Skip to main content


Entertainment costs are reimbursable using non-sponsored sources of funds per discretion of Deans and Vice Presidents and when deemed to support University objectives. Refer to Northwestern's Travel and Entertainment policy (pdf format) for more details.

The following events are subject to these Northwestern spending limit guidelines.

  • University Funded Events
    • Two total faculty and staff appreciation events.
    • Social entertainment that is essential for fulfillment of leadership duties. These events may occur in personal residences, in University space or outside the University.
    • Certain departmental, social and life events, annual retreats, etc.
      • Lunch or modest refreshments at school-wide or department meetings are allowable at either monthly or quarterly intervals as appropriate, budget permitting.
    • Many University events are exempt from taxes even though individual reimbursements may not be.
  • In-Town Meals with Visitors and Employees
    • In-town meal reimbursement is occasionally allowable if there is a legitimate business purpose involving non-University personnel. The inclusion of University employees should be moderated as much as possible. The reimbursement request must note the business purpose and the list of attendees. All efforts should be made to provide reasonable meal arrangements.
      • Dinners hosted by faculty or staff members for University guests.
      • Special circumstances of recruiting or fundraising for Vice Presidents, Deans, and Department Chairs.
      • The reimbursement guideline amounts are inclusive of taxes, gratuities, meals, staff benefit and other surcharges, and credit card processing fees.
  • Refreshments
    • Alcoholic beverage costs are prohibited on all sponsored projects.
    • No alcohol may be served to individuals under the age of 21 per Illinois state law. Guidelines for the service of alcohol at University events are to be followed for events that include alcohol, and can be found on the Dining Discounts web page.