Guidelines for Start-Up Funds

Your start-up funds should be used primarily to support the development of your scholarly or creative work. Some support for teaching development may also be taken from start-up funding; however, the primary purpose is to support your development as a researcher/scholar/artist.

All requests for travel (e.g., conference, research, scholarly/creative collaboration), equipment and supplies, expenses related to publication or exhibition (e.g., subventions, indexing costs, expenses related to exhibits, etc.), books, and other needs appropriate to the development of your research/scholarly/creative work are taken from your start-up funding for the first three years of your time at Hamilton. 

In the fall of your third year you may request an extension to use any remaining start-up funds into your fourth year. A budget plan for how you plan to spend your startup for the remainder of the third year, along with a budget for how you will use funds during the fourth year, should be submitted to the associate dean for approval. Approval will depend on your successful reappointment and availability of funds in the Dean's overall start-up budget that supports all new hires. Once reappointed, you should confirm with the associate dean the approved budget that will be rolled over into a fourth year. Extensions beyond the fourth year will not be approved.

Non-research types of expenses, even if related to your job (e.g., rental of cap and gown, office furniture, home furniture), will not be funded from start-up funds. Expenses that the College does not fund (e.g., purchase of cellphones, data plans, baby-sitting) are also not covered. All expenditure of your funds must conform to the guidelines on “Faculty Travel and Research Support” found in the “Red Book." The DOF office and the Business Office will not cover expenses that violate college guidelines regardless of the source of the funding.  We encourage you to read these guidelines so that you will not be surprised by the policies.


All expenditures must be approved by the DOF office (by the Director of Academic Finance and Resources Gillian King, who consults with Associate Dean of the Faculty) prior to spending the money. This process ensures that the request is in line with College and DOF policies and that funds are available in your account to cover the expenditures. If at the time of hire you submitted a detailed start-up budget that was approved, then you may request that a start-up account be opened for you at any point after your employment takes effect.  If you did not submit a detailed budget at the time of hire, contact the Associate Dean of Faculty about your budget. Once your budget is approved and you request that the account be activated, it may take a few days for the Business Office to set up the account. Gillian King (gking@hamilton.edu, x,4611), the DOF budget manager, can help with information about account numbers and arranging for expensive purchases.

If you wish to purchase items not on that original budget or wish to change or reallocate funding from the initial budget, you should submit a request for approval to the Associate Dean of Faculty with a brief paragraph describing what is needed, why it is needed, and the cost. Once approved, you may proceed with the purchase.

Approval for Travel

The “Red Book” has detailed information on the guidelines for the use of professional travel and research support funds. Use of start-up funding falls under those guidelines, so please take the time to read them. If you have any questions, please contact the Associate Dean of Faculty.

All requests for travel support should be made to the Associate Dean using the online Travel Request form found on the DOF homepage. Travel arrangements may be made through our travel agency BTI and charged to the Dean of Faculty account or paid for by you and reimbursed with a receipt showing payment has been made. Within thirty days of the end of your trip you will need to attach your receipts to a Travel Expense Report and send it to Linda Michels (lmichels@hamilton.edu) here in the DOF office. Hamilton’s tax-exempt number must be used for travel within New York State.  We do not reimburse for sales tax on lodging in New York State (to avoid this sales tax, you should present this NYS sales tax exemption form when you check in).

Computers, printers, iPads and such

Computers, printers, and iPads can be purchased only after submitting the Computer Purchase Approval form and after getting approval from both the DOF office and ITS.  Computers purchased with college money, including the money in start-up funding, belong to the college and must be entered into the ITS database.  Remember that we do not reimburse for New York State sales tax on purchases over $50; you can show the NYS sales tax exemption form when you buy the computer or (preferably) work through ITS to make the purchase.

Vendors, Contractors, et al.

For purchases of equipment or services from vendors who require purchase orders, you may need to submit a Purchase Requisition Form to Gillian King (who will approve the purchase and forward the form to the Purchasing Department, in Auxiliary Services). When you receive the invoices from the vendors (including those who do not require purchase orders), forward them to Gillian.

Should you hire someone outside of Hamilton College to do some task for you (e.g., indexing, translating), we will need paperwork that verifies and outlines the agreement around the work, such as an email exchange describing what will be done by whom and for what cost.  In addition, we will need a W-9 form, an Independent Contractor Questionnaire, and an invoice (with a date, address, amount, and a tax ID#) from the worker once the task is done.  You, as the initiator of the transaction, will also need to complete an Independent Contractor Checklist and attach it to the other paperwork before you submit it. (For vendors who have previously been paid by the college within the past two years, only the invoice is necessary; the other paperwork should already be on file.)

Student Workers

Details about hiring student workers may be found on the HR website. Please speak with Gillian King if you have questions about hiring someone to help with your research.

On-going or Repeated Small Purchases

On-going or repeated small purchases (e.g., books, pipettes, etc.) may be requested from the Associate Dean once with the notation that these will be ongoing; once approval for on-going purchases is given, there is no need to make requests each time a purchase is made.  Not too much detail is needed to request these items (e.g., something like:  “I plan to spend $120 on books, $100 on glassware, etc.).“ Once the request is approved, just attach the receipts to a check request form and send them to Gillian King for reimbursement. If the items total less than $25, please save your receipts until you have at least $25 before requesting reimbursement.

Memberships in Professional Organizations

Start-up funds may be used to pay for memberships in professional organizations if the membership reduces the cost of conference registration for a conference trip you plan to make (please indicate this on your travel request form for that conference) or provides some other benefit to your research (e.g., access to a journal not available at Hamilton)

Exceptional Requests

Approval for exceptional requests such as complicated research trips (e.g., trips longer than the 7 days normally covered by per diem expenses, trips to countries where receipts are not a part of everyday life) or unusual purchases may need to be worked out in advance in discussion with the Director of Academic Finance and Resources (in consultation with the Associate Dean).  When in doubt, please ask!

High Performance Computing Resources

Hamilton provides access to high performance computing resources that are most often available only at a research university. HPC resources include: supercomputers/computing clusters, high speed networking, specialized software and hardware, and technical support. Contact Steve Young, ITS Unix/HPC System Administrator, who can answer questions you might have about our HPC resources.

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