Global Education

In-Country Finances

Travel Cash Advance and Group Extended Travel (GET) Cards

The Office of International Affairs makes every effort to prepay in-country student expenses, although some expenses cannot be anticipated or prepaid. The Office of International Affairs requests a travel cash advance for education abroad resident directors for in-country expenses which cannot be prepaid. The amount assigned for the cash advance is determined in the program fee setting process.

The Office of International Affairs issues the cash advance in one of two ways. The primary form is a Group Extended Travel (GET) card. This card has an ATM cash withdrawal feature. When the GET card is not feasible, the secondary option is to provide the cash advance in the form of a direct deposit into the resident director’s personal bank account.

The OIA business office manages the GET card procurement and direct deposit processes rather than the resident director’s home department.

Each resident director is personally accountable for either type of cash advance and will be required to attend a GET card/cash advance orientation. This is when the GET card will be delivered to the resident director. Resident directors will also receive instructions on how to use the funds and retain appropriate documentation for the cash advance, as well as a package with tools for the GET card/cash advance expenditures (flash drive with excel file to record the expenditures, PIN for GET card, bags to store receipts, etc.) and some helpful tips. 

Finally, after travel is complete, the resident director will meet with OIA business office staff to return all GET card/cash advance materials. This meeting needs to occur within three business days after the program end date.

Please note any unbudgeted expenditure must be pre-approved by the education abroad program managers or director. Any expenditure that does not have approval will not be reimbursed by the Office of International Affairs. The Office of International Affairs cannot purchase or reimburse any purchase of alcohol under any circumstance.

Resident Director Finances FAQ

Cash Advance

What is a cash advance and what is it for?

A travel cash advance is money given to a resident director to cover budgeted in-country program-related expenses that have not already been prepaid, including emergencies. Cash advance funds cannot be used to cover pre-departure expenses.

What sort of expenditures would I use the cash advance for?

The cash advance is typically used for communications (program-related phone calls/Internet use), tour guides or drivers, group meals, activities that enhance the academics of the program and emergencies. Please note that OIA determines the amount of the emergency fund. The education abroad specialist can tell each resident director what other expenses are included in the cash advance.

How is my cash advance calculated?

The cash advance is calculated based on previous years’ amounts and from resident directors’ input, if necessary.

What if I have questions about a cash advance expenditure?

For questions about documenting expenses according to university regulations, please contact the OIA business office at, 614-292-6101, business manager. For questions about an expenditure not included in the cash advance budget, please ask the education abroad specialist. 

When and how do I receive my cash advance?

The cash advance will be provided to a resident director just prior to their departure. They will either receive a GET card or the amount will be deposited in their personal account (the same account in which their Ohio State paycheck is deposited). They will be contacted by the OIA business office with more information closer to their departure date.

Do I need to keep receipts and/or log expenses for my cash advance expenditures?

Yes - itemized originals! The resident director will need to have a receipt for every cash advance expenditure. If they are unable to obtain a receipt, they can create their own using the receipt booklet the OIA business office will provide to them before departure. The resident director will need to provide a description and the business purpose for each expenditure. They will be provided with a flash drive that has the template for listing their expense.

Can cash advance funds be lent to students?

Cash advance and/or resident director’s personal funds should not be lent to students. Students are advised to have back-up funds in the event of the and/or for medical care. If an emergency loan is unavoidable and provided, please note the university cannot require the student to repay it. The resident director will be responsible for reimbursing the university for these funds.

How do I get reimbursed for my travel to and from the airport?

Transportation to and from the airport (taxi or airport parking) will be reimbursed after the program. The resident director is expected to choose the least expensive method of transportation to and from the airport and to submit original receipts for reimbursement.

Who can I follow up with for more information?

For questions about the correct use of and/or documentation of the cash advance please contact the OIA business office at or 614-292-6101 or OIA program managers at or 614-292-6101.


How are meals provided?

An allowance covers meals that are not already provided as part of the program (breakfast included at the hotel, for example).

How is my meal allowance calculated?

The allowance for meals is based on the federal government’s published meals and incidentals (M&I) rate (for the cities to be visited) as published by the U.S. Department of State. When the program budget is established, the meal allowance is calculated as 80% or less (with prior approval) of the M&I rate.

How do I find out the amount of my allowance?

The resident director can find out the estimated amount from their education abroad specialist. The OIA business office will also provide them with an allowance worksheet with the estimated amount just prior to their departure. The final amount of their allowance will be calculated when they return, based on any changes that occurred during the program (if fewer meals were included, for example).

When and how do I receive my allowance?

The resident director will receive their full meal allowance upon their return (the funds will be deposited in the same account in which their Ohio State paycheck is deposited).

The resident director meal allowance will be refunded to them after all program cash advance receipts from each GET or direct deposit are reconciled.

Do I need to keep receipts for my meal allowance expenditures?

No, resident directors do not need to keep receipts for their meal allowance.