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College students in a food hall

Seattle University's student-athletes benefit from CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards.

Solution Provides Per Diems When Campus is Closed
Seattle University | Seattle, Washington

Most universities operate on a semester–based schedule, but Seattle University uses a quarter-based calendar, posing unique challenges for its athletic department. Its 350 student–athletes are often reporting for sports conditioning and practice when the campus and its food facilities aren’t open, which makes providing per diem a tricky task.

“We have student–athletes on campus in July reporting for sports while classes don’t start until the first of September,” said Matt Bomar, assistant athletic director — finance and business operations, Seattle University. “The campus is essentially closed, but we still need to get our student–athletes their per diems.”

Moving from cash to Prepaid Expense Cards.

A few years back, the athletic department would provide several weeks’ worth of cash to student–athletes when they arrived on campus, but that was challenging for the student–athletes to manage.

Additionally, cash was problematic from a compliance and reconciliation standpoint. To obtain cash, a coach would have to use his or her own money and then submit a request for reimbursement, which could take up to ten days. The athletic department would then be responsible for reconciling those funds.

Bomar knew there was a better way to handle student–athlete per diems: prepaid expense cards.

Finding the right solution.

He was first introduced to prepaid expense cards while working at a former college and became familiar with the CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Card solution while attending a National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention. There were several features that were important to him, including:

  • Scheduling the loading of funds to cards
  • Automating the funding process, including same-day funding
  • Simplifying reconciliation
  • Allowing prepaid card usage at local grocery stores and restaurants while also limiting its use at specific merchants

Demonstrating time and cost efficiencies.

Prior to switching processes, Bomar needed to show that the athletic department would save time and money. He demonstrated that by using the prepaid expense cards, he would save time by loading per diem funds via automation, as well as the ability to quickly pull data for reconciliation and compliance reporting.

He also provided the university’s procurement office with information that proved the change would be cost-efficient.

“The initial cost analysis showed the risk elimination would cover any costs associated with a prepaid expense card program,” said Bomar. “Our procurement office reviewed several card programs and went with my recommendation to go with the CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards.”

Based on the success of the prepaid expense card program, the athletic department has also starting using the card program for per diem travel with its baseball and rowing teams.

“Instead of giving our student–athletes several weeks’ worth of per diems in a lump sum of cash, we can quickly load weekly per diems via the CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards. This has helped them manage their money better and helped us with compliance and reconciliation.”

Matt Bomar
Assistant Athletic Director — Finance and Business Operations, Seattle University

To learn more about what the CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Card can do for your institution, or to get started, visit us online at or email us at

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CommercePayments® solutions are provided by Commerce Bank.