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Money Issues

UWM's office of Business and Financial Services has developed guidelines related to budgeting study abroad programs. The guidelines are published in the university's Administrative Services Manual and found in the CIE Faculty Handbook for leading study abroad.

Following Wisconsin state regulation FP#45, all faculty-led study abroad programs are budgeted on a cost recovery basis, whereby each participating student pays an equal share of the program's total cost. A per-participant program fee is included in each program's cost total. This fee is used by CIE to fund study abroad operations, including staff salaries and operational overhead. Faculty-led study abroad programs do not include a charge for tuition.

CIE study abroad staff work with faculty leaders to jointly develop and finalize budgets in advance of a program's start. Only those charges that relate specifically to the operation of a program, while it is abroad, are permissible. Draft faculty-led program budget. Faculty-led program budget guidelines.

Study abroad program budgets are reconciled ("zeroed out") within one month of their completion.  Following reconciliation, surpluses in excess of $50 per participant will be refunded to participants. 


Salaries for program leaders from the College of Letters and Science are determined using a set salary equation formula.  All other program leaders' salaries shall not exceed their normal salary prorated according to the length of their program.


Because of their short duration, CIE purchases group airfare for all UWinteriM programs. Group airfare is optional for programs taking place in other terms since students often travel on their own before and after their program dates.

CIE plans and purchases airfare for all study abroad program faculty and assistants. Faculty and assistants give their approval of airfare itineraries before they are purchased. Frequent flyer miles may not used for airfare purchases or upgrades. Airfare is part of each study abroad program budget, so every effort is made to select the least expensive reasonable routing. To save costs, international flights are commonly scheduled to depart from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

All faculty and assistants are asked to complete an Individual Faculty Flight Form in accordance with the faculty program timeline to insure accurate information and flight requests.  Ths form is not necessary for UWinteriM programs or if opting for a group airfare.

Vendor Payments

Payments to the vendors (hotels, hostels, transportation and tour companies, museums, etc.) are a necessary part of the study abroad pre-departure preparation process. CIE endeavors to pay as many vendor invoices in advance of a program's start as is possible. This decreases risk for the faculty leader by lowering the amount of money, in the form of a travel advance, that they are responsible for during the course of the program. Because of their cost recovery design, CIE is restricted from making vendor payments until after each program's enrollment target has been reached.

During their program, it is the leader's responsibility to obtain receipts/invoices for any payments they make. For later processing, these receipts/invoices should be as complete as possible, and include:

  • Name of vendor
  • Description of item/service provided
  • Cost of item/service
  • Date
  • Method of payment

Note: If the receipt/invoice is for lodging, it should indicate a per-day breakdown of expenses.

In-Country Expenditures

CIE policy is to pay for as many in-country, program-related expenses (eg., hotels, local transportation, etc.) as possible before a program begins. Doing this minimizes risk by lowering the amount of money, in the form of a travel advance, a faculty leader has to carry during the program. To cover in-country expenses, CIE recommends using a Visa debit card, the modern equivalent of the traveler's check. Visa debit cards work just like regular debit or credit cards and allow one to withdraw cash from ATMs, now ubiquitous around the world. More information about Visa debit cards.