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Statement and Purpose

Cellular telephones and cellular-based wireless communications devices can be an effective resource for campus employees in the performance of their job duties. For employees who spend considerable time outside of their assigned office area, or who must be accessible outside of scheduled or normal work hours, a cellular or mobile device can be a significant benefit.

Certain employees may qualify for the university to provide an institutional stipend to cover the presumed business use of personal cell phones and service. The level of cash subsidy (stipend) will be determined by a person’s job duties as it relates to cell phone use and access. Guidelines to categorize cellular use as mandatory, beneficial or incidental are determined by the area Vice President. The stipend includes the cost of service plus equipment. The university will review and set the amounts to be provided for stipends and reimbursement on an annual basis.

Download Policy as PDF

Table of Contents

Version: 1.0

Effective Date: August 12, 2014
Last Updated:
 June 29, 2017 (stipend form link updated)

Responsible Office:
Computer & Information Systems
Responsible Executive:
AVP for Information Technology/CIO

General Policy: Institutional Stipend

This policy institutes an institutional stipend to cover presumed business use of personal cell phones for certain employees.

Download Cell Phone Stipend Agreement

Employee responsibilities

The employee will purchase cellular phone service and equipment and assume responsibility for vendor terms and conditions. The employee is responsible for plan choices, service levels, calling areas, service and phone features, termination clauses, and payment terms and penalties. The employee is also responsible for the purchase, loss, damage, insurance, and/or replacement of phone equipment.

Guidelines to receive a stipend

Based on job duties as it relates to cell phones, the area Vice President will determine if the employee should be provided a stipend to offset the cost of a personal cell phone and service.

Levels of stipend payment

There are many cell phone carriers with varying plans for phone equipment and service. The payment levels are intended to cover a presumed level of business use of personally owned service and equipment in keeping with institutional benefit. The policy assumes that for most employees the device will be used for both personal and business use, therefore the overall costs are shared.

  • Basic Use
    this stipend level is intended to cover a portion of the employee’s expense for monthly service costs and a contribution toward the cost of equipment and accessories. This stipend level would cover basic/voice cellular service to meet institutional job duties.
  • Enhanced Use (or voice + data service)
    this stipend level is intended to cover a portion of the employee’s expense for monthly service costs and a contribution toward the cost of equipment and accessories. This stipend level would include voice service, plus data phone or Smartphone features that provide access to email or web based services that would be required to meet institutional job duties.
  • Mandatory Use (or full voice + data service)
    this stipend level is intended to cover a substantial portion of the employee’s personal expense for monthly service costs, equipment and accessories. This stipend level would apply to those employees where the institution requires a cell phone with full voice and data services to fulfill their job duties.

Amounts listed in each category above will be reviewed and set annually by the Vice President for Business and Finance. The stipend amounts will be listed on the annual Cell Phone Stipend Agreement. The reimbursement flat rate can be obtained from the Finance Office.

Additional policy guidelines

  • The department of an employee receiving a monthly stipend will provide appropriate budget funding.
  • A Cell Phone Stipend Agreement will be completed by the employee and approved by the area Vice President. Updates or changes to cell phone service (phone numbers, voice/data vs. voice only, stipend amount, etc…) will be reported promptly to the employee’s department head.
  • If the employee resigns, is terminated, transfers departments, or no longer qualifies for an institutional stipend; the department head will promptly notify the Finance Office to discontinue the stipend payment.
  • The employee’s department head/dean and area Vice President are responsible for an annual review of the business need for a cell phone stipend and whether the agreement should be continued.
  • Exceptions: there may be rare circumstances where the stipend level must be adjusted due to extenuating conditions. The President upon recommendation from a Vice President will approve exceptions.

Guidelines for Cell Phone Use

Personal use

The stipend policy assumes that the cell phone will be used for both personal and business calls. Since the stipend amount is taxable as income, the employee is not required to track business vs. personal use to report to the university.

Institutional benefit

The stipend agreement requires that the personally owned device is available for business access. An employee receiving a stipend must maintain active cell phone service. The employee agrees to carry the cell phone with them, keep it charged and in operational condition, and be accessible for business use as required by their department head or supervisor.

Appropriate use

The employee agrees to use the phone in ways consistent with university policy and all applicable local, state or federal laws. Inappropriate and unlawful use of cell phone features, such as camera equipment, is prohibited. See additional policies regarding Computer Acceptable Use.

Use of a cell phone while operating a vehicle

Cell phones users must be aware of state and municipal laws regarding the use of phones while driving. The laws vary widely by location. In addition, use of phones while driving can cause hazardous distraction, especially in adverse weather, heavy traffic, or limited visibility conditions.

Related Policies and Procedures