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UPPS 04.04.09 - Volunteers Resources

Volunteers Resources

UPPS No. 04.04.09
Issue No. 3
Effective Date: 1/15/2013
Next Review Date: 6/01/2017 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Director, Human


    1. The purpose of this UPPS is to set forth the university’s policies and procedures regarding volunteers who perform services for Texas State. This policy applies to all volunteers, with the exception of the following:

      1. volunteers who perform services for corporations, foundations, and similar organizations that have approved, written contractual relationships with Texas State or The Texas State University System (TSUS) Board of Regents; and

      2. individuals who serve as unpaid faculty members and are separately contracted (see AA/PPS 04.01.03, Unpaid Faculty).

    2. If a current Texas State employee wishes to volunteer his or her services to Texas State for civic, humanitarian or charitable reasons, the proposed volunteer service must be in a different occupational capacity from that in which the employee is employed. Additionally, Texas State employees are prohibited from volunteering their services for the same account manager who employs them.


    1. “Volunteer” means a person who performs services for Texas State without the expectation of compensation. “Volunteer” does not include: (1) members or former members of The Texas State University System Board of Regents; (2) students performing duties associated with their academic work or with other university functions; or (3) persons who participate as subjects in research and sponsored programs.

    1. Volunteer Program - Texas law requires that governmental entities such as Texas State develop volunteer programs, considering that volunteers are a resource that requires advanced planning and preparation for effective use (Government Code, Chapter 2109).

    2. Immunity From Liability - Texas law provides immunity from civil liability for volunteers providing services to institutions of higher education. This immunity applies to any act that is incident to the volunteer’s duties and involves the exercise of judgment or discretion on the part of the volunteer. The immunity does not apply to use of motor vehicles or to intentional misconduct or gross negligence (Education Code, § 51.937).

    3. Indemnification - The attorney general has held that Texas law does not permit volunteers to be indemnified for damages, court costs, and attorney fees in the same manner as state employees. Similarly, a volunteer is not entitled to the attorney general’s defense in litigation (Attorney General Opinion No. DM-457 (1997)).

    4. Foundation Service - A person serving on the governing board of a foundation, corporation, or association at the request of and on behalf of Texas State is entitled to indemnification for damages, court costs, and attorney fees in the same manner as state employees are indemnified (Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 104.001(1), (5)).

    5. Tort Liability - Generally, Texas State is not liable under the Tort Claims Act for acts of volunteers (Harris County v. Dillard, 883 S.W.2d 166 (Tex. 1994)).


    1. The divisional vice president (or the vice president’s designee) must approve, in writing, all volunteer programs. All volunteer programs must:

      1. establish that the program furthers the university’s interests;

      2. define the anticipated contributions of the volunteers;

      3. confirm the availability of departmental resources to support the volunteer efforts;

      4. perform criminal background checks on all volunteers;

      5. prohibit volunteers from operating university heavy equipment, operating university vehicles without permission, handling hazardous materials, or entering into a contract for the university; and

      6. require that both the volunteer and the account manager have signed the completed Volunteer’s Release/Appointment Form.

      NOTE: Ensure that the release is signed and maintain each release for at least two years from the date of the volunteer’s last service for Texas State. If the volunteer service will extend beyond the fiscal year, another Volunteer’s Release/Appointment Form will have to be completed for the fiscal year.

    2. In accordance with state law (Government Code, 2109.004(a)), account managers utilizing volunteers will develop and document the following:

      1. Training Program - Each department that uses volunteers will develop a training program for its volunteers and its employees who work with volunteers. In this training, volunteers must be advised of their responsibility to follow all applicable university policies and procedures, including those that prohibit disclosure of confidential university information.

      2. Assessment - Departments that use volunteers will assess (1) the volunteer program, (2) the performance of the volunteers, and (3) the cooperation of paid staff with the volunteers.

      3. Follow-Up Studies - Each department that uses volunteers will conduct follow-up studies to ensure the effectiveness of its volunteer program.

    3. Expense Reimbursement - Texas State may reimburse volunteers for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of volunteer services. The account manager of the department or office that uses volunteers has the discretion to determine whether to reimburse volunteers for expenses. Reimbursement for volunteer travel will be in the same manner and on the same basis as it pays for employees’ travel expenses (see Government Code § 2109.004(b)(l)).

    4. Awards - Texas State may provide volunteers with engraved plaques, pins, or awards of a similar nature, with a value that does not exceed $75 for each volunteer, to recognize special achievement and outstanding services of volunteers.

    5. Compensation - Texas State cannot compensate volunteers for their services, because to do so would not be consistent with their volunteer status. For the same reason, Texas State cannot provide benefits that could be considered compensation for services. For example, use of Texas State’s Student Health Center, shuttle bus system, workers’ compensation program, and Paw Points program are not available to volunteers.

    6. Tax Deductions - The value of the services performed by volunteers is not tax deductible; however, volunteers may qualify for other tax deductions such as for out-of-pocket expenses incurred while doing volunteer work for Texas State, including travel expenses and materials and supplies not reimbursed. Volunteers should consult their income tax advisors for other possibilities.

    7. Recovery of Property Upon Termination of a Volunteer - At the time of termination, it is the account manager’s responsibility to recover or rescind any keys, identification cards, NetIDs or other Texas State property or privileges issued to the volunteer.


    1. Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Director, Human Resources June 1 E4Y
      Chief Diversity Officer and Director, Equity and Access June 1 E4Y
      Associate Vice President for Financial Services June 1 E4Y
      TSUS Office of the General Counsel June 1 E4Y

    This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Director, Human Resources; senior reviewer of this UPPS

    Vice President for Finance and Support Services