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Gift Cards

Background

The mission of the Office of Student Research (OSR) is to facilitate the engagement of students in scholarly and creative activities related to their disciplines by providing resources that support both student scholars and faculty mentors. The OSR provides students and faculty with grants to cover and assist with the costs of their research. The OSR has a critical need to support faculty and students who engage in research involving human subjects that requires the researcher to provide monetary incentives to research participants in the most efficient and timely way possible.

In order to effectively meet the research needs of student scholars and faculty mentors, OSR will oversee the use of OSR funds awarded and utilized to provide monetary incentives to research participants. Providing gift cards in exchange for research participation using state funds is allowable according to the draft general CSU policy Business Meals and Hospitality 1301.00 code 701.  


Prior to receiving funding, faculty and/or student grant applicants must indicate in the budget portion of their application the purpose of the use of funds, which can include providing monetary incentives for research in the form of pre-loaded gift cards in exchange for participation. Approved applications and their budgets will be closely vetted by OSR staff in order to ensure that funds are used exclusively for the purpose of research. In the event, that the student scholar or faculty mentor requires support in the form of research incentives (i.e., gift cards), OSR will be responsible for purchasing, issuing, and tracking the gift cards. The OSR will engage in the following procedures in an effort to streamline the issuance of research incentives, yet still maintain sufficient accountability.

Type of Monetary Incentives for Research

  • Gift Cards: In lieu of cash, research participants can receive gift cards of up to a total value of $100 per participant. Gift cards will be purchased by OSR staff using the OSR Procard designated for this purpose. Once purchased, the gift cards will be provided to the student scholar/faculty mentor, who will be responsible for tracking and reporting the disbursement of gift cards to the OSR as described below.
  • E-gift cards: In lieu of cash, research participants can receive Amazon offers eGift cards that may be purchased/issued and delivered via email online. Amazon e-gift cards will be purchased by OSR staff using the OSR Procard designated for this purpose. Once purchased, the e-gift card information will be provided to the student scholar/faculty mentor, who will be responsible for tracking and reporting the disbursement of gift cards to the OSR as described below.

Payment method

 A special procurement card (Procard) will be issued to the designated department ASC or ASA from OSR. This Procard will be used only to purchase eGift cards as described in this procedure (no other purchases are allowed). 

Responsibilities

The student scholar and supervising faculty member will be responsible for:

  • Determining when a research incentive payment is due
  • Creating a list that includes the following (see OSR Gift Card Receipt Log)
    • name/purpose of the project
    • recipients’ names
    • recipients’ email addresses
    • dollar amounts for each recipient
    • period of time covered (if applicable)
  • Submitting list to department designated ASA/ASC (special procard holder)

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