Frequently Asked Questions

Controller FAQs

Property Accounting FAQ's

Property Accounting FAQs When do I capitalize an item?

Capitalize only those items that have a unit cost equal to or greater than $5,000 and have a life expectancy of more than one year or are component parts integrated into existing equipment meeting the conditions mentioned.

What is a fabrication?

Fabrications are individual items which cannot function or stand alone and ultimately will have a unit cost of $5,000 or more. It is assembled from a number of parts, supplies and components. It is composed of individual items which cannot function or be useful alone or which lose their individual identity when incorporated into this item. This new item will ultimately have a combined cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life of more than one year. The following steps are required:

  • Complete a NOTICE OF FABRICATION AND REQUEST FOR FABRICATION FUND(S) form. This form identifies the item to be fabricated, the location where it will reside, the estimated total cost, the responsible organization, the planned project start and end dates and whether the item will remain at Rice after completion. This information will allow reviewers to determine whether the work contemplated is in accordance with the terms and conditions of the funding sources. Copies of POs are not required, but a listing of the major costs is needed either on the form or as an attachment. Please be sure to indicate the Fund-Org-Acct of the funding sources of the item. The completed and signed form may either be mailed to Property Accounting, MS 70, or scanned and emailed to FASCARD@RICE.EDU.
  • Property Accounting, Research & Cost Accounting, and the Office of Sponsored Research (if necessary) will review the request for a Fabrication Fund. If approved, Research & Cost Accounting or Current Funds Accounting will either establish a new fund number or issue a new sub-fund number if the fabrication is part of an existing project, process the budget revision to transfer the funds to the new fund or sub-fund and inform you of the fund or sub-fund number. Your request may be denied if the planned fabrication violates the terms and conditions of any of the funding sources. If denied, Research & Cost Accounting will explain the issues that need to be addressed.
  • This new Fabrication Fund number will be used for all costs relating to the equipment and a capital account code is to be used for all charges. There is no need to identify each item of cost as a component because the fund number does this for you.

Each purchase of a component, or components, of the fabrication must be made in accordance with the Rice University Purchasing Policy.

A professor is leaving the University and wants to take some equipment with him; what should I do?

A professor who is leaving the University and wishes to transfer title of Rice-owned equipment should follow the steps below:

Office of the Vice President for Finance (VPF) should receive a memo from the dean of the school, chair, department administrator, etc. indicating his belief that the transfer is appropriate for whatever reason(s), that the equipment is not something that should remain at Rice for other research and that the payment is fair to Rice University. Attach a detailed listing for Equipment Transferring from Rice University (PDF or Excel) of all equipment including the asset numbers and or the purchase order numbers and submit a copy to Property Accounting. Property Accounting will review the list to ensure clear title to equipment and advise VPF and department. Assuming no funding agency complications, no clouded title, or other problems, after touching base with the Provost's office, VPA will issue a bill of sale upon receipt of check or electronic transfer. The proceeds of the sale need to go back into the grants used to purchase the equipment if they remain open. The proceeds can go into a department designated fund or grant(s) subject to awards terms and conditions.

Where do I get Rice ID tags?

Rice ID tags are issued by the Property Accounting office. There are 3 different tags provided. White bar code tags are automatically sent to departments for capitalized items, which meet the requirements as stated in question 1 above. Red tags are provided upon request only; these tags are for items less than $5,000 and for department control purposes only. It is not a requirement of the University but it is highly recommended that red tags are affixed to all items, which lend themselves to be easily moved or frequently taken off campus (i.e. laptops, cell phones, iPod, etc.). For items expected to remain off campus, please refer to the Authorization to Remove Equipment from Rice University Form. Yellow tags are provided for all government titled equipment.

There are 3 different tags provided. White bar code tags are automatically sent to departments for capitalized items and fabrications as defined in question 1 and 2 above.

example of property tags


How often is inventory performed?

The University performs a physical inventory of all capitalized equipment biennially.

For information about inventory procedures, please see Property Accounting Guidelines & Procedures.

Each Chair or Department Administrator should keep Property Accounting advised of the contact person for equipment related matters within their department. Property Accounting will survey each area annually to confirm the current contact person, but recommends they be notified as soon as a change occurs and within the first 30 days.

Can replacement parts be capitalized?

No, they cannot. When a part that belongs to an existing piece of equipment must be replaced due to wear and tear, the replacement part shall be purchased as expense and not as equipment.

What forms are required by Property Accounting and where can I get these forms?

Property Accounting uses a variety of forms. In the event of an absent purchase order, please see the PCR PDF form available. The Property Control Registration Form which is available online through Edgar Web apps under downloads. The Property Control Registration - Hazardous Form are used to document new acquisitions, transfers, drops or any changes to an asset. The Authorization to Remove Equipment from Rice University Campus Form is used to allow an asset to be temporarily relocated off campus. The Notice of Fabrication and Request for Fabrication Fund(s) is used to establish and modify existing fabrications. These forms may be found in the Forms section on the Controller's Office website, and/or in Property Accounting.

Property Accounting uses a variety of forms:

The Property Control Registration Form and The Property Control Registration - Hazardous Form are used to document new acquisitions, transfers, drops or any changes to an asset. The Authorization to Remove Equipment from Rice University Campus Form is used to allow an asset to be temporarily relocated off campus. The Notice of Fabrication and Request for Fabrication Fund(s) Form is used to establish and modify existing fabrications.

These forms may be found in the Forms menu on the Controller's Office web site, and/or in the Property Accounting Office.

A professor is transferring to Rice and wishes to bring some equipment with him; what should I do?

When an incoming professor transfers equipment from his/her previous university, the following actions are required:

Complete the Transferred Property Form and send it to Property Accounting in the Controller's Office with the required documentation (described below). Complete a Property Control Registration Form for each piece of equipment. Provide a copy of the approval(s) to transfer equipment from previous institution. Provide documentation of original acquisition date and cost of each piece of equipment. (This allows Property Accounting to determine whether the items meet Rice's capitalization threshold.) If original purchasing information is not available, this information must be provided on the Transferred Property Form. In this case, the Property Accounting Office or other authorized official of the transferring institution must sign the form. If any of these items are part of a fabrication that is new to Rice, complete a Fabrication form. If they are part of an existing fabrication, provide the fund number. If any Rice Purchase Order(s) or invoice(s) payable to Rice have been created or paid in association with this transfer, provide a copy of each. If the previous institution is being paid as a condition of this transfer, provide a copy of the agreement, or a written description of the agreement, and the current status of payments.

What are Equipment Categories?

Capitalized Equipment (≥ $5,000) - Each item of equipment shall be identified by a unique number stamped on the bar code. A bar code with adhesive backing that provides a permanent bond will be affixed to items of equipment. Only University titled equipment will reflect this number. Equipment will be tagged in such a place to readily facilitate ownership identification and assistance in taking physical inventories which will be taken every two years.

Certain items of equipment do not lend themselves to being tagged, but they must be inventoried. In such cases, the items will be assigned an inventory control number but will not be tagged. The bar code tag will be sent to the Department and must be kept on file for inventory purposes. The Controller’s Office is also able to keep these bar code tags on file, if requested.

Components - Items purchased, as new components for existing equipment shall be identified with the basic equipment. If components are to retain their individual identity, they will be tagged with the appropriate inventory tag. However, if the component is to be incorporated into other equipment and thereby lose its identity, it will not be tagged or inventoried. Instead, the value of the basic item will be increased by the value of the component.

Gifts of Equipment - Equipment received, as gifts will be inventoried the same as other University equipment. The value assigned to equipment by the donor will be accepted except when inspection shows the value to be unrealistic. When the assigned value is unrealistic or no value was assigned by the donor, a fair market value will be determined and that figure entered as the value. Property Accounting will assign and send a bar code tag to the department.

Equipment under $5,000 - At the request of the department, equipment under $5,000 that is owned by the University will be identified by a tag showing "Property of Rice University." Each tag shall have a unique number. For purchases less than $5,000 total cost, refer to the Purchasing Card User Manual on the Payment Solutions website.

Government-Furnished Equipment - Equipment furnished by the Government or excess property requisitioned by a department for use on federally sponsored research shall be controlled as other equipment and identified as U.S. Government property. A copy of the shipping papers transmitting the equipment to the University will be sent to the Property Administrator, along with completed Property Control Registration Form. Government titled equipment will be identified by a tag showing "Property of U.S. Government."

Leased or Rented Equipment - Equipment that is leased or rented by the University, such as computers and data terminals, will not be tagged or inventoried.

Personal Equipment - Equipment owned by University faculty and staff members will not be tagged or inventoried. The University will not be responsible for safeguarding personal equipment.

Surplus Federal Property - Surplus federal property obtained from the Texas Surplus Property Agency (TSPA) is subject to the same definition and control as equipment obtained by other means. Ownership remains with the government and equipment will be tagged as U.S. Government Property until such time as title is transferred to the University. Equipment shall be managed in strict compliance with instructions applicable to equipment received from the TSPA.

Missing Equipment - When equipment becomes missing and is suspected of having been lost or stolen, the chairman or administrative official will notify the Rice Campus Police by letter or email. The letter or email should include the circumstances, inventory control number, descriptions, manufacturer, model number, serial number, campus location, date last seen, and any other information that may be helpful in recovering the item, such as color, size, etc. Correspondence to the Rice Campus Police should be forwarded through the dean or division head, with a copy to the Property Administrator.

Loaned Equipment - Equipment loaned by one department to another remains the responsibility of the lending department and must not be inventoried by the borrowing department. Short term loans that change the location of equipment between buildings need not be reported. Long term loans (30 days or more) will be reported to the Property Administrator.

Non-Movable Equipment - Non-movable equipment attached to and included in the construction of a building will not be inventoried or included in the equipment inventory. Movable office furniture, office equipment, classroom furnishings, and laboratory equipment will be inventoried and tagged. Equipment and furniture purchased subsequent to completion of initial furnishing of a building will also be inventoried and tagged.

Replacement Items - May not be capitalized.

What should be done with excess equipment?

Disposal of Excess or Worthless University Property

Department chairmen and administrators are responsible for the effective utilization of University property in their control.

Systematic inspections and inventories must be made to determine that the University retains in the inventory only that property for which there is a present need or for which a real need can be projected.

University property is defined as:

Equipment purchased or fabricated at a cost equal to or greater than $5,000. Equipment received as a gift with an assessed value equal to or greater than $5,000. Equipment originally capitalized through construction. Equipment from Government funds for which ownership has been transferred to the University.

Property that departments view is worthless in value, obsolete because of changes in technology, or requiring excessive cost to repair, should be disposed of in the best interest of the University. In doing so, equipment that no longer has a utility within the University may be removed from dead storage and from the inventory and fiscal records of the University. The means established for this purpose is the Rice Classifieds.

Questions? Please contact Pat Hall-Jones at extension 3429, Controller's Office / Property Accounting, MS-70, or

To visit the Rice Classifieds website click HERE.

Property that is in excess of the needs of a department or administrative office must be offered to other University departments or offices before disposal action is taken with an outside source. Disposal may be taken when departments having a similar requirement for the property have indicated no need for the equipment.

Investment Accounting FAQs

What is an endowment fund?

An endowment fund is a monetary donation given to Rice University. It provides many opportunities to future students and employees here at Rice University. For more information regarding the endowment fund, please visit the Donor Resources or the Office of the Vice President for Investments and Treasurer.

How may I donate?

To make a donation to Rice University, please visit the Development Services.

General Accounting FAQs

Which form should I use?
Interdepartmental Transfer (IDT)

This form should be used for internal sales from one Rice department to another Rice department. The department making the sale should use their fund and org codes with account 58100. Departments making sales in large volume typically send the IDT electronically to the Controller's Office once a month, with a paper information copy of the transaction to the department charged. Examples: Rice Catering, Telecommunication, and Delivery Services. Smaller transactions are sent on paper by the selling department to the buying department for signature and then to the Controller's Office for processing. Examples: Sammy's charging for the Athletics training table, Food & Housing charging for case soda delivered to your office, Biochemistry charging research funds (r funds) for animal care, and charges to participating departments for shared copier use. On your Banner runs, these transactions appear with the journal type (rule code) X_01, where the _ is: F for Facilities, M for Mail, or 0 for paper IDT's. Completed forms should be sent to the Controller's Office for processing.

Expense Transfers

This form is used to correct a transaction that has already taken place. For example, copier use was charged to A1 that really should have been charged to a D fund. The credit side of the transaction would be the A1 fund, and the debit side of the transaction would be the D fund. You may use this form to correct a deposit voucher, but in that case the credit/debit sides are reversed.(For an expense, credit the wrong code. For a revenue, debit the wrong code.) The code mistakenly used for the deposit would be debited, while the correct code would be credited. Attaching documentation, such as copies of the original charge, to the expense transfer speeds processing. The amounts used on an expense transfer should represent a specific transaction, although you may make partial changes. For example, charge _ of expenses for an event to each of two participating departments. Do not use this form to move payroll expenses. Special rules apply to Research funds. Completed forms should be sent to the Controller's Office for processing.

Budget Transfer Application

This application is used to change a budgeted amount in A1 or move a lump sum of money between funds. For example, while a staff position was vacant, your department employed a temporary through a temporary agency. The budget for this labor expense is in 6xxxx, but the expense is in 7xxxx. To address this issue, you would complete a budget transfer to decrease your 6xxxx budget and increase your 7xxxx budget. When moving fund balance to or from a D fund, G fund or H fund, use account 80400. Completed forms should be sent to the Budget Office for processing.

Research & Cost Accounting 

 iO Frequently Asked Questions

How are Sponsored Projects Managed in iO?
What is the process for managing overspent awards in iO?

Once the award has ended, any expenses that are in excess of the award budget are transferred to a cost share project. RCA will create the cost share project (if necessary) and move the total deficit amount to the cost share project.

What is the process in iO to manage the residual balances of fixed price awards?
  1. Research and Cost Accounting (RCA) will confirm the final expenditure amounts with the PI / department administrator (DA). The DA will alert RCA when the sponsor confirms satisfactory completion of all deliverables.
  2. Full F&A costs will be applied to the award balance to ensure all F&A costs associated with the award are fully funded.
  3. The award project end date will be extended by 1 year to allow time for the funding to be spent by the department. F&A charging will be turned off by RCA to new expenses do not incur F&A.
  4. The funding remainder may be moved to the faculty's faculty fund research task if there are no further expenses related to the project's scope of work.

Please refer to this document 

How do I see the Faculty Fund/Project Data?

You can see Faculty Fund Projects in iO by navigating to the Sponsored Project and Faculty Fund Dashboard. The budget to actuals tab contains the life to date activity for Faculty Funds.  Here you can search by Faculty Name (Project Name) or filter for projects beginning with F to view the information. If you do not see any information, it's likely you do not have a role assignment on the project.

To request role assignments, send a helpdesk ticket along with a list of the awards you should be assigned. Please include the approval of the project manager in your request.

What is the cost transfer process in iO?

Refer to the Cost Transfer section under Compliance

What are the Award and Project Roles in iO for Grants Management? 

Award Roles

  • PI/Co-PI- Role can view award demographic information, award participants, project budget, project expenditures, and funding sources
    • Role assigned to award principal investigator and other co-principal investigator
    • Role gives access to the award in iO Grants Management and access to the award and all related projects in the Sponsored Projects Dashboard
  • Award Participant- Role can view award demographic information, award participants, project budget, project expenditures, and funding sources
    • Role assigned to other departmental administrators that need access to view award information
    • Role gives access to the award in iO Grants Management and access to the award and all related projects in the Sponsored Projects Dashboard

Project Role

  • Project Manager- Role can view award demographic information, award participants, project budget, project expenditures, and funding sources
    • Approval responsibilities of expenses over $1k
    • Approves subaward requisitions
    • Receives notification of payment of subaward invoices
    • Role assigned to lead departmental administrator for the project
    • Role gives access to the project in iO Projects and award and all related projects in the Sponsored Projects Dashboard
What are the Project Roles in iO for Faculty Funds?
  • Team Member- Role can view award demographic information and project participants
    • Role assigned to Faculty member and other departmental administrators that need view access to the project
    • Role gives access to Faculty Fund Projects in the Sponsored Projects Dashboard
  • Project Manager- Role can view project demographic information and project participants
    • Approval responsibilities of expenses over $1k
    • Role assigned to lead departmental administrator for the project
    • Role gives access to Faculty Fund Projects in the Sponsored Projects Dashboard
  • Project Administrator- Role can view and edit budget and view expenses
    • Role assigned to other departmental administrators that need access to view and edit project budget and project expenditures
    • Role gives access to Faculty Fund Projects in the Sponsored Projects Dashboard
What is the new subaward process in iO?

The following steps outline the subaward process, beginning with the subaward setup in iO and ending with payment of subaward invoice:

  1. SPARC sends draft subaward agreement to RCA
  2. If necessary, RCA requests that P2P create a new supplier
  3. RCA creates and submits requisition based on draft agreement, which is routed to the Cost Center Manager
  4. Cost Center Manager approves requisition
  5. P2P creates PO based on approved requisition
  6. RCA provides PO number to SPARC to be included in final subaward agreement
  7. Subawardees are instructed to submit invoices to, which is monitored by RCA
  8. Invoices are logged and entered into AdobeSign, which sends the invoice to the appropriate approvers (including PI)
  9. Project Managers are responsible for getting PI signature/approval on the invoice
  10. Project Manager will complete receiving process in iO
  11. P2P will process invoice for payment
What is the process for salary expenses over the salary cap? 

Expenses over the salary cap are treated as cost share expenses. Please request a project to be setup to charge the salary cap expenses to the appropriate award.


Can I purchase equipment or supplies for a sponsored project near the end of the period of performance?

Purchases made on any sponsored project must be for the benefit of the project. Purchases near the end of the project are increasingly difficult to demonstrate how they can be used to benefit the project if the project is near the end and likely most of the work has been completed. For this reason, these purchases create additional scrutiny and raise red flags to auditors and will require project‐specific justification and/or sponsor approval. All purchases, especially those incurred within the last 90 days of an award, should be reviewed to:

  • Ensure the item/service was received during the period of performance; and
  • Determine how the item/service provided benefit during period of performance, given that it was purchased close to the applicable end date. Providing benefit means having a reasonable amount of use during the period of performance.
  • Purchases determined to not benefit the project must be refunded on the project or costs should be moved to a departmental funding source.
Can I charge office supplies to my sponsored project?

Office Supplies are normally treated as F&A costs. Refer to Direct / Indirect costs for more information.

Where can I get information about charging foreign travel to federal awards?

Refer to the Travel section under Cost Principles.

What is cost sharing, and what are the different types?

Refer to Cost Sharing under Compliance.

What is pre-award spending?

Refer to Advanced Spending Project under Setup and Closeout.

What do I do with a check from a sponsor?

Forward the check and accompanying documents to Research and Cost Accounting.

I have an award that will expire but has not been completely spent. What are my options?

Refer to Award Closeout under Setup and Closeout.

What do I need to do to get a new award set up?

Refer to Award Setup under Setup and Closeout.

What is a Salary Reimbursement Agreement (SRA)? When is it needed and why?

It is an arrangement between Rice and another institution which allows one institution to recover the costs associated with a student registered at the other institution wherein the student is participating in collaborative research activities with principal investigators at both institutions. As an example, if a full-time Rice student were to work on a collaborative project with an investigator at a TMC institution, the student would continue to be paid by Rice and the TMC institution would reimburse Rice for the cost.

Can a PI charge Academic Year Time to awards?

A faculty member may request the use of sponsored project awards to pay academic year salary on the following basis:

  • The faculty member documents that academic year salary is an allowable charge to the project, that the amount to be charged is consistent with effort to be spent on the award during the time periods charged, and that this effort is above and beyond any cost sharing commitment of academic year time.
  • The department chair and the Dean approve the request.
  • No more than 3 months of total salary during a single 9-month academic year may be charged directly to sponsored projects under this policy. The total charged directly to sponsored projects, plus any cost sharing of academic year time, may not exceed 4.5 months during an academic year. Requests in excess of 4.5 months during an academic year require approval of the Provost, and will be granted only in unusual circumstances.
  • The budgeted funds for academic year salary and associated fringe benefits (when the grant pays fringe benefits) released as a result of charging sponsored projects will be transferred to a Designated Fund or Funds at the direction of the school.
  • Salaries charged to sponsored projects in any period may never exceed actual effort applied to the project during that period and cannot include effort committed as cost sharing.


See also Rice University Research Policy No. 311-98.

What do I need to process if a PI is leaving and is transferring federal funds to another institution?

Consult your grants coordinator in Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance.

What do I need to process if a new PI is joining our department and is bringing federal or non-federal funds?

Consult your grants coordinator in Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance about transferring awards from the PI's previous institution.

In addition, contact contact Property Accounting to make sure incoming equipment can be properly registered.

My award is confirmed, but SPARC has not received it and I need to start spending. What do I do?

Refer to Advanced Spending Project under Setup and Closeout

Can I charge rental accommodations such as Airbnb and VRBO on my sponsored program?

The University does allow use of these third-party lodging if documentation is retained showing the total cost is less expensive than a single occupancy, standard business room rate.

Tax Accounting FAQs

Rice unrelated business taxable income guidance

Unrelated Business Income Tax Guidance

Texas tax exempt organization's sales and use tax guidance

Exempt Organizations: Sales and Purchases

How to handle your student organization or other non-profit organization's tax reporting?


Your student organization might be a stand-alone tax-exempt organization or a local chapter of a national non-profit organization. You must apply for a separate Employer Identification Number (EIN) specifically for your own student organization or your local chapter. Rice University's EIN and name in no case should be used or included in your organization’s reporting to the IRS or in your local chapter's annual reporting to your national non-profit organization.

An EIN can be applied online from the IRS website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact

Payroll FAQs

Who should I contact with questions about my pay?

If you have any concerns regarding your pay, please send your inquiry to detailing your concern.

Do I need to re-hire a student every semester?

If the position and pay remains the same in both the fall and spring semesters, one Electronic Personnel Action Form (job assignment EPAF) will be appropriate for the entire academic year. If a student works during the summer, a new job assignment EPAF is needed since student jobs are terminated at the end of the spring semester. Please refer to Students Working at Rice or the Student Employment section of the Office of Financial Aid for more details.

Why are one-time payments taxed at a higher rate?

The IRS considers one-time payments as supplemental pay and are taxed at the IRS supplemental withholding rate of 22%. Please visit for more information on this topic.


When is my timesheet due?

Web Time Entry (WTE) timesheets through ESTHER must be submitted by 11 a.m. and approved by 5 p.m. on the Monday preceding the pay date (or the Monday following the end of the 2-week pay period). Holidays can cause these deadlines to shift so you should always check the Payroll calendar for deadline information.

What if I miss the 11 a.m. submission deadline?

If you miss the 11 a.m. reporting deadline, you should contact your approver immediately and request him/her to submit the time on your behalf before the approving deadline of 5 p.m. that same day. Otherwise, you will need to complete a timesheet (staff timesheet or student timesheet) and submit to your approver. Please have your supervisor submit the timesheet on your behalf to, preferably with a Timesheet subject. Paper timesheets will be processed on the next pay cycle (after Payroll receives the timesheet).

Why didn't I receive overtime when I used benefit (PTO) time in the same week?

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime is paid for time worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek. Rice University Human Resources Policy No. 410 outlines that hours worked and also holiday hours will be considered in the overtime calculation.

What if I submitted the wrong hours on my last timesheet?

If you are correcting an already submitted WTE timesheet, please do the following:

Print your WTE timesheet Make the necessary adjustments Sign/initial WTE timesheet (both employee and approver) Department submits the revised timesheet to, preferably with a Timesheet Revision subject If a revised timesheet is approved by your approver and submitted to Payroll before the next payroll run, the correction will be made on the next pay cycle

Tax Forms

How do I update my W-4 form for Federal Income Tax withholding?

Employees can submit their W-4 withholding information through ESTHER by selecting Employee > Tax Forms > W4 Tax Exemptions or Allowances. If no W-4 information is submitted to Payroll, employees/students will be taxed at the highest rate - single status with zero withholding allowances.

NOTE: Foreign nationals are advised to delay completion of the W-4 as they may need to submit additional visa/immigration information to determine eligibility for completing the W-4.

I am a foreign national. How are my tax withholdings determined?

More information will be available at a later date. In the interim, please contact the Payroll Office for specific information related to your tax status.


Why is there a non-benefit deduction on my pay stub?

For questions regarding non-benefit deductions such as tax liens, child support, and parking, please submit your inquiry to  Please direct questions regarding Cashier Bill Payment deductions to

What are my benefit deductions?

Benefit deductions including, but not limited to, health insurance, medical or dependent care flexible spending, life insurance, and retirement deductions are handled by the Benefits team at ext. 2363 or You can also view your benefit deductions through ESTHER by selecting Employee > Benefits and Deductions.

Direct Deposit

How can I enroll in direct deposit?

You can enroll in direct deposit through ESTHER by selecting Employee > Pay Information > Direct Deposit Allocation. More information is available at the Direct Deposit main menu in ESTHER to guide you through the process.

Can direct deposit be set up with any financial institution?

Direct deposit can be set up with any U.S. financial institution of your choice. If you have a financial institution that ESTHER does not recognize, please submit a request to to add your bank to the list and also include your bank's name and 9-digit routing number. Please do not include your account number in the email request.

How can I make changes to my direct deposit allocations?

Changes and additions to your direct deposit may also be made through your ESTHER account. More information is available at the Direct Deposit main menu in ESTHER to guide you through the process.

Where do I access my pay statements (stubs)?

Pay statements are accessible through ESTHER by selecting Employee > Pay Information > Pay Stub.

Payroll (Pre-Paid Debit) Card

How do I inactivate my payroll card?

It is a two-step process. (1) You need to inactivate your payroll card account through ESTHER by selecting Employee > Pay Information > Direct Deposit Allocation. More information is available at the Direct Deposit main menu in ESTHER to guide you through the process. (2) You will also need to contact US Bank by calling the number on the back of the payroll card to inactivate your account with them


Where can I view the Payroll calendars?

For calendars and other important dates, go to the Payroll Home Page. The pay schedules are also listed under Helpful Information.

Why are the W-2s not available at the end of December?

The IRS requires all employers to provide W-2 statements by January 31st of the following calendar year. W-2 statements will be postmarked by January 31st for inactive employees and current employees who do not provide their consent to receive the W-2 electronically. For current employees who provide consent to receive their W-2 statements electronically, W-2 statements will be available earlier than the mailed W-2 statement.

Current employees can elect to receive their W-2 electronically through ESTHER by selecting Employee > Tax Forms > Electronic W-2 Consent. Then, an email notice will be sent when the W-2 statements are available each year through ESTHER by selecting Employee > Tax Forms > W2 Year End Earnings Statement.

Payables FAQs

What is Payment Solutions?

Payment Solutions is responsible for the Purchasing Card program, the document entry and payment of travel statements, business/entertainment forms, invoices, check requests and mileage vouchers.

How do I know who to call with questions regarding payment process?

There are several people within Payment Solutions that can assist with questions and concerns. The quickest way to contact the correct person is to refer to our Payment Solutions Staff page.

I sent a document to Payment Solutions for payment, and I received a phone call advising me that I was not an authorized signer. What does that mean?

Approval signatures are specified on a completed and approved "Signature Authorization Form." A completed signature authorization form defines which funds and orgs, which types of transactions and the monetary range that an individual can approve. The forms must be reviewed and approved by the department chair/head. For the department chair/head's signature form, the approval must come from either their Dean or manager. No one can approve their own signature form .

If you believe you need signature authorization, please contact your department chair or department head. If a department needs blank forms, contact Payment Solutions via email at or by phone at 713-348-6700.

When is a purchase order required?

Please see

How can I tell if an invoice has been paid?

The quickest and easiest way is to access WebApps and follow these steps:

  1. Access Edgar/WebApps
  2. Select the "Finance" tab
  3. Payment Queries - select "Vendor/Invoice History"
  4. Search for vendor
  5. View payments

WebApps is a secure site which requires a password and ID and is maintained by Administrative Systems. If you are a new user, please refer to the Security Agreement available at the Administrative Systems website. If you need to change or expand your WebApps access, contact Administrative Systems also provides training in order to use the system.

You can also call Payment Solutions (refer to the Payment Solutions Staff page for name and phone numbers) with your invoice inquiries. Please have the vendor name and invoice number available. If the payment amount is over $3000, please have the PO number available as well.

What is the mileage reimbursement rate?

The current rates are available under the Online Resources and References section of the Payment Solutions website.

I need to order something quickly and it is under $3000.  It's not subject to any restrictions. What is the quickest way to make the purchase?

The Purchasing Card can be used for most expenses under $3000.

What is a Purchasing Card?

The Purchasing Card (PCard) is a MasterCard product administered by JPMorgan Chase. Purchases are charged directly to a departmental fund/org/account number and are reported via email after the purchase is processed by the vendor and on the cardholder's monthly financial statement. Rice pays the bank once a week for all PCard purchases.

The PCard is a tool that facilitates timely acquisition of materials and supplies, automates data flow for accounting purposes, offers flexible controls to help ensure proper usage, and reduces transactions costs. The PCard program is designed as an alternative to a variety of processes including petty cash, check requests, and purchase orders for goods, supplies, and services under $3000. The PCard can also be used for travel and entertainment costs. The PCard complements the existing payment processes by reducing the payment time to outside vendors who accept Mastercard.

What are my responsibilities as a cardholder?

The card is issued to an individual. Approval from your supervisor or department chair/head (aka "approving official" or "one over") is necessary before you may receive a PCard. Only employees of Rice University are eligible to receive a PCard and each user is required to attend training and sign a Cardholder Agreement.

Although the PCard has NO impact on an employee's personal credit history, please remember that when using the card University funds are being committed. This is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The cardholder is responsible for all charges made to the card(s) in their possession. Intentional misuse or abuse will result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge from the university.

The PCard will work in the same way as any other credit card with the exception that the Rice Card should NEVER be used for personal charges or restricted items.

Restricted Items are as follows:

  • General Purchases equal to or greater than $3000 (does not apply to travel and entertainment charges)
  • Rice University Internal Vendors (Rice Catering, the Thresher, Rice Parking, etc.)
  • Cash Advances (e.g. ATM's)
  • Traveler's Checks
  • Hazardous Materials or Controlled Substances
  • Relocation Expenses (due to tax reporting requirements)
  • Non-Incorporated vendors and consultants (due to tax reporting requirements)
  • Any others as dictated by the University. See the Rice University Policies and Procedures on the Payment Solutions Guidelines and Procedures  page.
How do I obtain a Purchasing Card or get further information on the Purchasing Card program?

You must complete an application that must be approved by the department chair/head and attend a short training session. It takes approximately two weeks from the time the completed form is approved within the department until you receive your card.

To request a Purchasing Card please contact:

Barbi Huggins
Phone: ext. 6708


Samia Davila
Phone: ext. 6713

What do I do if my Purchasing Card is lost or stolen?

Immediately notify: 

JPMorgan Chase at 1-800-316-6056 (open 24 hours/day; 365 days/year),
Rice University Police (ext. 6000), AND
Purchasing Card Administrator (ext. 6708).

NOTE: If the Cardholder has a card stolen or notices that the card is missing outside of normal business hours, he/she should contact the Rice Police (ext. 6000) immediately. The Police Department is open 24 hours a day and can supply the Cardholder with the JPMorgan Chase phone number. Notify the Purchasing Card Administrator on the following business day.

Rice is responsible for all charges on the card until JPMorgan Chase is notified of the loss or theft of the card by the Cardholder. Once JPMorgan Chase is notified, the card will automatically be suspended and a new card will be sent to the Purchasing Card Administrator for distribution to the Cardholder.

Is there a way to reallocate Purchasing Card charges from the fund/org/account to which they were automatically charged?

Yes. Purchasing Card charges are charged to the fund/org/account indicated at the Purchasing Card application. Charges must be reallocated by using the On-Line Purchasing Card Reallocation site, located within the Rice WebApp pages. In order to utilize this form, you must have security access within your Banner security profile (current WebApps users may click on the link to be taken directly to the site. First time users should refer to the Administrative Systems website and complete the Security Agreement or contact to request access. You will need to attend the PCard training class conducted by Payment Solutions. The form is easy to use and has the capability of splitting a single charge to as many fund/org/acct combinations as needed (provided all fund/orgs are within your Banner/Rice Web Application security profile).

On-Line Purchasing Card Reallocation Procedures can be found on the Payment Solutions website. To schedule the training class, please contact

The vendor needs to verify my billing address for the Purchasing Card. Where do I find that information?

Your Purchasing Card billing address is the same as the address noted on your monthly Purchasing Card statement. Generally, it follows this pattern:

Card Holder Name
William Marsh Rice University {or whatever is printed on the second line of your PCard}
Department Name; MS #
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

My Purchasing Card was declined. What should I do?

First, call JPMorgan Chase at 800-316-6056 x 0. (This number is on the back of your card.) The bank can tell you why the charge was declined.

Your card may have been declined because the wrong expiration date was used, the wrong billing address was used or the card limit(s) were reached. Every card is customized by the department to allow for:

  • General Purchasing only
  • Travel and Entertainment only
  • Both General Purchasing and Travel and Entertainment
  • A limit on how much can be spent per purchase (single purchase limit)
  • A limit on how much can be spent per monthly cycle (cycle purchase limit)
  • A limit on how many daily transactions can be made (daily transaction limit)
  • A limit on how many transactions per monthly cycle can be made (cycle transaction limit)

If your card is declined because you have exceeded your limit and you believe the limits should be changed, talk to your department's Purchasing Card Approving Official. The Approving Official may email to request a temporary or permanent increase to any of the purchase or transaction limits. The Purchasing Card Change Form ( PDF ) may also be completed and sent to MS77 or fax to 6701. Contact the PCard Staff with any questions.

Barbi Huggins
Phone: ext. 6708


Samia Davila
Phone: ext. 6713 

What do I do if tax was charged on my Purchasing Card transaction?

Rice University is tax-exempt and should not be charged sales tax for University purchases made in the State of Texas. Rice's Federal Tax Identification number is printed on the PCard for easy reference. The vendor will need the Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certification ( PDF ) provided by Disbursements. Other Rice purchases (in addition to PCard purchases) are also tax exempt following these same guidelines.

If a vendor charges tax on your Purchasing Card order, you should contact the vendor directly and have the vendor issue a "credit" to your card for the amount of the tax charged. For other forms of purchasing, the vendor should issue a corrected invoice with the tax removed from the total amount of the invoice.

What should I do if my Purchasing Card is charged more than once for the same order?

Your first point of contact should be directly with the vendor. If the charge is not legitimate, the vendor should credit your account. If they cannot provide documentation which supports the charge and are unwilling to credit your account, you should file a dispute with JPMorgan Chase (1-800-316-6056, ext. 0) and contact the Purchasing Card Staff. Disputes must be filed within 60 days of the charge or Rice may not be able to dispute the charge.

Can I use the Purchasing Card to make purchases on the Web?

Yes, the Purchasing Card can be used to make purchases on the Web. However, for Web transactions, we suggest you do whatever you can to minimize the security risks. See Ordering By Phone/Internet for more information about making purchases online.

Do not use the PCard if you are unsure whether it is a secure web site. Purchases such as web purchases, where the card is not physically presented to a merchant, are 100% covered in cases resulting in fraud or unauthorized use.

It is sometimes difficult to inform the vendor of Rice's tax-exempt status when purchasing via the Web. It may require a phone call to the vendor inquiring about the correct procedure to avoid paying sales tax. The vendor may request the tax-exemption form. The form can be faxed to them.

The purchasing card charges I need to account for are not appearing in the bottom queue of the line form. What should I do?

First, make certain that you have received the email notifying you that the charges you are looking for have come through the Banner/Rice Web Applications System (or look in the PCard History Section of Rice Web Applications). If the charges have hit the system, it is possible that they were filtered through Banner as a General Purchase charge instead of a Travel charge. Please refer to the Online TEBM Form Instructions to learn how to move General Purchase transactions that are travel related to the travel side for clearing on a TV envelope.

What should I do if a traveler is accidentally reimbursed for a purchasing card charge?

There are two possible scenarios, but either way, a new TEBM document will need to be completed in order to correct the mistake.

If the traveler has already cashed the reimbursement check from Rice (and this will be the case if legitimate out-of-pocket expenses were also reimbursed to the traveler), fill out a new TEBM form making sure to document the error and the old TV envelope number in the "Business Purpose" section. Move the formerly overlooked purchasing card charge onto the form and in the "Personal Item Accounting" section, list the total that was mistakenly reimbursed to the traveler (this should be exactly the same amount as the purchasing card charge). The traveler will then need to write a check made payable to Rice University for that amount.

If the traveler has not cashed the check and is not owed any money (the check from Rice and the PCard charge are the same amount), return the original check to Disbursements with a written request to void the check. Fill out a new TEBM form making sure to document the error and the old TV envelope number in the "Business Purpose" section. Move the formerly overlooked purchasing card charge onto the new TEBM form and account for the charge in the "Accounting" section.

What if I want to receive my travel reimbursement electronically via direct deposit?

Print the Authorization for Automatic Deposits Reimbursements Form ( PDF ) found under Payables/Disbursements Forms. Complete the form and submit it to Disbursements, MS-75 or Cambridge Office Building, 6100 Main Street, 2nd floor for processing.

I used my purchasing card to buy airline tickets for a trip that will take place in the future. The charge will not be reconciled until after the trip has been completed, so how do I avoid receiving "past due" notices for this charge?

If you have a travel expense on your purchasing card that will not be used until a later date, please notify Disbursements via email at or by phone at ext. 3432. This will ensure that you will not receive past-due notices until after the trip has been completed.

Two different purchasing cards were used to pay for a single trip. Can I put the charges from both cards on one TEBM document?

No. It is not possible to move charges from one card to another, nor is it possible to enter two purchasing card numbers on one TEBM form. A separate TEBM document must be completed for each card.


The Controller's Office is located in the Cambridge Office Building, also known as COB, at the intersection of S. Main street and Cambridge street.

In this building you will find the the following Departments:

The Cashier's Office is a division of the Controllers Office, however, it is located in the Allen Center, directly behind the Cambridge Office building.

Our Location:

Cambridge Office Building
6100 Main Street MS 70
Houston, Texas 77005-1827