Below are the steps for organizing finances for a faculty-led education abroad program.
Designing a Budget
As part of the Program Request Form, Program Directors must submit a tentative budget. The student program fee is determined based on projected enrollment and costs. Each program will be different with regard to what items are included in a program fee. In general, a faculty-led education abroad program fee will include the following:
- In-country ground transportation
- Cultural activities
- OIE administrative fee
- HTH supplemental insurance
- Academic fee (contributes to staff expenses)
- Airfare(if you intend to travel as a group)
Additional Student Expenses
The following items are not included in the program fee paid by students, yet contribute substantially to the total cost of participation. When considering the overall cost of the program, it is important to be mindful of items for which students pay directly:
- International transportation: Most students are responsible for securing their own transportation to and from the destination.
- Passport and visa costs: All students must have a passport for international travel, and many students are required to secure a visa for travel to their destination country. Visa requirements depend on each student’s citizenship and the country to which he or she is traveling.
- Physical exam, immunizations and/or medication: Students are required to pay the costs of the physical exam to complete the mandatory health clearance process for study abroad, and any immunizations or medications they wish to receive before traveling.
- Incidental expenses, some meals: Students will need to have access to funds while abroad for incidentals not covered by the program. Specific expenses depend on the program, but may include phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, and entertainment. If the program does not provide three meals per day, they will also need to budget for this expense.
Once sufficient enrollment is secured for the program, you will work with the OIE to process your Travel Authorization Request (TAR). A TAR form must be processed for all staff members of the program (including faculty, staff and teaching assistants).
If the student program fee includes airline tickets, it is not necessary to prepare a TAR for every participant. All of the airline tickets will be encumbered to the Program Director’s TAR.
Important: All travelers must abide by URI travel policies.
Please speak with the OIE prior to finalizing your airline tickets.
Travel Advance – If you are receiving a per diem and compensation for lodging, you can receive a travel advance for these expenditures. Alternatively, you can be reimbursed for those expenses upon your return to campus.
Note: Only lodging and meals can be included in a program advance for international travel.
Program Payments and Program Advance
The best way to avoid difficulty in making payments abroad is to have as many program expenses as possible paid in advance via the Office of International Education. Items, such as student housing, excursions and transportation, should be paid for well before departure, if possible.
To process a payment, you will need to secure an invoice from the local vendor, itemizing the amount due. If the vendor has not received a payment from URI previously, and is therefore not in e-Campus, you must submit a completed W-8BEN form to accompany the invoice, found on the Purchasing website, http://web.uri.edu/purchasing/forms/.
Please allow two to three weeks for processing a payment.
URI can pay via wire, check or credit card. Please ensure that invoices clearly state the preferred method of payment with all the necessary banking information. For a wire payment, URI will need the information listed here.
Program Advance – All Program Directors will receive a program advance prior to departure, and the amount will be based on the original budget. If all of the expenditures were pre-paid by the OIE, the advance will only include the contingency fund. If specific expenditures could not be paid prior to the start of the program, those funds will also be included in the advance.
Program directors are responsible for developing and finalizing the program budget and maintaining fiscal records. It is essential that you record all program expenditures and collect receipts. A sample of how to log your expenditures can be found here. If obtaining a receipt is not possible, it is essential that you generate a receipt for the expense. All expenditures (except emergencies) must follow the original approved and finalized budget.
ATM’s: Most program leaders utilize ATMs onsite. ATMs can provide ready access to local currency and are drawn from your own account. Since daily withdrawals are usually limited and you may need to withdraw large program sums on a daily basis, ask your home bank to increase your daily withdrawal limit. Also, check with your own bank about service charges and accessibility. Credit cards are a convenient way to cover expenses and will usually net the most favorable exchange rates.
Returning to Campus
Upon your return, you will meet with the OIE to reconcile outstanding finances and debrief your experience. The URI Accounting Office requires that Travel Expense Vouchers (TEV) and program advance reconciliations are submitted no later than 10 business days after the travelers return to Rhode Island.