The following guidance is to be used for study abroad and international trips in seeking travel advances and paying expenditures incurred while traveling abroad.

Travel Advances

The University issues travel advances to employees in support of official University business for a very limited number of business activities.  In order for an employee to be eligible to receive a travel advance one of the following must apply: 

  • Chaperoning a group of students and expected to pay expenses
  • Extended trip (one month or more) 

A travel advance request will need to be received in the Accounting Office ten (10) business days prior to the trip, for processing.

Travel advances for study abroad trips will be directly deposited into the employee’s bank account they have set up as their ‘balance account’ in HRMS.  If the employee has more than one financial institution set up in HRMS for payroll, they may want to verify which one is set up as their balance account; see the HR/Payroll form ‘ACH Direct Deposit Authorization Agreement’ for more information on which is the balance account. 

It is recommended for travel advance requests greater than $5,000.00 and trips exceeding one month, the advance request be split into equal installments over the trip period.  For example, the advance request for the total trip is $12,000 and the trip period is 2 months.  Two travel advance request forms would be completed at $6,000 each.  The first $6,000 installment can be received by the employee prior to the trip, with the second $6,000 installment directly deposited into the employees account at the beginning of the second half of the trip.

An individual receiving a travel advance will be responsible to NDSU for the return of all cash not appropriately accounted for by receipt and/or not used for an allowable expense.| 

An accounting of how the funds were expended, plus a copy of the Customer Account Service deposit receipt for the unspent cash, will be due in the Accounting Office within ten (10) working days after the return from travel status.  All receipts must be dated and itemize what was purchased.  The employee should carry a receipt book to account for those miscellaneous expenses where a receipt is not normally given by the vendor, such as for tips.

To promote strong internal control, avoid audit issues, and comply with state law, the University’s intent is to limit travel advances as much as possible.  Direct payment by NDSU, to include using the Purchasing Card, should be used to pay as many of the expenses as possible.  Travel advances are issued to help defray the costs associated with the trip that an employee would otherwise directly pay and be reimbursed for, and for those costs that cannot be directly paid by the University.

Payment of Expenditures


Direct payment by NDSU of expenditures is always the most preferred method of payment.  There are many direct payment methods an employee can utilize.  These payment methods include payments made via wire transfer, bank drafts, NDSU checks and ACH-direct deposits, purchasing card, using Pay Pal or Western Union.  All of these direct payment methods create reportable transactions that help keep NDSU in compliance with Federal (IRS and Export Controls) and State rules and regulations, as well as rules and regulations of the country we are doing business with.  Generally payments made in cash to individuals/entities should be avoided, as this results in a non-reportable transaction (referred to as ‘paying under the table’).   Some concerns with paying a vendor in cash include unknowingly funding a terrorist organization or failing to comply with export controls.  Both of these may lead to very serious consequences for the employee and NDSU.

Some exceptions to paying expenses in cash may include paying for individual lodging and meals, various group meals, minor ground transportation costs (such as taxi fares), miscellaneous supply purchases, tickets/admission costs (such as museums), and other small incidental costs.  In addition, cash may be the only form of acceptable payment in certain countries with a cash-based economy; justification should be provided showing these expenses occurred in a country with a cash-based economy.

An employee should only personally fund and receive reimbursement for their individual lodging and meals, and some incidental expenses.  The incidental expenses generally include miscellaneous ground transportation, such as taxi fare, purchasing miscellaneous supplies, tips, and in some cases admission to various events. 

Employees choosing to personally pay NDSU expenses and seek reimbursement, when direct payment by NDSU should have been used, may be required to collect a W-8BEN (W-8BEN-E) and seek export control approval, before reimbursement will be made.  Failure to comply with IRS and export control regulations may result in personal liability.

Following is a list of common study abroad expenses and their preferred/required method of payment:


Payment Method
*Study Abroad Expenses:Direct Paid by NDSU
required: Yes/No
Credit Card
Lodging - Individual NoYesNoNoYesYes
Lodging - GroupYes; when possibleYesYesYesNot PreferredNot Preferred
Meals - IndividualNoNoNoNoYesYes
Meals - Group Yes; when possibleYesYesYesNot PreferredNot Preferred
Meals - Group Meal PlanYes; when possibleYesYesYesNot Preferred Not
Ground TransportationYes; when possibleYesYesYesNot Preferred Not Preferred
Tour Guide ServicesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Events/Tickets/AdmissionYes; when possibleYesYesYesNot PreferredNot Preferred

Travel Visa's

YesYesYesYesNoNot Preferred
Travel AgencyYesYesYesYesNoNo
Course SuppliesYes; when possibleYesNoYesNot PreferredNot Preferred
Misc. SuppliesNoYesNoYesNot PreferredNot Preferred
Payments to another UniversityYesYesYesYesNoNo
* JPM Purchasing Card – Lodging – Individual: Contact Purchasing Office for approval.
* IRS Form W-8BEN/W-8BEN-E not required for payments made using the JPM Purchasing Card
* When a ‘Not Preferred’ payment method is used, additional justification will be required for using this payment method over direct payment made by NDSU.  



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