Payments to Human Research Participants

Eligible participants include the general public, students and staff of the Texas A&M University System. All participants are treated equally; however, each study may have specific eligibility criteria. If a participant is a nonresident foreign national, please follow your System member’s rules or guidelines for paying nonresident foreign nationals (see, TAMU Division of Finance Disbursement Manual).

Payments can be made in the form of cash obtained via a working fund, gift cards obtained via a working fund or payment card, or check processed through accounts payable. A payment made through accounts payable must be paid from a departmental clearing account. This is the only method that will protect participant confidentiality.

The FAMIS account number that will be expensed should be used. To make payments to research participants by check, the departmental clearing account must be used.

Please work with your departmental business office as it is possible there may already be a departmental clearing account number established.

The Research Participation Multiple Payment Certificate Form will serve as the invoice to reimburse the departmental clearing account when the project account is managed by Sponsored Research Services.

The Research Participation Individual Payment Certification Form is used to pay an individual via check through accounts payable. These payments must be made from a departmental clearing account, via a payment request (non-P.O. invoice) in AggieBuy. Research participants are individually responsible to adhere to the tax regulations of their current country of residency if their participation takes place outside of the U.S.

Please note: Completed forms must be submitted by fax to 979-458-3131 or mailed to MS 6003.

The Research Participation Multiple Payment Certification Form is used to certify participant’s gift card or cash payments were received. This form can be used as required documentation for reimbursement for payment from a working fund and can also be used in the principal investigator’s confidential research file. Please note that the form requires a printed name of the participant OR research assigned ID number.

For any single payment or aggregate payments of $250 or less in the form of cash, through working funds, or gift cards to a human research participant, the Research Participation Multiple Payment Certification Form should be used. This information should be maintained in the principal investigator’s confidential files. Once completed the form should be attached to the Concur Expense Report to document the purchase of gift cards on the payment card or attached to the AggieBuy document to pay back the working fund (cash).   

Any single payment or aggregate payments in excess of $250 to a human research participant, or aggregate payments to a human research participant in excess of $250 in any calendar year will require the completion of the Research Participation Individual Payment Certification Form, including the individual’s name, address, tax payer identification number, social security number or university identification number. Completed forms must be submitted by fax to 979-458-3131 or mailed to MS 6003. 

The Research Participation Multiple Payment Certification Form should be used to document the distribution of the gift cards/cash and this should be the only documentation attached to Concur Expense Report or AggieBuy document for confidentiality reasons. 

The department would be responsible for the expense.

To avoid running afoul of Texas gambling laws, researchers need to determine whether or not their use of a drawing for a chance to win a prize constitutes a lottery. Lotteries are illegal because they are considered “gambling” under Texas Penal Code Chapter 47.

A "lottery" is defined as any scheme or procedure whereby one or more prizes are distributed by chance among persons who have paid or promised consideration for a chance to win anything of value, whether such scheme or procedure is called a pool, lottery, raffle, gift, gift enterprise, sale, policy game, or some other name.

Given the possible implications to researchers using drawings as a form of compensation or an incentive to participate in research, the Division of Research, in conjunction with the Office of General Counsel, has identified a framework for the acceptable use of drawings in human research at Texas A&M University:

  1. The compensation is appropriate when it is not large enough to be considered an inducement (undue influence).
  2. The participant is not told that entry or eligibility for the drawing is conditioned on completing the study. This means that everyone is eligible for the drawing upon providing consent to participate in the study and cannot be told they must complete the study.
  3. The time, effort, and inconvenience of the participant cannot be substantial. Substantial time and effort is determined on a case by case basis and considers the procedures involved such as what is asked of the participant and the amount of time involved.
  4. This approach is not limited to exempt research.

Should you have any questions contact the Human Research Protection Program by phone at 979.458.4067 or by email at