/ Business Services

Expense and Resource Stewardship Policy


The Expense and Resource Stewardship policy starts from a place of mutual trust between college administration and college employees. 

As trusted stewards of Hope's institutional assets, we use the College’s financial resources to further the mission of the College drawing on our strategic priorities as a guide. We are mindful that the primary sources of revenue come from students, their families, and friends of the College.

We use the College’s resources with integrity, in a manner that is wise, fair, honest, transparent, and ethical. We seek to achieve the highest overall value per dollar, considering financial and nonfinancial aspects of each transaction.

While the policy was developed in the spirit of good practice and good stewardship, we recognize not every situation employees face in regards to spending will be covered in detail in this policy. If you encounter decisions or questions around spending or approvals that are not covered directly in this document, please contact Business Services. 

We are committed to operating within the guidelines of this policy, IRS, GLBA, FERPA, and other  regulations applicable to our organization, and the law.


To guide employees, the stewards of Hope College’s resources, to appropriate resource-related behaviors that support the College’s mission through relevant Guiding Principles, Policies, and Procedures. The guiding principles, procedures, and policies outlined in this document are applicable to all employees and all fund types (such as, but not limited to, operating, discretionary, current restricted, professional development, endowed chair, sponsored program, agency, and capital funds) unless otherwise noted.


This policy is bringing together the Travel and Expense Policy, the Procurement Policy, and the Gift Card Policy that have existed in Business Services as individual policies previously. In this format, the policy was first adopted March 12, 2019. Any questions about this policy can be directed to Business Services at 616.395.7810, businessservices@hope.edu or accountspayable@hope.edu.

This policy will be reviewed every three years, or sooner if circumstances dictate necessity. Employees with spending privileges are required to be informed of the Expense and Resource Stewardship Policy and any changes after every formal review. 




  • “Approver” — Individual approving an expense (see “Approvals” section)
  • “Capital Purchase” — Investments in goods or services costing more than $5,000 that provide long term value to the college.
  • “Certify Champion” - Members of the campus community outside of Business Services, who Business Services has deemed are an expert with Certify, the expense reporting software that the college uses. 
  • “Covered” — Reimbursed or paid for on a College credit card.
  • “Friend of the College” — Individual who is not an employee nor a student
  • “Fund Manager” — The employee responsible for a particular budget/fund. Fund managers are also fund viewers. There are primary and secondary fund managers. 
  • “Fund Viewers” - An individual who will receive monthly budget reports for funds and has access to the fund/can run budget queries in plus.hope.edu. They are not necessarily a fund manager though.
  • “Labor Surplus Area” — A civil jurisdiction that has a civilian average annual unemployment rate during the previous two calendar years of 20% or more above the average annual civilian unemployment rate for all states during the same period.
  • “Primary Fund Manager” - Also known as the “Primary Approver”. This person is primarily responsible for the fund number in question. They are generally a department head, Chair, or Program Director. They are also a fund viewer of the fund they are primary fund manager of.
  • “Publically Solicited” — Posted on the College website for vendors to bid on.
  • “Secondary Fund Manager” - Also known as the “Secondary Approver”. This person is the second approver on a fund, and usually only has to approve expenses made by the primary approver. They are generally the immediate supervisor of the primary approver. They are also a fund viewer of the fund they are the secondary fund manager of.
  • “Significant Contracts” - Any contract that exceeds $25,000 in a year or $50,000 over the life of the term.
  • “Travelers” - Anyone traveling on behalf of the College for college business. 
  • “User” — Individual making a purchase on behalf of the College.


When making a purchasing decision, the spender should consider the following regarding the potential expense:

  • Does this purchase support the mission of the College?
  • Do I have the authority to make this purchase?
  • Are there enough funds in the designated budget to cover the cost?
  • Is the expense necessary and ethically appropriate?
  • Could the cost be defended under public scrutiny?
  • Would I be comfortable explaining to a student that their payment, or to a donor that their donation, was used this way?
  • Can appropriate documentation be provided to support this expense in the case of an audit?
  • Am I planning far enough in advance to avoid additional costs (e.g., rush shipping, increased travel costs)?
  • Have I communicated well with my fund manager to understand the types of expenses that will be approved or disapproved?

If you answer no to any of these questions, then you should not make the purchase. If you have further questions, please contact the Controller.


The College holds tax exempt status in several states. Please check the Business Services website and obtain the appropriate tax exempt document prior to making a purchase.

As part of maintaining the College’s tax exempt status, the College cannot make gifts or contributions to political organizations/candidates nor can College funds be used to make loans or “micro loans” disbursed through organizations such as Kiva. Similarly, College funds cannot be used to make financial gifts directly to individuals, families, or to GoFundMe sites (or other similar donation sites).


Business Services generally will not approve anyone opening any financial accounts in the name of Hope College or if using the name "Hope" on the account. This includes, but is not limited to, bank, PayPal, GoFundMe, Square, and Venmo accounts. Contact Business Services if seeking an exception.


The College’s reputation for fair, honest and consistent treatment of suppliers can best be maintained if procurement is performed solely on the merits of the transaction. All College employees should conduct themselves in such a manner as to foster public confidence in the integrity of the College’s procurement process. Therefore, all persons engaged in the procurement process in any department or position must adhere to the following principles and standards published by the National Association of Educational Buyers Code of Ethics.

  1. Give first consideration to the mission and policies of Hope College.
  2. Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
  3. Decline personal gifts of significant value (see Gifts from Vendors).
  4. Grant qualified suppliers equal consideration insofar as College policy permits.
  5. Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith, devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
  6. Demand honesty in sales representation whether offered through the medium of a verbal or written statement, an advertisement, or a sample of the product.
  7. Receive consent of the originator of proprietary ideas and designs before using them for competitive purposes.
  8. Make every reasonable effort to negotiate an equitable and mutually agreeable settlement of any controversy with a supplier.
  9. Accord a prompt and courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions.
  10. Foster fair, ethical and legal trade practices.

The College encourages all purchasers to consider minority-owned vendors, female-owned vendors, local vendors, alumni-owned vendors, and labor surplus area firms.


The burden of proof is on the spender. Each individual is responsible for providing sufficient documentation to support the appropriateness of all expenses for which they are requesting payment reimbursement and for which they have charged their Hope credit card or cash advance.

Employees are encouraged to report concerns regarding individuals who may be using resources outside of these guidelines directly to their supervisor. However, if needed, the college also has a Whistleblower Policy.

Individuals who use college resources outside the guidelines of this policy, as determined by a combination of the supervisor, divisional leadership, Human Resources, the Chief Financial Officer [CFO], and/or Business Services will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination subsequent to a conversation and in accordance with the applicable employee handbook. Various accountability practices may be used. The College will determine what level of disciplinary action may be needed by evaluating the severity of the incident(s) by considering progressive discipline. Some of these practices may include:

  • Verbal conversation
  • Withholding Payment Request reimbursement until Certify is fully reconciled
  • Charging a fund number of Business Services’ choosing for an expense
  • Requiring reimbursement of the unallowable or unapproved expense
  • Revoking College credit card privileges
  • Revoking spending privileges
  • Revoking budgetary oversight responsibilities
  • Formal written warning
  • Demotion and/or loss of supervisory privileges
  • External review or investigation (by law enforcement or others)
  • Suspension (with or without pay)
  • Termination

College employees shall not accept or solicit, directly or indirectly, anything of economic value as a gift, favor, or entertainment which is or may appear to be designed to influence official conduct in any manner, particularly from a person who is seeking a business or financial arrangement with Hope College. Employees may engage in entertainment or activities with economic value to build relationships with key vendors/business partners, so long as a representative from that organization is also present at the event/activity and the employee's participation is pre-approved by their supervisor. Whenever possible, such gifts should be used to benefit the operations of the College and/or shared with other employees and students.

Unsolicited non-cash gifts valued under $100 may be accepted. You should inform your supervisor of any gifts that you have accepted. Examples of acceptable gifts include: unsolicited advertising or promotional material such as pens, pencils, scratch pads and calendars, occasional business lunches or food and refreshments of nominal value, or other items of nominal or minor value such as a box of candy or an umbrella that are merely tokens of appreciation and not related to any particular transaction.


No College employee shall participate in the selection, award or administration of a contract or transaction if a real or apparent conflict of interest would be involved. Such conflict would arise when an employee, any member of his or her immediate family, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of the parties indicated above, has a financial or other interest in the firm doing or about to do business with the College.

Every employee has a responsibility to report any real or potential conflict of interest to his or her supervisor (or dean, provost, or VP). This includes any relationship with only the appearance of a conflict. Faculty and staff may be required to annually report any such conflicts in writing on a Conflict of Interest Statement to the President’s Office and/or the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs.


Hope College endorses “Green Purchasing” and is committed to the use and purchase of environmentally and socially responsible products and services. Departments are expected to support this initiative in accordance with the guidelines located at the Campus Sustainability website.

Capital Purchasing

All capital purchases over $5,000 must be processed through the capital purchase process. For questions regarding this process, please contact the Director of Finance.


Employees must adhere to the following regulations when making a purchase on behalf of the College. If assistance is needed, please contact the Controller.

  • Purchases less than $10,000 — Goods and services may be purchased directly with minimum competition. Pricing, service and product/service quality are equal factors in vendor selection. To the extent practical, business should be distributed among suppliers if they offer the same rates.

    Food consumed on campus for meetings or events should be provided by Creative Dining Services. Purchases of paper, supplies and other office products should be initiated through the Hope Bookstore (if choosing to use a different source for these purchases, the Bookstore should be notified).

    All capital purchases over $5,000 must be processed through the capital purchase process. For questions regarding this process, please contact the Director of Finance.
  • Purchases from $10,000 to $250,000 — Goods and services must be selected after obtaining price quotations from at least two sources. These quotes can be obtained orally, in writing, via a vendor price list, or online search.

  • Purchases greater than $250,000 — Goods and services must be selected based upon written requests for information (RFI), which include a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements for the material, product, or service to be provided and identify all requirements which contractors must fulfill in evaluating their offer. Competitive pricing from a minimum of two vendors is required. All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition. Please see “Requests for Information” under “Procedures” for more information.

  • Exceptions to Procurement Threshold Requirements — The following are the only allowable exceptions for the regulations outlined above:
    • Noncompetitive Procurement - Noncompetitive procurement occurs when  only one firm can satisfy the product/service requirements
    • Public Exigency/Emergency - Public exigency or emergency purchases occur when a purchase is required to protect life and/or property or to prevent substantial economic loss or the interruption of service. Formal procedures will be waived but competition should be used where possible.
    • Approval from the Awarding Agency - When the awarding agency expressly authorizes a noncompetitive procurement in response to a written request from Hope College
    • Inadequate Competition - After solicitation of a number of sources, competition is determined to be inadequate. Formal procedures will be waived.

      A noncompetitive procurement or public exigency/emergency exception must be approved before the purchase is made by the primary fund manager (or secondary fund manager, if the primary fund manager is the one making the purchase) of the fund being used and the Controller (or designee).


In order to avoid the acquisition of unnecessary or duplicative items, the following procedures are in place at Hope College to ensure the appropriate use of funds.

  • Purchases Requiring Special Procurement Procedures — The college requires that the Bookstore, Catering, CIT, the Haworth Hotel, Health Center, Physical Plant, Print & Mail, Public Affairs and Marketing, and Transportation receive first priority when making purchasing decisions.

    All purchases of office supplies, Hope apparel, Kleenex, paper towels, office paper, printer/copier toner, and other related items must be initiated at the Bookstore. Contact the Bookstore Buyers with questions. General inquiries can be sent to bookstore@hope.edu.

    All purchases of furniture and construction services (including design and development) must be initiated  through the Physical Plant.

    All purchases of technology hardware (i.e. mouse, HDMI cords, etc.), software (including licensing and subscriptions), peripherals and printers must be initiated through the Computing and Information Technology Department.

    When purchasing from internal resources, your fund number should be provided to the cashier/department; you should not use your college credit card, personal funds, or a cash advance to make the purchase.

    By using these internal Hope departments, college resources stay on campus, helping fund scholarships and benefiting the larger operations of the college. Additionally, using these internal resources grows the purchasing power of Hope College, and allows for the various departments to potentially get more discounts, better pricing, better shipping rates, and other benefits from vendors. 

    If a purchaser does not use these internal resources for a purchase, Business Services may charge the expense to a fund that Business Services deems appropriate for the purchase.

  • Professional Services — When specialized skills, knowledge, resources and experience are needed that cannot be provided reasonably by existing staff, such services may be obtained from firms or individuals outside the College on a fee-for-service or professional contract. Selections must be based on impartiality, competitiveness and ability to fulfill needs. All contracts for professional services must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate Cabinet member(s). Examples of Professional Service Contracts include appraisals, architectural and engineering services, auditing, accounting and financial services, consulting services, printing and graphic design, research surveys and studies, web design and development.

    All services for professional design and/or construction are selected by the CFO in consultation with the Director of Operations and appropriate members of the Cabinet, and approved by the Board of Trustees. To the extent possible, contracts for construction projects should include value engineering clauses to offer opportunities for cost reductions.

Marketing, Branding & Logos

Any use of the Hope College name, logos, affiliations, or other related items for promotional purposes must be approved by the office of Public Affairs and Marketing. Any marketing/branding campaigns must also be approved by Public Affairs and Marketing. 

The Bookstore does have pre-approved logos available for immediate use on apparel or gifts. Other official logos are available for download on the Public Affairs and Marketing website. Any modification to Hope College logos is prohibited.


Significant contracts include those with a value in excess of $25,000 per year or $50,000 over the term of the contract or that could result in significant adverse exposure for the College (not including personnel contracts). All significant contracts must be signed by an authorized signatory (President, CFO, Director of Finance and Business Services) of the College. Business Services must be contacted prior to engaging in any negotiations related to a significant contract. 

Contracts that are less than the significant threshold should be signed by a department head (ie. academic chair, dean, director, vice president). All contracts (both significant and not) must be stored for seven years after the end of the agreement. They must be stored with the Joint Archives or within a department in an area that is accessible and known to more than one party. For more information regarding the Joint Archives, see “Using the Joint Archives” under “Procedures”.


Documents related to procurement action must be maintained in accordance with the Business Services Record Retention Policy. Procurement documents that must be maintained include the rationale for the method of procurement, selection of contract type, contractor selection or rejection, and the basis for contract price.

Sponsored Programs & FEDERAL FUNDS

Sponsored program funds (such as a grant or contract with an awarding agency) are to be used according to the policies of Hope College. If more restrictive, recipients must adhere to all regulations outlined by the sponsored program/awarding agency.

The Controller must approve, in advance, applications for programs originally funded by a sponsored program that will need additional funding beyond the life of the sponsored program. The Controller will seek input from the CFO as necessary.


Anything purchased using College funds remains the property of the College until the item is retired. When retiring an item, Business Services should be consulted for any item (or grouping of related items) with an expected value of $50 or more. If there is a question as to the value of the item, Business Services should always be consulted. If Business Services determines there is any value to the asset, all College branding will be removed and the asset will be sold at fair market value. If an item is being replaced, the sale proceeds can be deposited into the fund paying for the replacement item. Otherwise, proceeds from the sale of items will go toward annual giving and fund scholarships for students.

Expenses for Remote Work

If you elect to work remotely, you are responsible for all equipment/internet needs for your home office. CIT will not provide additional monitors, desktops, laptops, chairs, or any other office equipment or supplies; nor will the College reimburse for cell, internet, or any other technical service. The Expense and Resource Stewardship policy is still in effect for remote work. This includes, but is not limited to, using campus resources (i.e. the Bookstore) as described in other sections of this policy.



Corporate credit cards are issued based on need. When an employee receives and agrees to the cardholder agreement and has supervisor approval they will receive a corporate credit card. That employee agrees to be bound by the terms of the use of that card as described at the time of issuance. 

Annual fees for College corporate credit cards will be paid by the College. Employees are personally liable for all charges on the card until proper and complete documentation is submitted and approved through Certify.

Business Services, with input from the employee’s supervisor, reserves the right to revoke credit cards from users for lack of use. This is done in order to create a cost savings for the college with credit card monitoring. Additionally, this helps limit potential fraudulent activity on the corporate credit cards.

For issues around misuse of credit cards, disciplinary action will be managed consistent with the information outlined in the “Accountability” section of this policy.

While electronic expense reporting must occur within 90 days of the charge being made, we recommend report submissions within 30 days. Failure to follow College policies related to credit card use (including timely expense reporting) may result in suspension of credit card privileges or further disciplinary action. Employees with expenses over 90 days old will have their credit card shut off. The time frame for submitting expenses may be shortened at the end of the fiscal year. The college uses a three-strike policy with credit card shut offs. In addition to having the credit card shut off, cardholders will have requirements that need to be met before the card will be reactivated. These are outlined further below:

  1. Strike One – After a credit card is shut off for the first time due to failure to submit expenses in a timely fashion (i.e. 90 days), the card will be deactivated until all expenses are submitted in Certify. Once all expenses are submitted, the card will remain deactivated for a period of 30 days, after which it will be reactivated.
  2. Strike Two – After a credit card is shut off for the second time due to failure to submit expenses in a timely fashion (i.e. 90 days), the card will be deactivated until all expenses are submitted in Certify. Once all expenses are submitted, the card will remain deactivated for a period of 45 days, after which it will be reactivated. Additionally, cardholders will be required to meet with a representative of Business Services, an approved Certify Champion, or the employee’s supervisor at least monthly. The meetings will be required for six months, and may continue as deemed necessary by Business Services, and/or the Certify Champion, and/or the employee’s supervisor. 
  3. Strike Three – After a credit card is shut off for the third time due to failure to submit expenses in a timely fashion (i.e. 90 days), the card will be permanently deactivated. The cardholder will be asked to submit their final expenses. If they fail to do so within a reasonable amount of time, Business Services will submit their final report. Business Services will charge appropriate funds for these expenses.

Chart depicting information about Hope’s credit card strikes policy, as explained in the above textAn employee who has had three strikes may be able to get a second opportunity at having a college credit card. This second opportunity will be referred to as probation. If probation is granted, the employee will start at “strike-two” status. That is, if they have their credit card deactivated again, they would permanently lose it. To qualify for probation, the following criteria must be met:

  • It has been at least one year since the employee’s original credit card was deactivated
  • They have approval from their supervisor
  • They have approval from both the AP Coordinator and the Controller (or their designees)
  • They have not previously been under probation (an employee is only allowed one second opportunity) 
  • The cardholder agrees to meet monthly with a representative of Business Services, an approved Certify Champion, or their supervisor with the intent of submitting their expenses on a monthly basis

If a cardholder has a deactivated card due to failure to turn in expenses in a timely fashion, they may still spend college resources. They can do this by submitting reimbursements via a payment request, sending invoices to Business Services for payment, requesting and reconciling a cash advance, and using a fund number at an internal Hope resource (i.e. the Bookstore).

College corporate credit cards are intended for business use only. College corporate credit cards may not be used for personal expenses. Should personal purchases be accidentally charged to your corporate card, full disclosure must be made of the personal charge and full payment for that charge must be deposited through Business Services no more than 30 days after the personal charge was incurred. The check to reimburse the personal charge should be made payable to “Hope College” and should be deposited to account 7699. 

If a cardholder has three personal purchases on their corporate credit card that are not paid back within 30 days from the date of the expense, their credit card will be revoked. There may be additional disciplinary action based on the severity of the offense. Please see the “Accountability” section of the policy.


Generally, cash advances should only be used when traveling to areas where credit cards are not widely accepted or when international currency is needed. An employee may have only one cash advance outstanding at any given time. Accounting for a cash advance requires proof of cash spent (usually a receipt) and return of any unspent cash. Failure to account for a prior advance will result in the denial of all subsequent cash advance requests and could result in further employment disciplinary action. All cash advances must be reconciled with Business Services within 30 days (or before fiscal year end closing) after the completion of the travel event.


A cash advance request should be submitted no less than two weeks prior to the departure date. A cash advance will typically be issued within ten working days prior to the date it is needed (in the form of a check or direct deposit).

A cash advance used to provide incentives to participants in a survey or study must include a list of all recipients (including a signature from each recipient). The list must be included in the expense report as documentation that the money was disbursed.


A cash advance request should be submitted no less than two weeks prior to the departure date (additional time is preferred). Currency will be issued prior to the planned departure.

The College will allow the cash advance feature to be used via the Hope credit card, when traveling internationally. The amount withdrawn and reason for withdrawal will be required to be documented as a cash advance (requiring proof of cash spent, usually a receipt). Unspent cash must be returned with the expense report.


Hope employees may use their personal credit card while conducting College business and submit College-related expenses via a Payment Request. The College will not cover the cost of any annual fees for personal credit cards, late payment fees, or overdraft fees. Employees may not allow rewards programs or category rewards to influence purchasing decisions.

A Payment Request must be submitted within 90 days of the expense or the funds will not be reimbursed. Sufficient documentation must support the request to comply with IRS requirements. The timeline for submitting expenses may be shortened at the end of the fiscal year.

Over and Above

Over and Above forms are the means of compensating College employees for their extraordinary services. Over and Aboves are processed by Human Resources. If you have any questions please contact Human Resources.

See “Over and Above” under Procedures for more information.



Travel shall be used to accomplish College business objectives in a cost-efficient manner while also considering the totality of the financial and non-financial costs associated with the trip (such as the value of the employee’s time).

Travelers must use prudent judgment for travel expenses. For example: 

  • Traveling coach or economy class. Travelers may travel in business or first class, but will be expected to cover the difference. Travelers requiring the use of first- or business-class airfare, when needed to support medical needs, will be permitted to do so based on supporting documentation and approval from their supervisor and/or HR.
  • Staying and eating in moderately priced establishments. 
  • The college will cover airport parking within reason. Travelers traveling for extended periods of time should consider alternative methods of traveling to the airport (such as Uber, Lyft, or a different car service). 

While traveling, only reasonable, business-related expenses will be covered. Reasonable expenses would not include:

  • Passports
  • TSA Pre-checks
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Clothing 
  • Dry cleaning/laundry
  • Personal entertainment items
  • Co-working spaces
  • Parking fines
  • Traffic tickets 
  • Valet parking (unless that is the only option available)
  • Snow removal/lawn care
  • Boarding of pets
  • Additional costs for pet friendly hotels/accommodations

The costs for vaccinations, mandated health tests/screenings (i.e. Covid screenings), and travel visas related to a specific business trip are allowable business expenses.

Information about personal meals while traveling for College business can be found under “Meals and Entertainment.”


If a spouse or other individual accompanies the employee, the charge to the College may only be the single room rate. Tips for hotel staff, while not mandatory, are covered by the College, within reasonable limits as determined by the services required and received. For tipping guidelines, please see the “Tipping” section under Travel.

The college permits the use of Airbnbs, Vrbo, hostels, or other alternative accommodations. However, federal sponsored program money may only be used at hotels, motels, or other alternative accommodations which are compliant with the Hotel and Motel Safety Act of 1990 of the United States. You may search for compliant properties at: https://apps.usfa.fema.gov/hotel/. Any travel restrictions on lodging may be a condition of the award. Travelers should review their award conditions to confirm no such restriction exists.


If a traveler chooses to stay with family, alumni, or friends of the College in lieu of staying in a hotel room, a gift of gratitude may be purchased for the host if the value of the gift is less than $50 multiplied by the number of nights stayed with the host (up to a maximum of $200). A meal with the host could be considered in lieu of the gift with the same suggested amounts. Federal sponsored program money may not be used for this purpose. Alcohol, or other related expenses, are not an allowable gift.


Travelers may choose to fly to the destination when flying is less expensive (when considering the totality of travel cost involved during the duration of the trip including the value of the employee’s time), than other forms of transportation. Travelers should select the least expensive airfare, i.e. economy class, that is available during reasonable travel times. First class, Business class, seat selection, and other additional seat-based charges are considered personal expenses, and the employee would be expected to cover the additional cost, unless approved by the employee’s supervisor and Human Resources. First class, Business class, seat selection, and other additional seat-based  charges will not be covered for friends of the college or students that are traveling on behalf of the college either.  

Travelers should not pay for additional travel insurance for airfare. The college’s travel insurance policies cover what these additional insurance policies cover. A traveler who pays for additional travel insurance related to airfare will be expected to cover the cost. 

If a traveler is flying and is using money from a federal sponsored program they must use a US-flag carrier, even if it is not the least expensive, except in extenuating circumstances. This is in accordance with the Fly America Act. If you have questions about the Fly America Act, please contact the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs.

While travelers may always choose to check a bag, they are encouraged to use prudent judgment as to the necessity of checking a bag. Additional bag charges, such as charges for a second bag or an overweight bag, are the employee’s responsibility, unless it is directly related to college business travel.


If you choose to tip, industry standards suggest the following: 

  • $1–2 per bag for bellhops
  • $1–2 for concierge helping arrange cab/ground transportation
  • $2–5 for valet service
  • $2–3/night for housekeeping
  • 15–20% for meals
  • 15–20% for taxi, Uber, Lyft, or other car services

Transportation Services

Charter buses, taxis, ride sharing services (such as Lyft or Uber), limousines, and airport shuttles are permitted expenditures within reason. Hope College’s transportation services must receive first priority.


Travelers may rent a car at their destination when it is less expensive (when considering the totality of travel expenses involved during the duration of the trip including the value of the employee’s time). Travelers must select economy or compact model rental cars when available. 

The College does not pay for Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), or any other additional insurance charges. These insurance coverages are provided by the College through its vehicle insurance policy and/or the College’s corporate credit card. Accidents or damage incurred with the rental vehicle (with or without personal injury) must be promptly reported to Campus Safety and Business Services.


Employees may retain frequent flyer, hotel frequent guest, or rental car club program benefits. However, participation in these programs must not influence selection that would result in additional cost to the College beyond the lowest available fare. Membership fees associated with these programs are considered personal expenses and are not covered.

An employee may opt to receive an airline voucher for bumping to a later flight if doing so will not impact work expectations. Employees cannot be paid for the time and no additional meals or hotel charges can be charged to the college. The college encourages the use of such vouchers for professional development or other college business.


When traveling from campus, it is recommended to use vehicles available through the Hope College Transportation Services. 

Travelers may use their personal vehicle for business purposes if the cost to the College of using one’s personal vehicle is less than the cost of other forms of transportation (or the College will cover up to the cost of a comparable flight). 

Employees and students will be reimbursed at the current college established rate. This rate will be reviewed at least annually by the CFO, Director of Finance and Business Services, and the Controller. 

  • Fuel and other costs of using a personal vehicle are included in the mileage rate and therefore will not separately be covered by the College. 
  • Distance is calculated based on the IRS regulations for deductible expenses. Please see “Mileage” for more information.
  • Toll and parking expenses incurred during the trip will be covered and are not included in any reimbursable mileage rate.
  • The minimum amount that may be reimbursed for mileage is 10 miles. Trips for less than 10 miles should be accumulated and submitted once 10 miles is exceeded
  • Repairs to personal vehicles, even if maintenance became necessary as part of business travel, will not be covered by the College. 

Friends of the college and vendors can also be reimbursed for mileage when traveling on behalf of the college. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the mileage rate will be the current college established rate.

The College does not provide insurance on personal vehicles when used for College business. It is the personal responsibility of the vehicle owner to carry adequate insurance coverage. It is recommended that the Combined Single Liability limit be $300,000. Insurance deductibles, traffic fines or fees are the responsibility of the employee/auto owner and are not allowable costs to be charged to the College.

The College is not responsible for any damage incurred to the employee’s vehicle or other personal transportation accessories, such as, but not limited to, trailers, campers, and bike racks when used for College business. 

Insurance deductibles, traffic fines or fees are the responsibility of the employee/auto owner and are not allowable costs to be charged to the College.


Business miles driven for college business using a personal vehicle are allowable expenses and will be reimbursed at the current college rate. Business miles are any miles that are not the employee’s commute to campus. To clarify, miles driven from the employee’s home address to Hope College, and from Hope College back home are not reimbursable. However, if the employee drove to Hope, then drove to an off-site location for work, the miles between Hope and the off-site location would be reimbursable.

Miles driven from an employee’s home address directly to an off-site location, and vice versa, for the purpose of work are reimbursable, minus the standard commute. The college considers ten miles as the standard commute. For example, if an employee drove directly from their home to the airport to leave for a conference, the mileage from their home to the airport would be reimbursable, minus ten miles. 

Supporting documentation for actual miles driven, such as a Google Maps printout, should be included with any mileage reimbursement request. The minimum amount that may be reimbursed for mileage is 10 miles. Trips for less than 10 miles should be accumulated and submitted once 10 miles is exceeded.

A chart conveying Hope College’s mileage reimbursement policy as described in the paragraphs above


Expenses for additional travel or luggage insurance coverage purchased by employees, students, or friends of the college will not be covered by the College. The College provides sufficient travel insurance for each employee, student, or friend of the college traveling on behalf of Hope College. The cost of additional coverage is the personal responsibility of the employee, student, or friend of the college.


The College will cover the costs of international phone plans for the period when the phone plan is needed to conduct College business (this should be built into the off-campus course fee, if applicable). The College will cover the cost of wifi in a hotel or on an airplane when wifi is needed to conduct College business. Wifi will not be covered if solely used for entertainment purposes.


The College will not cover travel and other business expenses incurred by a spouse or other individuals accompanying an employee on business unless the spouse or other individual is representing the College in an official capacity and has prior approval to travel on behalf of the College by the appropriate Vice President. College credit cards may only be used for expenses incurred by the employee.

Any marginal costs associated with the guest's travel will not be covered by the college.

Personal travel that lengthens the trip will not be covered by the college. The college will cover the cost of meals while traveling up to the same number of meals that would have been covered if the employee was traveling only for the purpose of business.  College-provided collision insurance on rented vehicles is only applicable when using the vehicle for business purposes.

Intercultural Travel Expenses

Intercultural travel refers to any off-campus travel programs for students. This includes, but is not limited to Summer Terms and Immersion trips. 

Please refer to the Risk and Responsibility’s policy regarding these expenses. Unless an exception is noted in their policy, the Expense and Resource Stewardship policy applies to all intercultural travel expenses.



The College will cover an employee’s actual documented meal expenses (with detailed receipts) up to the maximum daily meal allowance. The College considers $65 per day plus 15–20% gratuity to be a maximum (in most instances) for personal meals. Any additional charges for delivery or “to-go” meals are included in the $65 per day limit. While the allocation of these funds is at the discretion of the employee, the funds could be allocated as follows: $10.00 for breakfast, $20.00 for lunch, and $30.00 for dinner, plus $5 towards snacks/beverages purchased throughout the day.

Meal per diems will only be allowed in some instances, but generally allowed when employees are traveling for fourteen or more consecutive days. Per diems may be allowed for travel less than fourteen days, with pre-approval from the Controller. A meal per diem would mean the employee would receive a set amount of money per day they are traveling as reimbursement for their meals. There is no requirement to turn in receipts if a meal per diem is received. The amount per day given for a per diem is at the discretion of Business Services, but will generally be $65 per day. Meal per diems should be built into the off-campus course fee, if applicable. Contact Business Services for questions regarding meal per diems.

A chart displaying the information about meal expenses as explained in the paragraphs abovePersonal meal expenses in excess of the above amounts must have additional disclosure as to “why” the employee could not stay within these guidelines, or they will not be covered. Meal expenses are not permitted when a meal is otherwise provided by the hotel, a conference, or is paid for by a friend of the College. The College will not pay for alcohol purchased for personal consumption (see “Personal Consumption of Alcohol” for more information).

BUSINESS MEALS with Friends of the College

Business meals taken with friends of the college, during which a specific business discussion takes place, are allowable expenses. The College expects the employee to use reasonable discretion when incurring business meal expenses. For a clear understanding of “reasonable discretion,” it is recommended that you consult Business Services.

When entertaining a donor, guest speaker, candidate, or other non-Hope networking opportunity off campus for a meal, to maximize the benefit of conversation for those who will be dining with the friend of the college, the College will pay for up to five employees or students to accompany that friend of the college. In situations when it feels appropriate/necessary to involve more than five employees or students, it would be appropriate to move the meal on campus (through dining halls or catering) in order to include more people. Exceptions may be granted by the applicable dean or vice president.


The College will not pay for meals, snacks, coffee, refreshments, or other food/drink items taken only with other employees except in the following circumstances:

  • When participating in the official faculty mentoring program through Initium. 
  • When participating in a formal departmental mentoring program, occasional one on one meetings will be covered. These expenses must be pre-approved by the department head (or their supervisor, if the department head is the one participating in the mentoring program)
  • One “Welcome” meal for new employees. However only the new employee and their immediate supervisor’s meals will be paid for by the college. The college encourages using the college’s dining services for larger “welcome” meals, however anyone in attendance of the meal beyond the immediate supervisor and new employee would need to pay for their own meal
  • Other Department business meals with the purpose of work, such as a retreat, are allowable expenses. These should be limited to twice a year 
  • In-office snacks (i.e., candies or mints), coffee, and water, will be paid for by the college when kept to a de minimis amount and should generally be accessible to visitors of the department. Other “pantry” items, for example paper plates, cups, utensils, and other excessive snacks will not be permitted, especially when those items are reserved for employees only.

Meals of this nature must be limited to $30 per person attending. The $30 limit does not include tax or tip.

Food at department meetings is not an allowable expense. Additionally, a meal, coffee, etc. is not an allowable expense for a performance review. 

Meals while traveling are addressed in “Personal Meals while Traveling for College Business.” Personal meals while not traveling are not allowable expenses.

Celebratory meals are addressed in “Celebratory Occasions.”


College funds should be used to tip within the range of 15–20% (with a minimum of $2 at a restaurant) of the bill when appropriate. Tips above or below this amount should be submitted with additional explanation.


Costs for personal occasions, such as but not limited to employee birthdays, baby showers, and wedding showers are not classified as business expenses and will not be covered.


Department operating budgets may be used to pay for celebratory gatherings or gifts for holidays recognized by the college (i.e. Christmas) and occasional recognition meals for exemplary accomplishments. For example, a retirement celebration or for celebrating a promotion would be permitted situations. These gatherings must be limited in occurrence, and up to $30 per person attending the gathering. The $30 limit does not include tax and tip.

Specifically for retirement (as defined by Human Resources), a gift for the retired Hope employee may be purchased in addition to taking the department out for a meal to celebrate the employee’s career. The gift can be valued up to $100, not including tax or any tips (if applicable). However, the gift cannot be a gift card (see “Gift Card Expenses” for more information).  

Instead of a celebratory gathering, departments can choose to purchase a gift in recognition of the celebratory occasion. Gifts must be limited to $30 per person receiving the gift. 

The college will only cover expenses for Hope employees for these gatherings unless pre-approved by Business Services.

Meals, gifts, etc. for celebrations of personal life events, such as but not limited to birthdays and baby/wedding showers, regardless of the funding source, are not allowable business expenses.


Meals, coffee, refreshments, purchased for students using Hope resources are allowable within reason.


Hope College will not cover the purchase of alcohol for personal consumption while dining alone or only with other employees, regardless of the nature of the gathering. Hope College will also not cover the expenses related to alcohol, such as, but not limited to, glasses or bartender/server service. Alcohol may not be purchased/reimbursed with federal sponsored program funding. Employees who have access to endowed discretionary funding who wish to make purchases of alcohol outside of the guidelines of this policy must take the discretionary money as compensation first (which will be taxed accordingly).


Alcohol, and related expenses, will be covered for legitimate business purposes that involve a client of the College. All alcohol and related expenses must be approved by the employee’s divisional Vice President (or the President, if a Vice President is the one making the purchase). Whenever possible, approval should be obtained prior to the event/purchase. 

When alcohol is purchased for donor cultivation, approval from both the Vice President of Philanthropy and Engagement, and the employee’s divisional Vice President (or the President, if a Vice President is the one making the purchase) are required. Whenever possible, alcohol expenses should have approval prior to the event from the Vice President of Philanthropy and Engagement and the employee’s divisional Vice President (or the President, if a Vice President is the one making the purchase). 

Alcohol will not be covered at a meal with a candidate for a position at the college. 

Alcohol consumed with a meal (including before or after the meal), while entertaining guests or clients of the College, is covered up to a maximum of two drinks per person. Moderation with respect to the cost of alcohol is the guiding principle in determining what is reasonable and covered and we encourage reasonable judgment about who should be participating in the event/meal. Federal sponsored program money cannot be used to pay for alcohol.

The President, with approval from the Operations Committee, has the authority to host events where alcohol will be paid for by the college. This will only be done for special occasions. 

If it is determined that the expense is not allowable, the employee will be responsible for covering the cost.

For events hosted by certain areas of the College (for example, Alumni and Family Engagement), where more than 10 individuals are in attendance and the primary audience is non-students, alcohol may be purchased by the College when it is a pass-through cost (meaning the money is collected by the office and passed through Hope College) by an event registration fee or another source is funding the purchase.


The Haworth Hotel is the only on-campus location where alcohol is sold. Alcohol expenses will be covered at the Haworth Hotel in the same manner that alcohol expenses off campus would be covered (i.e. for a donor cultivation event). Charging alcohol to a department requires approval from the employee’s divisional Vice President (or the President when a Vice President is making the purchase). Approval from the Vice President of Philanthropy and Engagement will be required as well for donor cultivation events. Approval from the Vice President(s) (and the President, when applicable) must be received prior to hosting an event at the Haworth Hotel. 

Alcohol will not be permitted at events at the Haworth Hotel where the primary focus of an event is current students. However, alcohol may be sold to current students of legal age at events at the Haworth Hotel if the primary focus of an event is not for students (i.e. a donor cultivation event). The department hosting the event should be mindful of the students in attendance. Please refer to the student handbook and Events and Conferences’ policies for more information.

If a non-federal sponsored program has received an exception to the alcohol restrictions in the Expense and Resource Stewardship policy, the exception also applies to alcohol purchases for events at the Haworth Hotel. Federal sponsored programs may not be used to purchase alcohol, regardless of the location.


Purchases of tobacco (except as a cultural peace offering on a reservation) or vaping products will not be permitted.


Guest speakers who visit the College infrequently may receive taxable honorarium compensation via a payment request. If the individual receives more than $600 of honoraria payments in one calendar year, the College will issue that individual a 1099 form.

A form W-9 will need to be provided to Business Services for honorarium payments. If the individual does not have a TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number), SSN (Social Security Number), ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), ATIN (Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number), or EIN (Employer Identification Number), please contact the Business Services office prior to arranging the service. Questions related to the way in which an individual should be compensated may be directed to the Business Services.

Individuals who are employees of the College should be compensated through payroll or via an Over and Above form through the Human Resources Department, and should not receive an honorarium. For more information about Over and Above forms, please see “Over and Above” under “Procedures”.


All full-time faculty will have a professional development fund. Guidelines related to these funds can be found here. All other employees, such as staff or part-time faculty, can participate in professional development opportunities. They should speak to a budget manager/supervisor for funding.

GIFT CARD Expenses

When submitting documentation for gift card expenses the recipient’s name must be included. Confirmation from the recipient stating they received the gift card should also be included with the supporting documentation. This could include a signature from the recipient or an email. 

If a gift card is awarded electronically (i.e. Amazon), then the receipt should include the email that the gift card was sent to. This is sufficient evidence that the gift card has been received by the recipient, even if it does not include the name of the recipient. 

Gift cards must be under $100 in value. Gift cards in excess of $100 are allowable if it is a pass-through cost (meaning the money is collected by the office, billed to an external vendor, and passed through Hope College).

Vouchers for a specific item of nominal value (under $100) may be gifted. 

Further guidance in regards to the specific person receiving a gift card are detailed below.


Gift cards (or other “financial equivalents”) may not be purchased for distribution to any student unless the gift card is awarded as part of a random drawing and the amount is $100 or less because there are implications to a student’s financial aid. 

Students may receive a gift card as part of an Honors Convocation or Academic award. However, these awards are considered financial aid to the student. The Provost’s office and Financial Aid must be made aware of the award amount and the student’s name. Additionally, the student should be notified of the potential impact to their financial aid.


Gift cards for employees are unallowable when using college resources because they are considered undocumented compensation, which is prohibited by the IRS guidelines. The exception to this is if the gift card is awarded as part of a random drawing and the amount is $100 or less. Over and Above forms are the proper means of compensating College employees for their extraordinary services.

Friend of the College

Gift cards $100 and under purchased for a friend of the college are permitted in response to a service provided, if there is no other form of compensation. For example, a gift card to a guest speaker would be permitted. 

College funds cannot be used to make financial gifts directly to individuals, families, or to GoFundMe sites (or other similar donation sites).

Gift Expenses

Gifts may be given from the college to students and friends of the college if the value is under $100. However, students cannot receive required course materials such as, but not limited to, textbooks or calculators. Departments may purchase these items to loan out to students as part of a department "library". Additionally, paying for students’ graduate school application fees, interview travel, academic fraternities, membership dues, or other similar fees are not allowable with college resources because it is considered financial aid to the student.

A gift may be given to an employee from the college, in lieu of an Over and Above, for volunteer work they performed beyond their normal job responsibilities. In order to stay within IRS regulations, the value of the gift must be under $30. Over and Above forms are the means of compensating College employees for their extraordinary services. See “Over and Above” under Procedures for more information. 

When submitting documentation for gift expenses the recipient’s name must be included. Confirmation from the recipient stating they received the gift should also be included with the supporting documentation. This could include a signature from the recipient or an email. 

Alcohol, or other related expenses, are not allowable as a gift.

Donations to Outside Nonprofits

Donations to other nonprofits (i.e. 501(c)3s) are permitted, however the expense must come from a discretionary fund (not an operating, sponsored program, professional development, or other non-discretionary fund). If a donation exceeds $100, Business Services must approve the donation prior to it being made. Approval is not required for pass-through fundraisers (i.e. Dance Marathon). Donations stemming from an employee forgoing a service award are also allowable and do not need Business Services approval.


Incentives that prompt employees to complete Frost Center surveys, submit expense reports, etc. are allowable expenses. Incentives must be pre-approved by Business Services. Please email businessservices@hope.edu to seek approval.


In the event of a death of a Hope employee, the spouse of an employee, or a dependent (18 years of age or younger) of a Hope employee, Human Resources purchases a floral arrangement (or makes a charitable donation if the family requests no flowers) on behalf of the college. 

Departments may purchase flowers or gifts (under $100) using operational funds to recognize the death of an employee or someone significant to an employee, hospitalization of an employee, or the birth/adoption of a child of an employee. Gifts to anyone outside of these parameters may also be permitted with prior discussion with Business Services. Gift cards are not considered acceptable purchases in these events. If the family has requested a gift to a bona fide charitable organization in lieu of flowers, discretionary (not operational) funds may be used for this purpose.



Fund managers may create more stringent policies for using resources within a fund but may not allow for less restrictive use of college resources than this policy outlines.

Fund managers must approve all expenses related to their fund, no matter the form of payment (Payment Request, Hope Visa, or Cash Advance). If the fund manager is the one making the purchase, the secondary fund manager should approve the expense.

The president’s expense report will be approved by the acting chairperson (or designated member) of the Board of Trustees.

Approvers bear responsibility for the expenses which they approve. Both financial and disciplinary actions can occur for both the purchaser and the approver in cases where a pattern of negligence by the approver is found in approval of inappropriate expenses.

Business Services has fiscal responsibility for spending at the college. If there is a disagreement between Business Services and an employee/department/supervisor, the CFO (or designee) has final decision making authority.


Expenses split between multiple budgets will be approved by each of the fund managers.


Certain individuals may choose to use a proxy for approval purposes, however, the fund manager still bears the responsibility of the approved expenses. 

A proxy approver may not approve their own expenses. 

A proxy approval may not be used in instances where alcohol is purchased.


Avoid conflicts of interest, whether by fact or appearance, while approving expense reports. For example, an expense report should not be approved by the individual themselves, their spouse, sibling, or child. If the approver has a personal relationship with the user that could be perceived as a conflict of interest, the approver should request that his or her supervisor approve the expense.

Individuals should not act as the approver on a meal or entertainment expense they attended. In other words, the administratively highest ranking individual in attendance should pay for the meal. This ensures that the expense is approved by someone who did not attend the meal.



All purchases made on behalf of the College must be appropriately documented. This method of documentation must occur for all forms of payment (invoice, Payment Request, Hope Visa card, or Cash Advance). Documentation must report the following information:

  • “Who” — For whom was this expense incurred? If this was a meal, who attended the meal?
  • “What” — What items were purchased?
  • “Where” — At what location did the expense occur? What restaurant? What store? What city?
  • “When” — What date was this expense incurred? Does this purchase relate to an event that already occurred or will occur?
  • “Why” — What was the business purpose of this expense? How can we support that this was not a personal expenditure?
  • Five-digit fund (who/what department is paying for the expense) and four-digit account number (more general, what is the purchase? Account number listing found here.)
  • Itemized Receipt (if the charge is over $35). Business Services reserves the right to request receipts for purchases under $35.

The required documentation can come from the receipt, a written explanation, or a combination of the two sources. Original, itemized receipts are the preferred source of this information.

Documentation for all purchases must be returned to Business Services within 90 days of the date of the charge. The timeline for submitting expenses may be shortened at the end of the fiscal year. After this time frame, Business Services will be required to either not reimburse the expense or will report the expense as taxable income on the individual's W-2.

Documentation for all credit card charges should be submitted to Certify and attached to the appropriate expense on an expense report within the software. For guidance on using Certify please see “Using Certify”. You may also contact the Accounts Payable Coordinator for additional guidance.

Sponsored Program Guidance

The Office of Sponsored Research and Programs [OSRP] should be contacted when preparing sponsored program proposals and for general budget guidance. The Director’s responsibilities are primarily “pre-award,” and maintaining the ongoing relationship with the sponsor after the award, including compliance with all terms and conditions of the original award.

For “post-award” financial questions or guidance related to sponsored program accounting, please contact the Controller. Please see “Reviewing Budgets” in this policy for more guidance.

All costs related to sponsored programs must follow Hope College’s Expense and Resource Stewardship Policy as well as the guidelines, regulations, and policies issued by the awarding agency. In a situation with inconsistent policies between the college and the awarding agency, the most restrictive policy will apply. Any approved exceptions to the Expense and Resource Stewardship policy due to a sponsored program's terms only apply to that specific sponsored program. All costs must be reasonable, allocable, and allowable per the sponsored program’s budget and the awarding agency’s policies.

If a charge is later determined to be unreasonable, not allocable, or unallowable, an inter/intra departmental transfer form should be submitted to the Controller. Unallowable expenses must be moved from the sponsored program into a non-sponsored program fund, such as an operating fund. Please see the Inter/Intra Departmental Charge Form section of this policy for more guidance. Business Services may also require the purchaser to reimburse the college, and thus the sponsored program, for the purchase if the expense is deemed unallowable under the Expense and Resource Stewardship Policy.

The Controller will review all sponsored program cash balances and request reimbursement at least on a quarterly basis or as needed. If a sponsored program fund has more expenses than possible revenues, the Controller will address this concern with the Principal Investigator [PI] of the sponsored program with input from the OSRP and the PI’s supervisor, as needed. Sponsored program overruns will be the department or division’s responsibility. 

When an additional level of approval or certification is required for reimbursement requests, as is the case with National Science Foundation requests, the Director of Finance and Business Services (or designee) will approve/certify requests made by the Controller.

The PI has primary responsibility to approve expenses charged to their sponsored program and will be the primary fund manager.  The PI’s immediate supervisor will approve the PI’s expenses related to the sponsored program, and will be the secondary fund manager.

Sponsored program files should be maintained for three years after the Final Financial Report is submitted to the awarding agency. Business Services and OSRP have primary responsibility to maintain these files, but PIs should maintain their files as well.


Employees seeking to make purchases above the outlined thresholds (which can be found in “Procurement Thresholds” under “Policy”) must complete a Request for Information (RFI). This document can then be distributed to the vendors. Significant contracts can only be signed by an authorized signatory (President, CFO, Director of Finance and Business Services) of the College. For recurring items, the college recommends completing an RFI process every several years.

For assistance with completing an RFI, please contact the Controller.


Contracts can be dropped off to the Joint Archives or sent via the campus mail. If you have questions please contact the Office of the Joint Archives of Holland (archives@hope.edu).



An employee may request a Hope credit card (with approval from their supervisor) at any time during their employment at Hope. All requests should be sent to businessservices@hope.edu and should include the employee’s name, department, and immediate supervisor. The supervisor will need to approve the credit card. On rare occasions, Business Services may approve the issuance of a credit card to expedite the process.

Credit cards take approximately two weeks to arrive. When Business Services receives the credit card, the employee will be contacted to pick it up and sign the Credit Card Usage Agreement.

Once an employee receives a college credit card, they must contact Business Services to receive training on Certify, the college’s expense reporting software.

For policy information around corporate credit cards, please see “Corporate Credit Card” in the “Policy” section of this policy.


The Hope credit card may be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted (domestic or international). You may be required to use a four-digit pin. The address associated with the card may be required for online purchases. The address is as follows:

100 E. 8th Street, Suite 280
Holland, MI 49423


Every expense charged on a Hope credit card will be automatically assigned to the cardholder’s Certify account. It is the cardholder’s responsibility to document each charge and submit for approval.

Instructions on how to use Certify can be found in the Certify User Manual. Additional questions about using Certify should be directed to the Accounts Payable Coordinator and/or to Certify’s support team. Certify’s support team can be reached at (888) 925-0510, option 2.


Typically, weekly the Accounts Payable Coordinator will send reminder emails to cardholders with expenses that have not yet been submitted to a fund manager. Below are the examples of reminders you may receive:

  • 30 Days - a friendly reminder from Certify.com.

  • 60 Days - a reminder from Business Services to submit your expenses. But there is no penalty if your expenses are turned in.

  • 80 Days - your supervisor will be CC'd on the email. This email will outline when you will exceed 90 days. If your expenses exceed 90 days your credit card will be deactivated. 

  • 90 Days - This is a notification that your credit card has been deactivated. Your supervisor will be CC'd on this email. Please see “Corporate Credit Card” under “Policy” for more information.


If fraudulent charges are noticed by a cardholder, the cardholder should call the number on the back of their Hope Visa card and identify any fraudulent activity. Next, a Credit Card Dispute Form should be filled out immediately. Once the form is completed, the form should be emailed to a Hope College program administrator (Accounts Receivable Coordinator or Controller). Fraudulent charges should be expensed to the individual’s most commonly used fund number and to account 7777. If PNC/Visa resolves the dispute and a credit is issued, it should be credited to the same fund and account number, resulting in a net zero impact.


Because the IRS and Department of Education outline strict rules surrounding gift cards, the college suggests the following options for acknowledging an individual when using college resources. See "Gift Card Expenses" and “Gift Expenses” sections for the related policies. Additional suggestions for acknowledging an individual are below.

A chart outlining gift options for various people in the Hope College community


If an employee uses personal funds to pay for a business expense, the employee may complete a Payment Request form. Appropriate documentation (as included in the “Documentation” section above) must be included with these types of requests.

Similarly, a Payment Request can be used to pay an outside individual or vendor, if necessary. A W-9 form will be required anytime the College pays an independent contractor for services performed.

Most weeks, Payment Request forms turned in to Business Services by Tuesday at noon will be paid the same week on Friday.

For more information regarding policies around payment requests, please see “Personal Payment and Payment Requests” under the “Policy” part of the policy.

Over and Above

Over and Aboves may be given to employees for work beyond their normal job responsibilities they have performed. Over and Aboves are processed through Human Resources and will be added to the employee’s normal paycheck. Payroll taxes and other benefits will be added to the Over and Above. Over and Aboves must be approved by the payee’s direct supervisor, their divisional Vice President, the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs (for faculty), and the Controller (or designee). 


Individuals who wish to take cash while traveling (domestically or internationally) should fill out a Payment Request at least two weeks prior to their departure. Within 30 days of return, an Advance Reconciliation Report should be turned in. If the cash advance is used to pass out funds to survey or study participants or as a meal allowance, a listing of signatures of the receipts must be provided with the reconciliation.


Invoices may be submitted to Business Services for payment. If this is the first instance of Hope College paying this vendor, please provide a completed form W-9 to Business Services with the invoice. The College will pay the invoices in the last check run prior to the due date, when applicable. Invoices must abide by the documentation requirements (see “Documentation”).


When an outside party owes the College money, Business Services will create the invoice. Invoicing outside of Business Services is not permitted. Email businessservices@hope.edu and indicate the fund and account that the money should be deposited to, the reason for the invoice, and the amount. Your fund will receive the credit immediately. Business Services will handle collection activities.

Student Account Charges

Business Services must be contacted in order to add charges to a student’s account (which they will later be invoiced for). Email businessservices@hope.edu and indicate the fund and account that the money should be deposited to, the reason for the charge, and the amount. Your fund will receive the credit immediately. Business Services will handle collection activities. 


Amounts can be moved between funds and account numbers within a fund via an Inter/Intra Departmental Charge Form. The form must be completed using fund and account numbers for each party. This form would be used for any fund type.

Fund viewers should be the ones initiating inter/intra departmental charge forms. Fund viewers should submit these forms to the fund manager(s) for approval. Once approved, the completed form should be sent to Business Services. The Controller reviews the completed forms and provides administrative approval. The forms are then processed by the Accountant (or designee). 

The form should be completed within 90 days of the original charge. Additional explanation must be provided if correcting an item that is older than 90 days. Business Service may deny the transfer if it exceeds 90 days.

Donations from one department to another may not be charged to an operating fund (18XXX or 37XXX). However, donations made from a named discretionary fund will be permitted.

Submitting Expenses for Approval

The purchaser should initiate the process of submitting expenses for approval, unless Business Services has granted approval for use of a proxy. Please see the “Documentation” section for more detail on what needs to be included when expenses are submitted.



The primary approver should approve all charges made to the funds they oversee. The secondary approver should approve all charges made to funds by the primary approver.


Approvers should review expenditures and ensure they are in compliance with the Expense and Resource Stewardship policy, along with other applicable policies (i.e. federal cost-principles for federal sponsored programs). Approvers should consider the following items prior to approving an expense.

Approval Workflow



Monthly budget reports will be sent out at the beginning of November through May. A year-end budget report will be sent out shortly after the audit fieldwork is completed. One report will be sent near the beginning of October for the first quarter of the fiscal year (July, August, and September).


Access to fund balance and activity for all funds is available on plus.hope.edu and is available at any time. Business Services has created Instructions for Using plus.hope.edu for all budgets. Additionally, a fund manager could contact Business Services for additional budget support or reports. The same individuals who receive monthly budget reports will have access to plus.hope.edu budget information.


Fund managers should review these reports for discrepancies and report any concerns to Business Services as soon as possible. Waiting until the end of the fiscal year is not advisable.


The primary and secondary approver should receive monthly budget reports, as well as any individuals who oversee the area. Additional individuals may be included on the monthly budget reports, if requested. Please contact Business Services if you would like to update the names of the individuals receiving the monthly budget reports.