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Cash Advances

If you are an employee, student, or guest and need a cash advance for a business related trip, you can submit a request based on your relationship with the university. Cash Advance services are administered by the Shared Services Center (SSC). The advance must be properly reconciled within 45 days after return from the trip. The sponsoring unit is responsible for ensuring reconciliation and collecting any unused funds.

Non-Employees (Students and Guests)

For more information on non-employee cash advances, see the Shared Services Center (SSC) website.


Cash advances should be limited to employees with a compelling financial need. Employees may request an advance within a reasonable period of time before an authorized business trip, typically 2-4 weeks before the trip, to allow time for processing. Employees must submit requests for cash advances (if the appointing unit allows) through Concur Expense. If you are new to the process, you might find the Request or Approve Cash Step-by-Step Procedure helpful.

A cash advance cannot be used to pay for airfare. Airfare should be booked with the university’s travel partner, Collegiate Travel Planners, and will be automatically charged to the CTA payment card.

A cash advance also cannot be used to pay for an employee’s per diem in advance unless the trip qualifies for one of the exceptions below.


The employee’s immediate supervisor or higher administrative authority must approve the cash advance request. When the amount is greater than or equal to $5,000 and less than $10,000, additional approval is required by one of the following:

  • a unit chair of an academic unit
  • a unit manager of a non-academic unit
  • the senior university officer responsible for the fund charged

Cash advances $10,000 or greater require approval from a Chancellor, Dean, Director, Vice Chancellor, Vice President, or Senior University Officer.

Contact Us

U-M Business Policy or Process

Phone: (734) 764-8212, option 2
SSC Travel & Expense General Inquiry eForm

Concur System Navigation

ITS Service Center
Phone: (734) 764-4357
Email: 4HELP@umich.edu

Research Travel Advances – Per Diem Exceptions

Cash advances can be used to disburse funds to support extended research projects, both domestic and overseas, where there is a need for cash payments. The following outlines the approved exception to support these needs:

Research Travel for Faculty Only

If there would be a financial hardship due to the extended length of the research trip, faculty per diem can be included in an advance as an exception to policy.

Prepayment of the per diem must be approved by the unit.

Per diems can be lower than, but not exceed the per diem limits published by the applicable government authority:

The prepayment of per diems for faculty must be processed in Concur as a non-employee travel meal. The report must include a calculation of the amount provided, be entered as one total amount, and include travel days calculated at the standard 75% of the regular per diem.

Faculty Led Group Trips

When faculty are traveling with groups of students they may obtain a travel advance to cover per diem for the traveling students if there would otherwise be a financial hardship. Typically this would be when the trip is of long duration and the usual non-employee meal reimbursement method would cause financial hardship for the students. Per diems can be lower than, but not exceed the per diem limits published by the applicable government authority:

Recipients must sign a log acknowledging they received the per diem. They are not required to provide receipts showing how the per diem was spent.

Group Meals: When eating together as a group, grocery and/or restaurant purchases are permitted. Group meals:

  • Should not exceed daily per person per diem limits
  • Can include students, faculty, and non-university business affiliates
  • Must follow the standard receipt requirements under SPG 507.10-1 for reconciliation against the advance
  • Can use a Travel Group Meal Log to record the value of all group meals. The total of all meals should be entered into the Concur report on one line using the expense type Non-Employee Travel Meals.