Frequently Asked Questions

General Account Information

How can I find out how much I have in my account?

Call Vi Tran (4-1161), Cindy Nimrud (4-1494), or Jennifer Stevenson (4-1779). We can give you a balance over the phone.

We need to change the signer or add a new signer on our account. What do I do?

Please complete an account authorization form [PDF] and send it to Tower Foundation (extended zip 0183).

Can we hire employees through our account?

You can hire student assistants, and faculty and staff members if you have a discretionary account (i.e., your account number begins with 023, 034 or 038). You will need to complete an appointment form for the new hire [PDF], and the employee will need to complete new hire paperwork (including a W-4 [PDF], application, I-9 form, etc.). Please contact Tower Human Resources at 4-1127 to get the hiring process started.

I didn't receive my reports. How do I get copies?

Call Lena Tran (4-1189) to get copies of your reports.

Can I get a report showing all the activity in my account for a certain period (year-to-date, quarterly, fiscal or calendar year)?

Yes, please call Lena Tran (4-1189), Vi Tran (4-1161), or Cindy Nimrud (4-1494).

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Accounts Payable and Checks

I want to attend a banquet benefiting another college/department on campus. Can I pay for this out of my Tower account? Will I have to pay the 5 percent administrative fee?

Yes, you can pay this out of your discretionary account. You'll need to complete a requisition form [PDF]. Check the "reclassifications" box and give us information about the transfer in the "description" area. Fundraising events which are budgeted at over $5,000 of revenue must be approved in advance per CSU policy. Please contact Jennifer Stevenson (4-1779) with questions.

A vendor has asked for Tower Foundation's W-9 form. How can I get one?

Please contact Christina Tan-Aoyagi (4-1329) and she can provide a W-9 form [PDF].

I've lost my expense reimbursement check or a vendor didn't receive a check for an invoice. How can I get a replacement check?

Contact Cindy Nimrud (4-1494) she will void the check and issue a replacement check.

I just submitted a requisition. How long will it take to get my check?

In most cases we can provide a check three or four days after we receive your requisition.

What kind of documentation do I need to provide for expense reimbursement? Do I need to provide original receipts?

You will need to provide an original invoice and/or original detailed receipt plus a credit card receipt, copy of a credit card statement, or cancelled check as proof of payment. We make exceptions to this rule if you have submitted your originals to the state and are requesting partial reimbursement from Tower. For meal reimbursement, please also provide a list of attendees.

I submitted a scholarship or award request a week ago, but the student still hasn't received the money. Why is it taking so long?

All scholarship and award payments must be verified with Admissions and Records (to ensure the student is carrying a full load in the current semester) and the student's tax status in the U.S. must be determined. Tower then issues a check to the Financial Aid and Scholarship office. Depending on the time of year and the number of requests, there may be a delay as Financial Aid considers the award in light of the student's total financial aid package.

Why do we have to submit original receipts and invoices?

As proof of payment and to avoid duplication of payment. In some cases, such as for airline tickets purchased online and for expenditures which are being partly covered by the state, Tower is able to accept duplicate receipts.

Can SJSU and Tower employees receive honoraria from Tower Foundation?

An honorarium is a payment or award to an individual in recognition of a special service or distinguished achievement for which custom or propriety payment precludes a standard business rate. Honorarium payments are minimal gratuities and are not compensation for services rendered. Honoraria might be a taxable income to the recipient and subject to IRS Form 1099-Misc. SJSU and Tower employees cannot receive honoraria from Tower Foundation. They must be paid through payroll, and they will receive a W-2. Please contact Tower H/R (4-1127) with questions.

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Endowment FAQ [PDF]

What is an endowment?

An endowment is a gift to the University that is invested in perpetuity to provide sustained support for San José State University.  The donor specifies how the endowment earnings can be used.

How does an endowment work?

The donor’s gift (also called the endowment corpus) is invested in the endowment investment portfolio. An annual distribution from the endowment provides spendable funds from investment earnings that may be spent to carry out the donor’s purpose. New gifts, long-term investment performance and a prudent spending policy influence the growth of endowments. The goal is to ensure that the endowed fund is nurtured to support the needs of future generations.

Why are endowments important to SJSU?

Endowments support initiatives that promote excellence at SJSU — scholarships, fellowships and unique learning experiences for our students, professorships for distinguished faculty, and research and program support. SJSU graduates are prized by Silicon Valley employers for their ability to contribute on their first day of employment. The hands on learning opportunities made possible by endowment donors contribute profoundly to SJSU alumni success.

What is the minimum amount for establishing an endowment at SJSU?

The university’s minimum amount to establish an endowment is $50,000. Endowments can be established through outright or planned gifts (such as bequests).

What laws regulate endowments?

The Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA), adopted in California in 2008, guides our endowments.

Who will oversee my endowment in support of SJSU?

The Tower Foundation at San José State University holds the endowment. The Tower Foundation Board of Directors and its Finance and Investment Committee have the legal and fiduciary responsibility for endowment oversight. The Tower Foundation is an auxiliary of the California State University system.

How are endowment investments managed at SJSU?

The Tower Foundation has hired an external investment firm, Beacon Pointe Advisors, to provide investment advisory services. The endowment investment portfolio is invested according to the Investment Policy set by the Board of Directors. The investment portfolio is reviewed on a quarterly basis with the Finance and Investment Committee of the Board.

What types of investments are permitted?

Permissible investments include value and growth equities, fixed income, private equity, real estate, and cash.

How is spending determined?

The spending policy is set by the Tower Board of Directors.  The yearly distribution is based on a trailing three-year average market value. The distribution typically ranges 3% to 4%. A distribution is typically made regardless of challenging short-term investment performance.

Why use a three-year average?

Three-year averaging helps smooth investment highs and lows and provide a steady, reliable stream of support to the donor’s designated purpose.

How soon will new endowments provide a distribution to spend for programmatic purposes?

Due to the impact of the trailing three-year average, donors may elect to delay a distribution from their endowment in order preserve its value. In the first year an endowment is funded, the distributions will be about 1/3 of the full amount, in the second year 2/3, and 36 months after the endowment is funded, the full distribution will be available for the donor’s program of choice. The amount remaining which is not paid out in the distribution will remain in the endowment to further its growth.

What happens to any excess returns in the endowment?

Investment earnings in excess of the amount distributed remain in the endowment investment fund to contribute to growth and protect against the impact of future market fluctuations.

What happens when investment returns are negative?

In years where investment returns are negative, accumulated prior year gains are used to provide a distribution.

What is an underwater endowment?

An endowment whose market value is less than the corpus (total gifts to the endowment). By law, the principal of an endowment can’t be spent without donor permission.

Are any fees charged?

The Tower Foundation charges a 2% annual fee to endowments. 

Please contact Csilla Kuehn (4-1173) or for more information.

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We would like to hold a raffle to raise money. What do we need to do?

The Tower Foundation is authorized by the California Attorney General to hold charitable raffles. Please refer to our procedures for charitable raffles for the information we'll need from you and the answers to many common questions. If you have questions, please contact Cindy Nimrud (4-1494).

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Employment and Payroll

How do I put someone on the Tower Foundation payroll?

For faculty members and other university employees, complete the Tower Foundation's university employee appointment form [PDF]. Faculty stipends and appointments must be reviewed by Faculty Affairs before payroll processing is complete. Non-faculty stipends and appointments must be reviewed by SJSU HR before payroll processing. University employees may not work more than a 25 percent overload from all auxiliary sources.

For all other "new hires," complete Tower Foundation's appointment form [PDF].

Newly hired employees must complete the I-9 form and other required documents.

How do I recruit for a position?

It is the policy of the Tower Foundation to recruit for all vacant and new positions unless the position is to be filled for less than four months. In some cases, recruitment may be waived under business necessity circumstances. Student assistants may be hired without recruitment, but please consult Tower Human Resources before discussing the hourly rate. Contact Tower Human Resources at (4-1127) for recruitment and advertisement.

Can I transfer an employee from the Research Foundation to the Tower Foundation?

Tower Foundation and Research Foundation are separate legal entities and as such, employees of one foundation who transfer to a job at the other foundation must complete that foundation's new hire paperwork. Any service-connected benefits earned cannot be moved to the Tower Foundation.

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