Recognized Incentive Activity (RIA) accounts are specialized accounts established to hold funds for individual faculty and staff. Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) is responsible for the curation of these accounts and routinely fields questions about allowable purchases and deposits.  A number of programs on campus utilize the RIA as a vehicle for delivering incentives to employees, including  Inclusive Excellence, Online and Strategic Learning, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Immersive Learning, Vice Provost for Research, Community Engagement, Faculty Learning Communities, and Sponsored Projects Administration, just to name a few.  


Recognized Incentive Activity (RIA) Use Guidance 

  • All RIA FUND code requests must be initiated by SPA.
  • Retirements / Resignations: Any unspent balance remaining 90 days after an employee's documented last day will be reclaimed by the program account, and the RIA account will be closed. 
  • RIAs with no expense activity in the previous 12-month period will be flagged for further review, and the account owner will be contacted. 
  • Reclaims and account closures are reviewed and approved by the RIA program manager before being entered & processed.
  • The individual or department is responsible for correcting any over-drafting of RIAs. 
  • All accounts must be in good standing annually by June 15 (ahead of the end of the fiscal year). 

Allowable RIA Expenses

Funds in RIA accounts may cover expenses related to an individual's scholarly agenda or professional development. All allowable expenses must have appropriate documentation provided to the university within 60 days after it is paid or incurred in accordance with the University’s Accountable Plan (PDF) for reimbursements.

All expenses are subject to the Allowable Expenditure Policy (PDF).

Examples include:

  • consumable supplies
  • student wages
  • university-sponsored professional travel
  • publishing / dissemination costs
  • professional association dues
  • software licenses 
  • participant incentives 
  • assigned time (time buyout) for scholarly work, as approved by the department chair 
  • graduate assistant for the summer

Unallowable RIA Expenses

  • personal use items, including technology not purchased for University-business
  • tuition
  • food or beverage purchases 
  • stipends or supplemental compensation 

Frequently Asked Questions

Please work with your departmental support staff to access your RIA funding. You will need your FUND code. This number was emailed to you when your RIA was established. We encourage you to keep this email for reference. 

These accounts have been established to hold incentive funds for BSU employees, including programs like the Faculty Learning Communities, Inclusive Excellence, SPA's Submit program, indirect cost recovery distribution, and residual grant funds. Expenditures do not have to be approved by SPA but do need to be approved through a faculty/staff's home department/unit.

Please review the University Allowable Expenditures Policy for more information. 

Expenses and professional development in support of your scholarly agenda. In addition, account holders may use funds to support student engagement in scholarly activities. Examples include consumable supplies, professional travel, professional dues, publishing costs, supplemental assigned time (time buyout) for scholarly work, or student assistance. Food/beverages, gift cards for gifts, and personal use items are NOT allowable purchases.

Items purchased with RIA funds must follow University policies and procedures and will be considered University property. Consult the University's Allowable Expenditure Policy

Technology purchases must be made through the appropriate Information Technology purchasing channels in accordance with the IT purchasing procedures

RIA funds do not have a set expiration date.

In FY24/25, we began implementing a structured biannual review process. These reviews will ensure that RIAs remain actively utilized and aligned with their intended purposes. Specifically, accounts with no expense activity over the previous 12 months will undergo further review, facilitating more efficient fund allocation and utilization. No funds will be taken or accounts closed without consultation with the account holder.

No, it is not required to route RIA expenditures or Travel Authorizations through SPA. You DO need to have a travel pre-authorization in place prior to the travel in order to be reimbursed after the fact. Please work with your home department/unit for the appropriate routing of Travel Authorization and Expense Vouchers. 

All University travel, including travel funded by RIAs, must follow the University Travel Policy and the RIA Use Policy (PDF).

Eligible funding deposited into an individual's RIA will remain in that account for the duration of their employment at Ball State, regardless of departmental appointment. These accounts are tied to an individual, not a department or college.

To help with accounting, we encourage the RIA holder to contact the program administrators with the new information. 

Balances remaining at the time of an employee's resignation or retirement will be reclaimed 90 days after the date on file by the program's main account. 

Any requests for an exception to this procedure must be made in writing to SPA, before the resignation/retirement date, by the account holder. Requests by other parties will not be accepted. 

No. The university tuition policy does not allow for this transaction.

Any department or unit can request to put funds for certain types of activities into an RIA account and should obtain SPA approval to do so. All funds regardless of source are subject to the RIA Use Policy (PDF). Please contact the Program Administrators for more information.

If an employee files and receives approval for any one of the approved University leaves of absence, the RIA will be left open and funds are protected for the period of the approved leave + 90 days. 

No, 90 days AFTER the resignation date, SPA will reclaim unspent funds and close the RIA account.

Departments may not recoup these funds.

Every RIA is backed by a departmental account. As such, individuals and departments are responsible for monitoring expenditures and correcting any over-drafting of RIAs. As overdrafts can occur at any point during the year, they must be corrected as soon as it is noticed or within 60 days of notification by the RIA program manager.

All accounts must be in good standing annually, no later than June 15 (ahead of the end of the fiscal year). 

Individuals should work with their departments to query the balance of their RIA and track expenditures. To assist with this monitoring, notifications delivered at the beginning of each to the account holder and their departmental administrator provide a reminder of the current balance and FOAP (account number). 

The FOAP that was given to you via email when your RIA was first opened is what you use to charge expenses and look up your account information. Using this number, one can use the following method to look up balances:

Argos Report: FI> Controller> Public - - Report titled "Rev/Exp Transaction History WITH security"

  • Using this report, you will select the period of time you want to query
    • Use a longer period of time to capture the ACTUAL activity and balance of the RIA.
  • Select both Revenue and Expense Accounts (select multiples by hold CTRL+click)
  • Uncheck the box that says "Include all FUNDS?" 
  • Find your FUND in the list and click to select 
  • At the top of the screen, find the Reports button
  • Select the CSV file export and download.
  • This report will give you an accurate credit / debit accounting of transactions on an RIA.

If you have followed the instructions above and find that you don't have permission to access the report in Argos or the screen in Banner, you can enter a helpdesk ticket to gain access. 

  • Go to bsu.service-now.com/helpdesk
  • Click on 'Request Services'
  • Click on 'Applications'
  • Click 'Show More' in the left navigation, then 'Security Access'.
  • Select Argos and/or Banner - Finance 
  • In the ticket, indicate what report and/or screen you need access to, and say it is to check the balances of your departmental RIA funds.

Still Have Questions?

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