This page serves as a one-stop information source for FMS topics impacted by COVID-19. The content is intended to be a first stop for information about financial activities, programs and services impacted by the pandemic. Originally published in March 2020, this page is updated regularly as information and guidance become available. (Updated 9/27/22)
For information about the university's response to the pandemic, please visit the Health Alerts site.
Accounts Payable Will Call Checks
The Tresidder will call window has closed for the disbursement of Accounts Payable will call checks.
Effective until further notice, Accounts Payable will call checks may be picked up at the Stanford Redwood City campus by appointment only. When the will call check is ready for pickup, a “ready for pickup” email will be sent to the requester listed on the transaction, to arrange a pickup date and time. This will ensure that an on-site staff member is available to disburse the check. For more information, see How to Request Rush and Will Call payments.
Refund and Reimbursement Checks
For reimbursements related to transactions that originated in iProcurement or the return of unused advances, please send payment to:
P.O. Box 20410
Stanford, CA 94309-0410
To refund charges accidentally made on a Pcard (Purchasing Card), a check should be written by the payee made out to Stanford University, including the PCard transaction number, and deposited to the PTAE account by the department using CASHNet.
Returning ACH and Wire Funds
The Office of the Treasurer (OOT) set up an interim process during the beginning stages of the pandemic where OOT assisted departments with the returns of ACH and Wire receipts related to programs and services that were canceled as a direct impact of COVID. Now that operations are normalizing and cancellations are back to expected levels, OOT will no longer manage the ACH and Wire return process for departments effective October 3, 2022.
When departments need to return ACH or Wire receipts to the original sender, they should utilize the Expense Request System (ERS) which is the standard protocol to process a Non-PO Payment. For more information on the ERS, please visit the Expense Request page.
Retirement of CASHNet
In efforts to continuously improve the processes and systems that make up the Stanford financial ecosystem, FMS is rolling out enhancements to how cash and checks are deposited beginning November 2022. This includes replacing the CASHNet system for this type of transaction activity.
For more information on the project, and how to make deposits during the interim stages, check out the news page Cash and Check Deposit Enhancements for updates and detailed guidance.
Upon receipt of donor checks or credit card remittance slips, here are several reminders:
- Processing of checks remains the same. Follow guidance on the Topic Overview: Record Gifts to determine the proper method to process and record the gift, receipt or payment through the Gift Transmittals System.
- Please do not take checks or credit card forms home for processing; once they arrive on the main campus, hospital or Redwood City campus, the checks and credit card information should be secured until they can be processed.
- Look at the date of the check. For business checks, see if there is a notation about expiration. For example, “deposit within 30 days”. If it has no notation or is a personal check, it is good for 6 months from the date on the check. If the check has already expired, you are responsible for contacting the donor or organization to request a replacement check to be mailed directly to OOD or back to you.
- Please scan checks and accompanying gift documentation. Do not take pictures with your phone; doing so puts the donor information at risk.
- For credit cards that need to be charged, do not forward credit card information via email. That is a payment card industry (PCI) violation. You can call Development Services at 650-725-4360 with the credit card information or forward sealed envelopes outlined below.
Rather than receiving a check, departments can provide electronic payment instructions to students, donors, agencies, and sponsors. This can replace cash and checks being sent in by mail. Either a wire or ACH electronic payment is acceptable. When possible, please encourage them to donate electronically.
There are a variety of safe options available to forward check and credit card gifts to Development Services:
- Deliver envelopes to designated drop boxes on campus
- 346 Galvez Street on the Memorial Drive side of the Alumni Center
- 300 Pasteur Drive at the Edwards building near the old hospital
- Mail to PO Box 20466, Stanford, CA 94309
- Call Development Services at 650-725-4360 to arrange a time to drop off gifts to University Hall, RWC campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When coming to the office, please follow current health and safety protocols.
For donor gift guidance and resources:
- Visit Best Practices for Processing Donor Gifts
- Review Administrative Guide Memo 4.1.1: Gifts to the University and 4.2.1 Receiving and Processing Gifts to revisit the universities codified policies and definitions.
- Learn more about Gifts, including how to distinguish among different types of gifts, how gifts should be received, when and how gifts should be used, and who is responsible for them.
- Contact your school or department’s fund accountant for any questions regarding non-sponsored funds.
- Talk to your local Development Donor Relations Officer.
Beginning September 1, 2022 all new, renewed, or reissued PCards and TCards will now be delivered to the cardholder's Stanford business address since many cardholders have returned to working onsite on a Stanford campus. To ensure delivery to the correct address, use the Credit Card Profiles Change Request tool to review your business address for card delivery and update it if necessary. For more information, see the Fingate Announcement Change to PCard and TCard Delivery as of September 1.
As per the COVID-19 interim gift policy, for work-related milestones (excluding service awards) departments may purchase an occasional gift for an employee valued up to $100 per individual per calendar year. Any amount that does not exceed the aggregate value of $100 over the course of the calendar per individual will be non-taxable. Departments are encouraged to consider purchases of Stanford branded merchandise or tangible personal property. This is an increase from the $50 maximum noted in AGM 2.2.10. Cash gifts, including VISA/AMEX gift cards are always taxable to the recipient. The COVID-19 interim policy is permitted only when allowed by the unit policy and the current budget. For further details about qualifying uses, please see the Administrative Guide Memo 2.2.10 section 5.
In September 2021, the university updated its policies on AGM 2.1.20: Hybrid (Telecommuting) Work Arrangements and AGM 2.1.21: Remote Work Arrangements.
Guidelines for home office equipment for employees with hybrid or remote work arrangements are outlined on Cardinal at Work. Guidelines include:
- Hybrid Work Arrangements: Reimbursement program of up to $250 for basic necessary ergonomic equipment for their telecommuting/home worksite only to the extent that such equipment is recommended by Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) following an ergonomic assessment.
- Remote Work Arrangements: A one-time taxable payment of $750, included as part of the employee’s paycheck, to purchase basic home office equipment to ensure a productive and safe home work environment.
Employees should review the guidelines on Cardinal at Work and consult with their manager or local Human Resources for specific procedures for home office equipment.
Guidance on purchasing this equipment can be found on Topic Overview: Categories of Purchases.
In response to the circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, payment networks (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) may have changed some proposed policies, rules, and fee changes which can affect credit and debit card acceptance activities.
COVID-19 is driving the demand for payments that reduce physical contact at the point of sale. More merchants are accepting contactless payments now than before the outbreak. Our EMV capable Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals can already process contactless payments using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Both contactless card and mobile wallet enabled smartphones communicate payment information directly when hovering closely over the NFC-enabled POS terminals. Benefits of contactless payments:
- Fast: Enables faster and more convenient transactions
- Secure: Transactions are protected by encryption technology and minimize fraud
- Safe: Avoids physical contact with the POS device
Here are some guidelines to help merchants prepare as campus reopens:
- Examine each POS terminal thoroughly to look for possible tampering or substitution
- Verify POS terminals are ready to process sales:
- Perform the required updates when the devices are powered on
- Reconfigure customer signature options
- Run a test transaction to ensure the device is functioning properly
- Consider installing a stand with a transparent physical barrier at the checkout
- Review receipt management procedures and offer email/text receipt options if possible
- Provide hand sanitizers or wipes for customers to use wherever key touch is unavoidable
- Encourage “contactless” payments wherever possible
- Do not place overlays (e.g. plastic wrap) around the devices for protection as it can result in skimming fraud
- To learn how to maintain a clean payment environment and equipment, see Resource: Point-of-Sale Merchants
- To learn more about the refund process, see Topic Overview: Issuing Refunds to Credit and Debit Cards.
The Payroll Services team is committed to supporting the university through timely updates to systems, providing new or updated guidance related to payroll activities and supporting the university through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are the key areas of impacts related to Payroll Services (updated February 2022).
Visit Payroll Services Updates Related to COVID-19 to learn more about:
- Timekeeping for Health Check
- COVID Flex Hours
- Quarantine Pay
- General Payroll Processing
On March 20, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced interim Form I-9 procedures to defer the physical presence requirement as an accommodation to employers complying with state shelter-in-place requirements. Please visit the Interim I-9 page to learn more.
Postdocs and other fellowship recipients who are enrolled in direct deposit will receive their direct deposits as normal by the last day of each month. An electronic remittance advice will be available from My Axess in the Student Financials Snapshot. For fellowship recipients who are not enrolled in direct deposit and who typically receive their check at their department, checks will be mailed via U.S. Mail to the recipient's current mailing address on file.
Due to building access restrictions, delivery services such as FedEx, UPS and USPS have been unsuccessful in their attempt to deliver packages to Stanford University. For expected deliveries or until further notice, departments should:
- Contact the shipper directly to confirm delivery instructions to improve the chances of a successful delivery.
- Arrange for other pick up options with the delivery service.
Beginning on March 18, 2020, the following information will be placed on all Purchase Orders (PO):
SPECIAL SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUPPLIERS
Due to the impacts of COVID-19 Stanford University will have a reduced workforce which could impact deliveries.: Please verify with the requestor before delivery that they will be available to accept or to schedule a time for deliveries. For further information regarding Stanford's response to COVID-19, visit https://healthalerts.stanford.edu.
Contract and Event Guidance
The contracts team in FMS Procurement Services is committed to helping the Stanford community with contracts issues as a result of COVID-19, including the cancellation or rescheduling of hospitality agreements, such as event, hotel, venue, catering, and restaurant agreements, which have been most impacted.
Due to the potentially large number of agreements cancelled or rescheduled, the contracts team may need to prioritize those agreements that present the greatest risk to the university. In the event the contracts team is unable to assist with changes to the agreement in the necessary timeframe, departments should follow these guidelines for mitigating risk:
Departments should review the terms of the agreement so that they understand their rights. Some agreements have protective terms that, if the department provides sufficient written notice, allow for cancellation with no or limited fees. Alternatively, some agreements allow for rescheduling within a specific timeframe at no cost to Stanford. When negotiating agreements without the assistance of the contracts team, departments should only negotiate business terms (e.g. price, dates, quantity, service to be performed, etc.). Departments should not attempt to negotiate terms with higher risk implications such as intellectual property (IP) rights, indemnification, insurance, data security, etc. If terms with higher risk implications need to be addressed, departments should reach out to the contracts team for assistance.
Department Request to Cancel or Postpone
Departments can try to negotiate with the supplier to cancel or reschedule the event. Typically, it is easier to reschedule with no additional fees than it is to cancel. For instance, departments can suggest rescheduling the event within a certain timeframe (e.g., a year, six months, etc.) either with no penalty or for reduced penalties.
If a supplier is unwilling to cancel the agreement at no cost, departments should ask for an exception due to unusual circumstances. Based on the contracts team’s experience, many suppliers will be flexible in unusual circumstances like efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
When a department reaches an acceptable solution, departments should document the negotiated resolution in an email to the supplier in order to avoid payment disputes in the future.
In order to best protect the university during the COVID-19 response period, the contracts team will be particularly vigilant in reviewing hospitality agreements. What this means is that depending on the terms of the agreement and due to COVID-19 concerns, the contracts team may ask the department if they are sure they would like to move forward.
For More Guidance
If the department is in a situation where the supplier is unwilling to negotiate, they should reach out to the contracts team in FMS Procurement Services and the team will assist in order of priority. For questions about specific transactions, departments should contact the Contracts team.
Visitors to Stanford are responsible for paying for any COVID testing required during their Stanford-sponsored visit. Stanford funds may not be used to reimburse visitors for these tests. Please visit the Health Alerts site for community testing resources.
As of fiscal year 2023 (beginning September 1, 2022), the university is no longer asking schools and units to specifically track financial impact from COVID-19. Thanks to the university community's efforts and past tracking activities, sufficient data has been gathered to support the university in assessing impact and making continued informed decisions.
COVID Expenditure Types - Effective September 1, 2020
The following COVID expenditure types can be used in continued purchases of PPE, cleaning supplies, cleaning services and online learning expenditures that are directly related to impacts of the pandemic.
Expenditure Type Code
Expenditure Type Name
Expenditure Type Description
COVID – PPE&CLEANING SUPPLIES
Expenditures for COVID-related non-lab and lab personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies. Includes replenishment of central stock including masks, gloves, face shields, protective barriers, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, paper cleaning products and cleaning wipes
COVID - ONLINE INSTR MATERIALS
Expenditures for COVID-related supplies required for transition to online learning. Includes computers & computing devices, software, online teaching supplies, online laboratory supplies
COVID - EXTERNAL CUSTODIAL
Expenditures for COVID-related custodial and janitorial services in excess of normal cleaning services
Please note: This Expenditure Type is not available in the Expense Request System.
As a reminder, the university implemented a travel booking policy in 2020 in order to enhance and streamline the collection of traveler information needed to locate and support travelers in the event of an emergency. The policy provides Stanford’s Global Risk Management team’s visibility into travel, thereby enabling the university’s delivery of pre-travel support and incident management services. Details on the policy, which was updated September 2022, can be found in the Business and Travel Expense policies.
At this time, separate rooms for each traveler are still considered best practice, but individuals who are fully vaccinated and are comfortable with sharing rooms may do so. Masks should be worn indoors in shared spaces. For more information about lodging, visit the Lodging Policy page.
Ground Transportation Extension
Ground transportation for university-sponsored travel, usually limited to 200 miles or less for a round trip, is temporarily extended for round trips of up to 300 miles due to the impact of COVID-19.
For travel plans and expenses that were impacted by COVID-19, visit the Managing Expenses Related to Travel Cancellations resource, which contains guidance on:
- Managing flight cancellations and exchanges
- Managing unused nonrefundable airline tickets
- Managing conference cancellations and reimbursements
- Expensing for cancellation fees
- Accruing expenses for the current fiscal year