Cellular Service Stipend Policy

Policy Approval Authority President
Responsible Division Division of Administration and Fiance
Responsible Officer(s) Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Contact Person Sarah McGill, smcgill1@niu.edu
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Effective Adoption Date 05-13-2014
Last Review Date 04-13-2016
Policy Category/Categories Finance / Risk Management
Revisions: May 13, 2014; June 12, 2014; December 7, 2014; February 28, 2015; March 3, 2015; July 20, 2015; January 14, 2016; April 13, 2016


This policy allows Northern Illinois University to meet federal regulations and fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of the State of Illinois by providing a general guideline for the use of cellular stipends for University business purposes.  In addition, this policy defines how employees will be reimbursed.


This policy pertains and applies to all NIU departments and employees that either utilize an NIU-issued cellular communication device for University business purposes, or are eligible for an NIU-issued cellular communication device based on job requirements.

Cellular communication devices are defined as: Basic and Smart Cell phones, 3G/4G Aircards, Mi-Fi/iPads or any devices that have voice/data capabilities with a monthly service.


Employees whose duties include frequent need for a cellular device may receive extra compensation, in the form of a monthly stipend (taxable to the employee), to cover business-related costs. Cellular device services for NIU personnel will be subject to the review and approval of the individual responsible for the overall budget management of the department.  Promoting fiscal responsibility is strongly encouraged and cellular devices should not be selected as an alternative to other means of communication – e.g., land-lines and/or mobile radios – when such alternatives would provide adequate and less costly service to the University.

Exceptions are allowable for departmentally shared cell phones used on an employee rotation basis. To qualify, devices and service agreements must be established with the Division of IT Cellular Program.


If the manager and employee agree that University business mandates the need for a form of cellular communication, the Employee Cellular Stipend Policy must be reviewed in detail. The manager and employee should select the most reasonable monthly stipend options, based on the intended usage of the devices and within their budget constraints.

  • MONTHLY STIPEND A: $35 Basic-voice usage only or data
  • MONTHLY STIPEND B: $85 Typical voice/data usage plans
  • MONTHLY STIPEND C: $115 Expanded voice/data functionality

These stipend allocations are based on average market pricing, and have been adjusted to compensate for taxes.

Employee Stipend Plans are administered wholly by the sponsoring department via the Additional Pay Form (APF) and the Department of Human Resources Payroll.

The approved Additional Pay Form must be approved annually and then be sent to Payroll for processing to initiate the monthly stipend.

The monthly stipend will be annualized and then dispersed over 24 pay periods. (For example: $85 x 12 = $1,020; divided by 24 = $42.50 per paycheck).  The stipend will always expire on June 30th of the existing fiscal year, until a newly approved form is submitted.

If the employee does not have a sufficient, ongoing need for a cellular device, employees can submit their ‘business-related’ expenses on a quarterly basis, with the appropriate documentation and manager approval, to the Controller’s office for reimbursement.

There will be no reimbursement for any equipment under this policy.  Any employee who receives a stipend will be expected to have their cellular phone number available to be published or distributed for business purposes.


Recipients of the cellular stipend who utilize a personal device for NIU business must comply with NIU’s Managed Device Policy and Data Classification Policy.

The failure of a University employee to perform any obligation required of this policy or applicable local, state, and federal laws or regulations will be subject to established University disciplinary actions, which may include restitution, termination, and/or prosecution by state or federal authorities.

Additional Information

  • Individual departments are responsible for the authorization, oversight and processing of all departmental stipends to employees.
  • If an employee is permitted to use cellular equipment previously purchased by the department, said employee accepts full responsibility for returning cellular equipment to the issuing department when no longer in use or requested by the department. The department is responsible for disposing of the equipment according to current NIU Materials Management guidelines for e-waste of cellular equipment.
  • A review of the Cellular Stipend Policy and the Additional Pay Form must be reviewed and re-approved annually, each fiscal year.
  • International Travel: Visit or call your individual carrier to determine equipment compatibility,  Data / Text / Voice costs and other travel-related options before you travel outside the United States.  The University assumes no liability for additional costs associated with travel within or outside of the United States, unless the travel is designated for a University business purpose.  Business-related expenses incurred can be submitted to the Controller’s office for reimbursement, along with the appropriate documentation and manager approval.
  • The employee’s cellular device(s) can be used for both personal and business purposes; therefore, it should be understood that the stipend should cover a majority of the business-use expenses.
  • Changes to stipend tiers may be made on an annual basis, after careful market analysis by the Controller’s office.
  • The stipend allowance does NOT constitute an increase to base pay, and will NOT be included in the calculation of percentage increases to base pay due to annual raises, job upgrades, etc.

Exception Process

  • Requests for exceptions to this policy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by submitting a request to the Divisional Vice President.  Examples of exceptions include, but are not limited to, a justified need for NIU- issued cell phone; reimbursement for justified voice/data coverages. Requests must be initiated via the Cellular Services Managed Plan form found online at ITForms.niu.edu
  • As a requirement of the Exception Process, all managed cellular equipment issued must be returned to the department and / or disposed of in accordance with section 6.0.2 of this policy. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring department to contact the Division of Information Technology to enter a timely request to stop billing for the corresponding wireless service.

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