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Authorized Payment Methods


It is the policy of Northwestern University (NU) to reimburse NU faculty and staff and to pay outside vendors for necessary, appropriate, and approved travel-related costs and activities and entertainment and courtesy expenses. The University's reimbursement policy is based on documentation of reasonable and actual expenses, supported by original itemized receipts.

Corporate Charge Card

The employee's Corporate Charge Card should be used to pay for food, lodging, car rental and other reimbursable travel expenses.

Direct Billing of Airline Reservations

Direct billing is authorized and encouraged for airline reservations through University-designated travel agencies. Airline tickets purchased through a University-designated Travel Agency are charged directly to the specified department or sponsored project in the University's financial system. The airfare should, nonetheless, be recorded on the employee's NUFinancials Expense Report, and marked with a Payment Type of ‘Travel Center’. Since the payment to the Travel Agency has already been made, the airfare on the Expense Report will be excluded from reimbursement calculations.

A traveler advances personal funds for the purchase of airline tickets at his/her own risk. Reimbursements to individuals will not be made prior to completion of travel.

Travel Advance

Travel advances are issued to a university employee for out-of-pocket expenses that will be incurred during travel on University business. Ordinarily, cash advances for travel should be procured via the University's Corporate Card Advance Program. Advances will be limited to $50 per day of travel for a maximum of 14 days. If an employee is ineligible for the Corporate Card program, or meets certain other conditions, s/he may request a travel cash advance via the NUFinancials Travel Authorization/Cash Advance process accessed through the NUPortal. The approved advance is paid via the employee's normal payroll method, either direct deposit to the employee's primary payroll bank account or by check. For special situations, an employee may contact Accounts Payable at 847-491-7339 to request a check rather than a direct deposit advance.

Per Diem

The alternative of an allowance for daily expenses, a per diem, is permissible for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE). For sponsored program travel, the per diem arrangements often require prior agency approval, and Accounting for Research and Sponsored Programs (ASRSP) must be contacted in advance. For M&IE, the reimbursement method selected must be used for the entire trip and should be established ahead of the trip. For lodging, all actual expenses must be supported by receipts. Per diem allowances shall not exceed the maximum stated by the government's published standards.

Petty Cash

Petty Cash funds may be used for entertainment and courtesy-related food purchases under $100 with proper documentation provided, including the business purpose of the event.

Direct Billing of Hotel Charges for Hosting of Conferences or Academic Functions

With use of an approved Hotel Reservation Agreement Form, hotel charges associated with hosting conferences and academic functions may be direct-billed. Payment of the hotel charges can be made with a Direct Payment Request form.


Contact Information

Contact Information
Questions About Contact

Direct billing of airfares through designated travel agencies? Direct billing to hotels for conferences or academic functions?

Northwestern Travel Services at, or 847-491-7569

Cash advance via direct deposit or check? Use of per diem for non-sponsored program travel?

Gary Ernsteen, Manager of Accounts Payable, at or 847-491-2781

Use of per diem for sponsored program travel?

Evanston - Contact Jany Raskina, Expenditure Audit Coordinator, at or 847-491-4697

Chicago - Contact Ma. Rosanna Sian Rolle, Expenditure Audit Coordinator, at or 312-503-0835

Petty cash?

Depository Services