Financial Responsibilities

All faculty leaders are expected to read the University's Purchasing and Payment Handbook and are expected to follow these policies. This document serves to summarize much of the key information program directors will need to be aware of related to study abroad/away finances.

General Program Budget Components

There are two general components to travel program budgets, both of which are outlined and approved as part of the program proposal.

Program Budget (tuition funded)

The program’s tuition funded budget is supported through the tuition students pay to participate in the program. To this end, it is enrollment dependent. As a general rule, this part of the budget should provide the same services tuition provides on campus. The tuition budget is approved upon initial proposal, and should be revised once final enrollment or changes to expenses are realized. Directors are responsible for ensuring that their program expenses stay within the approved limit, and are encouraged to take a copy of the budget with them to reference as they are making purchases. Upon your return, your expenses will be reviewed, ensuring final expenses were within the approved amounts. Directors will be held accountable for non-approved expenses, and may need to reimburse the University.

Student Deposit Account (program fees)

The program fee refers to the amount collected from the students to cover expenses beyond tuition. This amount should not be raised once students commit to participating, so it is important to set the rate accordingly. Directors are able to set payment and refund schedules for these payments, but should communicate this with Global Initiatives as well as students. Directors are responsible for ensuring they stay on budget for program fees, but should strive to spend the full amount. Any remaining funds in the student deposit account after reconciliation will be refunded to the students. Note: student program fees cannot be used to cover salaries or faculty travel expenses.

Common Program Payments

Once the final program budget has been approved, payments can be made on behalf of a program.

Vendor Payments

These refer to any expense paid to another organization or individual for arrangements on behalf of a program. Prior to payment, the contract/agreement for the services must be approved through Global Initiatives and Purchasing, a process that can take at least 2 weeks. Once approved, these invoices can be pre-paid via departmental p-card, wire transfer or university-produced check. For expenses that cannot be pre-paid, a program advance can be used.

Salaries / Payments

Miami Employees

Directors are responsible for requesting salary payments for Miami employees via an EPAF or payroll document through their academic department. Salaries are based on the amount in the final approved budget and enrollment (instruction salaries are enrollment contingent). Miami employees will be paid at the end of the month on a prorated basis (per university policy) through normal payment means. The EPAF should be submitted by the 15th of the month the work begins.

Non-Miami Employees

Payments for non-Miami employees should be requested through the director’s department, and be made through the Buyway system. In general, payments should not be paid in cash without advanced approval from Global Initiatives.

** OPERS requirement: All departments must use a Professional Services Agreement for any US-based Individual Outside Services Providers that are expected to be paid by the University for special services. To begin this process you must prepare a Professional Services Agreement Form. Blank contracts can be found on at Academic Personnel or Human Resources.

Per Diem

Approved program personnel are entitled to per diem (up to the approved limits in the budget) to cover daily meals and incidentals. A per diem advance is requested via the Travel Module; the rate will be automatically calculated based on the program itinerary. Those who receive per diem do not need to provide receipts. However, you may not receive per diem for a meal and have the program cover that meal in addition (i.e., as part of a group meal). Upon return, you will need to document what meals were covered by the program when you reconcile your Travel Module Authorization, and may need to reimburse the University.

Program Advances for On-The-Ground Expenses

Program directors are responsible for requesting any advance needed for the program. The requested amount should cover any on-the-ground expenses not pre-paid (not including per diem).

Declining Balance Credit Card Advances

This is requested at least 14 days in advance of departure. A paper application must be approved by Global Initiatives prior to submission to Accounts Payable. This requires a Purchase Order (PO#); to request the PO#, a non-catalog order is requested via Buyway. Please note that the declining balance credit card has a $2500 cash withdraw limit; please plan accordingly. You will be sent monthly credit card statements for your reference and for use in budget tracking.

Cash Advances

Cash advances are requested through the Travel Module. Within 30 days of the program ending all expenses from the cash advance must be logged using the workshop transaction log (an electronic version will be emailed to faculty). Note: Cash advance requests over $9,999 will require additional rationale for approval (rationale will be requested from Global Initiatives).

Expenditure Tracking and Reconciliation

All program purchases paid for with the cash advance (other than per diem) or declining balance credit card must be documented per Purchasing Policy.

Program Transaction Log

Directors must track and reconcile all expenses from the cash advance or declining balance card on the workshop transaction log. The fully completed transaction log and all original itemized receipts are due within 30 days of the end of the program. Please number the receipts in order they are logged (one set of numbered receipts for cash expenses, one set of numbered receipts for card expenses). Incomplete transaction logs and receipts will be returned to you for completion. Transaction logs can be requested from Natasha Burgess (


Original itemized receipts must be provided for all expenses from the cash advance or declining balance card, including tips. Consider bringing a receipt book for cash transactions such as tips for bus drivers, hosts, etc. Directors will submit a missing receipt affidavit if an original receipt is not available. Undocumented expenses cannot be covered by the program.

Hosting Forms

A hosting form must be provided for all hosted meals or food/beverage purchases. You are encouraged to document each group meal / hosting event during the program to facilitate the completion of this requirement.

Note: alcohol cannot be purchased using program funds. If a meal that should be covered by per diem is included, the per diem amount will need to be refunded to the program upon reconciliation. Family meals are not to be covered.

Per Diem Advances

Per diem advances will be reconciled through the Travel Module within 10 days of the end of travel.

Final Reconciliation Steps

Your program transaction log, receipts, and other documentation are reviewed by Global Initiatives. If the transaction log (and approved expenses) indicates that a director is owed a refund, then GLI will notify the director. If the transaction log (and approved expenses) indicates a surplus of advance, Accounts Payable will request a reimbursement to the University. Determination of refund or reimbursement will be made by Accounts Payable. Do not withdraw assumed refunds from program funds to reimburse out-of-pocket expenses. If any reimbursement is owed to the University, it will need to be paid in US dollars (not international currency).

Prohibited Expenses

The following expenses will not be covered by the program. This is not an exhaustive list; please refer to the Purchasing Handbook, and your program budget. When in doubt, consult Global Initiatives.

  • Alcohol. The University is strict in enforcing this policy.
  • Business class airfare. Miami employees are expected to book the lowest priced, non-stop coach airfare available.
  • Extravagant gifts. $50 per person max.
  • Family expenses, including as part of group meals, entrance fees, travel expenses, etc.
  • Personal expenses. This includes, but is not limited to, personal meals when per diem has been received, tips on personal meals, luggage, office decorations, medication, personal phone call costs, family expenses, etc. Please consult with Global Initiatives prior to any questionable purchases
  • Student personal expenses. Do not cover individual expenses for students, including luggage, medical expenses, meals, etc., unless in the event of an emergency and with prior approval from Global Initiatives.
  • Unapproved expenses related to the program. New or unexpected expenses must be approved by Global Initiatives prior to purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I start to pay for program expenses?

Payments on behalf of a program should be made after a go decision is made for the program. If a payment is required prior to that point, the program department must approve and agree to incur a potential loss should the program cancel.

Receipts are not given in the culture I am traveling to. Do I have to provide a receipt?

Yes, there must be an original, itemized receipt for all expenses. Consider bringing a receipt book to facilitate documentation of expenses where receipts are commonly not provided.

Can I pay for program expenses with a personal credit card?

Program expenses should be paid for through university means, such as a departmental p-card.