The University recognizes the need for memberships in professional organizations and other associations that are demonstrably beneficial to the institution or germane to the performance of an employee's duties.
Memberships or dues for professional organizations that are to be paid with state-appropriated funds or from federally funded sponsored projects are subject to state and federal rules and regulations.
A state agency may pay a membership fee to a private entity to purchase goods or services at a discount. The agency must show the cost of the goods or services plus the membership fee is less than the cost of purchasing the goods or services elsewhere.
All expenditures for memberships, regardless of fund source, must be reviewed and approved by the President before purchase by submitting the request for membership form thru DocuSign. Memberships may not be purchased using a Procurement Card (ProCard) unless the prior documented approval of the President is obtained.
The following criteria must be met for all memberships:
- The membership must be directly beneficial to the institution or to the performance of an individual's job.
- When the membership is in an employee's name, it must be transferable if that employee were to leave the university’s employment.
- Membership requests are to be submitted on voucher, approved by the department head, and then forwarded to the President for final review, unless prior approval was obtained to purchase using a ProCard.
- Multiple memberships within the same organization are to be avoided whenever possible.
- Memberships are generally paid from a central account; however, the department head may authorize payment from a department account when:
- Membership is required in order for a faculty member to present a paper; or
- The membership is not transferable once the employee leaves university employment.
- For all memberships, documentation must include the President approved request for membership approval form outlining:
- The name of the organization
- The period of membership (mo/yr to mo/yr)
- The name of employee if the employee is representing the institution
- A clear statement of purpose and benefit to the university
Federally Funded Sponsored Projects
Federal regulations prohibit directly charging memberships, other than the institution’s membership in business, technical and professional organizations, to federally funded sponsored projects. Contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for guidance with expenditures from federally funded sponsored projects.
State Appropriated Funds
See the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts' eXpendit Guidelines for requirements for membership fees paid with state-appropriated funds. A state agency may not join a chamber of commerce using state appropriated funds (Fund 1). However, a state agency may contract for services with a chamber of commerce if the agency has specific or implied statutory authority for the contract.
Membership Dues Paid to An Organization That Pays the Salary of a Registered Lobbyist
Texas Government Code 556.005(b), Employment of a Lobbyist states that unless authorized by law, no state appropriated funds (Fund 1) may be expended to pay membership dues to an organization that pays all or part of the salary of a person who is required to register as a lobbyist under chapter Texas Government Code 305, Registration of Lobbyists. This prohibition applies regardless of whether the membership would be in the name of the University or of an employee of the University.
According to UH System Administrative Memorandum 02.A.39, Political Aid and Legislative Influence, this should not be construed as prohibiting the payment of reasonable dues to an organization that is designed to represent student interests in the state legislature or federal congress from that portion of mandatory student service fee collections that is allocated to the student government organization. However, mandatory student service fees shall not be used to influence the outcome of any election.
Uniform Administrative Requirements, Subpart E, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 200.454, Memberships, Subscriptions, and Professional Activity Costs.
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts' eXpendit Guidelines
Texas Government Code 305, Registration of Lobbyists
UH System Administrative Memorandum 02.A.39, Political Aid and Legislative Influence
Signature Obtained 05/3/2023
Robert K. Glenn, Ph.D.
Next Review Date: May 2028 (5 years)
Origination: Finance Department