The CUNY Graduate Center is committed to transparency, accountability, and accessibility in its financial management activities. Empowering our community to make sound and efficient use of the GC’s resources is a cornerstone of that commitment. In our resources hub, you’ll find all the information you need to successfully complete common business tasks.

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Business Office Basics

ACE: Adult Continuing Education

AEC: Auxiliary Enterprise Corporation

ARC: Advanced Research Collaborative

ARR: Academic Report and Requests Form

ASRC: Advanced Science Research Center

BARFIT: Bursar, Admissions, Enrollment, Financial Aid, Information Technology.

CUTRA (City University Tuition Reimbursable Account): The CUTRA account enables the colleges to roll over into subsequent fiscal years any excess tuition revenue. It gives colleges the ability to plan better for the use of additional revenue and in effect, grants the colleges additional appropriation authority (albeit limited due to the non-recurring nature of these resources).

DPCU: Discretely Presented Component Unit

DGSC: Doctoral and Students’ Council.

FTE Position (full-time equivalent): A statistical term; does not necessarily represent a person. A full-time equivalent position may be either: (1) a position that is utilized for a full-time annually paid employee, or (2) a combination of hourly employees equated to full-time positions. GCF: Graduate Center Foundation.

IFR (Income Fund Reimbursable): IFR represents tuition receipts and fees paid for self-supporting accounts such as Continuing and Professional Studies. Money received is deposited periodically with the State of New York, which in turn allows the College to pay for goods and services and fund the appropriate payrolls. A surcharge, assessed at 20.0% of gross revenue, is remitted to NYS via the NYC government. In addition, there is a 5.9% overhead rate on the remaining income after the NYS surcharge is deducted. The fringe benefits for IFR programs, including those funded by Tech Fees, will be 33% for full-time employees and 10% for part-time employees.

OSFA: Office of Student Financial Aid

OTPS: Other than Personnel Service Expenses

PS: Personnel Service Expenses

UBO: University Budget Office

UBIT: Unrelated Business Income Tax

Our Tuition and Fees and Bursar pages contain extensive information about tuition and fees. You can also review CUNY’s Tuition & Fee Manual, which outlines all policies regarding tuition and fees across the CUNY system.

Under our Expenditure Policy, college funds may be used for ordinary and reasonable business-related expenses that support Graduate Center education, research, and public service missions. While such expenses are considered allowable by campus policies, certain funding sources may impose additional restrictions. For example, expenditures paid from federal and state funds or restricted gifts are subject to added conditions. Furthermore, various campus operating units may establish more restrictions on the use of funds. Such additional restrictions must be recognized when expenditures are being planned.

The primary source of public funding, referred to as tax-levy funds, is provided by New York State and allocated annually by CUNY Central. These funds are primarily allocated to personnel expenses.

The following are examples of tax-levy funds:

  • Funds appropriated by the State and City of New York, including funds appropriated for tuition revenue
  • Federal, state, and city financial aid
  • Funds held by the New York State treasury in income fund reimbursable accounts or deposited with New York City as non-miscellaneous income (such as technology fees)
  • Reimbursements of tax-levy expenditures, such as vendor refunds or summary salary reimbursements from RFCUNY

CUNY receives funds from a variety of sources. Many of the funds received are for specific, limited purposes or are subject to restrictions; however, some of the funds received — earned from sources other than student tuition and state funding — are of a discretionary nature and considered unrestricted non-tax levy funds. 

The following are examples of non-tax levy funds:

  • Gifts to the Graduate Center, its affiliated foundation(s), or its related entities
  • Commissions and royalties from service contracts such as pouring rights, food service, vending, and bookstore operations (including virtual)
  • Revenue from the licensing of CUNY facilities, such as classrooms, gyms, theatres, conference centers, and other spaces
  • Royalties from the licensing or other commercialization of CUNY intellectual property, including trademarks, copyright, patents, and technology
  • Admission fees and revenues from ticket sales, such as for athletic and entertainment events
  • Membership fees, such as for alumni and community memberships to athletic and wellness facilities
  • Revenues from parking lots and garages, including sale of parking permits
  • Revenues from sales of publications and subscriptions
  • Child care center tuition and fees
  • Indirect cost recoveries on grants and contracts administered through the Research Foundation of the City University of New York (RFCUNY) or elsewhere
  • Other miscellaneous revenues, such as interest income, forfeited bond deposits, and insurance proceeds, regardless of where the funds are held or who administers them

Under our Expenditure Policy, any expenditure with any of the following characteristics does not reflect the proper stewardship of campus funds and is considered “unallowable” regardless of the source of funds.

  1. It does not support the Graduate Center mission of education, research, and public service.
  2. It is extreme, excessive, illegal, or is not a normal and ordinary cost incurred in the conduct of official campus activities. Examples of excessive cost are Bose headphones, styling pens, and AirPods.
  3. It represents recognition not associated with job performance or professional recognition, service, or morale for a faculty member, staff member, or student. For example, costs to recognize birthdays, childbirth or adoption, wedding, anniversaries, or office professionals/Secretary’s Day are unallowable.
  4. It represents a personal expense that is neither business-related nor required in carrying out an individual’s job responsibilities. Examples of personal expenses are:
    • Parking permits, fines, or interest charges on personal/corporate credit cards
    • Amusement, entertainment, or social activities that are not directly connected to campus functions or purposes
    • Memberships and other purchases that lend themselves to personal use, such as the Automobile Association of America, private clubs, airline clubs, Sam’s Club, newspaper home delivery, and prepaid calling cards
  5. The expenditure was (or will be) reimbursed from another source.
  6. The expenditure is for individual association membership fees, dues, or licenses that are not directly related to the individual’s position or academic discipline.

Requests for additional information or exceptions to this policy should be directed to the Deputy to the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration or the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.

The Graduate Center is a nonprofit state entity. However, unlike most other state entities with fiscal years of April 1 to March 31, our fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 of each year.

You can review our annual year-end financial reports, available for download in the Financial Reports section of this page.

This report, as prepared by the Budget Office, provides expenditure, revenue, enrollment, and staffing data for the Graduate Center. It includes the following information:

  • Comparison of Expenditures to Resources
    • The comparison of total expenditures to total revenue provides the projected year-end condition of the college. Total resources include campus-based tax-levy allocations and technology fees as well as centrally administered expenditures such as fringes, building rentals, and energy.
    • City University Tuition Reimbursable Account (CUTRA) and reserve balances are used to offset expenditures above total resources. CUTRA and reserve funds are unexpended tuition revenue collections above target for previous years. 
  • Expenditures
    • Final year-end tax-levy expenditures are compared to the previous fiscal year’s tax-levy expenditures in total and by category. Expenditures are net of any refunds of appropriations.
  • Revenue
    • Revenue data provided includes the fiscal year revenue target and a comparison of fiscal year actual collections to the prior fiscal year actual collections.
  • Enrollment
  • Staffing
    • Full-time staff figures are provided by CUNYfirst for I&DR Teaching, I&DR Support, Academic Support, Student Services, Maintenance and Operations, General Administration, General Institutional Services, SEEK/CD Staff, and Other Staff for three terms.

Budget Basics

A budget is an estimate of income and planned expenditure during a fiscal year. The Graduate Center budget serves as a framework to ensure its goals and priorities can be supported with available resources.

Our operating budget includes salaries, supplies, equipment, travel, and other activities required to carry out our day-to-day operations at the Graduate Center.

Funding for the Graduate Center budget is supported through both a public budget and private sources.

The largest portion of the GC's funding comes from tax-levy funds granted by New York State and allocated by CUNY Central.

Other funding sources include:

Capital Project funds. Capital projects are long-term investments typically made by government entities to improve or maintain capital assets like buildings. The funding typically comes from government entities, including the New York State Bonded projects, the New York City Council, and the Borough President’s office, and is specifically designated for such projects. There are strict guidelines in place for using these funds, which means capital funding cannot be applied to other opportunities (such as student support). While the Graduate Center identifies capital projects and secures the funding, once a project is funded we work in collaboration with CUNY’s Facility Planning, Construction, and Management Office, which manages the execution of such projects, and subsequent agencies as needed. Because capital funding is unavailable for general allocation, these funds are not included in annual expense reporting. 

Private funding managed by the GC's Related Entities. The Related Entities are internal tax-exempt organizations established for charitable and educational purposes. These funds are generally restricted for specific use, and as such are not included in the annual budget planning for the GC. Private sources of GC funding support include:

  • Grants and sponsored research (must be used to support their intended research projects and are unavailable for other expenses)
  • Private philanthropy (private donations from individuals or organizations; approximately 85-90% of our philanthropic support is restricted, meaning that funds can only be spent in accordance with the donor’s wishes)
  • Auxiliary services (revenue generated through space rentals, conference services, and catering fees associated with events)

The Graduate Center sorts expenses into two categories:

  • Personnel Services (PS) expenses cover payroll for Graduate Center faculty, staff, and administration. Approximately 75-80% of the annual tax-levy funding is allocated to PS expenses.
  • Other Than Personnel Services (OTPS) expenses cover a variety of operating costs that are unrelated to payroll, such as office supplies, equipment, software and licensing, travel, contractual obligations, stipends for student fellows, and more.

In addition, the Graduate Center uses spending categories to classify the nature of each unit receiving a portion of the GC's tax-levy funds. The industry-standard functional categories of expense used are:

  • Academic Support expenses fund services and resources in support of academic programs and learning, such as the GC library and classroom technology/audio-visual equipment.
  • Fellowship Support expenses are allocated to faculty teaching support, student stipends, financial aid, and assistance programs.
  • General Administration expenses support administrative/business units including the Office of the President, Office of the VP and Provost, Human Resources, Public Affairs, the Business Office, Facilities Services, Public Safety, and Information Technology.
  • Instruction expenses are attributed to academic programs and departments.
  • Research expenses are primarily supported by private philanthropy and grants; faculty travel expenses also fall under this category.
  • Student Services expenses are attributed to departments such as Admissions, the Registrar, Student Affairs, and the Wellness Center.

New York State provides funding, derived from state aid and tuition revenue, for the senior colleges — including the Graduate Center — using line item appropriations. Colleges receive an initial allocation of their annual budgets at the beginning of the academic year. Subsequent allocations are made during the year to adjust for revenue collections and to disburse additional funds.

Every year, CUNY submits an operating tax-levy budget request to New York State and New York City comprised of two elements:

  • The mandatory (baseline) request, which includes contractual salary increases as well as requests for rent, fringe benefits, and energy increases, and new building needs
  • The programmatic request, based on University Program initiatives outlined in the Master Plan, which is developed by the University’s central leadership in consultation with various CUNY constituencies, including members of the Board of Trustees, College Presidents, and faculty and student representatives

To learn more about the CUNY budget process, visit the CUNY Budget & Finance Office.

The Graduate Center follows an incremental budget process. An incremental budget is a budget prepared using a previous period's budget or actual performance as a basis with incremental amounts added for the new budget period. This process affords us the predictability of baseline budget allocations and the flexibility to adapt our budget plans in the face of unanticipated cuts or changes in CUNY priorities.

When developing the annual budget, the Budget Office takes into account:

  • Institutional priorities as set forth in the Graduate Center’s strategic plan
  • Consultations with campus leaders
  • Academic Report and Requests (ARR) provided by the academic units
  • City, state, and federal mandates
  • Contractual requirements for personnel
  • Annual financial aid commitments

Each summer, the Budget Office meets with senior management to develop the annual GC budget request. This process is informed by GC senior management’s consultations with campus leaders following an annual review of institutional priorities as set forth in the Graduate Center’s strategic plan; in the Academic Report and Requests (ARR) provided by the academic units; city, state, and federal mandates; contractual requirements for personnel; and annual financial aid commitments. Upon receipt of the annual allocation, spending plans are established.

The Graduate Center Budget Office is responsible for planning and allocating tax-levy funds, which make up the majority of the GC's funding, with input from GC departments and oversight from GC leadership.

Funds received through private sources are largely managed by the GC Related Entities.

​The Graduate Center plans its budget within the New York State and CUNY budget planning cycles.


CUNY submits annual budget request to New York State.


NYS budget is announced and negotiations begin.

  • In January, the governor issues the executive budget for all state agencies, including SUNY and CUNY.

  • The state legislature holds public hearings on the proposed budget and negotiates with the governor’s office.


GC budget planning begins at unit level. NYS budget is finalized.

  • GC departments begin discussing unit-level budgetary needs and goals for the upcoming academic year in the context of the GC strategic plan.

  • The state of New York finalizes its budget by April 1. CUNY is notified of the systemwide budget allocation soon afterward and subsequently finalizes allocations to individual campuses


GC budget allocation announced by CUNY. Unit requests are reviewed and allocations are finalized.

  • Campuses are notified by CUNY’s budget office about their allocation in late May or early June.
  • Academic program requests are articulated in the Academic Report and Requests (ARR) and submitted to the provost in spring for review in early summer. Every attempt is made to respond to programs as soon as possible, no later than October 1.
  • Administrative departments, such as IT, submit requests to the relevant vice president, with decisions made according to institutional priorities as dictated by the strategic plan.
  • The VPs then review institutional priorities along with departmental budget requests and make adjustments as needed to properly allocate available funds granted by the state and CUNY Central.
  • In August, the Budget Office notifies individual departments of their budget allocations, and OTPS allocations are then loaded into CUNYfirst to process expenditures.


Budget allocations are adjusted as needed.

  • The Budget Office monitors additional allocations received periodically via budget certificates (an allocation of appropriated funds provided from New York State).

Departmental Budgets

Tax-levy OTPS budgets are entered in CUNYfirst for all departments to commence purchases for the fiscal year.

All departments are advised to adhere closely to their budget, especially when credit card purchases are made, since requests for supplemental OTPS allocations will not be honored during the fiscal year.

OTPS Department Budgets are grouped into five expense categories:

  • 80120 – Supplies and Materials   
  • 80121 – Travel
  • 80122 – Contractual Services
  • 80123 – Equipment Acquisition
  • 80124 – Fringe Benefits

CUNY offers a helpful tool to explain what types of expenditures can be paid for with tax-levy funds. Please consult CUNY's All Funds Expense Matrix before authorizing any expenditures to ensure your department complies with the guidelines.

The Office of the Provost and Executive Officers (EOs) of the GC's academic programs use Academic Report and Requests (ARR) Forms to help prioritize and plan for funding requirements to support programs’ future development. EOs are encouraged to use the form as a guide to discuss needs and goals with program faculty and, as appropriate, students. The ARR process takes place during the spring semester, with completed ARRs due to the Office of the Provost by June.

View a sample draft of the ARR

Budget planning is an active process that goes on all year. Departments should always be reviewing goals and priorities and aligning them with available funding.

Non-academic department budget requests should be submitted to the unit’s vice president by April.

Academic departments request OTPS allocations for the upcoming fiscal year.

Requests for authorization for searches are needed well in advance to allow for a robust search and the securing of the funding. For example, in May 2021 (FY21) an executive officer might request approval to begin a search in fall 2021 (FY22) for a faculty hire to join the GC in fall 2022 (FY23)

CUNYfirst offers real-time tracking of departmental budgets and spending.

Academic units use the Academic Report and Requests (ARR) for their budget requests.

Non-academic units work with their vice presidents to develop budget planning tools that reflect the needs and functions of their operations.

Guidance for Meetings with Meals/Refreshments

Yes. CUNY must adhere to New York State requirements of reasonableness when ordering food for a meeting:

  • Payment or reimbursement of meals and refreshments at meetings must be regarded as an atypical event, and not as a routine business practice.
  • The purpose and expected duration of the meeting must be stated in the agenda.
  • The meeting must be at least two hours long and must include attendees other than departmental staff.
  • If a meeting is canceled, the food request must be canceled immediately.
  • The number of attendees must equal or exceed the number for whom food was ordered.

Please review our Guidelines for Meals Served on Premises for Business Meetings for details.

Light refreshments ($8.00/person per state allowances) include bagels, rolls, Danishes, cookie assortments, fruit, coffee, and tea.

Modest meals ($15.00/person per state allowances) include assorted sandwiches, choice of pasta or tossed green salad, soda, water, and juice.

Please note: these rates include all tips, delivery charges, and incidentals.

Yes. Unallowed costs, which include:

  • Social events: on-site social events, such as office parties, birthdays, retirements, funerals, or graduations are not allowable costs and should never be paid from tax levy funds.
  • Alcohol beverages: Alcoholic beverage or related costs can never be paid for or reimbursed by tax-levy funds.
  • Off-site staff meetings: Meals solely for CUNY employees taken off site, while not in Travel status, must not be paid from tax levy funds under any circumstance.

Making a Purchase

A requisition is an authorized request for the purchase of goods and/or services. 

Once you have identified the need for a good or service, you must document the need and confirm that the costs are reasonable and allowable for the intended funding source. All college acquisitions, with the exceptions of a valid credit card purchase and a pre-approved emergency purchase, require a requisition in CUNYfirst.

State funds (tax-levy) are to be used only for the actual, ordinary, and necessary expenditures that occur in the best interest of CUNY’s business operation. The All Funds Expense Matrix lays out the goods and services that can be purchased by the various funding sources at the Graduate Center. Unallowable tax-levy expenditures include, but are not limited to:

  • Attorney fees
  • Donations/contributions
  • Entertainment (including parties, receptions, welcome, retirement & award ceremony)
  • Fines/penalties
  • Fundraising
  • Gifts/gift cards
  • Goods/services for personal use
  • Lobbying
  • Local taxi service
  • New York State taxes
  • Software
  • Third party reimbursements
  • Travel insurance 
  • Valet parking 
  • Wine/liquor
  • Any other expenses that are deemed unacceptable

You may only order goods or services directly from a vendor if it is a valid P-Card purchase and/or it is a valid emergency purchase. In the case of an emergency, please contact the Purchasing Office immediately at Pre-approval from CUNY Central Office is required to streamline the procurement cycle. Casual planning does not constitute an emergency.

Deans, department chairs, directors, and managers have no authorization to procure goods and services or enter into contractual relationships with any vendor. Vendors who contact employees of the GC directly should be advised that all purchases chargeable to the GC must be authorized by an official purchase order, signed by the Director of Purchasing or his designee.

Only Procurement personnel are authorized to make purchases of goods and services on behalf of a college or the Central Office. Goods or services ordered in advance of a valid purchase order created by the Purchasing Office will be deemed “confirming orders.” A confirming order is an order placed by an end user (requester) without following the standard procurement cycle, which begins with the creation of a CUNYfirst requisition and the issuance of a purchase order by the Purchasing Office. Confirming orders, except for valid P-Card or emergency purchases, that are in violation of CUNY’s procurement policy will be escalated to the college’s VP of Finance and Administration for review and action and will be subject to audit from CUNY’s Office of Internal Audit. Individuals who procure goods or services directly from vendors (confirming orders) may be liable for payment for the order.

All purchases, with the exception of emergency purchases and expense reimbursements, must be processed using the complete procurement cycle, beginning with the creation of a requisition in CUNYfirst and the issuance of a purchase order. Procurement should be consulted immediately in the event an emergency purchase is required. Emergency purchases must be authorized by the college or Central Office. These emergency purchases must be followed by the standard CUNY procurement process, including an approved requisition, and the issuance of a confirming purchase order to the vendor.

Some goods/services that are paid for today using non-PO vouchers should be managed through the use of blanket purchase orders in CUNYfirst (for example, advertising, hardware supplies, etc.). Others can be paid for using the P-Card.

In those limited situations where a vendor does not accept a purchase order or P-card, please contact the purchasing office at  

No payments will be made to a vendor without a valid purchase order in CUNYfirst.

The best place to start is to contact the Purchasing office at before starting the process. There are many procedures, rules, and regulations to follow that you may not be aware of. 

Before any requisitions are initiated, the Purchasing office must grant you access to the finance module on CUNYfirst and coordinate with the Budget Office to determine that funds are available. 

Steps in the Process

  1. Request
    • The requestor is the person who is responsible or accountable for the purchase -- it may be the primary beneficiary of the goods or services, or a delegate able to submit requisitions on behalf of a broader set of beneficiaries (such as faculty, students, or department staff); in this case, the requestor is still accountable for the purchase even if not the primary beneficiary of the goods/services. The requestor creates the requisition and gets it approved and budget checked, creating a pre-encumbrance (request to reserve budget funds) in the system.
    • If the purchase will be paid from tax-levy funds, an electronic requisition must be created online in CUNYfirst.
    • If the purchase will be paid from non-tax levy funds, a manual (paper) requisition must be filled out. Non-tax levy funds include: GC Foundation funds, the Child Development and Learning Center, DGSC funds, and others. Each purchase requisition is to be limited to those commodities which are similar in nature, and which are presumably available from one vendor. In this case, the purchasing is processed by the GC Controller's office, please contact  
  2. Source
    • After approval by a supervisor, the requisition goes to the Purchasing Office for review. Purchasing issues a purchase order (PO), creating an encumbrance (a commitment to pay the requested funds) in the system. The printed PO is first initialed by the assigned purchasing agent, then signed by the supervisor. Following the approval, the purchase order is viewable by the end user, Central Receiving Department, VP of Finance, Property Manager, and Accounts Payable.

  3. Receiving

    • The vendor sends the items/performs the service and sends an invoice.

  4. Process Invoice

    • After receiving the goods/services, the requestor creates the receipt and lets the University Accounts Payable Office know that the invoice is approved to be paid.

  5. Pay

    • The University Accounts Payable office matches the PO, receipt, and signed invoice and issues a payment voucher, creating an expense in the system. Finally, the check is issued to the vendor by the state.

For in-depth information about the process, you can review the CUNY Procurement website.

Please contact the Purchasing Office at before starting the process. There are many procedures, rules, and regulations to follow that you may not be aware of. The Purchasing office must grant you access to the finance module on CUNYfirst and coordinate with the Budget Office to determine that funds are available. Without this access, you will not be able to complete any purchasing- or payment-related tasks. Again we encourage you to contact for support. After your access has been set up, follow the steps outlined in our Requisition Creation Guide (currently being updated). 

You do not have to fill out a purchase requisition for travel reimbursement requests or postage and mailing requests.

Follow the steps outlined in our Requisition Approval Guide (currently being updated).

All requisitions must be approved in CUNYfirst by the requestor’s supervisor. Specific category approval is also required for specifically identified goods and services, including information technology, hazardous materials, outside legal services, construction funded from operating funds, and furniture/equipment. With the exception of outside legal services, the requisition will be routed to the appropriate category approver based on the business unit of the user who created the requisition:

  • Information technology requisitions will be routed in CUNYfirst to the CIO and/or their designee(s).
  • Hazardous materials requisitions will be routed for approval in CUNYfirst to the Hazmat/OSHA Manager and/or their designee(s).
  • Construction requisitions will be routed in CUNYfirst to the facilities manager and/or their designee(s) for approval.
  • Furniture and other non-IT equipment requisitions will be routed in CUNYfirst to the Facilities department for approval.
  • Requisitions for outside legal services will be routed in CUNYfirst to the CUNY Office of General Counsel for approval.

Each category approver is responsible for ensuring that requisitions routed to them satisfy CUNY requirements and policies related to the relevant category of goods or services.

To ensure that the NYS audit requirements certifying receipt of goods and services are met, the CUNYfirst receiving process includes two key elements:

  • Entry of a system receipt in CUNYfirst.
    • This document will be created by the requestor and is associated with the purchase order sent to the vendor authorizing the order. Vendor payments cannot be made without a receipt in CUNYfirst. See our Receipt Creation Guide for instructions (currently being updated).
      • Requestors will enter either the quantity received, or in the event of a blanket (amount only) PO, the dollar amount received.
  • A physical signature on a receipt document that is associated with the CUNYfirst system receipt.
    • If there is a packing slip associated with goods received, a signed and dated packing slip must be scanned and attached to the receipt.
    • If there is a work order for services performed, a signed work order must be scanned and attached to the system receipt.
    • If goods/services are procured via a blanket purchase order, a signed copy of the invoice must be scanned and attached to the system receipt.

The original, signed receipt document (packing slip, work order, invoice) must be sent to the University Accounts Payable office prior to processing the voucher to pay the vendor. Please send complete paperwork to

Vendor Registration

The CUNY system is committed to promoting supplier diversity and ensuring that NYS-certified minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) and NYS-certified service-disabled veteran owned businesses (SDVOB) are provided equal opportunities to offer goods and services at competitive prices. CUNY’s Supplier Diversity program is coordinated and managed by the University Office of Budget and Finance. Vendors who are looking to start, grow, or expand their business should explore the Sell to CUNY website.

Yes. CUNY uses the practice of competitive solicitation, which means that purchases paid out of tax-levy funds must adhere to various requirements at specified dollar thresholds:

Dollar Range


Average Time from Requisition to PO 

Up to $19,999

Informal Purchase: Telephone quotations will be emailed to at least five (5) prospective bidders, who must submit their quote via email or fax to the Purchasing Office by a specified date and time. 

1-3 weeks


Informal Purchase: Uses a Request for Quotation (RFQ) for purchases of goods/services or combination of goods/services. Also may be used as a method of procurement for purchases from State-Certified Minority/Women-Owned Businesses (MWBE) that have a value up to $200,000. RFQs will be emailed to a minimum of five (5) prospective bidders, who must submit their authorized quote via mail, hand delivery, email, or fax by the RFQ Response Deadline. Advertisement (minimum 15 business days) is required for purchases $50,000 and above in NYS Contract Reporter. Review and approval may also be required by CUNY's Office of General Counsel (OGC).

2-6 weeks

$200,000 and above

Formal Purchase: Uses an Invitation for Bids (IFB) or Request for Proposal (RFP). Advertisement in NYS Contract Reporter is required. Review and approval is required by CUNY's Office of General Counsel. Moreover, purchases of $500,000 require submission of a Board Resolution for approval by the CUNY Board of Trustees, NYS Office of the Comptroller, and NYS Attorney General.

3-6 months

Engaging a consultant is handled just like other purchases of services.

You must provide substantive reasons why a specific consultant is being identified for certain services, and the Purchasing Office must determine from that information if a single source or sole source procurement method is appropriate in a given circumstance. In addition, reasonableness of prices is always a consideration.

To begin the Independent Contractor Agreement process, create a requisition in CUNYfirst entering a “Dummy Vendor” as the vendor/payee if the vendor/payee is not already in CUNYfirst. If the services will be performed as part of an event, please attach an event program, flier, or agenda describing the purpose of the event and a sign-in sheet. Please also provide (in the comments section of the requisition) the following information about the vendor:

  • Full name
  • Street address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • A description of the specific services to be provided, including duration of service(s), dates of service(s) will be provided, and pricing structure

As soon as this information is received, the college's vendor liaisons will contact the vendor/payee to begin the Vendor Payee Registration process, which is required in order to issue a purchase order. The registration process may take up to two weeks, provided that all required forms are completed correctly. This registration must be completed prior to the rendering of services.

Following the registration process, four copies of the Independent Contractor Agreement will be sent to the vendor/payee for completion and notarization. After the agreement has been completed by the vendor/payee and returned to the Purchasing Office, a purchase order is created. An executed copy of the Independent Contractor Agreement will be sent to the vendor/payee along with a copy of the purchase order and instructions for beginning the payment process.

Please note: a current student or employee cannot be hired as a consultant.

​​Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA - Tax-Levy) (link to come)

Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA - Non-Tax Levy) (link to come)

CUNY Vendor Registration Form/Substitute W-9

Yes. In accordance with the Statewide Financial System (SFS), individuals are now required to be a registered and validated vendor with the State of New York in order for CUNY to process an encumbrance or payment for goods and/or services. 

Vendors can also register with the state to get paid via direct deposit.

Graduate Center employees, students, and other CUNY employees can be added to the vendor file through the Accounts Payable Office. Once we receive all the required information below, we can request a New York State Vendor SFS Number on your behalf. 

Prior to submitting a reimbursement request, review to ensure that all the required information from the payee is completely filled in, legible, and accurate:

  • Social Security or individual Tax Identification Number
  • Name
  • Permanent and remittance addresses
  • Contact information (email address and phone)
  • Authorized signature

On the NYS Travel Voucher, indicate the address of the employee’s primary work location in the field identified as “Official Station”: for example, Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave, New York, NY.

On the NYS Standard Voucher, indicate the name of the employee’s primary work location in the field identified as “Name of Company”: for example, Hunter College, New York, NY.

Non-CUNY employees who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are required to complete a CUNY Vendor Registration Form to obtain a New York State SFS Vendor Number.

Ask your vendor to follow the guidelines below to ensure that the form is properly completed:

Part I: Vendor Information

  1. Legal Business Name: Enter the name of the individual as it appears on federal tax documents.
  2. Doing Business As (DBA): Alternate name for the payee if applicable.
  3. Entity Type (check one only): Individual/Sole Proprietor.

Part II: Taxpayer Identification Number

  1. Enter TIN here: Enter your Federal Identification Number.
    • Social Security Number (SSN) for U.S. persons – DO NOT EMAIL – fax or mail the form to CUNY Central Vendor Management Unit as indicated.
    • Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for non-U.S. persons.
  2. Taxpayer Identification Type:
    1. Check the appropriate box that corresponds with your TIN.

Part III: Company Address

  1. Enter the address of the individual’s primary residence.

Part IV: Default Remit to Address

  1. If different from above- enter the location where you want your payment to be delivered

Part V (skip)

Part VI: Contact Information

  1. Provide your individual contact information to ensure you receive an invitation to join the “NYS Vendor Self Service.” The portal will allow you to manage your address/contact information and search details about payments. For more information, review the state’s Vendor Guide.

Parts VII, VIII, and IX (skip)

Part X: Commodities/Services 

  1. Enter XX-SSNO – Non-Commodity Vendors (Social Security).

Non-CUNY employees who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents are required to complete the following:

All the required documents should be forwarded to CUNY Vendor Management Unit, where a New York State SFS Vendor Number will be requested on your behalf. Note that the information requested on all forms is identical.

Since most individuals who seek to do business with CUNY will be physically present in the US and providing a service, they must first apply and receive an ITIN number from the IRS using Form W-7.

If the individual is/was physically present in the U.S. and supplied goods/services, a TIN number is required (complete all three forms).

If the individual is/was not physically present in the U.S. and supplied services, a TIN number is required (complete all three forms).

If the individual is/was not physically present in the U.S. and is supplying goods, a TIN number is not required (only complete the CUNY and NYS forms).

Vendors registered with a NYS Vendor ID can use the Vendor Self-Service Portal on the Statewide Financial System (SFS) to check the status of invoices, purchase orders and payments, submit electronic invoices, and update contact and address information and enroll in various State programs and initiatives (for example, receiving purchase orders and payments electronically).

Once a vendor is registered to the NYS Vendor File, they will receive an email with instructions on how to enroll in the online Vendor Self-Service application. If they have not received this email, contact the SFS Help Desk at 855.233.8363, 518.457.7717, or

If a vendor is not registered with the Vendor Self-Service System, they can complete the Add, Update, or Delete Vendor Contact Form to update their information.


Purchasing Cards (P-Cards)

There are three types of cards:

  • P-Card (purchasing card): used for small-dollar, discretionary, non-travel related expenditures under certain circumstances on behalf of CUNY
  • T-Card (travel card): used by a tax-levy employee to pay for travel expenses when traveling on official state business
  • NET-Card (non-employee travel card): used to procure travel arrangements for non-tax levy employees

Review the CUNY Tax Levy Credit Card Compliance guidance.

Review the CUNY Tax Levy Credit Card Compliance guidance.

You may not use a P-Card to purchase any type of computer hardware or software products. Similarly, out-of-pocket expenses for the purchase of computer hardware and software products will not be reimbursed. Please contact the Purchasing office at for all computer hardware purchases. Microsoft Office Productivity Suites, along with a few other software products, are available to all active CUNY faculty and staff at the CUNY eMall free of charge. If you wish to purchase computer software not available through the CUNY eMall, please contact the Purchasing office at


Making an Honorarium Payment

An honorarium is a payment, fee, or compensation given to an individual for services rendered that are not part of the employee’s official duties, e.g. giving a speech, authoring an article, or serving on a panel at a meeting or a conference. Payment may be in the form of a gratuity, fee, travel, or lodging expenses (or reimbursements of such expenses). There is no contractual agreement, and both the honorarium payment and the amount are discretionary.

CUNY recently updated the process for paying Honorarium. Please see the new guidelines

Please contact Angella Bowley at, before initiating the process of paying an Honorarium.

No. An Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) is a contract used for all other services that are outside the scope of an honorarium. For example, the ICA is used when:

  • The amount paid to a speaker is not discretionary
  • The agreement has other negotiated terms such as travel expenses
  • The event suggests that the speaker will be giving multiple presentations
  • The individual is a professional speaker

An ICA must be reviewed and signed by the Director of Purchasing, Ron Paynter before any work begins. Please be sure to contact Ron Paynter before initiating an ICA, at

Travel and Expense Reimbursement

First, request access to the Travel and Expenses module in CUNYfirst.

If you are an expense user:

  1. Complete the T&E Access Request Form (right-click on the hyperlink and select "Download Linked File" to download the form).
  2. Complete the CUNYfirst Employee Data Update Form.
  3. Return both forms in person or by interoffice mail to the Business Office, attention Belinda Desrosiers in Room 8105.05.

If you are a proxy or a supervisor/delegate approver:

  1. Complete the T&E Access Request Form (right-click on the hyperlink and select "Download Linked File" to download the form).
  2. Return the form to the Business Office, attention Belinda Desrosiers.
  3. Complete the CUNYfirst Employee Data Update Form and return it to the Accounts Payable Office.

Please also review our CUNY Travel Policy Guide for answers to many frequently asked questions.

If you are traveling more than 35 miles from your home on official Graduate Center business, you must create a travel authorization. Follow the steps outlined in our Travel Authorization Guide.

Register with CONCUR. CONCUR is the online travel reservation system offered by Direct Travel, the New York State-approved travel agent.

Follow the steps outlined in our Expense Report Guide. Per the Office of the State Comptroller, only actual, necessary, and reasonable business expenses from your travel will be reimbursed.

Yes. Refer to the New York State travel reimbursement rates for details.

Yes. For travel within New York State, a New York State Hotel Tax Exemption Certificate (ST-129) must be completed and provided to the hotel.

Yes. If you used a personal vehicle, you must submit the Statement of Automobile Travel Form along with your travel expense voucher. Please note that you must follow travel mileage rates set by New York State.

Follow the steps outlined in our Travel Authorization and Expense Report Guide.

These transactions are processed in the Travel and Expense module through My Wallet, which enables travel card transactions received from Citibank to be loaded directly into the CUNYfirst Travel and Expense module. Review CUNY’s My Wallet Training Guide and View Expenses in My Wallet Guide for detailed instructions.

Gather the following paperwork and submit hard copies to Accounts Payable:

This business process does not require any CUNYfirst entry.

Setting up Student Funding

If you department would like to allocate money toward student funding, complete the following documents and bring hard copies to Accounts Payable: 

Make sure the student's mailing address is accurate. Student stipend checks that were issued in a previous fiscal year but were not delivered due to bad mailing address cannot be reissued. A new voucher must be created, and it will be charged against the department's current fiscal year budget allocation. Also, student stipends for services cannot be processed via tax levy funds under any circumstances.

This business process does not require any CUNYfirst entry.

Grant Funds

The Graduate Center’s grant activities for the General Fund are communicated to and coordinated with the Principal Investigator, Project Directors, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Business Office.

All reports and other accounting documents associated with contracts and grants need to be handled promptly and properly. These records are crucial to the Graduate Center, the granting agency, and each department involved with administering the grants. Accountability — making sure that the money is spent correctly and on time — is essential in managing grants.

All grants must be carried out within budgetary and other guidelines that the funding agency and the Graduate Center have agreed upon. Expenditures need to be closely monitored and well documented. 

Upon receipt of a grant, Principal Investigators/Project Directors should submit the grant details to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Principal Investigators/Project Directors should immediately forward all notifications of grant awards to the Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, as well as to the Graduate Center Business Office.

Principal Investigators/Project Directors should forward all grant checks to the Graduate Center Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will coordinate acknowledgment of grant payments and will deliver checks and related information to the Graduate Center Business Office for deposit into an existing or a newly established grant Fund.

Principal Investigators/Project Directors must complete the New Fund Form and provide the Business Office with general information (project summary, project budget, any special conditions/requirements) needed to establish expense accounts for projects. After the Business Office creates the new fund, Principal Investigators/Project Directors will be provided with Authorized Signature Forms, which must be completed, signed, and returned to the Business Office. Payment Request Forms and Deposit Request Forms can be downloaded from Argos once the new Fund has been created. The Business Office will provide any other forms needed for processing payments.

If you intend to pay someone’s salary from your grant funds, they should be placed on CUNY Research Foundation payroll to cover their salary, fringe benefits, and MTA tax (.34% x the salary).

Please prepare a check request, with the CUNY Research Foundation as the payee, and submit it to the Business Office along with the RF Project Number and the budgeted period.

In order to transfer funds from grants to reimburse the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for payroll expenses paid with tax-levy funds in connection with visiting professors, guest speakers, and contractors, Principal Investigators/Project Directors must submit completed Payment Request Forms (along with the appropriate supporting documentation) to the General Fund Office in Room 8401.

Please indicate the exact dollar amount to be reimbursed to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Additionally, please provide a breakdown of the payroll expense; specify the amount pertaining to academic year salary and the amount pertaining to summer salary.

Principal Investigators/Project Directors must submit completed Payment Request Forms (along with appropriate supporting documentation) to the General Fund Office

During the grant period, changes may occur unexpectedly, prompting the need for an extension, re-budgeting, carry forward request, change to key personnel, change on scope of the work, and investigator change. As soon as these changes are identified, Principal Investigators/Project Directors should ensure that the modifications are pre-approved by the funding agency. Please notify the Business Office as soon as possible about any adjustments.

All orders for goods and services must follow regular procedures (see the Purchasing and Payments section of this page).

Charges to grant funds must be documented and justified with supporting documents. Payments to outside vendors for goods and services will be made upon receipt of an original invoice. Requests to reimburse personnel for expenses must include the required supporting documentation such as original receipts and invoices. Photocopies of the original documentation will not be approved for processing. Internal charges (e.g., mailing, photocopying, and office supplies) must be itemized and coded before expenses will be posted.

No. The Graduate Center General Fund will provide any financial reporting required. However, Principal Investigators/Project Directors are responsible for the preparation and prompt submission of any progress and final reports required by the granting agencies.

ACH/Wire Transfers

Wire transfers are generally issued to international payees only. U.S.-based payees are generally paid via check or ACH transfer unless extenuating circumstances exist. A wire transfer may be the best payment method if:

  • The vendor will have difficulty cashing a check drawn on a U.S. bank account or issued in U.S. dollars
  • The payment might be delayed or the check might be lost if mailed overseas

Complete the ACH/Wire Transfer Request Form

You must select one of two options: Wire Transfer or ACH Transfer.  To ensure legibility and accuracy, complete the PDF fillable form before printing. All of the required fields (including Memo Information) must be completed and must be clear and legible. The form must also include the Fund Manager's signature. Incorrect information may delay the processing of a transfer request.

All departments/funds that request to have their funds wire transferred will be charged as follows:

  • International wire transfer: $20
  • Domestic wire transfer: $10

For domestic transfers, the requester can have their funds transferred using the ACH network instead of a wire transfer. The ACH network takes one to two business days to settle. There is no charge for ACH transfers. You will need the beneficiary information and the beneficiary bank information, including the account number, the ABA, or the Routing number.

For international wires, you need to provide the beneficiary information and the beneficiary bank information, including the SWIFT or the BIC code. (Additional information may be required for some countries.) If the payee's bank is part of the European Community, the IBAN and SWIFT are required as well.

The IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is a series of alphanumeric characters which uniquely identify an account held at a bank. It can be up to 34 characters long and contains a two-character country code, two check digits, and the basic account number. The basic account number identifies the bank as well as the account holder. In printed format, spaces are inserted for better readability (i.e. DE16 5003 3300 0532 0130 00).

The BIC (Bank Identifier Code) is an eight-character code also known as the SWIFT address and is uniquely assigned to banks. Branch codes can be added to the BIC to further designate which branch of a bank should receive the SWIFT message. When a branch code is added, the BIC has 11 characters (i.e. BARCGB22 or DEUTDE3B400).

Financial Reports

FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26

Graduate Center


FY 2022

Graduate Center


New York City/State

FY 2021

Graduate Center


New York City/State

FY 2020

Graduate Center


New York City/State

FY 2019

Graduate Center


New York City/State

FY 2018

Graduate Center


New York City/State