Policy Steward:  Vice President for Administration


  • Purpose
  • Definitions
  • Policy
  • Further Information
  • Cross References


    This policy provides guidance on avoiding possible conflicts of interest, undue influence, or the appearance thereof when perquisites are offered to employees of the University.


    Gift - any perquisites that are beyond the acceptable amounts established by University policies, such as a gratuity, discount, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other tangible or intangible item having monetary value, including but not limited to, cash, merchandise, food and drink.

    Entertainment - including but not limited to, paid invitations to (or subsequent reimbursement for) events, including tickets, transportation, room or housing, meals, and other such activity provided to an employee beyond the acceptable amounts established by University policies.


    Fulfilling the mission of The Pennsylvania State University requires the highest standards of integrity and responsibility.  Employees of the University must exercise caution and good judgment when accepting gifts, entertainment and/or contributions from individuals or parties with current or prospective business with the University.

    The purpose of gifts and entertainment is to establish a relationship of goodwill among current and pending collaborative partners.  However, employee acceptance of gifts, paid invitations, entertainment, travel, room or housing, meals, transportation, and other such activity may interfere with the University's mission, and may adversely affect the reputation of the University.

    Thus all employees of The Pennsylvania State University are expected to not accept any gift or entertainment that might influence the employee’s decision making, compromise the employee’s judgment, or have the appearance of doing so.  All Penn State employees will refuse any gift, hospitality, favor, or entertainment if all of the following criteria are met:

    If it would be offensive or detrimental to the relationship to refuse a gift, hospitality, favor, or entertainment valued over $100, said gift, hospitality, favor, or entertainment must be disclosed to and approved by the employee’s supervisor and the Office of Ethics and Compliance. If approved, said gift, hospitality, favor, or entertainment having a value of more than $100 is to be donated to a charity, become University property, utilized for University benefit, or properly displayed for the benefit of the University community, as approved by the Office of Ethics and Compliance.

    Requests to accept a gift or entertainment valued over $100 and/or requests to determine if an employee is subject to the criteria stated in this policy must be submitted to the Office of Ethics and Compliance by completing the Gift & Entertainment Authorization Form, per instructions in GURU.

    A Penn State employee may be subject to a more restrictive policy in accordance with one’s unit or department responsibilities.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of Ethics and Compliance or the Office of General Council.


    AD04 – Development Solicitation

    AD31 – Outdoor Public Art

    AD75 – University Events and Ticket Accountability

    BS07 - Authority and Procurement

    BS08 - Information Inquiries

    BS09 - Initiating Purchases From Vendors Outside the University

    FN03 - Substantiation, Disclosure, and Accountability for the Receipt of Contributions from Non-Governmental Sources

    FN09 - Scholarships

    FN10 - Other Business Expenses and Activities

    FN15 – Establishing or Accepting Funds for Endowed or Named Annually Funded Accounts

    FN20 – Student Group Travel Policy

    FN22 - Policy on Institutional and Employee Relationships with Educational Loan Lenders

    FN24 – Providing Educational Services to Military Service Members

    FNG01 - Flow and Accountability of Gifts and Grants from Non-Governmental Sources

    HR77 – University-Named Career Development Professorships

    HR81 – University-Named Professorships

    HR82 – University-Named Chairs

    HR83 – University Endowed Fellowships

    HR91 – Conflict of Interest

    HR93 – University-Named Dean’s Chairs

    HR94 – University-Named Department Head’s Chairs

    HRG15 – Support Funds and Outside Compensation During Sabbatical

    IP04 – Royalty Payments for Course Materials

    IPG04 – Acceptance of Donated Intellectual Property by The Pennsylvania State University

    RA04 - Making Revisions to Budgets and Program Plans on Federally Sponsored Projects

    RA20 – Disclosure and Management of Significant Financial Interests

    RAG04 – Guidelines for Gifts, Grants and Contracts (The Funding Matrix)

    RAG18 – Establishing Research Institutes, Consortia, and Centers

    Bylaws of The Pennsylvania State University, Section 8:13 – Disclosure of Potential Conflict of Interest by the Employees of the University

    Penn State Travel Policy

    Effective Date: September 16, 2014
    Date Approved: September 15, 2014
    Date Published: September 16, 2014 (Editorial changes, August 31, 2016)

    Most recent changes:

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    | top of this policy | GURU policy menu | GURU policy search | GURU home | GURU Tech Support | Accessibility Statement | Penn State website |