Paying Human Subjects

The process for paying human subjects in your research projects depends on the method in which you are distributing funds and the amount of the payment. Find the method that best fits your project, and follow the indicated steps. These steps apply to any situation when you pay human subjects and need reimbursement from the University, including departmental reimbursement.

Payment without University reimbursement

If you are paying human subjects without needing reimbursement, you must keep a "Stipend Log" of all funds paid to subjects.  Otherwise, no further action is needed from you, the PI.

Methods of payment

Payments under $100

Cash
  1. Human subjects may be paid in cash increments up to $99.99. 
  2. A cash advance by Procurement up to $1000 is the preferred method to fund cash payments to subjects. Alternatively, subjects may be paid first, and then you can request reimbursement.
  3. Payments must be documented; a Stipend Log template is provided below.
Checks ($25-$99.99)
  1. Human subjects should only be paid with a check if the amount issued is more than $25. 
  2. You must complete a Direct Payment Form (Instructions for Direct Payment Form [PDF]) for individual payments or the Direct Payment Form and Research Subject Payment Spreadsheet (XLS) for subjects to receive funds. 
  3. Subjects without Banner ID numbers must also complete a Vendor Information Form. This form may be given to the subject to complete and mail back to Accounts Payable. 
  4. Obtain necessary signatures, including Special Funds Accounting if on a trust or grant fund, and submit to Accounts Payable for processing. 
  5. Funds will be distributed from the Controller's office in the form of a check sent directly to the address provided on these forms. 
Gift cards
  1. Gift Cards must be purchased through the Direct Payment Form process (Instructions for Direct Payment Form [PDF]). Do not use P-Cards for gift card purchase. 
  2. Gift Cards may also be purchased and reimbursed.
  3. Collect human subject information on Stipend Logs. Do not collect Social Security numbers or Banner ID numbers if gift card is less than $100. If subjects are receiving gift cards for more than $100, you must collect SSNs or Banner IDs.
Using a third party to purchase/provide individual payments
  1. This applies to third parties such as Amazon gift cards, Amazon Turk payments.
  2. Keep all receipts, correspondence, and proof of disbursement. 
  3. Follow the steps for cash reimbursement for the amount of the gift card.
Door prizes
  1. Door Prizes must be approved by IRB during the application process. 
  2. They may not be used in exchange for valuable consideration such as blood or tissue samples or significant time and effort in research participation. The IRB will make this determination. 
  3. If approved, follow the steps for cash for the amount of the door prize.

Payments of $100 or more

Direct payment process
  1. Human subjects who will receive individual payments of $100 or more must have a completed Direct Payment Form (Instructions for Direct Payment Form [PDF]) to receive payment. Payments over $100 cannot be processed through cash advances or reimbursements. 
  2. Subjects without Banner IDs must also complete a W-9. This form may be given to the subject to complete and mail back to Accounts Payable. 
  3. Obtain necessary signatures, including Special Funds Accounting if on a trust or grant fund, and submit to Accounts Payable for processing.
  4. Funds will be distributed from the Controller's office in the form of a check sent directly to the address provided on these forms. 
Door prizes
  1. Door Prizes must be approved by IRB during the application process. 
  2. They may not be used in exchange for valuable consideration such as blood or tissue samples or significant time and effort in research participation. The IRB will make this determination. 
  3. If approved, follow the steps for cash for the amount of the door prize.

How to get reimbursed

Payments under $100

Cash advance
  1. Complete a Direct Payment Form [PDF] (Instructions for Direct Payment Form [PDF]). Obtain necessary signatures, including Special Funds Accounting if on a trust or grant fund, and submit to Accounts Payable for processing. 
  2. Funds are direct-deposited to the employee's bank account.
  3. Use a Stipend Log to record payments to human subjects.
  4. Within 24 hours of completion, redeposit any unused cash at the Cashier's Window in Student Accounts to the fund/account listed on the Procurement. Be sure to identify the funding source as the description on the redeposit. 
  5. Send the completed Stipend Log to Accounts Payable, referencing "Settlement of Cash Advance for 'Employee X'." 
Reimbursement
  1. Pay human subjects out of pocket. You must have prior approval of funds available for this method.
  2. Use Stipend Log to record payments to subjects. 
  3. Complete a Direct Payment Form (PDF) (Instructions for Direct Payment Form [PDF]).
  4. Attach Stipend Log, obtain necessary signatures, including Special Funds Accounting if on a trust or grant fund, and submit to Accounts Payable for processing. 
Stipend log

Stipend Logs should be used each time a human subject is paid to comply with audit standards. Names and addresses, at minimum, should be collected as evidence of reimbursement.

Here are two examples of stipend logs:

  1. Stipend Log #1 (portrait (DOC 35K) is a running list designed to allow subjects to complete a row while all other completed rows are covered to prevent visibility to other subjects. 
  2. Stipend Log #2 (4 slips to a page (DOC 30K) is designed to be distributed to subjects in individual strips for them to complete and return to the PI. 

Payments of $100 or more

Collecting banner IDs/social security numbers
  • For any payment of $100 or more, you must collect a Banner ID number or Social Security number. Whenever possible, Banner ID is the preferred identification. 
  • If the human subject does not have a Banner ID, you should send a W-9 form to the subject to complete and return. Mail the completed form to the Controller's Office.
  • You must take steps to protect this data. These records should be kept in a secure and locked location.
  • The data should be properly disposed of after it is no longer needed. For more information, refer to the ASU Identity Theft Prevention Plan.
  • The informed consent process should provide the prospective subject with information about the need to provide the University with his/her name, Social Security number/Banner ID number, and address. 
  • Susbjects who do not wish to have their confidential information shared with the University could have the option to waive receipt of any payment if they still wish to enroll in the study. 
  • If waiving receipt of payment violates the subject inclusion criteria for the study, the investigator may state that subjects who choose not to provide their name, Social Security number or Banner ID number, and address to the University may not enroll in the study. 
Stipend logs

Stipend Logs should be used each time a human subject is paid to comply with audit standards. Names and addresses, at minimum, should be collected as evidence of reimbursement.

Here are two examples of stipend logs:

  1. Stipend Log #1 (portrait (DOC 35K) is a running list designed to allow subjects to complete a row while all other completed rows are covered to prevent visibility to other participants. 
  2. Stipend Log #2 (4 slips to a page (DOC 30K) is designed to be distributed to subjects in individual strips for them to complete and return to the PI. 

Other Information

Important Notes

  • These records should be kept in a secure and locked location. These logs are proof of payment and contain sensitive information that could lead to identity theft. For more information, refer to the ASU Identity Theft Prevention Plan.
  • You must keep these records for three years after the close of the fiscal year of the transaction. If on a grant, records must be kept for three years after the close of the fiscal year that the grant ends. 

Total Anonymity

  • In studies that require anonymity, you must indicate to the IRB in the protocol application that human subjects will be paid a nominal amount, how many subjects will be paid, and why it is important that total anonymity be maintained.
  • In these instances, do not collect names or any other identifiers. The IRB will authorize payment using a letter with the information that a certain dollar amount can be paid for a specified number of subjects and the period of time. This signed letter should accompany all cash advance requests or reimbursements sent to Accounts Payable.


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