Human Subject Compensation

Human subject compensation can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including same-day cash, same-day gift cards, and future payments via a check from UMass. Regardless of the method you choose, all compensation to human subjects must be tracked and accounted for. Particular stringency must be applied when working off of a grant.

If you would like to pay your subjects with on-the-spot cash, in order to obtain the cash in the first place, the Principal Investigator (PI) must fill out a Controller’s Office Advance Request (dated 06/10/15), available at the Controller’s website. Please download this form and fill it out electronically (which will automatically generate an invoice number), then email it to the address on the form, with a cc to You must also attach the IRB approval. The PI is then personally responsible for accounting for and/or returning the total amount of cash withdrawn in this manner.

At the time of the study, the investigator should have each subject complete a Human Subject Participant Advance Settlement Form acknowledging receipt of the payment. These forms should be turned into the Business Center promptly for processing, along with any leftover cash.

If you would like to compensate your subjects with on-the-spot gift cards, if at all possible it is best to purchase the gift cards in person with a cash advance, using the Controller’s Office Advance Request (dated 06/10/15), available at the Controller’s website. This is by far the fastest purchasing method, and also allows the most accurate method of tracking the gift cards when they are distributed to your subjects. If in-store purchasing is not possible, you may instead use a purchase order in Buyways. Please be aware that purchasing gift cards with a Procard is not allowed. 

When you distribute the gift cards, each subject should fill out a gift card tracking sheet, which essentially functions like a receipt. (See downloads.) These gift card tracking sheets, along with either a copy of the advance request or the Purchase Order (PO) number, should then be turned into the Business Center for processing.

If you would like to pay your subjects after they participate in the study, at the time of their participation you will need to have them fill out a Human Subject Compensation Payment Request Form (see downloads) so that the University will know where to send the payment. Non-UMass subjects are required to fill out a UMW-9 form to be added as vendors into the system, but current employees and students need only provide their full name, a valid ID number, and a current, legal (non-PO Box), off-campus address.

The use of human subjects for studies is heavily regulated. For information on laws and policies regarding human subjects, including informed consent, CITI training, and other related issues, please visit the Office of Research and Engagement website.