Travel advances should be used sparingly. They are available to ISU employees and non-employees in certain circumstances, but may not be appropriate for some accounts. Approval is contingent on allowability of the expenses and requires a justification or business purpose for the trip and funds. The Office of Compliance has final approval on travel advances.

Travelers are expected to either use the Travel and Hospitality (T&H) Card or request reimbursement after the travel concludes. Even without a T&H card, advances should be used only in instances where the cost of travel presents a hardship and generally should not cover more than one month's subsistence. Exceptions can be made for persons in remote or overseas locations. Requests for travel advances of less than $100 should not be processed, as the costs of processing do not justify the minimal benefit to the employee.

Salaried Employees

  • Salaried employees are discouraged from using travel advances. All salaried employees are encouraged to apply for and use a Travel and Hospitality (T&H) Card when traveling. There is no fee to the employee and it lessens the need for travel advances and use of personal funds. Contact Lesley Lackore in Procurement Services at 294-4589 or by email for more information.
  • In some instances, departments may limit which employees have access to T&H Cards. If an employee is not able to have a card for any reason, this should be included in the explanation when the advance is requested.
  • Travelers who have active T&H cards will not be granted travel advances.

Graduate and Undergraduate Students

  • Students may request a travel advance for either domestic or international travel.


  • Non-Employees conducting Iowa State University business are eligible for domestic and international travel advances, with approval from the funding department.
  • T&H cards can be used to book expenses for non-employees, such as lodging and airfare to visit Ames (cardholder policy guidelines must be followed).

The department's Procurement and Expense Specialist must submit a Workday Spend Authorization with an advance. Contact to begin the process.

  • Attach a completed Cash Advance/Payroll Authorization form if the traveler is an employee. Approval from the employee's department is required.
  • Other information will be needed, such as date, location, and business purpose of the travel advance.

  • If the student or non-employee wants their travel advance in the form of a check, the steps are generally the same as they are for employees. A Procurement and Expense specialist will create the advance request off of the External Committee Member form. All rules for employee advances apply to non-employees and students as well.
  • Workday can not process cash or wire advances for non-employees.
  • If the non-employee or student is unable to accept a check for the advance, proceed to the following options.

  • Employees can request an advance for a non-employee under their name. The employee requesting the advance is responsible for administering, monitoring, and distributing the funds to the non-employee(s).
  • No travel advances can be paid through Candex or wire transfers.
  • Departments can elect to give non-employees travel stipends if the funding source allows it. Stipends are considered taxable income and the non-employee will need to register as a supplier through Procurement Services. The stipend will be paid on a supplier invoice.
  • Lodging can be prepaid by a Supplier Invoice if the hotel sends an invoice to the department, detailing the charges per night for room and various taxes. If the Supplier record has not already been set up, you must have the hotel register as a supplier through Procurement Services.

To clear a travel advance for a traveler, the Procurement and Expense Specialist must enter the gross amount of expenses on the Expense Report and link the Spend Authorization to the Expense Report. Workday will reduce from the total reimbursement until the full cash advance has been reconciled. If expenses total more than the cash advance, the employee will be reimbursed the net total, after the advance is deducted.

If the total expenses do not reconcile the entire cash advance, the remainder will go to the employee’s U-bill after 30 days. Non-employees typically do not have U-bill accounts which means there is a risk to ISU when a non-employee receives an advance. Remember, a travel advance is not always necessary or appropriate and the expectation is that the traveler is reimbursed when the trip concludes.

  • Advances to employees should be cleared within 30 days of the completion of the trip. Employee travelers who don't clear the Spend Authorization in Workday after 30 days will have the remaining unreconciled cash balance sent to their UBill.
  • Graduate students should be aware that the presence of a past-due travel advance on their Accounts Receivable account will hinder their ability to register for classes.

  • Travel advances are not granted instantaneously and often require additional steps on the part of departments, travelers, and others involved with the approval process. All requests for advances should be submitted no less than seven business days prior to the departure date. The Office of Compliance makes no guarantee that travelers will receive their advances before their departure date if not requested at least four business days in advance.