Meals and Entertainment


Depending on the circumstances under which the expenses are incurred, charges for meals will be treated as either:

  • Business entertainment expenses incurred while conducting business that includes an outside party, (these expenses should be charged to Meals & Entertainment); or
  • Business travel expenses (these expenses should be charged to Travel)

Meals and functions are considered entertainment if they are intended to provide hospitality to non-University individuals, which is deemed necessary and customary in furthering the University’s business interests. Entertainment expenses should be reasonable in relation to the nature of the function and the resulting business benefit.

Examples of business entertainment include:

  • Receptions for University guests and visitors
  • Alumni reunions or similar alumni functions
  • Entertaining donors or prospective donors
  • Welcoming receptions for parents and students
  • Hosting prospective employers and employees

Required Documentation:

  • Description of the business purpose clearly documented in the Travel Expense Report
  • Name(s) of individual(s) being hosted
  • Number in attendance
  • All original, itemized receipts for entertainment must be attached

Since entertainment expenses are not allowable costs of federally sponsored grants and contracts, it is imperative that they be segregated in the appropriate account code.

The University will reimburse employee travelers for the reasonable cost of their own meals incurred during the time they are traveling overnight on University business. The University allows the use of either the receipt method or the flat rate method. One method must apply for the entire trip.

Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages will not be allowed unless one is entertaining a guest of the University and the necessity for doing so is approved by the area VP/Dean.



Original, itemized receipts must be submitted as documentation for each business meal. The reasonableness of the reimbursement for meals will be determined by using the daily federal Per Diem Rate for the destination city (the Department of State rate for international travel).


If a traveler does not choose to collect receipts, a flat rate of $50 per day may be used for meals. The first and last days of travel are reimbursed at $40 per day.

If a meal is provided as part of the registration at a conference/workshop/meeting or is otherwise included in the hotel/airline rate, the traveler cannot submit for reimbursement of that meal. If travelers choose to forgo meals included with the fee for a function or as part of their transportation cost, the University will not ordinarily reimburse for the cost of meals eaten elsewhere.

Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages will not be allowed unless one is entertaining a guest of the University and the necessity for some is demonstrated and approved by the area VP or Dean.

Note: If a receipt is lost, the traveler may attach a memo that includes what was purchased and the business purpose if the receipt is under $75. The supervisor must sign the memo acknowledging the lost receipt and authorizing reimbursement. For items beyond this limit, the traveler should obtain a duplicate receipt from the vendor (which may require a timely request on the part of the traveler to the vendor.)

In order to qualify for reimbursement of meal expenses, travel must include an overnight stay. Because IRS regulations classify meal reimbursements during day trips as taxable income, the University policy is that there is not reimbursement for meals if an overnight stay is not part of the trip. An exception might involve situations where University business is conducted during a meal and non-University personnel are present.