Printed on: 01/17/2021. Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
University of Minnisota  Administrative Policy

Cash Advances

Responsible University Officer(s):
  • Controller
Policy Owner(s):
  • Director of Purchasing Services
Policy contact(s):
  • See Contacts Section
Date Revised:
Mar 9, 2015
Effective Date:
Sep 14, 2011

Policy Statement

The University issues cash advances to employees in support of official University business for a very limited number of business activities. Cash advances are restricted and only issued for the following reasons:

  • Travel will extend longer than fourteen days without return to employee's campus or University location.
  • Employee will be paying for all or some business related expenses for a group consisting of two or more individuals (e.g. hotel expenses).
  • Destination is such that service providers (food, lodging, auto rental, etc) do not honor the University charge/credit cards, (example, cash based economy).
  • Cash for research subject payments.
  • Hosting of prospective student athletes

Cash Advances for Travel

Cash advances are limited to $50 per day, plus $100 per trip, per person, up to the estimated expenses. The University does NOT provide cash advances for airfare. Cash advances are limited to a six- month period of time, i.e., trip from/to dates may not exceed six months. For trips of longer duration, travelers must complete additional cash advance requests. Cash advances are not issued for $100 or less. For non-sponsored travel, employees are responsible for submitting receipts accounting for cash advances within 60 days of the conclusion of travel. For sponsored travel, travelers must submit receipts within 60 days of the conclusion of travel or before the end of the grant (whichever is less). Also, any unspent cash advance funds must be returned to the University within the above timelines.

Cash Advances for Non-travel

Cash advances may also be issued for other purposes such as making cash payments to human subjects and for hosting of prospective student athletes. Cash advances for athletic recruiting activities are limited to $40.00 per day.

All expenditures must be in compliance with applicable rules, regulations and University policies, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Athletics, and the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA).

Employees must account for cash advances within 60 days of the activity end date, as indicated on the travel authorization, by submitting an expense report. Receipts, cash distribution logs, transaction justifications and other support documentation accounting for the cash are required when submitting an employee expense report accounting for the expenses and the cash advance.


If expenditures are not properly substantiated or any unspent monies are not returned with the 60-day time limit, approvers may choose to deny all or any portion of the expenses submitted and request that the cash advance be paid back to the University. In these cases, the employee and Disbursement Services will then establish a payment plan under which the amount owed is deducted from the employee's paycheck(s) when necessary. If for any reason a payment plan cannot be established (e.g., terminated employee), the amount(s) in question will be recorded as taxable income to the individual.

Reason for Policy

This policy has been established to provide the circumstances upon which the University will advance cash to employees. This policy establishes the necessary controls, accountability, compliance with applicable federal and state laws, and administrative efficiency. This policy is designed to comply with the accountable plan rules of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Treasury Department.




Frequently Asked Questions


Travel Using Sponsored Funds Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) 612-624-5599  612-624-4843
Financial Policy and Procedures University Financial Helpline 612-624-1617


Cash Advance
Cash provided to an employee for travel purposes, for human subject payments or to cover expenses related to athletic recruiting.
Expense Report
Document required to account for cash advances.
Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)
Unit responsible for administering sponsored funds and monitoring compliance with the terms of the grant or contract.
Sponsored Funds
Money received by the University from an external party to fund a sponsored project. Sponsored projects are governed by specific terms and conditions, and are separately budgeted and accounted for in accordance with OMB Uniform Guidance, University policies governing sponsored projects, and/or the terms of the sponsoring entity. Sponsored funds may include money received to fund grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for research, training, and other public service activities.
Travel Authorization
Document must be prepared and approved prior to processing a cash advance request. The Travel Authorization encumbers funds and is referenced on the Cash Advance and subsequent Expense Reports.
Travel Status
An employee is in travel status when they are on business travel that requires an overnight stay. Travel begins when the employee leaves their home or office for their trip destination.


Certified Approver
For expenses on sponsored funds; reviews travel authorizations and expense reports for accuracy (including accounts being charged), appropriateness and compliance to applicable policies, procedures and Sponsor agreement. Takes action to approve, return, or deny travel authorizations and expense reports based on the review.
Department Approver
Reviews travel authorizations and expense reports related to cash advances for accuracy (including accounts being charged), appropriateness and compliance with applicable policies and procedures. Takes action to approve, return, or deny travel authorizations and expense reports based on the review.
Disbursement Services Travel Administrator
Manage University’s cash advance and travel payment process. Audit and approves cash advance requests. Maintain and update employee travel policy, procedures and related communication.
Comply with policy and procedures. Submits request for cash advance and completes expense reports accounting for cash advances. Provide documentation, which includes original receipts, forms and business justifications.
Follow procedures for creating Travel Authorizations, Cash Advances and Expense Reports in the financial system.
Sponsored Projects Administrator
Review and approve documents for sponsored accounts.

Related Information

Administrative Policies:


March 2015 - Extends the deadline from 30 to 60 days to account for a cash advance, to align with Administrative Policy: Traveling on University Business.
December 2014 - Reference to A-21 changed to OMB Uniform Guidance in Definitions.
April 2013 - Minor Revision, Comprehensive Review. Increased cash advances for athletic recruiting from $30.00 to $40.00 per day. Other minor clarifications (without changing meaning) made to policy statement.
September 2011 - Takes cash advance policy provisions from the Traveling on University Business policy and combines it with other cash advance information in this standalone policy. Addresses the five situations in which a cash advance would be allowed. Extends the deadline from 15 to 30 days to account for a cash advance, to provide the individual with more time to submit the required paperwork/documentation.

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