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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Undergraduate Research Center

Managing Your Grant

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How Do I Spend the Grant Money on Supplies?

Student researchers will need to work closely with their mentors, and the mentors will need to work closely with the department administrative assistant, to ensure correct use of the funds awarded for the project. Each department has one cost center for the total number of awards allocated to the department. Work with your mentor to prevent cost overruns. You and your department will be held accountable for any over-spending.

Please consider setting up a “mini spreadsheet” to record all expenses against the account and guard against cost over-runs. Please contact the URC GA if you would like a sample spreadsheet. With your mentor, you will turn in original receipts and forms to your department. The “department copy” of forms for your purchases must be initialed by your mentor and filed. Remember to make copies of receipts and forms for your records.

There are several ways to use your cost center number. Please note that the URC accounts do not have purchasing card privileges and Business Services will not routinely approve “corrections” for purchasing card expenditures from department cost centers that were intended specifically for your project.

Purchases On Campus

  • Use your URC cost center number for purchasing services such as printing, photocopying at copy shops, etc. on campus.
  • For bookstore purchases (Barnes & Noble and Maverick Bookstore), use a CAO 35 form, also known as a “local field purchase order,” available from your department office. Purchasing with this form exempts your purchases from sales tax. Ask for one from the department office before you go shopping.
    • Be sure to put your cost center number in the field provided at the bottom of the form.
    • Two copies of the form are returned to the customer and must be initialed by the mentor.
    • Forward the initialed white copy, along with the receipt, to your department.
    • File the other copy with your other receipts.
  • You may purchase standard supplies from your department’s supply room (e.g., art supplies, reagents, etc.). To accomplish this, work with your faculty mentor to determine the exact cost of the supplies you need, including shipping. Ask supply room staff for a transaction number or PO number for the most recent purchase of such supplies, for which you will reimburse the supplies you need for your project. Your mentor can then send an e-mail request to Helen Wenner ( in the Office of Business Services. The e-mail text should include the following information:  “We request an expenditure correction to transfer funds from the URC cost center [cost center] to [give the cost center number from which the department originally purchased the supplies]. This transfer reflects the use of departmental supplies for [student researcher] Undergraduate Research project. The purchase order (or transaction) number for this purchase was [give details from supply room].”

Purchases from Local Businesses (and Beyond)

  • If you pay by cash or personal credit card, you may complete a [PDF] CAO-21 Form (110 KiB) and attach receipts for reimbursement. Remember to include your cost center and faculty mentor’s signature.
  • Purchases that do not fall into these categories must be handled through normal Purchasing procedures. Purchasing staff will guide you and your mentor through the most efficient means of making the purchase.