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Student Journals: Allowable Expenditures

UPDATED Policy for Fall 2023!!

Starting in Fall 2023, the Law School has initiated a new policy regarding using University-held funds for non-business related activities!

The Law School will reimburse for food and non-alcoholic beverages at in-person Law School meetings and events. The Law School will not reimburse for social events (e.g. rafting trips, playing laser tag, bowling, attending professional sporting events, going to the movies, wine tasting, or any similar entertainment events). This policy applies to all use of funds processed by the Law School regardless of its source (e.g. SABL, law Journal funds, Alumni Accounts, Centers, Departments).  If you are unclear whether it is something that can be reimbursed by the Law School please check in advance, before any money is spent, with the Journal Administrator (who will be in contact with Law School management).

Journals are still able to partake in these types of activities, however, they will need to be funded by external means-  membership dues, external checking accounts, members.

What contsitutes an allowable expense?

Journals earn revenue from subscriptions, royalties, reprint permissions, and fundraising.  This money is held by the University, and as such, subject to university policy and regulations.    Expenditures from these accounts must have a clear connection to the business purpose of a scholarly journal.

Even if an expenditure is 'allowable' you must have the funds available in order to purchase it!

Non-allowable expenditures

Though the following items CANNOT be purchased using your university funds, they may be paid for using membership dues which are held in your journal's external checking account:

  • Social events with no or only incidental business purposes:  happy hours, rafting, pro sports games, camping trips, retreats over holiday weekends to destination locations (Tahoe/ Yosemite) 
  • Alcohol (alcohol permits/ chaperon must be in place ahead of time!) 
  • Gift cards or payments for gift cards  (Can be purchased directly by Journal Administrator)
  • Honoraria- must be paid directly by the University
  • Gift cards for “Thank you” gifts    (Can be purchased directly by Journal Administrator)
  • Payments using reward points
  • Third-party payments — we reimburse only the person who incurred the expense
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments such as Venmo, Square Cash, or Zelle
  • Software/cloud storage   (Can be purchased directly by Journal Administrator)
  • Transcription services   (Can be purchased directly by Journal Administrator)
  • Meal purchases for Zoom meetings
  • Late fees on credit card accounts



Allowable expenditures

Examples of allowable expenditures with a clear business purpose include (though are not limited to):

  • printing your journals
  • refreshments for editorial meetings and trainings
  • editorial office supplies
  • editorial retreats*
  • symposium or speaker events*
  • end of year banquets*

* though these type of expenditures are 'allowable', there are a lot of variables for which UC and Law School policies regulate what/ how/ and when they must be handled.  It is imperative to discuss these events AHEAD OF TIME with the Journal Administrator to ensure that they are planned in a manner so that expenses/ purchases/ reimbursements will be made.

Allowable versus fiscally responsible expenditures

With reduced incoming revenue, just because something is an ‘allowable’ expenditure under UC Policy, is it a smart use of your funds?

Offset less (or zero!) incoming revenue with smarter fiscal spending habits:

  • Editorial Meeting lunches-   brown bag it once in a while   (#1 JOURNAL EXPENSE!)
  • Editorial Retreats – do something local on non-holiday weekends  ($2K FOR LODGING?)
  • Symposium Events- hold every other year, get sponsors, fundraise  ($8K FOR A DAY?)
  • Journal swag-  have journal members partially contribute towards t-shirts

Declining revenue is never going to ‘rebound’, so keep in mind that you’re spending your journal’s reserves and against your journal’s financial future


Swag, such as journal t-shirts, mugs and the like are allowable expenditures using your journal funds, however:

Swag may only be purchased from approved UC Berkeley licensed vendors (i.e., Berkeley Law/Student Org branded apparel or items). Please also be aware that there is a $75 per student, per semester, per student organization cap on swag and a $300 total per semester cap on the total monetary value of gifts that a student may receive.