How do I use my IDA funds?

Administration and Finance

How do I use my IDA funds?

This NYU Steinhardt guideline covers the use of the Individual Development Account (IDA) budget allocated to you each academic year as a full-time member of the Steinhardt School’s faculty.


You can spend IDA money on anything that will facilitate your personal professional development. This might include more memory for a laptop, travel to a conference, assistance in indexing your book or hosting a work-related luncheon. Each Steinhardt School full-time faculty member's allocation for the 2017-18 academic year is $3,500. Your department administrator or Steinhardt's Office of Administration & Finance can help you make a determination about the eligibility of certain expenses.

Unused funds can be carried over into the next academic year, but cannot exceed more than two years’ worth of funds ($6,500). For example: If you spent $1,000 of your IDA in FY17, $2,000 carried over into FY18, along with your new allocation of $3,500 for a total of $5,500.

Please note:

  • Publications and other endeavors funded wholly or in part by your IDA should include acknowledgement of the Steinhardt School's support.
  • If you are on leave and receiving a paycheck from NYU, you will be entitled to spend your IDA allocation.
  • Your IDA allocation is separate from “start-up funds” made available to some new faculty hires and from any research supplement agreements.

Fiscal Responsibilities

The funds in your IDA account are accessed in conformance with New York University policies and procedures, whether they are used to make a purchase, pay someone, or receive a reimbursement.

All payments for any work performed must be made directly by the University to the individual who performed the work. Avoid the temptation to advance your own money to pay a student, consultant, or guest speaker. Reimbursements for these purposes are prohibited by New York University's fiscal policy and will not be processed.

You can identify someone you would like to be paid with your IDA money, as part of enhancing your professional abilities -- a student hourly worker, a consultant, or a guest to be paid an honorarium -- and then arrange for NYU to make the payment.

Note: A 30% fringe rate will be charged to your IDA, in addition to the hourly rate you pay a student employee.

Steinhardt's Office of Administration & Finance will be issuing Purchase Cards (P-Cards) to faculty (if requested) to be used for IDA expenditures. Items purchased with this P-Card will be charged directly to your IDA’s chartfield number.

Your IDA’s chartfield number will be entered into UDW+, NYU’s financial reporting system. UDW+ will record your expenditures and your account’s balance. It is your responsibility, or your designee’s, to monitor your IDA's bottom line balance. You will be held personally accountable if you overspend your funds.


IDA expenses are charged to Fund 20, ORG 55012, Project MA593, and the Program Code individually assigned to you.

  • The five digit "Account" number entered on a payment requests defines the type of expenditure. Check with your department/budget administrator for help in this regard.
  • When completing a paper or electronic form for an item to be paid with IDA funds, be sure to write "IDA" prominently somewhere on the form or attached receipts. (If you also have a Research Start-up Fund or other internally funded grant, this distinction is especially helpful to avoid confusion.)
  • Invoices or receipts are required to document all expenditures.
  • Use the Missing/Inadequate Documentation Report for occasional expenditures not supported by original detailed receipts or other appropriate documentation.
  • The University will reimburse non-meal expenses under $75 without receipts, but an explanation should be attached.
  • For meals other than your own, a list of attendees is required.

Reimbursements and travel related advances are requested via the AP Workflow system. Honorariums, consultant fees, and many items are purchased online through i-Buy NYU. Other purchases can be made using your or your department's P-Card. The paper forms needed to process other expenditures, can be found on our Forms webpage.

Send your request to NYU Steinhardt's Office of Administration & Finance. There it will be checked against your available account balance and promptly sent on to NYU’s Accounts Payable.

You may apply for a Purchasing Card (p-Card) to make purchases to be charged directly to your IDA. Complete the application, initial and sign it as instructed, and send it to Steinhardt's Office of Administration & Finance for processing. Please note that you must complete a weekly online reconciliation in return for this convenience.


Cash advances and expenditures must occur and be accounted for within the same year for which they were budgeted. This applies to travel as well as other items and services. The University’s fiscal year runs from September 1st - August 31st. And –

  • Cash advances must be reconciled within 60 days of the event or the end of the trip for which requested.
  • Expenses incurred in the conduct of University business must be accounted for within 60 days after:
    • The date of the expenditure,
    • Completion of the event, or
    • Return from the trip.

See 60 Day Deadline for Reimbursement Requests and Advance Reconciliations. This is in accordance with NYU’s “Accountable Plan,” as required by the IRS.

Travel Related Expenses
  • You may use your NYU Corporate American Express Travel Card, personal credit card, cash or request assistance from your department administrator for use of the Corporate Travel Account card (CTA).
  • To pay for travel tickets or conference fees in advance of your trip, check with your department/budget administrator for help with the correct method.
  • NYU will reimburse your meal expenses in one of two ways:
    • According to actual, substantiated costs for which you submit itemized receipts.
    • At an established "per diem" meal allowance rate. For details on domestic, international, and first and last days of travel rates, see the Steinhardt guideline Per Diem Travel Meal Reimbursements.
      • The per diem applies only when overnight travel is involved.
      • Travelers cannot switch between these two methods in one trip.
      • The per diem rate includes “incidentals” which then cannot be claimed separately.
  • The University's policy is that total expenses for lodging should not exceed $300 per day (without taxes). Advance approval is required for higher rates.
  • The auto mileage reimbursement rate fluctuates. NYU follows the IRS-defined rate. It is calculated to include both fuel and wear-and-tear on your car. AP Workflow automatically calculates for you the mileage rate in effect on the date of travel.
  • Cash advances for travel are allowed by NYU up to $500 for a seven-day period. Cash advances are intended for anticipated expenses that are best paid in cash, and for which a credit card may not be feasible (e.g., taxi fares, gratuities, etc.).
Payments for Work Performed

All payments must be made by the University to the payee. You will not be reimbursed for a payment made directly to someone.

A consultant may be paid with IDA funds if the consultant will be working with you or your department. Work with your department/budget administrator and follow the normal procedures for paying an individual as an independent contractor. No fringe rate is charged for consultants. Engaging a consultant is different from hiring an employee. Please be sure to follow university policy to determine if the person meets the criteria as a consultant.

A guest speaker may be paid an honorarium out of your IDA money. No fringe rate is charged as the individual is not an employee. Prior to the event, consult with your department/budget administrator on how to pay for services, especially for any performed outside the U.S. or to anyone who is a non-US citizen or resident.

A student hired to assist you may be paid with IDA funds. Prior to the student's first day of employment, you must work with your department/budget administrator and follow the normal student employment procedures.

  • Contact the Steinhardt School's Human Resources Office to discuss salary rates, the number of hours your student is permitted to work, and the amount you are budgeting from your IDA.
  • A 30% fringe rate will be charged against your IDA, in addition to the hourly rate.
  • IDA-paid student appointment requests must indicate whether the student is an undergraduate or graduate as all student hourly appointments must conform to new rules concerning hourly student hires.
  • Send this information in writing (an email will do) to your department/budget administrator, who will process the student's appointment via Steinhardt's HR office.
  • Approve time sheets via myTime.
  • Keep for yourself a running account as you spend down IDA funds on the student's salary and fringe.

NYU Bookstore and Computer Store

NYU Bookstore
  • The Bookstore offers a 15% discount on all purchases. No tax is charged for course related books. You benefit, as the University will not reimburse sales tax paid on purchases.
  • Books: You may shop online via i-Buy NYU. The cost will be internally charged to your IDA chartfield. Books may be picked up at the store or delivered to you.
  • Special Order Quotes can be created for various items. This is done through the Computer Store’s i-Buy site, even if the item is carried in the Bookstore.
  • In-person shopping for small items may be paid for in cash or via personal credit card and then reimbursed via AP Workflow.
NYU Computer Store: Computers, Tablets, and Peripheral Devices

Before making purchases, it is strongly recommended that you reach out to Steinhardt IT for advice on what hardware and software will best fit your needs, what site-licensed software is currently available, and what warranties and support will be available to you after you have made your purchase.

IDA purchases under $250 made in the NYU Computer Store can be paid for by cash or personal credit card. Reimbursement will be made via AP Workflow. An IDA P-Card may also be used.

Alternatively, NYU Computer Store purchases can be made through i-Buy NYU. All NYU Computer Store purchases of $250 or more must be made via i-Buy NYU. (Technology equipment is also available through i-Buy NYU from vendors with whom NYU has special pricing agreements.)

Approval Signatures

Requests submitted electronically are automatically routed for available budget checking and then on to Accounts Payable.

When a paper form is required, you must sign it in order for us to move forward with your IDA request.

  • IDA-related paper forms are approved within Steinhardt's Office of Administration & Finance... but you might ask your department/budget administrator to review the paperwork to ensure it is correct.
  • IDA requests will be checked for budget availability and passed on to the appropriate central University unit.

Additional Resources

Still Have Questions?

Feel free to contact the Office of Administration & Finance with any questions at

Rev. March 9, 2018