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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

8.4.1 Open a Program Advance to Pay Human Subjects in Cash or Cash Equivalents

Policy Statement

Cash or cash equivalents used to pay human subjects must be obtained or purchased using a program advance issued in the name of the principal investigator or designee responsible for the program. This individual is the custodian of the advance. All employee groups are eligible to be custodians except undergraduate students, unpaid graduate students, hourly graduate students, extra help, and academic hourly. In the event the custodian is a non-resident alien, there may be additional tax reporting requirements if the program advance is not reconciled or closed in a timely manner.

A single cash or cash equivalent payment to a human subject in research studies may not exceed $200.

A program advance custodian may have only one outstanding program advance per Institutional Review Board protocol. No single program advance can exceed $10,000. No program advance may remain open for longer than 18 months. A program advance request must include the proposed start and end date of the study.

The custodian is personally responsible for safeguarding program advances and cannot allow the funds to be improperly used. If the program advance custodian failed to safeguard the advance or allowed it to be improperly used, the custodian must repay the money. If the loss was beyond the custodian's control, it may be repaid from the unit's budget or other available operating funds. In the event an advance is stolen, contact your campus police or local law enforcement immediately.

A program advance can only be used to provide cash payments or purchase cash equivalents (such as gift cards/certificates/electronic-codes) which will be provided to human subjects in exchange for their participation in an IRB approved research study. A program advance cannot be used to purchase goods or services to support a research study. Purchases of goods or services to support a research study (including the purchase of a good or service provided to human subjects in exchange for their participation in a study or required for their participation in a study) must be made under an allowable purchase method defined in 7 Purchasing.


To open a program advance to pay human subjects in cash or cash equivalent:

  1. Plan ahead. Processing a request can take 48 to 72 hours. Estimate how much you will need for the first 60 days of the study. If additional funds are needed after that, consult 8.4.3 Replenish a Program Advance to Pay Human Subjects.
  2. Log in to TEM (Travel and Expense Management System). In the Create New area, select the Expense Report icon. If you need help identifying the icon, consult the job aid for System Navigation.
  3. In the Document Header screen, begin your Report Title with “ADV” so University Payables (UPAY) can expedite processing. Select “Advances” from the drop-down list in the Purpose field. Advances normally issue via ACH (direct deposit) to the custodian’s bank account.
If due to a specific business need the advance should be issued via check, select which University Student Financial Services and Cashier Operations (USFSCO) office you want to pick up the check from the drop-down list in the Special Handling field of the Document Header screen. The specific business need must be documented in the expense report notes. If specific denominations are needed, please specify that in the expense report notes as well. Please note: Payments issued via check may require an additional 3 business days to process.
  1. Enter the expense report number (for example, ER00001234) in the Vendor Invoice #/Ref# field.
  2. Proceed through the screens. For step-by-step instructions, consult the job aid Open and Close a Program Advance.
  3. UPAY processes the payment request.

If payment is made via check, USFSCO prints a check payable to the custodian and contacts the custodian when the check is ready. To pick up the check, go in person to USFSCO Cashier Operations and present your University i-card. They will then cash the check so you can pay the human subjects or purchase gift cards.

8.4.2 Reconciliation of a Program Advance
8.4.3 Replenish a Program Advance to Pay Human Subjects
8.4.4 Close a Program Advance to Pay Human Subjects
8.4.5 Partial Close of a Program Advance to Pay Human Subjects

TEM Resource Page
Job aid for System Navigation
Job aid for Open and Close a Program Advance
Job aid for Create an Expense Report (ER)
Payments to Foreign Nationals
Foreign National Payments Resource Page
Award, Prize, and Human Subject Payments
University Payables Training Materials
Campus USFSCO office locations and hours:

Last Updated: March 2, 2018 | Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance | Effective: November 15, 2017

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