source (Cornell Dept., Gift, or Non-Cornell).  The current rate on the contract is $6.40 per column inch for hard copy printing and 10% off for online advertising.

  • When contacting the Daily Sun, let them know the ad is on behalf of a Cornell registered student organization and copy SOBO@cornell.edu so we can confirm it with their Office Manager Amy Wilson (awilson@cornellsun.com).

Food Expenses

Gift Funding/Donations received through Alumni Affairs and Development

Donors to Cornell Alumni Affairs and Development (AA&D) receive a 501(c)(3) Tax Deduction/Credit acknowledgment from Cornell. Gift funds can be not donated outside of the Cornell Community or to another 501(c)(3).

  • University Registered Student Organizations have to contact their Departments AA&D Officer about setting up a Gift Account.

  • Independent/External Student Organizations (ISO/EOs) automatically have Gift Accounts available to them.  Donated funds to ISO/EOs are to be used to further the "educational, research, and community service missions of the University as well as enhance the educational experience for students at Cornell".  These funds can be used as long as the financial transaction is beneficial to the entire organization, follows the Business Expense Policy, and is not restricted by the donor for a specific purpose.  Cornell holds the money in a gift account that is established and designated as your organizations’ money to use and managed by SOBO.

    • On a weekly basis, the Accounting Book tab in CampusGroups will be updated to show any newly donated funding so you can track your income, expense, and remaining balances under this tab.

    • How ISO/EOs Receive Gift Funding/Donations:

      • Payment by Check - Send to Cornell University, Box 37334, Boone, IA 50037-0334. For tax credit purposes, checks should be payable to Cornell University.  On the memo line of the check, or in an enclosed letter, it should specify your Student Organization Name (as registered in Campus Groups) and the acronym if you have one established.

      • Payment by Credit Card - Go to: https://giving.cornell.edu/give 

        • In the “Search all available funds” box, type in the name of your Student Organization Name (as registered in CampusGroups). If your organization doesn’t come up, follow the instructions to click on “other” and enter your Student Organization Name and the acronym on the next page

Pre-paying for Services and/or Deposits for Services

  • Set up vendors for payment by Accounts Payable ACH/EFT Authorization or Wire Transfer so they can receive their payment as a direct deposit into their bank account the next business day after the service has been confirmed as completed.  
  • Cornell generally discourages prepayment but may be allowed depending on the funding source.

Prizes Given by Award or Chance/Lottery

  • For Gifts/Awards $75 and under, we encourage the use of virtual gift cards to The Cornell Store.  By far, it is the easiest way to procure gift cards and supports Cornell pride at the same time.  If interested in learning more, email Johnathan Hart.
  • Those valued over $75 are reported to University Tax and may be taxable Cash Awards, Gift Cards and Certificates [Prizes]
    • NOTE:  SOBO will complete the Gift Card/Certificate Reporting Form if needed

Register Events

Most in-person events taking place on campus (and some virtual events) need to schedule through Scheduling@Cornell. Refer to the Events page on the COVID-19 website for up-to-date information on current guidelines. What events need to be registered with the university?

  • if attendees under 18 years of age (excludes Cornell registered students)
  • uses the University logo
  • is photographed or recorded for distribution
  • invites an outside performer/speaker/musical artist
  • is a hosted conference
  • distributes any items to attendees prior to the virtual event/meeting e.g., DYI kit, food, or alcohol (alcohol eligible to Graduate Student Organizations only)
  • invites a dignitary or government official

All events must be entered in Cornell CampusGroups regardless of the above information.

SOBO Financial Transaction Options

  • For organizations with budgets in CampusGroups, use the Request Payment button in your Money/Budgeting feature to access your funds.
  • Direct Payment by the University
    • To vendors for Lecture/Speaker Fee or Services defined as involving physical activity.  Examples of Services include, but are not limited to, Entertainment fees, Dance/Choreography Workshops, Photography/Videography, Sound/Lighting/Staging, DJs, Coaching, Rental Service Delivery.
    • NOTE:  See below for additional required documentation.
  • Reimbursement
    • To staff, faculty, student organization, or Alumni that have paid out of pocket that does not include Lecture/Speaker Fee or Services (see above definition).
      • Receipts must be original; contain the date of purchase; include vendor name and address; itemized description of the purchase, unit price/grand total, and reflect payment was received by the vendor.
        • Summary of credit card receipt or tear tabs are not sufficient.
        • Phone snapshots of Venmo transactions usually need additional backup.
        • The original receipt is required to be kept in your possession for 60 days in case of AuditProof of Delivery for goods or supplies if not purchased in person.
        • Logo Design in addition to CU Brand Approval if applicable.
    • NOTE:  See below for additional required documentation.

  • University registered Student Organizations
    • Advertisement of Event
    • Use of a Cornell University Contract to generate payment to Performers and Service Providers.
    • Upload Contract after Vendor and Organization Advisor signatures to Campus Group Payment Request two weeks before the event. Payment for services may require a certificate of insurance and/or other additional paperwork.
    • Encouraged to utilize eSHOP for ordering and forward cart to SOBO for submission after Campus Group Payment Request is submitted.
    • Use of Speaker Payment Form or Invoice for payment to Speakers or Lecturers.
    • Completion of Student Travel Addendum for Travel (all modes), Lodging and Conferences and/or Tournaments held off-campus.
  • Independent/External registered Student Organization (ISO/EOs)
    • Advertisement of Event
    • Use Speaker Payment Form or Invoice for payment to Speakers or Lecturers.
    • Use of Independent Engagement Agreement to generate payment to Performers or Service Providers.
    • Completion of Student Travel Addendum for Travel (all modes), Lodging and Conferences and/or Tournaments held off-campus.

Tax Exemption and Use of Outside (non-Cornell) Bank Accounts

  • University Registered Student Organizations are not allowed to have an outside bank account with their own Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) or set up a separate 501(c)(3) Tax Exemption Status for their use.  Being registered as University confirms that you are supported by a Cornell Dept., following Cornell’s purchasing policies and methods such as the use of Cornell University Contracts, Procurement Card, Cornell Preferred Vendors, and Purchase Orders for Services and/or Goods.
  • Independent/External Student Organizations (ISO/EOs) are allowed to apply for their own Federal EIN and use it to set up a bank account for their financial activity.  It’s not controlled or monitored by Cornell and is only accessed by your organization.  NOTE:  Even though you may receive a Federal EIN for your organization, it does not mean that you qualify for 501(c)(3) Tax Exemption Status.  Cornell is not able to offer advice about this process because of your ISO/EO status so you would need to contact a tax attorney independently if you have any questions.  The Federal EIN application can be found at http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98350,00.html.
    • Additionally, if your organization will be seeking reimbursement instead of to individual members, we encourage you to sign up for Accounts Payable ACH/EFT Authorization using the student organization bank and organization email information so the reimbursement is deposited directly into the bank account instead of being issued by check.  Cornell only issues checks once a week but processes ACH transactions on a nightly basis.

Unallowable Expenses (University-Wide)

  • Parking Fines
  • Goods or Services for Personal Use (e.g., Amazon Prime Service Fee, BJ’s Club Warehouse Membership)
  • Alcohol for Undergraduate Student Organization Events
  • Note: individual funding sources/boards may have their own additional restrictions.

Use of Cornell’s Name, Logos, Trademarks, or Insignias

Funding Sources

ALANA Intercultural Programming Board

Contact: alanaib@cornell.edu

Website: https://cornell.campusgroups.com/alana/home/

To apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups. 

Bartel's Co-Sponsorship

Contact: Sue Parker at sep2@cornell.edu, 311 Day Hall, 607-255-7595

Thanks to funding provided by the Bartels family, undergraduate registered Cornell student organizations may apply for co-sponsorships to support student-led initiatives. The contact person for the project must be a registered Cornell student. The organization must also show they are requesting funds from other entities on campus. Organizations may apply every other year. Please contact Sue Parker with any questions on the application.

Cornell Crowdfunding Platform

Website: https://crowdfunding.cornell.edu/

Promoted by Alumni Affairs & Development (AA&D) whereas GoFundMe donations are independently raised and not able to be deposited into a Cornell University account.

Cornell Interfaith Council (CIC)

Contact: Atif Akhter (aaa368@cornell.edu), the 2021-2022 CIC treasurer

Website: https://cornell.campusgroups.com/intfaithcoun/home/

To apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups. 

CU Tonight

Contact: cutonight@cornell.edu

Website: https://cornell.campusgroups.com/cutc/home/

To apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups. 

Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Finance Commission (GPSAFC)

Contact: Caroline Helen Steingard (chair) chs233@cornell.edu

Website: https://cornell.campusgroups.com/gpsafc/home/

  • Eligibility requirements

    • Organizations must be registered within Campus Groups

    • Graduate & Professional organizations only

    • Funding Requests must me the GPSAFC guidelines

To apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups. 

Gender Justice Advocacy Coalition (GJAC)

Contact: gjac@cornell.edu

To apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups. 

Haven: The LGBTQ Student Union

International Student Union (ISU)

Website: https://isucornell.com/funding.html

To apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups. 

Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies Co-Sponsorship

Multicultural Concert Funding and Advisory Board (MCFAB)

Website: https://mcfabcornell.wixsite.com/mcfab/co-sponsorships

To apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups. 

Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) Student Organization Funding

Contact: TBA

James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial & Intercultural Peace & Harmony / Student & Campus Life Diversity and Inclusion Awards

Website: https://scl.cornell.edu/about-scl/awards-funding/perkins-prize-and-scl-awards

The Perkins Prize recognizes the Cornell student, faulty, administrator, or program making the most significant contribution to furthering the ideal of university community while respecting the values of racial diversity.

Student Activities Funding Commission (SAFC)

Contact: safc@cornell.edu

Website: https://cornell.campusgroups.com/safc/home/

  • Eligibility requirements
    • Organizations must be registered within Campus Groups
    • Undergraduate student organizations only
    • Funding Requests must meet the SAFC guidelines
  • Application process
    • Register your group within CampusGroups
    • Once your registration is approved, you may use CampusGroups to submit a budget request while applications are being received
    • Two officers (President[s]/Treasurer[s])need to sign the budget request before the SAFC deadline
    • SAFC will review your budget request and get back to you
To apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups. 

Student Assembly Special Projects Fund

Website: https://assembly.cornell.edu/student-assemblyTo apply for funding, go to your group's Accounting Book page in CampusGroups.