Fiscal Policies & Resources

Purchasing and reimbursement


Faculty making a PURCHASE to be charged to one of their budgets (grant, start-up, gift): begin the purchasing process with Susan Carpenter-Brandt ( She can work with you to determine the appropriate buying method and budget number to use for your particular purchase.

Faculty who need to be REIMBURSED for a purchase/registration/travel/etc: contact Allen Lee (Fiscal Supervisor, to initiate the reimbursement process.

Requesting a purchase or reimbursement

When seeking a purchasing or reimbursement, please complete the HCDE Purchasing Authorization and Reimbursement Request Form.

When contacting us for any purchase, please provide the following information in writing (or email):

  • Food, light refreshments, and alcohol: A budget that is pre-approved for these purchases is required. Please see the HCDE Meals and Light Refreshments Policy.
  • Purchases and contracts/subcontracts over $3500: A sole source justification and three competing bids are required.
  • Equipment purchases over $2000: These items must be added to UW's inventory system for compliance and object coding. Allen Lee coordinates the department's inventory tracking and must be informed when these purchases occur.

Note: Specific UW policies related to travel reimbursements need to be followed. Please see HCDE's Travel Resources.

Perjury Statement Form

For missing receipts, you must complete a Perjury Statement and submit that to the Fiscal Supervisor.

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Meals and light refreshments

The UW has a strict policy and procedural steps to pay for meals and/or light refreshments when the budget to be charged is not a discretionary 64-XXXX budget or another food-authorized budget.

The UW food approval process for meals and light refreshments purchased from University funds (e.g., state, grant or contract *, non-discretionary gifts, self-sustaining, Services and Activities Fee income) is outlined in the UW's Food Approval form.

*Grant, contract, or other sponsored project funds may not be used if the sponsor regulations or specific agreement guidelines prohibit the purchase of food for the purposes covered by this policy.

Note that UW Form 1798 must be used and advance approval (prior to date when food will be served) is required. For specific, recurring events, such as training sessions, UW Form 1798 need only be completed once prior to the initial event and copied for future events.

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Student travel

Student Travelers should start by reading the info for HCDE Student Travelers.

The following funding scenarios for student travel are the most common in the department. Please see HCDE's Fiscal Specialist if you still have questions.

Funding Scenario 1: Department funds the trip through endowment money

Please reference HCDE's Student Travel Policy for more information on how to receive this award. All forms should be submitted to the Assistant to the Chair for a vote at the next faculty meeting.

If funded, you will be awarded a specific amount of money. This money can be used for any expense associated with your trip (hotel, registration, airfare, meals, taxis, etc). There are multiple ways for the department to pay for and/or reimburse you for these expenses:

  1. Department uses travel card to pay for upfront expenses such as airfare, conference registration, hotel fees, etc. If you prefer to pay for these expenses yourself you can start the reimbursement process early by submitting receipts to the department fiscal specialist.
  2. If you qualify for a Per Diem Advance you can receive travel money before you leave.
  3. You pay for your expenses and be reimbursed when you return. Make sure to save receipts for all your expenses except for meals. Food expenses are reimbursed at a predetermined rate set by the federal government.

Please know that we are not limited to using one method or the other. We can use a combination of these methods (up to the total amount of your award) to reduce your upfront financial burden.

Funding Scenario 2: The student receives a GSFEI award

GSFEI is a travel fund administered through the graduate school. Students apply for this fund through HCDE's normal student travel application process and department staff members determine if the application is eligible for GSFEI funding. These funds can only be used to pay for transportation expenses (planes, trains, taxis, cars, mobile home). Because of this, GSFEI awardees are not eligible for a Per Diem Advance unless they have a secondary source of funding. However, the department can still pay for upfront transportation expenses (see option 1 above) or reimburse you when you return (see option 3 above) or a combination of both.

Funding Scenario 3: The student receives grant funding from a professor

If you are traveling with grant funds, it is up to you and the principle investigator (PI) to determine what will be reimbursed and what won't. A PI may say that you can be reimbursed for all your expenses or may say that you can only be reimbursed for a certain dollar amount or for certain types of expenses. Usually a PI will pay for all your travel expenses. These funds do not have special restrictions on them and may be used to pay for all allowable travel costs. This means the department has multiple ways of paying for and/or reimbursing you for these expenses (same list as scenario 1).

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Travel resources

The goal of this page is to guide department travelers through the travel process while adhering to the travel policies set forth by the University of Washington and HCDE. Department staff are here to assist, but it is the traveler's responsibility to fully understand the rules and regulations. Failure to comply may result in not getting reimbursed.

In order for HCDE's administrative staff to process travel reimbursement expeditiously, travelers are required to fill out the HCDE Travel Authorization / Reimbursement Request Form.

How to get there: Transportation Modes


Alaska Airlines currently is the State Contract Air Carrier that provides a base level price. You must use a State Contract Carrier unless your flight meets one of the following exceptions:

  1. You find a cheaper flight.
  2. The contract airline does not have a flight that meets your needs.
  3. There are no seats available on a particular flight.
  4. There is no contract airfare to the particular destination.

You will likely find a cheaper flight with a non-State Contract Carrier, but it is critical that you consult the base level price before you purchase your ticket. You risk not getting reimbursed for the full amount of your ticket if you do not meet one of these exceptions. Find contract airfare rates here.


You can be reimbursed for the actual cost of your train ticket if one of the following conditions are met:

  • You provide comparison airfare documentation and the train is cheaper
  • You have prior approval from the budget PI, Administrator, or Grants Coordinator
  • You have extenuating circumstances that do not permit you to travel via air

Please submit documentation with your reimbursement request prior to travel departure.

Car rental

Check UW's travel website for details. Your name must appear as the primary driver on the Rental Car Agreement without exceptions.

Driving your own car

Check UW's Travel website for the mileage rate.

Paying for your Trip

(General info below, and additional details related to miscellaneous expenses on the UW's Travel website). Please note that we can pay for your trip with a variety of approaches.

  • Per Diem Advance
    You may receive travel money before your trip. The amount of the per diem advance is based on federal meal and lodging rates (administrative staff will sort this for you). However, this option is only available to travelers who will be employed after the date they return from traveling.
  • Department pays for expenses before you travel
    HCDE can pay your airfare, hotel registration, and other miscellaneous expenses before your trip. See department Fiscal Specialist for more information.
  • Reimbursed after you return
    You may pay for your expenses and submit receipts to the department Fiscal Specialist upon your return. We can process an Expense Report (ER) for reimbursement. Any item over $75.00 will require receipts; please save all the receipts, except for daily food receipts which are reimbursed at a federal per diem rate (domestic or foreign) that varies depending on what city/county/country you are traveling to. For lodging, you will need to provide the hotel folio.

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Event funding

For student organizations interested in planning an event for the Department, complete the Event Funding Request Form to seek budget approval from the HCDE administrator.

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Academic student employee hourly pay rates

Academic student positions are covered by the contract between the UW and the United Auto Workers (UAW). For all other student employment positions, UW Compensation establishes compensation requirements in accordance with University policy and as described on UW HR's Student Employees web page. Student employees must be paid at least the Washington State minimum wage, noted as "base" in the table below.

The following pay rates apply to hourly academic student employee positions within the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering. The College of Engineering and other departments may employ students with different job titles and at different pay rates.

Title/Pay Classification Occupation Code Minimum Hourly Rate Job Duties Standard Qualifications
Course Assistant 10873 base Non-teaching academic assistance Undergraduate student
Front Desk Assistant 10875 base Reception duties, data entry Undergraduate student (non-Engineering)
Lab Assistant 10875 base Maintaining departmental lab spaces, training students on lab equipment and software Graduate Student
Undergraduate Research Assistant 10869 $20 / hour Assist in research Undergraduate Student

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Federal tax witholding

Policy updated March 2021

Students in receipt of Awards, Prizes, Scholarships, Fellowships and/or Emergency Aid Resources should note that funds may be subject to Federal Tax Withholding, ref. Forms, Publications and Other Tax Links. Except as noted below, HCDE practice does not allow for the increase in the amount of a distribution to offset a student’s Federal Tax liability. 

HCDE cannot provide tax advice, instead please refer to the following websites, which may provide additional guidance and information.

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