Sponsorships and Advertising in Campus Publications


To establish standards for accepting and acknowledging sponsorships and advertising in campus publications.


All campus units and all employees and students involved in the preparation or production of campus publications.


Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs.


Campus units may accept sponsorships, make an acknowledgment, or accept advertisements or advertising in campus publications only in accordance with this policy and the applicable procedures. Employees shall not, under any circumstances, benefit themselves or others to the detriment of the university by improperly accepting sponsorships, making an acknowledgment, accepting advertisements or advertising in campus publications. Employees and students shall not link to commercial or charitable web pages in campus publications.

Prior to accepting a sponsorship, making an acknowledgment, or accepting advertisements or advertising in campus publications, a campus unit must determine, in consultation with Public Affairs, Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS), Office of University Counsel, and the Office of Treasury Operations, University Tax as necessary, that the sponsorship, acknowledgment, or advertising meets all of the following requirements:

  1. Is consistent with and does not detract from the mission and/or best interests of the university;
  2. Is governed by an appropriately approved and properly executed contractual agreement between the university and a third party;
  3. Is not in conflict with any existing contracts, in particular exclusive sponsorships or providerships;
  4. Does not include or imply endorsement by the university;
  5. Does not promote tobacco products, alcohol or gambling;
  6. Does not promote the position of a political candidate or partisan political cause or intend to influence legislation;
  7. Is consistent with federal and state law;
  8. Does not violate university policies and rules; and
  9. Is at least two levels (links) removed from the campus’ home web page (http://illinois.edu) and one level (link) removed from the campus unit’s home web page.

Accepting non-qualified sponsorships and/or advertising may subject the university to state and federal tax on unrelated business income (“UBI”). Each campus unit is responsible for reporting any potential UBI to the Office of Business and Financial Services (“OBFS”), University Accounting and Financial Reporting, pursuant to the applicable OBFS policies and procedures. Each campus unit is responsible for any resulting tax payments and liabilities, including penalties and attorneys’ fees, for taxes on UBI, or other tax assessments arising from that campus unit’s acceptance of non-qualified sponsorships and/or advertising.


  • acknowledgmentA method for recognizing a sponsorship consistent with IRS regulations, including, but not limited to using the sponsor’s logos and slogans that do not contain comparative or qualitative descriptions of the sponsor’s products, services, facilities, or company.
  • Advertisements/AdvertisingAny printed, digital or oral communications that promote or market any trade or business, goods or services, including, but not limited to:
    1. an endorsement;
    2. an inducement to buy a product or service;
    3. qualitative or comparative language;
    4. price information;
    5. other indications of savings or value associated with a product or service; or
    6. a call to action.
  • Campus PublicationsAll print and digital communications published by or on behalf of the university or a campus unit and supported by university funds, including state, institutional, auxiliary enterprise, self-supporting, gift, grant or contract funds, or other university resources.
  • SponsorshipMoney, goods or services provided by an external organization or individual to support specific university programs and/or activities.
  • Qualified SponsorshipPursuant to Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) regulations, sponsorships in which there is no arrangement or expectation that the external organization or individual will receive any substantial return benefit from the university, other than an acknowledgment; provided that such acknowledgment does not include advertising or any payment contingent upon factors, such as attendance level or broadcast ratings, indicating the degree of public exposure for such program or activity.
  • Non-Qualified SponsorshipSponsorships that do not meet the IRS requirements for a qualified sponsorship.
  • Unrelated Business Income (“UBI”)Pursuant to IRS regulations, income generated by a tax-exempt organization for a trade or business activity that is regularly carried on and that is not substantially related to the organization’s tax exempt purpose.


In addition to the requirements set forth in the policy, campus units must follow the applicable procedures for acceptance of sponsorships, acknowledgments, advertisements or advertising in campus publications.

For sponsorships related to a scope of work, campus units must contact the Office of Sponsored Programs (“OSP”), http://ospra.illinois.edu, and follow the applicable OSP policies and procedures. For sponsorships related to a scope of work and funded by governmental or nonprofit organizations, the language and format of acknowledgment must comply with the terms and conditions for the project.

For other sponsorships, the individual or organization within the campus unit must submit a written sponsorship agreement for approval to the unit executive officer of the campus unit and the next higher administrative level or that administrator’s designee. Such submission should include:

  1. a description of the project/activity to be sponsored;
  2. identification of the sponsor;
  3. a time period for the sponsorship;
  4. relation of the sponsorship to the campus unit’s mission;
  5. a description of the publication/media/domain in which the sponsorship will be featured and how the sponsorship will be presented therein;
  6. an estimate of revenue or description and estimated value of goods or services to be received from the sponsorship;
  7. identification of the account into which funds from the sponsorship will be deposited;
  8. a description of how funds raised by the sponsorship will be used;
  9. identification of any exclusivity provisions related to the sponsorship;
  10. a description of any potential conflicts with the sponsorship and how any such conflicts have been reviewed and resolved; and
  11. the proposed manner in which the sponsorship is to be acknowledged.

The Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, or Deans may require additional approvals within their areas of responsibility. The Chancellor may also exempt a campus unit from this unit executive officer approval requirement. After the individual or organization receives approval from the unit executive officer and the next higher-level administrator, or where the Chancellor has exempted the campus unit from unit executive officer approval, the campus unit must work with the Contract Services Office at OBFS to formalize and execute the agreement through the contract approval procedures set forth at Initiation, Review, and Approval of University Contracts and Leases.

Campus units must also confirm that the university shall receive top billing in any campus publication in which an acknowledgment appears. For any acknowledgment that appears on university supported or registered domains, a direct/hot-link to a sponsor’s web page is permitted only if the sponsor’s page being linked does not allow the direct purchase of goods or services by completing an order and providing payment methods or involve the promotion of goods or services. Furthermore, a sponsor’s graphic image on university supported or registered domains shall be no larger than 10,000 pixels for desktop versions of the site and no more than 15 percent of the page size for mobile versions. For any acknowledgment in print campus publications, the sponsor’s graphic image and/or name shall be smaller than the university’s graphic image and/or name.

To seek permission to accept advertising in campus publications, campus units must submit proposals to the Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs as set forth at Procedures for Accepting Advertising. Advertisements for third parties may only be published on a .com or .info domain, not on the university’s .edu domain or on other domains such as .net and .org that are supported with university resources. The university’s .info domain shall be used only for digital campus publications containing news, features and information that are published on a regular schedule, such as “Inside Illinois,” alumni magazines, and quarterly magazines. Campus units must request approval to establish a .com or .info site and must contract with an outside service provider to host web sites with advertisements by submitting an approval request as set forth at Procedures for Accepting Advertising.

For a list of campus units currently exempt from the unit executive officer approval requirements under this policy, see Procedures for Accepting Advertising.

For OBFS policies and procedures regarding reporting UBI, see Report Unrelated Business Income.

For more information regarding sponsorships, acknowledgments, and advertising, see Section 11.13 – Sponsorship Gifts.


There are no exceptions to this policy.


Public Affairs
507 E. Green St.
Champaign, IL  61821
(217) 333-5010