Business Office - Research Participant Payments

Research Participant Guidelines from the SoHE Business Office.

This information is intended to provide a basic overview of research participant payment methods and policies. A more complete guide to the Payments to Research Participants policies related to Custodian Funds/Cash Advance, Gift Cards & PIR research payments may be found at the following links:

Policy UW-3005: Payments to Research Participants
Policy UW-3012: Custodian Funds Policy
200.2 Temporary Fund Procedure
Policy UW-3027: Gift Card Policy

See the Business Office - School of Human Ecology Contacts for assistance and questions regarding the Research Participant Payments process.

Allowable Methods of Payment to Research or Study Participants WITHOUT Using Custodian funds (Non-IRB Related Research)

Allowable Methods of Payment to Research Participants with REQUIRED IRB Approval Related Research: Custodian Funds 

All plans to compensate research participants in research studies must receive prior approval or an exemption formally documented from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Contact Michael Kukula for assistance with Custodian Funds.

The Principal Investigator/Researcher (Custodian) can make payments to research participants via:


For check payments of $250 or more to US Persons OR for any dollar amount if participant is a Nonresident Alien (NRA)

  1. Made via Payment to Individual Report (PIR)
  2. Supported with a completed and signed W-9 form for US Persons
  3. Supported with a completed and signed W8BEN for Nonresident Aliens (NRAs)
    • Should be noted as part of screening process for participants, as to whether they are a US citizen/Permanent Resident, or not a US citizen (Nonresident Alien), to ensure that they are paid using the appropriate method. 
  4. Not paid with Custodian Funds
  5. Contact Jane Rolfsmeyer for assistance

Types of Custodian Funds: Temporary Funds

Payments to research participants at SoHE are generally processed using a Temporary Fund, which is used to pay research participants when a research study will be for less than 1 year. Options for payment include cash or gift cards.



Types of Custodian Funds: Replenishable Checking Accounts

For studies lasting 1 year or longer, a Replenishable Checking Account is used. Payment is made by check.

  1. To open and maintain this type of account, a minimum of ten checks per month are to be written. 
  2. The following roles must be assigned for Replenishable Checking Accounts: 
    1. Custodian - A UW-Madison employee who is responsible for monitoring the custodian fund.
    2. Signer(s) - UW-Madison employee(s) responsible for writing and signing checks to the appropriate recipient, and ensuring all checks are logged and accounted for. A minimum of two and a maximum of four Signers are required.
    3. Reconciler - A UW-Madison employee who is responsible for performing reconciliations and if necessary, replenishments.
  3. Accounts must be fully reconciled on a monthly basis as of month end. The purpose of the reconciliation is to agree the US Bank statement to the account’s check log/check register. Only checking account activity in the current month being reconciled should be included in the reconciliation. 
  4. Any discrepancies between the two must be researched and reconciled. Please notify Cash Management via if any transactions are found on your bank statement that appear to be incorrect, so that the issue may be researched and resolved with US Bank. Also, all stop-payments issued in SinglePoint for stale-dated checks (older than 90 days) must be set for 24 months. Use the drop down to select 24 months, since the system defaults to six months.
  5. Replenishable Checking Accounts require Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that outline the responsibilities and duties for each role associated with the Custodian Fund type, and are updated annually or when there is a change in any role. 
  6. A US Bank Signature Card must be submitted when the account is opened and each time there is a change in the signer(s). In addition to the US Bank Signature Card, an updated MOU must also be submitted for a change in the Signer(s). Replenishable Checking