ME4054 Project Expenses
Many ME4054 design teams will be constructing a prototype. Generally that involves
some costs. Here are the rules on expenses.
How much you get and what can you spend it on
If your project is sponsored by a company or by a University of
Minnesota research lab, the company or lab pays all prototyping
costs. Before you make any purchases, you must get approval in advance from
your company advisor. Work out a total project budget in advance (so the advisor
knows what's coming), and work out reimbursement process that will vary from
company to company. All purchases must be approved in advance by the company
If your project is sponsored by the Department of Mechanical Engineering,
your team will be reimbursed up to $100 for the cost of prototyping. Additional
funding may be available through your advisor. It is up to you to ask.
To determine which category your project is in, ask the faculty course
coordinator. He or she has the final word on which projects get the $100 from
Reimbursable expenses are limited to components, supplies and materials required
for building the prototype. Expenses such as information gathering telephone
calls, copying costs, or costs to put together your display for the Design
Show are not reimbursable. If in doubt, contact the Course Coordinator.
It is not appropriate for students to spend their own money on a prototype
unless there is a pre-agreement that the expenditures will be reimbursed
One person on the team should be appointed treasurer. The treasurer keeps
track of project expenditures. He or she is doing a good job if anyone can
ask the treasurer at any time how much has been spent and how much will be
spent for the remainder of the project. All of the course expense forms must
be signed by the treasurer.
How to buy
- The MechE Tool Crib (Room 177 MechE, see door for hours) has fasteners,
metal and plastic stock and other small items. To purchase items from the
Tool Crib, fill out the ME4054 Tool Crib
Form and have it signed by the team treasurer, the advisor, and then the
TA. (The TA will not sign unless the treasurer and advisor have signed first.)
Small items such as a few fasteners will not be charged to the
project. Everything else will be charged to the project and will count
against your $100. If you are working on a company sponsored project,
you cannot use the Tool Crib unless the company has pre-paid into the
course account. See the course coordinator for details.
- Get approval in advance from your advisor, then purchase the item yourself
from a store or on-line. If you are seeking reimbursement from the
University, MN state tax is not reimbursed by the University
as the University is an educational institution. Sometimes you have to talk
to the service desk at the store, or add additional information to a web order
so that tax is not charged. Save your receipt. No receipt means no reimbursement.
The reimbursement procedure for company sponsored projects is worked out between
you and your project advisor. The reimbursement procedure for department sponsored projects
is as follows: (1) Fill out the
Non-Employee Reimbursement From
form, which can be obtained from the Department of Mechanical Engineering forms page
and attach original receipts to the form. (No
receipts? Sorry, no reimbursement.) (2) Have treasurer and project advisor
sign the form. (3) Bring the form to course TA who will sign and submit to MechE
accounting. Before the TA signs the form, he or she will ask for documentation
that the $100 total for the course has not been exceeded.
Please bundle and submit all reimbursement requests once at the
end of the course. It is greatly preferred to have all requests on one form
and the money sent to one person on the team rather than one form per team
member. Allow 3 weeks after form submission to get a reimbursement check which
will come to the person listed on the form.
- For larger purchases for department sponsored projects, use the
department Purchase Order Request procedure. Note that this will be a
rare process because department projects are limited to $100. Contact
the course TA or your project advisor for details. All large expenses
must be approved in advance by the project advisor and the course
coordinator. Larger purchases for company sponsored projects are
arranged through the company.
Quiz Question "REIMBURSABLE":
Which of the following is a reimbursable expense? Copying costs?
Telephone calls? Prototype components? or Costs for your Design