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Understanding the Purpose of OOEF’s

An “official occasion” is defined as a reception, luncheon, dinner, or similar event that is sponsored and funded by The University of Texas at Austin and is often hosted by an administrative officer. These functions are normally associated with special programs, university guests, faculty, and staff recruitment.

Examples include conferences, workshops, seminars, development events, planned retreats, staff meetings, unit or department morale-building events, student membership activities, and other similar activities. Further restrictions may apply to grant funding.

Administrative/Business meeting generally involve two or more people, must include a University employee, are agenda driven, and directly concern University Business.

General entertainment expenditures include food and beverages, facility rentals, flowers, invitations, and other similar expenses.


Audience – Who does this apply to?

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students in the College of Natural Sciences, regardless of source of funds.


Audience Responsibilities

Official Occasion Expenditure Forms, OOEF's, require approval in advance for the following requests:

  • If the total cost of an event is greater than $3,000, please see the template here.
  • If your account is being IDT’d by AT&T EECC, Division of Housing and Food, etc. and/or…
  • If the event will include having alcohol on campus
  • If you are purchasing an entertainment expense on a procard
  • If you are reimbursing entertainment expenses using a voucher type other than a VPE
  • Activities where the attendees are primarily members of the same department or unit: "Annual events, such as departmental holiday parties and staff appreciation lunches, are allowed and will be approved provided the proposed activities and expenditures are appropriate and reasonable.”
  • Please note that there are NO EXCEPTIONS at this time

CNS Business Services in coordination with the Dean are responsible for auditing, verifying, and approving OOEFs. Any OOEF that requires the Dean’s signature must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event or any expenses being incurred.

Please note that no expense for an event greater than $3,000 can be incurred prior to the pre-approval. If a deposit is needed for a large reservation, please make sure to have your OOEF approved by the Dean in advance of making the deposit.


Policy References

HBP Part 9.1.1

Entertainment and Official Occasion Expenditure Policy Chart

Accounts Payable

Official Occasion Expense Form



TIPS For Processing OOEF’s

  • Does the purpose of the occasion comply with the "Official Occasion" definition?
  • Are the people who are attending appropriate attendees?
    • Attendees are part of The University of Texas (i.e. official visitors, including prospective faculty and invited lecturers).
    • Other non-official Guests are not appropriate on OOEF's.
    • In addition, spouses are almost always not appropriate at a business meetings or meals. An exception would be during recruiting visits, provided the faculty recruit brings their own spouse or guest.
  • OOEF limits are $100 per person per event.
  • CNS will follow University policy related to negotiated agreements. HBP 9.1.1 Section E: “Units will not be required to get a per person cost when there is a negotiated agreement with a vendor for a total package price that includes food and non-food expenses.” However, amount should remain within reasonable limits.
  • Alcohol may not be the primary expenditure (must be less than or equal to 50% of the subtotal)
  • If the cost of your event increases by more than 10% you will need to submit a new OOEF form (even if the first request has been approved).
  • When submitting a payment voucher for an entertainment expense incurred during travel, please also submit a copy of the approved Request for Travel Authorization (VE5).
  • Meals/entertainment for prospective faculty candidates are not to exceed $870 per day. Attendees at faculty meals should be limited to the number who can reasonably interact with the faculty candidate and should generally not exceed 6 attendees. (6 attendees at a meal limit of $100 equals $600.)
  • Is alcohol allowed?
    • Alcohol is not allowed at any undergraduate student event.
    • Alcohol is allowed at graduate student recruiting events, however there is a two drink maximum per person.
  • Will the account number on the OOEF allow “Official Occasion” expenses?
    • For example – flowers and holiday cards for college-related purposes may be charged to unrestricted gift account only
    • ONLY gift funds – never state funds – may be used to pay for entertainment expenses.
    • Use object code 1309 – Official Student Occasions on student fee or flat rate tuition accounts. CNS Policy - You may not use Core CNS funded 19 accounts for entertainment expenses.
  • Other Tips:
    • Club memberships require advance approval from UT’s administrative officers via the Assistant Dean for Business Services.

All forms are to be signed by a department authorized signer and the name printed off to the side or below the signature.


Please use DocuSign for routing all Official Occasion Expense Forms (OOEFs) for approval.

The Power Form (links above) facilitate appropriate routing of the OOEF. When you begin the form, you will see instructions on how to enter the name and EID e-mail address (<eid>@eid.utexas.edu) for yourself and for the funding approver. Once you click begin signing, go ahead and complete the form. Remember to upload any necessary attachments. After you finish completing the form, it automatically routes through the CNS signers (dean’s delegates) as outlined below. 


Funding approvers will be able to edit the following fields on the CNS OOEF form:

  • Account #
  • Purpose of event
  • Benefit to CNS and University
  • Justification if they exceed limits

If any of these fields are edited, the funding approver will need to click “Finish” in addition to their signature so the form will route forward.   

If funding approvers find they have to frequently edit these fields, please work with your staff to ensure the accuracy of their data entry. The requestor will not be notified if any of these fields are edited unless you tell them.

Requestors will receive an e-mail with copy of the form so they can track the status. Instructions on how to track the status are included. Once the form is final approved, the requestor will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the approved copy in order to submit with receipts for payment.

For assistance, please contact financials@cns.utexas.edu.


                                                                                                                                Last Updated: 18 October 2022