Contract FAQs

Do you have a contractor, vendor, speaker, or performer coming to campus?

Before the contractor can work on campus there is information that needs to be obtained and documents signed.

Please refer to the Information for Contractors page for the most up to date information on needs and requirements.

Please Note: The Contracts, Procurement, and Travel Teams are all currently working remotely. All phones are forwarded so you can continue to reach us through all the usual channels.

Contract and Signing Questions

A contract is any written form of documentation legally obligating the University to a performance, service, or monetary issue. For example: a document that contains language related to pricing, statement of work, insurance, indemnification, legal venue, rights and responsibilities of either party or similar language, or whether or not it involves monetary payment or indicates it requires the signature of the University.

There are only a few designated University personnel who have signing authority for the University. The President’s Office delegates these signatories. 

For a complete list of personnel with authorization, you can download the Contract Signature Authority List here.

Do not sign any contractual documents for the University – all contracts (and all parts of the contract) MUST go through the proper channels for approval and approved University signatures.

Yes, all contracts MUST be in writing. Contracts are binding legal documents, therefore we require them in writing and signed by all authorized parties.

Remember, it is not the dollar amount which dictates the need for a contract. Measuring the amount of risk involved is necessary, as well as adherence to Washington State Law.

Copies of your contract can be found under the “My Contracts” section of the CMM:

Contract language often provides for renewals beyond the initial term of the contract, based on continued payment. Often, an amendment can extend the term of a contract if extensions are not provided for in the initial contract.

An amendment allows you to make a change or extend the terms of a pre-existing contract, with approval and consent from both parties.

In general, any person acting in an independent capacity to perform personal services in this state must have a Unified Business Number (UBI) before conducting any work.


As stated in the definition in the policy, an honorarium is given as an “expression of gratitude and gesture of good will,” not a payment for services. The honoraria payment process may be used when there is no expectation or verbal agreement that payment for their services or travel reimbursement will be given; only an offer to give an honorarium strictly as a goodwill gesture to cover any transportation and lodging expenses the invited professional person may have to incur in response to an invitation to speak, judge or act in some other capacity.

If there is an expectation of payment and/or travel reimbursement from the individual, the department must follow the policy and procedures for arranging a guest speaker contract. Contact Contract Administration regarding the “Performance Contract template.”

It is important to first ensure a situation and the individual is honoraria eligible and not one in which creates an employment or independent contractor status. Incorrect classification can result in a costly fine by the IRS and other penalties. Before proceeding with offering someone an honoraria, please review the Paying Honoraria or Stipends to Non-Employees Policy.

Please review the other FAQs below and if the individual and situation meets the eligibility criteria, submit the Honoraria or Stipend Pre-Approval Form.

Current employees are not eligible for honoraria or independent contractor status. Contact human resources for how to provide payment to current employees for work outside the scope of their current position.

A former employee is eligible for honoraria but might be restricted if a contract is required if the situation does not meet the honoraria criteria. See the Independent Contractor vs Employee Assessment Form.

Current students are not eligible for honoraria. Providing the student an experience that they can use for their portfolio or resume is more valuable than a small payment. The tax and financial aid implications of an honoraria payment can often be more burdensome to at student. 

A stipend is a fixed amount payment to non employee:

  • To support a training or learning experience generally giving to assist with living or educational expenses while undertaking a role that primarily provides the individual with a learning /training experience and therefore exempts them for a waged or salaried employment, or
  • For services that may be reoccurring but does not represent employment such as a host teacher paid quarterly for hosting a student teacher. 

Students are eligible to receive a stipend as defined by this policy. Payments are to be processed through Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

Employees are not eligible to receive a stipend as defined by this policy. Other types of stipends, such as a faculty chair stipend, are available to employees but is treated as part of their employment and must be processed through Human Resources and Payroll.

It is very important to understand the following:

  • Not all visa types are eligible for honoraria or have restrictions.
  • A letter of invitation must be sent to every foreign national invited to WWU who will receive payment for services and/or travel expense. 
  • Most foreign nationals are subject to 30% tax withholding which can significantly affect the actual honoraria payment.

To ensure compliance and avoid any uncomfortable surprises, it is important that the department review the Honorarium Payments to Foreign Nationals website before making an honoraria arrangement.