The UW System has a contract with US Bank to provide no-fee travel cards for the purpose of reducing or eliminating the need for travel cash advances and employee out-of-pocket spending. All UW employees who travel on UW business at least once per calendar year should apply for a travel card to be used to pay for the majority of their University sponsored travel expenses.  Since the bulk of travel-related expenses may be charged to a UW purchasing card or placed on an employee-issued travel card, employees should refrain from requesting a travel advance unless absolutely necessary.  Need for travel cash advances versus card payment must be supported by explanation on the request.

For the limited cases where a travel cash advance is necessary:

  • Only faculty and staff on the payroll at the time of the advance request, or new employees in connection with a household move, may be eligible to receive a travel cash advance. Parameters concerning eligibility and dollar limits for a travel advance may be set by the institution business office.
  • Advances for moving expenses are supported by a copy of the lowest estimate and the approval letter authorizing reimbursement. (Refer to UW System Administrative Policy 240 Relocation and Temporary or Indefinite Work Assignments)
  • In those instances where an advance is necessary and allowable, the travel cash advance will not exceed 100% of the estimated expenses to be paid by the traveler. Advance amounts must be rounded to the nearest $1.
  • Estimates for travel costs that will be paid using the travel cash advance must be included on the travel authorization.
  • Advances must be returned immediately if the trip is cancelled or accounted for on the expense report by the employee who received the advance no later than 30 days following completion of the scheduled trip. Advances not accounted for within 30 days after completion of the trip must be deducted from the employee’s next paycheck to avoid treatment of the advance as taxable income.
  • The amount due the traveler will be reduced by any travel cash advance received and a reimbursement will be issued for the net amount due. In cases where the advance exceeded the claimed reimbursement expenditures, a check payable to the UW institution must be submitted to the institution’s Controller’s/Travel Office.
  • An additional advance will not be granted to an employee who has a previous advance which is overdue and unaccounted for.
  • Incurring expenses which exceed the amount of the travel advance or deduction of the travel advance from an employee’s salary check does not eliminate the requirement that the employee account for the expenditures on an expense report in accordance with I.R.S. and University Accountable Plan rules.
  • Requests for a travel cash advance should be submitted no later than 15 days prior to travel, which allows sufficient lead time for processing. Travel cash advance payment will not be issued prior to seven days before departure unless a justification is provided that supports the need to pay the advance earlier.
  • The travel authorization requesting the travel cash advance is submitted in e-reimbursement by the traveler and approved by the supervisor or approver role.
  • Group travel cash advances may be issued for student group travel for activities such as forensics, outreach, athletics, music and drama as a single-trip advance. Advances for group travel may equal 100% of the estimated travel cost for the entire length of the trip, but must be accounted for in the same manner and with the same due dates as regular travel cash advance.
    Reimbursement claims for cash allowances provided by employees to students or others must be supported by a receipt statement signed by the recipient that states the amount received and which expenses are covered by the allowance.
  • Institutions should have adequate controls in place to ensure that these funds are obtained only for official business purposes and that they are recovered and accounted for before the employee terminates UW employment.