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Financial and Expense Policies

Gift & Gift Card Policy

Type of gifts at Penn

  • Gifts to Employees
  • Gifts to Non-Employees
  • Gifts to Students
  • “Gifts” to Human Subjects

Gifts to Employees

The gift policy at Penn states the following:

There are only four events for which University departments can purchase gifts:

  • Departure of a long-term employee
  • Retirement of an employee
  • Illness of an employee requiring hospitalization
  • Death of an employee or an employee’s immediate family member

In addition:

  • The gifts cannot be cash, cash equivalents, or gift cards.
  • The gift maximum is $100 (inclusive of tax, shipping, etc.).
  • For only the criteria listed above, gift baskets/boxes/trays may be purchased directly from preferred contract vendors. Acceptable payment methods are purchasing cards and purchase orders.
  • Etsy, Zazzle, Café Press, and eBay are not Penn-approved vendors. Do not use for any purchases. These entities do not have the license to use Penn branding. 

Gifts to Non-Employees

  • Gifts (inclusive of gift cards) to non-employees are generally prohibited with minor exceptions (e.g. Development-related).
  • Individuals (and/or Companies [LLCs]) providing a service should go through the onboarding and classification process.
  • Individuals participating as a guest speaker, musician, panelist should be paid for their time using a Limited Engagement Agreement.
  • Please ask questions in advance to be sure we get your individuals classified in plenty of time before the event takes place.
  • Examples of prohibited gifts: gift cards to housekeepers, gift cards to guest speakers/visitors in classes, gifts/gift cards as honoraria. 

Gifts to Students

  • Gifts (inclusive of gift cards) to students are prohibited.
  • Students who are working for your department should be paid as workstudy, temp, GA, etc. through WorkDay.
  • Prizes or awards, which differ from gifts, are permissible under Penn policy and are typically funded by GSE restricted funds and are paid through the Penn Marketplace. 

“Gifts” to Human Subjects

(This refers to payment for participation in research study focus groups, interviews, programs etc.)

  • Gifts should not be given to Human Subject Participants.
  • Please do not purchase gift cards for those individuals participating in a study.
  • The preferred method of payment for human subjects is the Greenphire/ClinCard program. See the Greenphire/ClinCard page for more information.

What can we do?

The following options for recognition are allowable.

  • Penn GSE-branded swag items, using approved vendors
  • Meals for business purposes and within meal threshold guidelines
    • Meals to celebrate birthdays, weddings, births, etc., are prohibited.
  • Team events, using approved vendors
    • E.g., A team art class, team cooking demo, team bowling
  • Flowers for the hospitalization of an employee or a death in the employee’s family
  • Books (outside of required reading or textbooks)
    • E.g., School-wide reading initiatives, Board/Advisory Member group readings

Credit Card Responsibility


Visit the Travel and Expense Policy page

Concur Approval Flows/Hierarchy 

Within Concur, each expense report must have at least 3 approvers. The first approver is typically your Financial Administrator in the Business Office. The second approver is the finance approver who is responsible for your budget (may be a director or another Business Office staff member, and the third approver is generally your manager/supervisor or the PI/Faculty Staff responsible for the work for which you are being reimbursed.

Until all of the approvers complete their steps in the system, you will not receive your reimbursement and/or Penn will not pay the card on your behalf. Please be aware of this due to timing of reconciliation and/or paying your bill.

Qlikview Access and Reconciliation Policy

Penn policy holds account owners responsible to regularly monitor account transactions in expense reports to confirm their legitimacy as it relates to Penn’s educational purpose. Regular monitoring of your account assures that your budget dollars are used for their intended purpose.

GSE Financial Account ownership overview

  • GSE maintains more than 600 different accounts as part of the financial structure.
  • Types of accounts include unrestricted, endowments, and gifts.
  • Purpose of accounts
    • To track various sources of revenue and types of expense for organizations and specific purposes including academic, administrative and operating units; technology funds; indirect cost share accounts; and development; etc.
    • Placeholder for current-year funding (budgets), prior year carry-forwards, and approved one-time funding

Best practices for account management

  • Accounts should be reviewed at least once per month for wayward/misallocated transactions
  • Perform consistent review of daily expenditures as it relates to your budget.
  • Confirm that vendors are being paid in a timely fashion. If not, contact the Business Office to research the reasons for the delay.
  • Account deficits are not permitted.  If your account is in deficit, or you expect your account to have a deficit balance, you must contact Jason or Greg to discuss as soon as possible. 

Frequently asked questions to guide thinking about budgets and Qlikview

  • Who is permitted to charge expenditures against your account?
  • What types of charges are being processed against your account?  
  • Do you sign off on all expenditures processed by your faculty/staff? 
  • How do you track allowable expenditures?
  • If you have multiple accounts, are charges being applied against correct account?
  • Do you check for wayward transactions?

Contact the Penn GSE Business Office
Submission of forms, invoices and requests to compensate or reimburse individuals or companies not on-boarded as PO supplier, and journal transfers and general payment questions.
Submission of forms, invoices and requests to compensate or reimburse individuals or companies who are on-boarded as PO suppliers, and general Purchase Order questions.
Submission of forms and contracts as they pertain to on-boarding new non-affiliates to Penn. 

Unrestricted Accounts

Gregory Tausz
Senior Director of Finance and Facility Management
3700 Walnut, Room 221

Ken Zeferes
Assistant Director of Fiscal Operations
3440 Market, Room 382


Sherri King
Financial Administrator
3440 Market, Room 390

Responsible for:
 SMHC, School Leadership, ISTR, Catalyst@Penn, Educational Entrepreneurship, MedEd and CLO Programs, HED, Exec Doc HEM, Mid-Career, PLN, UTR, Support Services

Miriam Harris
Financial Administrator
3440 Market, Room 388

Responsible for:
 Dean’s Office, Development, Business Office, IT, Communications, School Partners (PAS and Lea Schools), APHD

Eric Blanchet
Financial Administrator
3440 Market, Room 389

Responsible for:
 ECS, IEDP, TLL, Ed Policy, QM, ELX, RWL and Student Activities, UTAP


Coral Haas
Business Administrator, Payroll
3440 Market Street, Room 377

Responsible for:
Catalyst, Center for Professional Learning, Center for School Study Councils, Coalition for Educational Equity, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, Educational Linguistics, GSE Registrar, GSE Student Services, Higher Education/AHEAD/Higher Education Management, Education Policy, Human Development & Quantitative Methods, Literacy, Culture and International Education

Anna Reed
Associate Director of Payroll
3440 Market Street, Room 375

Responsible for:
GSE Admissions, GSE Associate Dean/Faculty Affairs, GSE Career and Professional Development, GSE Communications, GSE Dean's Office, GSE Development and Alumni Relations, GSE Development, GSE Films, GSE HR, GSE IT, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, Education Entrepreneurship, Independent School Teaching Residency, Med Ed & Chief Learning Officer, Mid-Career, School Leadership Program, School Mental Health Counseling, Teacher Education, Urban Teaching Residency

Grant Accounts (Sponsored Programs)

Helen Mitchell Sears
Director of Sponsored Programs
3440 Market, Room 384

Joyce Cook
Assistant Director Grants & Student Financial Aid
3700 Walnut, Room 219

Frank Graham
Pre-Award Grants Manager (Proposal Development)
3440 Market, Room 385

Mike Kelly
Post-Award Grants Manager (Financial Reporting)
3440 Market, Room 381