Cellular Devices and Services

Recommended By
Administration and Finance
Ming Tung "Mike" Lee, President
Issue Date
Friday, February 1, 2008
Current Issue Date
Monday, September 25, 2023
Effective Date
Monday, January 1, 2024
Contact Office
Administration and Finance
Policy number


Introduction of Policy for Cellular Devices and Services

  1. Policy
    This policy provides guidance for the review, business justification, documentation, and approval of expenses for cellular devices and services used for university business. The university may reimburse the cost incurred for cellular devices or services to conduct official university business; no personal costs will be paid by the university. 
    1. The University may cover expenses incurred for:
      1. Employee-owned devices and service contracts based on estimated usage (preferred method)
        1. The university will reimburse employees for cellular costs under the following circumstances
          1. The employee travels extensively as a requirement of their job duties and the device will be used to conduct business while traveling.
          2. The employee may be required to respond to an immediate University need, such as system failure, disruption of necessary services, emergencies, etc. Reimbursement for business needs that are anticipated to occur in rare cases or for business needs that do not require an immediate response may not be reimbursed by the university.
      2. University-owned devices under limited circumstances, when deemed necessary by management, may be issued to an employee or department to be used for business purposes.
    2. The University will not provide employee reimbursements for cellular costs when equipment or services with similar functionality are already provided by the University.
    3. The University will incur expenses to provide cellular devices or services for telecommuting employees.
    4. Approval authority of reimbursements for employee cellular costs shall remain with the President and Vice Presidents. University provided cellular devices will remain as university property subject to university Property Management policy.
    5. If the use of a cellular device is approved, the employee may receive an allowance for an employee-owned cellular mobile device and voice/data plan at University pre-established reimbursement rates outlined in the SSU Wireless Device Cost & Plan Fees Schedule (PDF). The reimbursement rates may be changed/updated by the university as need may arise
      1. The employee shall make available to the University, upon request, records of the business calls necessary to comply with applicable laws and regulations; however, the employee may redact any personal information from the records provided.
      2. The University may not use this expense allowance or reimbursement for compensatory purposes such as a salary supplement to the employee.
      3. The reimbursement for cellular devices may not exceed the expenses actually incurred by the employee.
  2. Definitions
    1. Cellular Device: Includes smartphones, cellular phones, cellular-capable tablet computers/iPads, and any emerging technology capable of voice, text, and/or data that requires a cellular/cellular data plan carrier service.
  3. Requirements and Guidelines
    1. Employee-owned wireless device
      1. Employees make their own arrangements to choose their cellular phone carrier, cellular device, upgrade options, and voice/data plans. The service agreement is between the employee and the provider; the University is not involved in the agreement with the provider.
      2. The Authorization for Business-Related Wireless Device (PDF) form must be completed, approved, and submitted to the Accounts Payable unit for reimbursement.
      3. Reimbursement amounts are determined using the SSU Wireless Device Cost & Plan Fees Schedule (PDF). Any costs exceeding the amounts in the approved fee schedule are personal expenses to the employee and are not reimbursed by the University. Reimbursement greater than the approved fee schedule requires a detailed business use justification and applicable vice president approval.
      4. Reimbursement may not exceed the actual costs incurred.
      5. If the employee modifies, drops, or changes the cellular device plan, the employee or employee’s supervisor must notify Financial Services Accounts Payable to review potential taxable income which may be reported to the employee.
    2. University-owned wireless device
      1. University-owned cellular devices may be issued to an employee or department when management determines it is necessary to issue a University-owned phone rather than provide reimbursement for an employee-owned phone.
      2. University-owned cellular devices are for business use by the assigned employee only and shall not be used for personal calls.
      3. The Authorization for Business-Related Wireless Device (PDF) form must be completed, approved, and submitted to the Contracts and Procurement unit. The form should include the requested voice/data plan that coincides with the business needs of the employee.
      4. Issuance of the device will be maintained and inventoried in accordance with University Property Guidelines.
      5. The device must be returned if the employee separates from the University, or if there is no longer a business need.