University Policies
Policy Contact
Accounts Payable Email 401-863-2716

Travel Advance Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the circumstances under which Brown University may provide travel advances and the associated requirements.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to all Brown University faculty, staff, and graduate students.

3.0 Policy Statement

Travel advances are generally available to faculty, staff, and graduate students to assist in defraying out-of-pocket costs while traveling for a Business Purpose and an extended period of time.

Travel advances:

  • are allowable for daily and per diem expenses only.
    • Prepaid items, such as transportation (airfare/train) and conference registration fees, can be reimbursed prior to travel via expense report.
  • must be requested two to three weeks prior to the scheduled departure date.
    • If an advance is requested less than two weeks prior to travel, the advance may not be processed in time for the trip.
  • must be cleared within two weeks of the completion of a trip.
    • Requests for additional travel advances will not be processed for any traveler with an outstanding advance that is more than two weeks beyond the established trip return date.
    • Travel advances in excess of substantiated expenses may not be held in anticipation of future travel and must be cleared.
    • Failure to clear a travel advance within 60 days of the completion of the trip will result in the advance being reported to the IRS. The travel advance amount then becomes taxable income on the individual’s W-2. Per IRS regulation, once an unsettled advance has been added to a W-2 it cannot be reversed, even if eventually settled.

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the term below has the following definitions:

Business Purpose:

A required statement that adequately describes the expense as a necessary, reasonable, and appropriate business expense for the University. All expenses must support or advance the goals, objectives and mission of the University.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors and employees with student oversight duties are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.


  • Request a travel advance two to three weeks prior to travel and describe the Business Purpose.
  • Clear travel advances within two weeks of returning from travel. A travel advance is cleared when the receipts provided substantiate the use of the advanced travel funds.
  • Return any unused advanced funds to the University via check made payable to Brown University. 

Financial Coordinators: Initiate the expense reports to both request and clear the travel advance. Compile relevant supporting documentation for transactions, document the Business Purpose of the transaction, and use the correct worktags and expense items for the transaction. Send the check to Accounts Payable when a travel advance requires a return of excess funds.

Cost Center Managers: Ensure compliance with University travel policies and approves the expense report.

Accounts Payable: Ensure compliance with federal and state laws and University policies. Timely deposit any returned travel advances and approve transactions in Workday.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures.

7.0 Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone, 877-318-9184.

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedures


7.4 Frequently Asked Questions


Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Policy Approved by: Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Contact Information:

Accounts Payable Email 401-863-2716

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

Updated policy to new format.


Webpage Updated October 20, 2023