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SECTION 61: Cash Advances: Travel and Research Participants

Last updated: August 2022
  1. Advance Eligibility
    1. Travel Advance Eligibility
    2. Research Participant Advance Eligibility
  2. Obtaining Cash Advance Funds
  3. Use of Cash Advance Funds
  4. Reconciling, Reporting and Repaying Cash Advance Funds
  5. Fees
  6. Exhibits/Forms

Cash advances for travel and research participants are not charged to the department's account but are carried as receivables by the Office of the Controller. The department's account is charged as reconciliations and/or reimbursements are submitted.

I. Advance Eligibility

  1. Travel Advance Eligibility
    Issued to MSU faculty/staff and currently enrolled graduate student employees for business travel outside of the contiguous United States.
    The MSU Travel Card should be considered as an alternative to a cash advance. Information and a link to the application can be found here: Travel Card Information and Application 
    1. Allowed Eligibility Exceptions:
      1. Issued to MSU employees acting as Chief of Party for a group of students or non-MSU employees traveling domestically or internationally.
      2. Issued on an exception basis, to MSU employees traveling domestically who are newly employed by the University or can demonstrate financial hardship. A letter to either effect must be written and signed by one of the following: Provost, Vice President, Dean, Director, Chair, including Assistant and Associate positions, or at the College/MAU level - Budget Officer, Chief of Staff or CFO. This may not be delegated. This letter must be attached to a Concur Request at the time of submission in order to receive the advance.
      3. Graduate students are eligible for travel advances if profiled within Concur. The student must be registered for the current semester and the travel should be completed before the end of the semester. Eligibility requirements stated above would apply
    2. Eligibility Restrictions
      1. Undergraduate students on approved travel are not eligible for travel advances
      2. Non–Michigan State University personnel (visiting professors, retirees, visiting research associates, community volunteers, etc.) on approved MSU business travel are not eligible for advances.
      3. Independent contractors conducting business with Michigan State University are not eligible for travel advances.
  2. Research Participant Advance Eligibility
    Issued to MSU faculty and staff for providing payments to individuals for their participation as human subjects for a research project.
    For research participant payments, departments should also consider the MSU PCard as an alternative. The PCard may be used to purchase gift cards for participant payments. A detailed distribution log must be maintained with Card receipts. See section 44 of the Manual of Business Procedures for additional information. Section 44: Issuing Gifts, Gift Cards, and Prizes 
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II. Obtaining Cash Advance Funds

Travel advances are processed within Concur. Please see the MSU specific guide for additional information and instructions. Travel Cash Advance and Reconciliation 
Research Participant advances are processed using a Cash Advance Form (CAF) attached to an Internal Billing (IB) e-doc in KFS. See Exhibit 61-A below for specific instructions.

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III. Use of Cash Advance Funds

The account fiscal officer and custodian are responsible for adhering to the following items related to cash advances. Any penalties or interest incurred due to lack of adherence to the following will be the responsibility of the department.

  1. Cash advances typically will not be issued to anyone with an advance that is in a “past due” status. That advance must be submitted for reconciliation prior to the issuance of a new cash advance.
  2. The handling of cash advance funds is the responsibility of the individual authorized by the Fiscal Officer or administrative head. Under no circumstances should these funds be used for reasons unrelated to the stated business purpose of the advance.
  3. Advances are not issued for stipends, honorariums or consulting fees.
  4. Payments to research subjects totaling $600 or more (either individually or cumulatively) during a calendar year may be reportable to the Internal Revenue Service. In these situations, please call Accounting (355-5000) for reporting requirements.
  5. Payments in any amount made to non-resident aliens must comply with Section 77 of the Manual of Business Procedures
  6. No advance will be issued when the intended account to be charged is an agency account (account numbers beginning with “A").
  7. It is the responsibility of the custodian and/or unit administrator to inform Accounting when there is a change of a staff member who is responsible for a research advance. A new note must be signed by the individual assuming responsibility of the fund whenever a change in custodian occurs.


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IV. Reconciling, Reporting and Repaying Cash Advance Funds

  1. Due Dates
    1. For Travel advances, a Concur Expense Report processed for reporting and/or repayment of advances are due 30 days after the trip end date but must not exceed 90 days after the trip end date.
    2. Research Participant advance reporting and/or repayment of advances are due on the date indicated on the Cash Advance Form submitted with the cash advance request. Typically, this is no more than 90 days from the date of issue.
      1. Due dates may be extended on a case by case basis upon approval of the cash advance administrators with a request submitted prior to the original due date. The request should be submitted to via email.
      2. In the rare cases where an advance is issued for a period greater than 90 days, advance recipients are expected to report expenditures periodically and at least every 90 days.
  2. Reconciliation/Reporting

    The advance recipient must reconcile the entire advance either through reporting of expenditures, repayment of funds, or a combination of both, on or before the due date of the advance.
    If the advance recipient transfers to another University department or terminates employment at Michigan State University, the advance recipient must reconcile the entire advance prior to leaving.
    When research or travel is canceled, for any reason, the advance must be repaid and reconciled immediately. If research or travel is rescheduled, a new Cash Advance Form (CAF) and Internal Billing (IB) or Concur Request can be processed.

    Travel advance reporting/reconciling details can be found here Travel Cash Advance and Reconciliation.

    Research Participant advance reporting/reconciliation details can be found in Exhibit 61-B below.

  3. Repayment
    Any remaining cash on hand should be returned to the Cashier’s Office.
    1. Online payments can be processed through the Cashier’s Office payment website:
    2. Checks may be mailed (via campus mail or USPS) to the Cashier’s Office at 426 Auditorium Rd Room 110, East Lansing, MI 48824. Please reference the 5-digit research participant advance number or the 4-digit Concur Request ID so that proper credit is given.
    3. Cash and checks may be dropped off to the Cashier’s Office.
      1. Drop box in the hallway outside of room 110 (check only). Please complete the appropriate payment slip for your advance available next to the drop box and place in an envelope.
      2. Drive up mailbox located in the Administration Building parking circle (check only). Please reference the 5-digit research participant advance number or the 4-digit Concur Request ID so that proper credit is given.
      3. Night depository (cash or check) located on the exterior of the Administration Building at the top of the handicap accessible ramp. Please reference the 5-digit research participant advance number or the 4-digit Concur Request ID so that proper credit is given.
      4. Appointments may be made for the drop off of larger cash repayments that do not fit in the night depository slot. Please contact the Cashier’s Office at 517-355-5023 or for availability.
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V. Fees

  1. Administrative Fee
    The fee for both Travel and Research Participant advances is $15. The Travel advance fee is charged via Concur when the Expense Report is finalized. The fee for the Research Participant advance is charged when the Internal Billing is finalized.
  2. Late Fees
    For advances that enter the 60 day past due category during a given month and remain as such at month end, a $25 fee will be charged to the MSU account of record.
    1. The fee will continue to be charged at the end of ensuing months until the advance has been reconciled.
    2. If an advance becomes outstanding for 90 days or more, the cash advance administrator will take steps to collect the amount due from the advance recipient, up to and including payroll deductions or taxable income reporting on a W-2.
    3. The advance recipient may be permanently barred from obtaining future cash advances in such instances.
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VI. Exhibits/Forms

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