The following guidance is to be used for paying study abroad expenses while traveling abroad.

Elan One Card - Study Abroad

The Elan One cards purpose is to provide an approved NDSU means for the program leader to directly pay allowable study abroad expenses to vendors and get cash advances while traveling abroad.

The intent of the cash advance option is to provide a cash per diem to the participating students, cover the student's minor miscellaneous expenses, such as taxi fares and de minimis tips, and pay group expenses in any cases that cannot be direct paid or paid by the Elan One card.  All existing policies for the JPMorgan Purchasing card still apply to the Elan One card, with the exception of the cash advance option.  

Allowable expenses incurred during international travel should be paid using the Elan One card, while pre-trip expenses may be paid via the other direct payment methods listed in the 'Payment of Expenses' section below.

An accounting of how the funds were expended using the Elan One card, plus all unspent cash received using the cash advance option on the card, will be due to the Purchasing Office shortly 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.  The program leader taking a cash advance on the Elan One card 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.

Payment of Expenses

Using an NDSU account to directly pay vendors for university expenses is almost always the most preferred method of payment.  An exception to this rule is the non-group meals of the program leader which are reimbursed to the leader by the daily meal allowance.  Employees personally funding group expenses should be avoided.  Using NDSU accounts for university banking and credit card transactions provide better internal control, accountability, and transparency.

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, and purchasing card (JPM and/or Elan).  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’). This includes payments for tour guide services. Some concerns with paying a vendor in cash include failing to comply with export controls or unknowingly funding a terrorist organization. Both of these conditions may lead to very serious consequences for the employee and NDSU. Some exceptions to paying expenses in cash may include paying cash per diems for students, minor ground transportation costs (such as taxi fares), minor tickets/admission costs (such as museums), and de minimis tips. 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. 

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:


  •  Per NDSU Policy 515.7.2.2 a lodging facility may be paid directly by NDSU if the travel involves a student  group/field trip.
  •  IRS form W-8BEN/W-8BEN-E not required for payments made using the purchasing cards
  •  When a 'Not Preferred' payment method is used, additional justification may be required for using this payment  method over direct payment by NDSU.
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