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Entertainment Resources and Guidelines

Before you purchase business-related refreshments, familiarize yourself with UC and campus policies, procedures, and tools. Information is available on Blink and key resources and tools are highlighted below.

Meeting/Entertainment Event Planning

Business Purpose

  • A key component of a successful T&E report is a strong, detailed and valid business purpose
  • The business purpose should explain the reason for the meeting/event – "why" (not "what")
  • The general discussion topic(s) or specific purpose for a meeting must be documented
  • When possible, attach meeting agendas or event invitations to support the business purpose


Meetings typically include UCSD faculty, staff and/or students only and are held on campus
  • A meeting held off campus is considered entertainment (hosted event)
  • A meeting must have an agenda as the business purpose
  • To be eligible for reimbursement, any food/beverage must be a necessary and integral part of the meeting and serve one of the following purposes:
    • Administrative, planning, workgroups
    • Planning, mentoring, workgroups (faculty, staff, and students)
    • Formal training sessions, conferences (not on travel status)
    • Professional association, scholarly society, external organization
    • UC-wide meetings, Academic Senate, Regents
  • Frequency is limited to one meal or two light refreshments per month, per group

Programmatic Activities

Programmatic activities support educational and community programs
  • Examples of programmatic activities include:
    • A class, study hall, or other academic-based activity
    • An opening reception for an exhibition
    • A department open house
    • A social gathering for graduate students
    • A student government, student association, or other student meeting

Standard Entertainment

Standard entertainment events are directly related to university business with no personal benefit

  • The designated event host must be in attendance at the event
  • Examples of standard entertainment include:
    • Hosting official guests, including:
      • Visitors from other universities
      • Members of the community
      • Employees visiting from another work location
    • Recruitment, where expenses are either:
      • Funded from a source designated for graduate students or professional recruitment
      • Related to recruitment for positions requiring specialized training or specialized professional, technical, or administrative experience
    • Hosting prospective donors to generate goodwill
  • Events where expenses exceed the per-person maximum are considered special entertainment

Special Entertainment

The following circumstances are considered special entertainment:

  • Cost exceeds the pre-person maximum (written justification required; this should be rare)
  • Participants include a spouse, partner, or family member (only allowable with a bona fide business purpose for attending the event)
  • Employee morale or holiday gatherings
    • Appreciation, recognition, length of service, retirement, and farewell events must serve a bona fide business purpose
    • Retirement/farewell events require that the employee have at least 5 years of service
  • Tickets to community events and fundraisers
    • A statement/invoice showing the fair market value (FMV) of the meal is required
    • For payment to a non-UCSD entity a transmittal letter is required
    • Payment should be made by UC San Diego – not by the individual employee (do not use Travel Card)

Travel Card

Request a Travel Card to pay for meeting/entertainment expenses

Meeting/Entertainment Expense Processing