Spending Money

Real projects take real money. When that money comes from a budget inside the Sam Fox School, be sure to follow these guidelines to ensure smooth sailing for all of your spending needs.

Blue Page: Spending Money and Getting it Back

Additional Resources
Team Budget Spreadsheet Tool
Create a WorkDay Expense Report
Tax-Exempt Letter


Know how you plan to spend your money before you get started, and share this with those who need to know.

  • Review your budget with the entity providing the funding (if required), and with any necessary chairs or administrators. Confirm any limitations or requirements.
  • Meet with the Business Office team to discuss the details of your plan. In this conversation, you should cover:
    • budget and plans for spending
    • account number and SR codes
    • point person to communicate and manage the budget, submit receipts, etc.
    • authorizations required
    • tax-exempt status and pre-pay
    • how to submit reimbursements
    • spreadsheets for tracking
    • deadlines
  • If you are receiving funding from a partner who is coming into the School, you will need a contract or a gift letter. Discuss with Chad Henry (chenry@wustl.edu) before proceeding.
  • You may want to create a spreadsheet to track your expenses and anticipated costs. A sample template is available online.

Not everything can be paid for with funds from the University. Know what your budget can cover and what it can’t.

  • Typically, budgets can cover materials, including models, printing, exhibition, and other deliverables. Some event costs, such as catering, clean-up, and AV, may also be covered.
  • Except in special cases, entertainment costs (especially alcohol) and travel costs will not be covered by your budget.
  • The University is tax exempt! You need to use a tax-exempt letter to have your sales tax waived (in most cases). It is up to you to ask for tax-exempt status on your purchases. Washington University does not reimburse for Missouri sales tax.
  • Know what approvals are required before you spend — your budget may require signatures from faculty or chairs. Individuals involved with a project cannot submit for reimbursement: the faculty member or point person must submit the materials.
  • If you purchase food for an event, you must include a list of full names and titles for all participants attending.
  • The Business Office team is available to meet with students or teams to introduce procedures and policies.

If you spend money, you want to get it back! Follow these steps for reimbursement.

The faculty member or point person must submit requests in a regular and timely fashion so you don’t get behind. Every 2-3 weeks is good; all receipts are due by the first day of final reviews for the semester in which the project takes place. Follow these steps:

1. Make your purchase with the appropriate tax-exempt letter.
2. Create an Expense Report through WorkDay. You will need the receipt, relevant account numbers, and your WUSTL Key.
3. Ensure that it’s clear what was purchased. If it is not evident from the receipt what was purchased, make a note in WorkDay.


These are the people who will help keep your project moving smoothly.

Business Office

Research & Grants Management


You must provide original receipts for reimbursements. If you do not provide original receipts, you will not receive reimbursements. There are NO exceptions.