This Policy identifies permissible and impermissible uses of various types of University funds.


General Fund: The portion of the operating budget where most activity occurs. Sources are tuition, fees and unrestricted endowment funds. Uses are not restricted beyond the normal legal, ethical and policy restrictions. General fund account numbers begin with “10-.”

Restricted Funds: Funds that have been designated for a specific purpose by a person or entity external to the institution. Sources can include gifts, grants, and endowment distributions. Uses are restricted by the source of the funds (e.g. donor or grantor).

Designated Funds: Funds that have been designated for a specific purpose by University employees, or by the Board of Trustees. Designated funds are not subject to external restrictions.

Nonoperating Funds: Includes all funds that are not part of the general fund. Non-operating balances can have balances that carry forward from year to year, and are generally made up of restricted funds and designated funds.


Permissible Uses

Expenditures for the following items are routine, operational in nature, and easily documented as University mission-based expenditures, and thus, are generally always permissible:

  • Faculty, staff and student compensation
  • Classroom, research and support equipment and supplies
  • Plant operation and maintenance

Uses Requiring Additional Guidance

Expenditures such as entertainment, gifts, decorations, artwork, food purchases, meals, travel costs, and awards may require additional guidance which is provided in the following policies:

  • Gifts, Awards and Prizes from University Funds Policy
  • Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy

Impermissible Uses

  • Expenditures that confer a personal benefit outside of compensation and appropriate reimbursement are impermissible.
  • Gifts or donations to external organizations are impermissible, except as permitted in the Gifts, Awards and Prizes from University Funds Policy.
  • Expenditures that are not consistent with the intended purpose of the funding source, as stated in contemporaneous documentation are impermissible.

Sequence of Use

As a general rule, if categories of funds other than General Funds are available to address a funding need, and if those funds can be used for the intended purpose consistent with any restriction on their use, then such other funds must be used before General Funds are applied. Funds should be used in progression from most restricted to least restricted.

Transfer of Budget Funds
Budgeted funds are to be used for the purpose for which they were budgeted.  Transfers of budgeted funds to another program or department within the University requires prior approval of the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer. 

Nonoperating Fund Balances

Generally, nonoperating funds may only be spent once funds have become available. Deficit spending in nonoperating funds is impermissible without prior approval of the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, except government grant funds that have been approved by the granting agency and are funded on a reimbursement basis.


Status: Approved

Effective Date:  March 1, 2017

Last Revision Date: February 9, 2021

Next Anticipated Review: March 1, 2022

Responsible University Office: Finance

Primary Policy Contact: For Questions and Suggestions contact: dvalles@willamette.edu.

Willamette University


University Services Building -- Rm 104
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6104 voice
503-370-6633 fax

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