In general, University employees must receive compensation for their services in the form of taxable earnings. The UC Office of the President has previously advised against the practice of placing funds into AEF accounts in lieu of providing actual taxable compensation to faculty who engage in additional academic activities not covered by regular salary. This practice may place employees and the university at risk related to tax regulations on compensation. Accordingly, it is important to correctly identify compensation as taxable earnings.
The practice of placing nontaxed funds into AEF accounts should only be done in compliance with the guidelines below. This practice is especially important for retirees, who work on limited recall and whose retirement status might be jeopardized if their combined salary compensation and AEFs exceed required limitations on retirement income. In addition, AEFs must be considered for active faculty when calculating total summer salary within allowable limits.
Academic Enrichment Funds are provided as incentives for additional academic engagement and are earmarked to support reimbursable University-related professional expenses. However, AEFs are not compensation, so an AEF account may not be used to provide additional compensation to the appointee who earned the funds in an AEF. The following guidelines outline relevant information and appropriate use of these funds:
- AEF accounts are at all times the property of the University and may be used only for purposes that will enhance the faculty member’s contribution to the teaching, research, and service mission of UC Davis.
- Any travel paid for with AEF accounts must have a clear University-related purpose. Strong justification is required when using these funds for professional travel.
- Any equipment or electronics purchased with AEF accounts are the property of the University and are the responsibility of the department/unit in accordance with University policies related to the management and control of equipment. Any data or content on communications equipment is subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act.
- The expenditure of these funds must follow all relevant UC and UC Davis policies, including, but not limited to, those related to purchasing and the eligibility of University funds for certain types of purchases, for example cell phones.
- All expenditures of AEF accounts are at the discretion of the department/unit head and must be approved in advance before funds can be disbursed. There is no entitlement to use AEF accounts.
GENERAL INFORMATION REGARDING THE CREATION AND USE OF ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT FUND ACCOUNTS
Academic Enrichment Funds are provided to faculty for programs in which they participate, e.g., First Year Seminar, or when they are working for the University in some other administrative/project-based capacity, e.g., Department Chair or Part-time Faculty Administrator, or through other savings or allocations that are intended to support the appointee’s academic/research endeavors, but not for additional compensation.
- As the tax treatment of funds received in an AEF may depend on the specific circumstances applicable to each faculty member, we strongly recommend that faculty members who have accepted AEFs in lieu of compensation consult with their personal tax professionals about any tax implications.
- For those University programs that provide AEFs, common practices should be consistently followed. All participants performing service for a particular program should either receive salary dollars or an AEF, rather than having some participants receive salary, while others receive an AEF. In some situations (for example, service as a department chair), faculty may receive both salary and AEFs to support their research during their appointment as chair. However, the AEF accounts must be spent according to these guidelines and may not be used for additional compensation, such as summer salary, at a later time.
- Academic appointees eligible to receive additional summer compensation (per policy APM 661-16 and APM 667-18) may not receive compensation during the summer or “off-duty” vacation exceeding 3/9 of the annual salary for academic-year appointees, or 1/11 of the annual salary for fiscal-year appointees. Any additional funds deposited in an AEF must be within the summer compensation limitations set in policy. For example, a faculty member earning 3/9 in additional summer compensation is ineligible to have any further money deposited into an AEF in exchange for performing additional duties. Similarly, a faculty member earning 1/9 in additional summer compensation would only be eligible for an additional 2/9 as either salary or AEF monies.
- Some schools or colleges may charge standard campus assessments on AEF accounts. This will be a decision based on the school/college budgeting practices.
For additional information about academic compensation see: https://academicaffairs.ucdavis.edu/compensation
Limitations on recall for service after retirement are covered in Academic Personnel Manual (APM) 205 – Recall for Academic Appointees. If an emeritus faculty is recalled for teaching, research and/or administrative service, the monthly compensation limit is 43% of the annualized salary rate at the time of retirement, including any cost of living adjustment percent applied to the salary scale since retirement. No additional funds over the 43% limit should be deposited into an AEF account for any purpose (see the formulas provided for recall of academic-year appointees and fiscal-year appointees on the Academic Affairs Retirements and Recalls page). Because emeritus faculty are not required to do research, research-related expenses may not be tax deductible. Accordingly, any funds deposited into AEF accounts should be counted toward the 43% maximum payment. Failure to do so may jeopardize the individual’s retirement status and income. Any service above 43% effort must therefore be considered voluntary. No additional funds, whether regular salary or payments into an AEF account, may be provided to the retiree.
USE OF ACCUMULATED AEF ACCOUNTS AFTER RETIREMENT
When a faculty member separates or retires, any remaining balance in the AEF account will revert to the Dean’s office and future use of those funds is at the discretion of the Dean. Separated faculty who have an AEF balance at time of separation are no longer eligible to use the funds. For retired faculty holding emeritus titles, deans, in consultation with the department chair, can create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a period not to exceed 3 years to permit the retiree to use any amount up to the remaining balance of their AEF. The MOU would be appropriate under the following circumstances:
- If the emeritus faculty member has a recall appointment at UC Davis for teaching, research, or service, or
- If the emeritus faculty member is demonstrably active at UC Davis as evidenced by active grants, active graduate student supervision, or active participation in departmental service activities.
Any such use of the funds is subject to the guidelines set forth above and must have a clear University purpose, consistent with the nature of the recall appointment or continued UC Davis campus engagement. For example, if an emeritus faculty member is recalled to teach on a specific topic, it may not be appropriate to approve travel to attend a conference outside that field. Emeritus faculty who are not on recall appointment or otherwise not demonstrably active on campus in teaching, research, or service at UC Davis may not use the balance of their AEF accounts. Unit 18 Lecturers without continuing appointments are ineligible to use AEF accounts after the expiration of their current appointment.
FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR PROGRAM
Consistent with previous advisories, emeritus faculty may volunteer to teach in the First-Year Seminar (FYS) program, sponsored by Undergraduate Education. All such faculty should have a without salary recall appointment for this purpose. Per the agreement with the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the FYS program may provide new academic enrichment funds linked to volunteer faculty who teach first-year seminars. For emeritus faculty holding a without salary recall appointment to teach in the FYS program and who continue to demonstrably engage at UC Davis as evidenced by active grants, active graduate student supervision, or active participation in UC Davis departmental service activities, the new AEF accounts may be earmarked to support the emeritus faculty member’s teaching and scholarly activities in accordance with the guidance above. Any remaining funds at the end of the recall appointment will revert to the Dean’s office unless there is a MOU as referenced above.
For emeritus faculty who do not have active scholarly research/creative activity programs at UC Davis, the First-Year Seminar program may provide funds directly to the home department to support its academic mission. The emeritus faculty member may suggest ways that these funds can be expended (for example, to support student clubs, student summer research, and other student-centric activities). However, the department chair ultimately has responsibility for how these funds are spent. In no case may the funds be used for personal compensation of the emeriti faculty member who “earned” them, at either the time of the award or a later date. In all cases, emeritus faculty on recall will need to remain current on training in cybersecurity, sexual harassment, safety and any other areas, as required by the University for research and/or teaching performed under recall. More information on the required campus training can be found on the websites for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response and Staff Development and Professional Services – UC Cyber Security.