Prizes and Awards



Prizes (Something of value conveyed as a result of chance, generally for promotional purposes, to one or more participants in a University-sponsored event) may be awarded only in situations where benefits are expected to accrue to the University. Examples include door prizes to persons attending athletic events and prizes awarded as incentives to encourage responses to customer questionnaires and other types of surveys. The anticipated benefits of awarding a prize must be documented, and the decision to award prizes must be approved in writing by the chancellor.

Promotional items such as pens, key rings, stickers, etc., used to promote an organization’s activities, are allowed provided they are approved by the Student Senate as segregated university fees expenditure.

The amount or value of the prize should be based upon the minimum amount reasonably required to achieve the objective of the promotion and should not exceed $200.

• No prize may be awarded to a UW System employee, except in situations where the individual’s employment is incidental to the basis on which the prize is awarded. For example, an employee would be eligible to win a door prize awarded at random to those in attendance at an athletic event.

• If an individual pays for the chance to win a prize (including door prizes), state raffle laws apply. Raffles must be licensed by the State Gaming Commission and conducted in accordance with Chapter 563, Wisconsin Statutes.

• Revenue-generating activities may award prizes funded from their own proceeds. Receipts generated from one activity should not be used to award prizes for an unrelated activity.

• In some cases, private, non-University entities may award prizes directly to persons attending athletic events or other functions sponsored by the University. Prizes awarded directly by such entities may be beyond the $200 limitation established above as well as the “minimum amount reasonably required to meet the objective of the promotion.” However, in the award of such prizes, the institution should ensure that, both in substance and in public perception, the prize is clearly being awarded by the non-University entity and not by the institution.


Typically, awards based upon competition or merit are made to recognize academic or athletic achievements of students; service awards may be made to recognize members of the community; and non-cash awards may be made to recognize employees for distinguished service, upon retirement or at other career milestones.

• The use of donated funds is preferred for all awards.

• Athletic awards must be funded from program revenue sources.

• Segregated university fees may be used only for awards such as certificates and plaques that have no intrinsic value or for items of minimal value that bear the University’s logo. Awards to employees should not exceed $100 in cost; special cases must be approved by the chancellor.

Trophies, medallions and other types of awards for student competitive functions, scholastic excellence, or outstanding school/community service, and funding of honor banquets or receptions are subject to the following guidelines:

• If the organization holding the banquet or reception or presenting the awards receives any segregated university fee support, the Institution SUFAC (Senate Finance Committee) must specifically approve the expenditure as part of the SUF budget prior to the event.

• Cash or product awards in excess of $100 but less than $500 may be given only upon prior approval of the chancellor. Those in excess of $500 must be approved by the UW System Vice President for Business and Finance.

Additional Information