Chicago Organizations Finance Office (COFO)

The Chicago Organizations Finance Office (COFO) provides financial services for University-recognized student organizations. Through COFO, student organizations may open and maintain fiduciary accounts, produce checks, and make charges or receive deposits through NUFinancials.

University-recognized student organizations enjoy several "umbrella" benefits such as tax-exempt status, certain insurance and legal services, sponsorship, etc.  However, for an organization to enjoy these benefits, all funds must be deposited in a COFO account. Student organizations are prohibited from having any additional savings or checking accounts.

COFO has compiled a handbook of policies and procedures. These guidelines are designed to comply with University regulations. COFO users must read document and abide by the policies and procedures contained within a handbook:

COFO Manuals and Handbook

COFO cannot reimburse for the following:

  • Alcohol, or, alcohol related purchases
  • Tobacco
  • Illinois sales tax
  • Out of pockets payments for goods and services acquired pursuant to contract
  • Personal store credit, airline miles and airline ticket exchange credit

Important Notes About Payments:

  • If payments to an individual (honoraria, Non-Employee Compensation or otherwise including, for example, speaker fees, coaching, refereeing, copy editing, web page design, parking valet, musical performances, and disc jockeying) total $600 or more in any calendar year, the IRS requires the University to issue a 1099 tax form to the individual. To issue the 1099 tax form, the University needs the information collected when requesting a Vendor ID.
  • Because it may be difficult for department to know if an individual has received payments from other areas of the University to track if the cumulative payments have reached $600. it is recommended to collect and submit all necessary information for the Vendor ID. Account Payable will distribute a 1099 tax form, as required.
  • http://www.northwestern.edu/financial-operations/policies-procedures/purchasing/purchasingpaymentother.html#Honoraria

COFO forms (referred to in the handbook):

Each group president and treasurer must individually complete COFO Training and the COFO Quiz Sign-Up (pdf). The signature cards and the quiz can be completed in COFO office. Both documents must be completed before officers are authorized to use their COFO account.

Student Organization Officers:

The COFO office will be open the following days or by appointment:

Monday, Tuesday, and Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
(Closed for Lunch 11:30 am - 12:30 pm)

Checks, vouchers and reimbursements can be mailed to the address below, dropped off at the COFO office or at the COFO mailbox.  

When dropping off check requests, please staple back-up documentation behind the white copy of the voucher and include a self addressed envelope so we can mail the check.  Then, just put a note on the envelope indicating it is for COFO, 7th floor.  You may also drop off checks for deposit (remember to indicate your group's name and account number, as well as the total amount of deposit).  For instructions regarding cash deposits,  email or phone the COFO office.

If you have any questions regarding COFO policies and procedures, or need assistance relating to your organization’s account, please contact the COFO office.

Chicago Organizations Finance Office

  • Address: 710 N. Lake Shore Drive, Abbott Hall, 7th floor, Chicago, Illinois, 60611
  • Email: cofo@northwestern.edu
  • Phone: (312) 503-1365
  • Fax: (312) 503-1950

(Mailbox located in the 7th floor hallway)