Study Abroad

Pre-departure Finance: Field Advances and Meal per Diems

As you prepare to depart, please read the following information on finance items relevant to this phase of your program.

Complete Advance Payments

The Study Abroad F&A team is here to help you make as many program payments in advance as possible so you will have less to worry about during your program. At minimum, you should have made payments for the following primary expenses:

  • Program faculty/staff airfare to your program location
  • Faculty/staff housing in program home base
  • Student housing in program home base

See “Creating Your Spending Plan” for more information about making payments.

Field Advance

Study Abroad F&A will supply you with a field advance for expenses you can only pay in the field. A field advance is a loan from the University of Washington (UW) general funds made to a UW employee (the custodian) to provide a temporary source of funds for conducting official UW business. All field advances issued are subject to federal, state and university purchasing rules and guidelines. We work with the UW Field Advance office to procure funds for you and to help you submit documentation of your field advance spending within 30 days of your program end date. See the Field Advance office’s website for more information on authorized and unauthorized uses of field advance funds.

Western Union Debit Cards

Field advance funds are distributed to Program Directors via a Western Union branded MasterCard. Up to $10,000 can be deposited to this card per month. The following daily limits apply:

  • $500 USD daily cash withdrawal maximum
  • $2,500 USD daily point of sale card use maximum

The Study Abroad F&A team will contact you about ordering a card or cards for your program. If the Western Union card will not work for your program, we will work with you to find a solution that fits your needs. Email with questions about the Western Union card.

Your Field Advance Timeline

The following table details your responsibilities as a field advance custodian before, during, and after your program.

Pre-departure Schedule a meeting with Study Abroad F&A about 2 weeks prior to your program start date. You will pick up your Western Union card(s) at this meeting and confirm the amount and distribution of your field advance.
In the Field Retain all receipts for purchases made with field advance funds and all ATM withdrawal slips (if provided).
Post Program Log all expenses in the Field Advance Expenditure Spreadsheet and tape receipts to 8 ½ x 11” paper in the order they are listed on your spreadsheet. Turn in spreadsheet, receipts, and Western Union card(s) to Study Abroad F&A within 30 days of your program’s end date. See the Post Program section for more detailed instructions.

Meal per Diem Allowances

Program staff meal per diems are processed automatically by Study Abroad F&A. Make sure you and your staff have set up direct deposit in Workday so your meal per diem will be directly deposited to your bank account. Meal per diem allowances are disbursed as follows:

Program Length Meal per Diem Type
Short-term Meal per Diem Reimbursement
Quarter-long Meal per Diem Advance

All meal per diem allowances for short term programs are paid by reimbursement through the Ariba system. Because Study Abroad office policy allows only 35% of the maximum meal per diem allowance, we are able to reimburse you about a third of the way through your program. Watch your inbox for an approval request via Ariba. Once approved, your meal per diem allowance will be directly deposited to your personal bank account.

Meal per diem allowances for quarter-long programs are paid as advances through the Ariba System. You will receive an approval request from Ariba within 30 days before your program start date. Once approved, your meal per diem allowance will be directly deposited to your personal bank account.

Following your program, Study Abroad F&A must reconcile your meal per diem, asserting that you used all the funds allotted to you. You will receive a second approval request from Ariba for the reconciliation. Please approve it as soon as possible.