Policy for Federal Property Management


The University must properly classify, safeguard and depreciate its equipment as well as abide by federal guidelines and the terms of sponsored awards with respect to the purchase, use and disposition of equipment.  Requirements can be found under Uniform Guidance 200.310-316, Property Standards.


For University purposes, equipment is tangible non-expendable property that has an estimated useful life of greater than one year and a value of $5,000 or more.  Delivery and installation costs included with the initial purchase of the equipment will be recorded as part of the total value of the asset.  Purchases of replacement parts will not be considered equipment. 

If component parts are purchased or designed and assembled, the component parts may cost less than $5,000 individually but will be considered equipment if the final assembled product costs more than $5,000 and has a useful life of more than one year. 


All equipment purchased with federal funds must have sponsor approval.  Approval by the sponsor of a budget containing equipment constitutes prior approval.  If the equipment was not included in the sponsor approved budget, a rebudgeting request must be sent to the grants accounting office as well as the sponsor. 

Once purchased, the equipment is to be used on the original project as long as needed.  The equipment must be made available for shared use as long as it will not interfere with the original project.  In addition, there can be no user charge to other departments and the equipment cannot be leased to outside organizations unless expressly allowed by the agency.  Personal use of federally acquired equipment is prohibited. 

Department Responsibility

Departments should provide the care necessary to maintain the equipment in the condition received (normal wear is expected).  Adequate safeguards should be in place to prevent loss, damage, or theft of the equipment. 

Departments are responsible for using the proper account code on vouchers to identify an equipment purchase.  Account code 85045 should be used for equipment.  If the equipment is acquired by any other means than a voucher, the department is responsible for notifying the grants accounting office. 

Tracking Federal Equipment

It is the responsibility of grants accounting to maintain a list of all equipment purchased with federal funds.  The list will be compiled as equipment purchases are identified during the voucher review process.  The list will be reconciled with the asset management system at least biannually.  This list will include:

  • Purchase date
  • Item description including model number and serial number if available.
  • Purchase cost
  • Record of receipt of purchase (copy of invoice/voucher)
  • Funding source used for purchase
  • Principal Investigator purchasing equipment
  • Department
  • Location
  • Inventory tag number

Grants accounting with the help of the Director of Environmental Services will assign property tags with unique numbers to all equipment.  These tags will be used to help identify equipment during the physical inventory. 

Physical Inventory

Wesleyan University is required to perform full physical inventory of its federal equipment at least once every two years in accordance with the Uniform Guidance 200.313.  The Director of Environmental Services will conduct this physical inventory.  Do not move any equipment once it is tagged without first contacting the Director of Environmental Services.  Any loss, damage or theft must be reported to the Director of Environmental Services and the Grants Accounting Office immediately.

Disposition of Equipment Purchased With Federal Funds

Prior to disposing of federal equipment, you must notify Grants Accounting, the Director or Environmental Services and the Associate Provost for Budget and Personnel.  Grants accounting will need to determine who retains title to the equipment.  In general, equipment purchased with federal funds becomes the property of the University when it is delivered.  There are however some sponsored agreements under which the sponsor retains title to any equipment purchased with sponsored funds. 

  • Sponsor Owned:  If title is retained by the sponsor, the agency must be notified if you want to dispose, transfer or sell the equipment.  Once the federal agency is notified, approval must be granted in order for an action to take place.  The money received from a sale must be returned to the agency.
  • University Owned:  If it is determined that the University holds title to the equipment, the decision on the disposal of the equipment should be made in consultation with the Grants Accounting Office, the Director or Environmental Services and the Associate Provost for Budget and Personnel.  Options include transfer, sale, donation or disposal.  A determination of fair market value will need to be made based on the useful life of the asset and the original cost.  If the item is to be sold, a standard Bill of Sale will need to be completed to protect the University from any liability.  The allocation of proceeds from the sale will be discussed with the Associate Provost for Budget and Personnel and may be used towards the cost of a replacement.  Any decision to donate equipment with a fair market value of $0 will need to be approved by the Associate Provost for Budget and Personnel.

Transfer of Equipment

When a principal investigator moves to another institution and requests transfer of equipment to the new institution, the following standards will apply:

  • Equipment purchased with federal funds may not be transferred to a for-profit institution
  • If an active grant is being transferred to another academic institution, equipment purchased on that grant may be transferred to the new institution in accordance with the terms of the grant.  If the grant will be staying with Wesleyan under a new PI, the equipment will stay with Wesleyan as well.
  • Equipment purchased with federal funds on a grant that is no longer active will be released only if the department chair certifies that the equipment is not useful to the other investigators in the department and the Associate Provost for Budget and Personnel signs off.  The institution receiving the equipment will be asked to pay fair market value and a standard Bill of Sale will need to be completed to protect the University from any liability.  Fair market value will be calculated using the straight-line method of depreciation over a useful life of 10 years.

(revised: 04/19/2022)