Skip to Content
California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach


Mobile Device Policy

Guideline Contents

  • Responsible University Officer:
    Scott Apel
    Vice President, Administration and Finance
  • Guideline Contact:
    Ted Kadowaki, Associate Vice President
    Budget and University Services


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for mobile devices operated by University employees as part of their University duties.


This policy applies to employees who have been required by the University to utilize a mobile device (such as smart phone or mobile phones) so as to be available to the University while away from campus and/or to use a mobile device as an integral tool in performing their assigned duties. This policy applies to all campus employees regardless of funding source.

Please contact Ted Kadowaki at (562) 985-7794 or if you have any questions.


The decision of whether an employee is required to utilize a mobile device is made by the appropriate administrator (Level 3 or higher). The administrator will complete a mandatory authorization form that provides specific information concerning the required usage.


For those employees who have been assigned to utilize a mobile device, the University offers two options. The decision regarding which option to use will be discussed collaboratively between the employee and his/her administrator, with the appropriate administrator making the final decision.

Option One: University-Owned Device

  • The use of the device is for business purposes and such use is excludable from the employee’s income as a working condition fringe benefit.
  • The University has a select number of mobile device plans with various service providers from which to choose. Because these devices are provided for business purposes, it is expected that the appropriate administrator will select a service plan appropriate for the business need of the individual. A voice service plan request in the “high use” category will require the approval of the President. Employees provided with data service for email will use the campus-provided email system to conduct CSULB academic and administrative business only (see also Campus Email Legal Guidelines).
  • The issuance of the mobile device will be documented on the form titled, "University-Owned Mobile Devices – Employee Receipt of Equipment" - (Attachment A) .
  • An annual review (on or about November 1) will be conducted by the appropriate administrator to determine if the employee continues to require a University-owned device and the appropriateness of the selected service plan.

Option Two: Personally-Owned Device

Mobile devices under this category are the personal property of the employee. As long as the mobile service provider’s plan supports and is compatible with the use required by the University, the employee may choose the device and/or the service plan he or she wishes to use. The University is not involved in the contract with the service provider or purchase of the device.

A University-paid stipend is intended to cover the cost of the use of the mobile device for University business. The stipend is not reportable as taxable income on the employee’s W-2 and the stipend may not exceed the actual annual cost of service.

  • The University will provide a stipend to the employee for the expected business-required portion of their monthly service fees. The administrator will complete a mandatory form authorizing the payment of this stipend.  The University will also pay a biennial stipend toward the cost of acquiring the necessary mobile device. The form is titled, Authorization for Business-Related Mobile Device Stipend; (Attachment B). A copy of the invoice/receipt from the service provider will be required as part of the annual stipend payment documentation in order to certify that the stipend amount does not exceed the actual cost of service or device acquisition cost.
  • The amount of the stipend is based on the "Mobile Device Plans" schedule (Attachment C). The appropriate administrator will determine the amount of expected business-required usage. The amounts listed on this schedule are recommended guidelines. Any service stipend amounts outside the recommended guidelines will require the approval of the appropriate Vice President or President.
  • The University-paid stipend is intended to cover the cost of the use of the mobile device for university business. Employees provided with data service for email will use only the campus-provided email system when they conduct CSULB academic and administrative business (see also Campus Email Legal Guidelines). Text messaging is not considered a valid form of regular University business communications and will therefore NOT BE included in the stipend calculation. The employee shall make available to the University, upon University request, records of the business calls necessary to comply with applicable law and regulations, including but not limited to, the California Public Records Act. The employee may redact any personal information from the records provided.
  • Device: A biennial stipend toward the cost of acquiring the appropriate mobile device will be available to the employee. When the appropriate administrator authorizes the payment of the acquisition stipend, the appropriate form (Attachment B) and a copy of the invoice/receipt from the provider will be required to certify that the stipend amount does not exceed the actual acquisition cost of the device.
  • Monthly Service Charges: An annual stipend for service fees will be paid to the employee.
  • Renewal Amount: The appropriate administrator will review the basis for the service stipend annually (on or about November 1).  If the appropriate administrator chooses to renew the service stipend, the appropriate form (Attachment B) and a copy of the invoice/receipt from the service provider will be required to certify that the stipend amount does not exceed the actual cost of service.
  • Periodic adjustments: Employees may request a periodic adjustment of the stipend amount for reasons such as underestimated usage, change in job duties requiring greater usage, and/or administrator wants employee to increase features/access new technology.

Personally-owned Device with Infrequent Usage

The occasional use of personal mobile devices for work-related purposes is no different than the occasional use of other personal equipment (e.g. a land line at home). Consistent with long-standing reimbursement policies, if the occasional use has a cost and the employee is able to support that cost with the appropriate invoice documentation from the service provider, with department approval, the employee may submit a claim for reimbursement for that particular and specific use of the employee’s personal equipment. This request will not be unreasonably denied provided appropriate documentation is submitted.

Any disciplinary action resulting from violations of this policy or program supporting policies, standards or procedures shall be administered in a manner consistent with the terms of the applicable collective bargaining agreement and/or the applicable provisions of the California Education Code. Student infractions of this policy or supporting policies, standards or procedures may be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. Third party service providers who do not comply with established information security policies, standards or procedures may be subject to appropriate actions as defined in contractual agreements.


Subject Contact Phone Email
Primary Guideline Contact Ted Kadowaki 562 985-7794
Subject Matter Expert Ted Kadowaki 562 985-7794


Appendices (if any):  N/A

Related Chancellor’s Office Policies: N/A

Other Related Information:  N/A


What is the purpose of providing a mobile device stipend?
The purpose of the stipend is to reimburse an employee for that portion of the cost of a mobile device that can be associated with use for University business. If an employee is reimbursed only for these costs, there is no tax obligation created. Consequently, if an employee is provided a University-owned mobile device, it can only be used for University business. Any personal use of the device creates a tax obligation. It is the responsibility of an employee who is provided a University-owned device to reimburse the University for any personal use of the mobile device.

What is required to process the stipend?
You will need to provide receipts and a monthly bill with the request for a stipend to accounts payable to receive your reimbursement (stipend). The University will only reimburse actual amounts. For example, if you are authorized for voice services at $35/month but get a plan that provides voice at $30/month you will only receive a $30/month stipend.

Is text messaging reimbursable?
The University will not reimburse for text messaging service. Text messaging is not considered a valid form of regular business communications and will therefore not be included in the stipend calculation. Sometimes text messaging is bundled into other features, which is permissible but will not be reimbursed by the university.

What should I be aware of when I contract for service with a carrier?
It is important that, before you sign up for any plan, you must first obtain from your appropriate administrator the rates at which the University will reimburse you for either or both phone and data services. This authorization is documented on the Authorization for Business-Related Mobile Device Reimbursement form.

Bundled plans vary among carriers so some features may be included in some bundles but not others, depending on the carrier. Make sure you fully understand the plan you are signing up for before you sign the contract with the carrier. Usually the contract is for 2 years so cancelling or making changes to it can be costly.

What if I want to retain my University-owned device phone number when I switch to a personal plan?
If you are currently using a University-owned mobile device and want to retain that phone number on your new device, you will need to work with ITS and the phone carrier to release that number from the University’s control to allow you to use it as your personal number.  If you are using a university-owned mobile device and don’t want to use it or its phone number any longer, you must return the device to the office that provided it to you, along with all University-purchased accessories, so that service can be terminated once you have your new personal device.

What about Blackberry devices?
University-owned Blackberry devices will no longer be supported or provided as there are additional costs to license and operate a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES). For those going to the stipend arrangement, they should turn in their Blackberry device to ITS. They would then receive an acquisition stipend for a replacement device and a service stipend for the monthly service.

The University will not stop you from choosing a Blackberry device as your personal mobile device. However, it should be noted that Blackberry devices are ineffective as personal mobile devices to conduct University business as your calendar and contacts can only be synchronized by physically connecting the Blackberry device to your desktop computer. In contrast, mobile devices with Active Sync, such as iPhone, Droid, or Windows Mobile, automatically remain synched remotely.

How do we deal with current (non Blackberry) University-owned devices?
Those who have a recently purchased a device can keep it at no charge to them (no acquisition stipend this time around). Arrangements can be made to allow for a transfer of service from a CSULB service plan to a personal plan. Those who request an acquisition stipend to replace a newer device will need to justify the replacement to the appropriate administrator.

How does this mobile device policy affect wireless service contracts for laptops, tablets, and wireless cards?
This policy does not include University-owned laptops and tablets as mobile devices. Wireless service contracts for laptops, tablets, and wireless cards should continue to be procured using the normal procurement process. A University service contract or personal stipend for wireless service on a personally owned laptop or tablet will not be approved under this policy.

If a mobile device is to be used as a “hotspot” in order to provide wireless access for a laptop, that capability would be considered part of data service. An appropriate administrator should assign the data service stipend amount accordingly.


Issue Date: February 2013

Last Review Date: N/A

Amended Date: N/A