Travel Policy - Updated April 1, 2013
The purpose of these Business Travel Policies is to provide specific guidelines covering University travel, and other travel related business expenses, as well as the documentation required to substantiate requests for reimbursement of those expenses. The primary responsibility for adherence to these policies rests with the supervisors who are authorizing travel and approving expense reimbursements. As a general guideline, it is expected that travelers and individuals approving travel will interpret these policies in a manner that keeps expenses to a minimum and fairly assigns the costs of business-related activities to the University.
All travel that requires an overnight stay must receive prior approval at the Vice Presidential level unless the Vice President of a division has delegated that function. Research and grant related travel also requires prior approval by the Office of Sponsored Research Administration. The Travel Authorization and Advance Form (TAAF) should be used to obtain approvals. If the amount of the trip does not exceed the amount approved on the TAAF, then only the signature of the traveler is required on the Travel Expense Report, unless a division requires review post-trip. If the actual trip expenses are more than the pre-approved amount on the TAAF, then the signature of the Vice President or their designee is required.
Because it is not possible to anticipate all situations that a traveler may encounter in conducting University business, this policy is designed to allow for some flexibility in addressing unique circumstances that may require occasional exceptions.
Travelers should also bear in mind that government agencies and other observers might perceive certain expenditures as being either excessive or inappropriate in the context of a regulatory audit, an IRS audit, or other similar review of University activities. Thus, moderation and discretion should guide traveler’s decisions while incurring expenses on the University’s behalf.
Any questions pertaining to the Travel Policy should be addressed to the Controller.
- Employees who travel on University business
- Employees who supervise employees traveling on University business
- Employees who make travel and other arrangements for:
- Prospective University employees
- University visitors
- Students who travel on approved University business
- University-sponsored conferences or seminars
- Primary responsibility for review/approval of expense reports and compliance with all provisions of this policy rests with the departments and supervisors who are authorizing travel and business expenditures
- Since travel expense reports are subject to audit by government agencies and other sponsors, thorough documentation and accounting for expenses is essential. The University requires all documentation to substantiate payment.
- The University will only incur expenses in connection with University business that is appropriately documented by the employee.
- The basic policy governing travel expenses is that an individual should incur neither a personal financial gain nor loss in the course of conducting University business.
- The University will not incur expenses for travelers that are inherently personal in nature such as childcare, clothing, grooming, personal recreation or entertainment, etc. All expenses must be documented with a business purpose.
- Assuming a reasonable level of comfort and convenience for the traveler, every effort should be made to keep University expenses to a minimum. Departmental policies will govern how authorization for travel is granted, and department supervisors may elect to impose additional controls over travel expenditures beyond those required by these policies.
- Reimbursement of expenditures will be on the basis of actual and reasonable expenses incurred for transportation, meals, lodging, and other necessary business expenses. There is a per diem allowance available for meals, but must be approved in advance by the traveler’s supervisor. Transportation expenses for use of a personal car will be made on a rate per mile basis. Note: When the rate per mile basis is used to reimburse an employee for expenses it includes the cost of gas. Therefore, no additional submissions for gas purchases should be made. If per diem for meals is requested and granted, the maximum allowance is $40 per day, regardless of the city of travel, and will be adjusted when attending events where meals are included. Otherwise, with itemized receipts the maximum reimbursement will be consistent with the federal per diem rates for a destination published at the time of travel. An overall per diem travel reimbursement allowance is not available.
- The traveler’s immediate supervisor or a more senior officer who has the authority to approve such expenditures must approve Travel and Entertainment Expense Reports. Reimbursements will not be made without such approval.
- The University will not reimburse employee for expenditures over 30 days old
- The University does not reimburse for the travel expenses of family members or any other individual who may accompany an employee on University business, except in unusual circumstances which require their presence. The President or VP for Business & Finance must approve exceptions in advance and in writing.
- A motor pool vehicle is required to be used as the first vehicle of choice unless there are special circumstances approved in advance by the area Vice President. The University’s standard mileage reimbursement rate is 40 cents per mile. If the traveler fails to obtain a waiver or an email from motor pool that a vehicle was not available, the mileage reimbursement rate will be 20 cents per mile.