The University of Chicago

Financial Services


Human Research Subject Fees

Paying Research Subject Testing Fees via Petty Cash

A research subject-testing fee is a payment to an individual participating as a subject in scientific research project. Payments $100 or less per occurrence may be paid from petty cash.

Cash that has been obtained for the specific purpose of paying research subject fees cannot be used for:

Petty Cash Funds must be established through Financial Services (Accounting Services) and should be used when the research project is an “ongoing” project. If the research subject-testing project is a “one-time” event, the principal investigator should request a Cash Advance. 

Establishing A Cash Fund

Please refer to the Accounting Services site for information and forms related to the opening of a petty cash fund for Human Subject Fees.

Maintaining the Fund

1. The cash MUST be kept in a locked drawer or cabinet with the key in the custodian’s possession or the possession of a delegate. 
2. For human subject fee petty cash funds, the custodian is responsible for maintaining a human subjects payment log, which must include the subject's full name, amount disbursed, date of disbursement and signature of recipient acknowledging receipt. If the custodian or the PI determines that the names of the research subjects are of a confidential nature, then code identifiers should be used and logged onto a Coded Log of Payments to Human Subjects. Instead of identifying the individual subject by name, a code can be assigned. The PI should maintain a file that cross-references the code identifier to each research subject. This file should include the same information required for the human subjects payment log. It is the principal investigator's responsibility to retain this information for a minimum of three years, after the final financial report is submitted to the grant or contract agency.

Replenishment of the Fund

1. Complete the Request for Reimbursement of Petty Cash Fund (Form 41R).
2. Send Request for Reimbursement to Purchasing and Payment Services.

Changing the Balance of your Fund

1. Accounting Services must approve all changes to the balance of the petty cash fund.

Theft of Funds

1. Inform the University Police Department of the theft.
2. Obtain a copy of the police report.
3. Forward to Accounting Services a memo and copy of the police report. Accounting Services will create an entry charging the departmental guarantee account.

Out-of-Balance Funds

1. Contact Accounting Services.

Administering Payments

1. Payments of $100 or more must be processed on a check request, and cannot be made from the fund.
2. Check requests should be submitted to Financial Services Independent Contractor Services.
a. A payment processed on a check request will not reduce the fund amount. The appropriate grant or contract will be charged directly.

Changes in the Cash Fund

1. An increase to the fund requires a written request to Accounting Services, stating the reason for the increase.
2. Closing or decreasing the Cash Fund
a. Contact Accounting Services for the imprest cash account number to credit with the unspent cash. Note: This is not the same as the grant or contract guarantee account number.
b. Deposit the unspent cash with the Bursar’s Office by submitting a Report of Money Received Form 133.