Travel Advance

For program budgets that are managed by the Study Abroad Office (SAO), the SAO will issue a travel advance to the faculty director(s) to cover the on-site expenses. Each staff member going abroad on a program is required to obtain his/her own travel advance according to University Accounting policy. By definition any Director, Co-director, or Program Assistant is considered a staff member for the duration of the program. NOTE: Program staff should not have their department request travel authorization for them, rather the SAO will authorize the travel and approve the travel advance together.

The amount for an advance is determined by reviewing the program budget during the pre-departure budget meeting with the SAO and will include any program and director expenses not covered by an invoice paid prior to the program’s departure.

The travel advance will be available one week prior to departure by direct deposit to the bank account set up with NC State, unless alternative arrangements have been requested. Any alternative arrangements require a request at least 6 weeks in advance.

Many directors deposit the advance into a personal account and use an ATM while overseas, and/or obtain travelers checks prior to departure to access the money. Please note that some banks limit the amount of cash available for withdrawal at one transaction or per day, and using travelers checks is becoming less common or convenient. Vendor invoices are best for all large payments. Review the On-Site Finances section of the Faculty Director Handbook for other methods for managing program funds while overseas.

In order to be eligible for reimbursement by the SAO, every expense incurred, either before or during the program, must be properly receipted according to the standards of the University Accounting Office. Any expenses not properly receipted may not be covered and mayl be charged back to the individual.

Additionally, every expense incurred must be considered an allowable expense in order to be fully reimbursed. Faculty are advised to consult with the SAO to determine whether an expense is allowable prior to making any purchases not previously discussed. The SAO cannot be held responsible for any incurred expense that is not considered allowable and is not approved by the SAO prior to purchase.

The travel advance is essentially a personal loan for which recipients are responsible for repayment. Note that State law allows a payroll deduction for the total amount of an advance if receipts are not received within 30 days.  See NC State’s Travel Advance Requirements, for more details on Delinquent Travel Settlements or Return of Travel Advance.

Delinquent travel reimbursement requests or other abuses of the travel advance policy may result in the withdrawal of the travel advance privilege from the employee. The status of travel advances is checked periodically by the University Accounting Office and the Internal Audit Division.

The SAO will process receipts in the manner required by University Accounting, ensuring the receipts meet University and SAO policies and guidelines on allowable expenses. See the On-Site Finances section of the Faculty Director Handbook for examples of allowable and non-allowable expenses. The SAO will notify you if any questions arise upon reviewing your receipts. The SAO will inform faculty directors of the final balance and be asked to come to the SAO to sign the Travel Authorization and Reimbursement Form. If funds need to be returned, faculty directors will be asked to bring a check for the balance due, as well.

The SAO will then submit the program receipts and signed documents to University Accounting for final audit and approval.  If questions arise, Accounting will contact the SAO and in turn, the SAO may contact the program director for clarification. After all questions have been successfully resolved, Accounting will close the travel advance and, if applicable, process a check for any amount reimbursable to the traveler above the amount of the advance.

For more information on NC State policies pertaining to travel advance, see the Controller’s Office travel guidelines.

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