It is the policy of the college that all official travel shall be properly authorized and in accordance with college travel regulations. Expenses of persons authorized to travel on official college business or for professional development purposes shall be reimbursed in accordance with college travel regulations and allowances. Travelers shall observe normally accepted standards of propriety in the type and manner of expenses incurred. College funds may not be used for any travel that is not ultimately chargeable to the colleges. This includes personal travel and travel sponsored by professional societies, governmental advisory groups, etc.
The policy applies to all persons traveling on official college business and for professional development purposes. The terms of a more restrictive extramural fund source shall prevail unless special exception is on record.
TRAVEL APPROVAL: PRE-AUTHORIZATION
Travel approval should be obtained prior to undertaking official college travel; otherwise, expenses incurred are at the traveler’s risk. Travel is approved when the Request for Administrative Travel form has been signed by the Vice President of the functional area.
TRAVEL EXPENSES NORMALLY REIMBURSABLE FOR COLLEGE BUSINESS
- Subsistence Expenses: Meals, lodging, and incidentals.
(Non-reimbursable expenses include mini-bar charges, in-room movies or video rentals, laundry services, health club and exercise charges.)
- Transportation Expenses: Least expensive excursion airfare available for round trip between major airports, observing authorized maximums (see Request for Administrative Travel form for specific guidelines). Super Shuttle or equivalent to and from airports and hotels, or shared taxi. Least expensive long-term parking. Fares, car rental, private car mileage, emergency repairs to college cars, parking fee, tolls, etc.
- Business Expenses: When approved in advance and related to college business, the following: secretarial/office services, equipment, supplies, rental of office or meeting rooms, telephone and fax. Use telephone credit card or cell phone rather than hotel phones.
Special fees for foreign travel: Passports, visas, fees, photographs, certificates, affidavits, inoculations, currency exchange and check cashing fees in a foreign country, etc.
Other necessary and proper expenses not included in the above categories.
TRAVEL EXPENSES NORMALLY REIMBURSABLE FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES:
- Subsistence Expenses: If you are attending a conference, presenting a paper, leading a formal discussion, attending professional development or acting as an officer of a professional society or chairing a session, the College will cover a specified maximum amount for meals and lodging (see Request for Administrative Travel form for specific monetary guidelines).
- Transportation Expenses: Least expensive excursion airfare available for round trip between major airports, observing authorized maximums for air travel and other local transportation expenses (see Request for Administrative Travel form for specific guidelines).
- Registration fees: For conferences, conventions, meetings of professional or learned societies, or community organizations.
Travelers must complete a travel expense report within ten (10) business days after the conclusion of each trip. The report must be submitted regardless of method of payment of expenses (e.g., credit card, purchase order, travel advance).
The Internal Revenue Service requires specific documentation to support payment of an employee’s travel and entertainment expenses. Each request for reimbursement or direct payment of any invoice, including credit card billings, must include: original receipts for any travel expense; original receipts for any lodging expense; original receipts for any meals expense; original receipts for any other expenditure of $15 or more; and a statement as to the time and place, business purpose, and in the case of entertainment, who was present.
A traveler may request a travel advance to cover meal expenses and in-person conference registration fees.
- Cash advances will be made only after the travel is approved. Advances will be based on an estimated reasonable amount of anticipated expenses to be incurred.
- Within ten (10) business days of return from a trip, all temporary cash advances must be cleared by the traveling employee.
- Additional cash advances will not be made until the prior advance has been cleared.
- Holdovers from one trip to the next are not allowed. All advances will be reconciled with the expense report for each individual trip. Excess funds will not be held by the employee for the next trip. Further advances will not be granted until the outstanding balance is cleared.
- In the case of failure to report, outstanding advances not cleared by November 30 will be included on the traveler’s W-2 form at the end of the calendar year. The advance is still due and payable to the College.
- In case of postponement or cancellation of a trip, the traveler is to refund any advance immediately.
The college will issue corporate credit cards to eligible employees. Late fees are the responsibility of the traveler. Personal charges are not to be incurred on this card. Any non-college related charges are the responsibility of the employee. All college issued cards will be billed directly to the employee, and reimbursement for the charges must comply with the reporting requirements listed above.
PLANNING FOR THE TRIP
The most critical aspect of ensuring a successful trip is good planning, especially if someone else makes your arrangements for you. You can save yourself – and your travel arranger – time, money, and frustration by getting all the necessary details up front. Proper planning will assure that your requirements and preferences are met and that the greatest cost effectiveness is achieved.
It is a good idea to maintain a “trip record” for every trip you take. You can start by jotting down your planning notes; then, after deciding what your travel requirements will be, you can continue your trip record by recording all information pertinent to a particular trip: reservation confirmation and travelers check numbers, itinerary details, expense information, etc. And remember:
- Be flexible. Sometimes an early morning or late night flight can save up to 50%. Schedule meetings and appointments around your flights, if possible.
- Consider connecting flights. If your schedule is flexible, you may cut your airfare cost in half by taking connecting vs. nonstop flights.
- Consider alternate airports. Sometimes the savings are considerable, e.g., using LAX vs. Burbank or Long Beach.
- In cities with multiple airports, determine the airport to and from which you want to fly.
- Do you have a preferred hotel or location? Be prepared to designate an alternate hotel in case the first choice is sold out. Always use a hotel that gives a discount to the college or for using the corporate card.
- Determine any special requirements, such as late check-in, late check-out, meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment, etc. at the hotel.
- If you plan to use a laptop PC while on an aircraft, be sure to confirm in advance whether it is allowable on the air carrier.
- If the passenger is traveling with someone else, are reservations to be made at the same time? Do the travelers want to be seated together?
MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION
Routing: Travelers are to take the most economical mode of transportation by the most frequently traveled route. Traveler will bear any extra expenses resulting from the extension of the route for the traveler’s convenience.
Procurement of tickets: Travelers should buy tickets in advance to get the lowest rates. Changes that would increase rates should be avoided.
Commercial Airlines: The least expensive excursion airfare available for round trips between major airports should be used, observing the College’s specified allowable maximums for transportation expense; when available and practicable helicopter connections are permitted. Reimbursement will be based on the fare used.
Privately Owned Airplane (including rentals): Prior approval by the President is required when the traveler elects to use on college business on a route served by a common carrier. Prior certification of pilot qualifications to be filed at the Office of the President. Use of the plane may not exceed seven (7) days; the plane must have fewer than 60 seats; a certificate of insurance is required indicating a $5 million limit and naming the college as an additional insured.
General: The mode of transportation should be the most economical one suitable for the purpose of the trip.
Railroad or Bus: Advance approval is needed if regular air service is available. A Pullman roomette is allowed.
Ship: Advance approval is required. Only the lowest first-class fare may be approved, with subsistence on an actual expense basis.
College-Owned: Subject to college rules pertaining to use and emergency repairs. Parking tolls, etc., are allowable expenses.
Privately-Owned: When used on routes served by a common carrier, the amount of the actual mileage or the lowest available air fare (or its equivalent, plus the cost of conventional terminal transportation), whichever is least, is allowed. The subsistence is limited to the amount that would have been expended for the same trip by public transportation. No additional reimbursement for automobile-related expenses, such as tolls, ferries, parking, etc., will be allowed.
When a privately owned automobile operated by a college employee in the course of conducting college business is damaged, reimbursement for repair expenses borne by the employee up to $200 may be allowed. Expenses recoverable from insurance coverage are not allowable. Claims for reimbursement of the cost of accidental damage must be filed with the employee’s insurance carrier before reimbursement of the cost of accidental damage is requested from the college, under this provision.
Use of a private automobile on college business will be reimbursed according to the per mile rate established by the college annually.
Insurance to satisfy financial responsibility requirements is necessary. Proof of coverage is required with minimal allowable limits at $50,000/$100,000 (check amount). The license number of the automobile and the names of employee passengers must appear on the Travel Expense Report.
Rental Automobiles: Always use one of the car rental companies that give a discount to the college, according to policy. The traveler must list the college as the renter, with the individual as the driver. Decline additional collision, accidental death, or medical insurance if coverage is provided by credit card or some other mechanism. The traveler can pay and be reimbursed by the college or use a corporate credit card.
Motorcycles: Use of privately owned motorcycles or motor driven cycles for college business is prohibited; transportation expense will not be reimbursed.
Parking and mileage: A receipt is required for parking fees $15 or over. Please use the least expensive long-term parking available. Parking tickets and moving violation citations are the responsibility of the traveler.
Bus, streetcar, or taxi, as necessary. For transfer between airport and hotel, use hotel or airport shuttle or limo service rather than taxi, whenever available.
Other Special Conveyances:
Approved charges for any other authorized conveyance or travel situation will be reimbursed.
Charges for checking and storage of personal baggage or college property related to approved travel are allowable. Excess charge should be explained on the Travel Expense Report.
SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES – Basis for Reimbursement:
Meal, lodging and incidental expenses are reimbursed according to college policy.
Note: Generally, lodging is not reimbursed if the lodging site is within a 50-mile radius of the traveler’s residence or work site. To claim reimbursement, adequate justification for the expense must appear on the Travel Expense Report.
Travel Outside the United States:
For foreign travel, subsistence expenses are reimbursed according to college policy.
Contracting for Subsistence:
For approved vendor service to groups, the college may be billed or the group leader may be reimbursed upon submission of receipts; a member or members of the group may not be reimbursed individually.
Claims for reimbursement must include explanation on voucher.
Payment for airline tickets should be made by the corporate credit card.
Class of Service:
Travelers are expected to use the least expensive service available on all domestic flights.
Travelers should make reservations with hotels that give discounts to college travelers. When such hotels have no properties at the traveler’s destination or when rooms are not available, comparable facilities and rates should be sought and acquired.
When attending conventions, meetings, etc., hotels other than contracted hotels may be utilized, providing the costs for doing so are not excessive.
Unwarranted use of expensive accommodations may incur a charge back to the traveler for the additional costs.
Change in Plans:
When guaranteed reservations have been made and a change in the traveler’s itinerary prevents the traveler from using the confirmed reservation, the traveler must cancel the reservation before the deadline.
CAR RENTAL RESERVATIONS
Renting a car may not always be the most cost-effective form of local transportation when such items as rental costs, gas, parking charges, and difficulties of driving in a strange city are considered. For short distances, taxis may be preferable.
Car rental may be used as required, or when other means of transportation are not available, more costly, or impractical. Whenever possible, arrangements for rental cars should be made with college-approved companies, which will utilize discount agreements when appropriate. Other firms with comparable or lower rates may be used when suitable cars are not available from our primary vendors. All car rentals should identify the appropriate college as the renter of the vehicle, and the traveler as the driver.
Class of car:
The class of the car to be reserved should be the most economical consistent with the needs of the trip. Upgrades are acceptable if there is no additional cost involved.
In all cases, list the college as the renter and the traveler as the driver. Additional insurance coverage should be waived if coverage is provided by credit card or some other mechanism.
Accidents in a rented car must be reported as quickly as possible to the Office of Risk Management, with a full report submitted to the administration of the institution as well.
Charges to the employee for the personal use of a rented car should be excluded from the travel report, or, if billed directly to the college, should be repaid by the traveler immediately upon return.
Charges for fuel are the responsibility of the traveler while the vehicle is being used for personal business or pleasure.
A personally owned employee automobile used and authorized for business will be compensated when actually driven for such purpose at a fixed amount per mile as determined by the college. This amount is usually determined on an annual basis.
If the employee uses a personal automobile for a business trip in lieu of public transportation, compensation will be made for the lower of the two costs: automobile costs vs. public transportation costs.
If an automobile trip requires time that exceeds normal transit time, advance approval must be obtained from the appropriate college department or official, or, in some instances, the traveler may request that the excessive trip time be used as vacation days.
USE OF COLLEGE OWNED VEHICLES
College owned vehicles may only be driven by employees who have submitted their names for approval and been accepted by the Office of Risk Management as approved drivers.
BUSINESS MEALS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Business meals and entertainment should be kept to reasonable levels.
Entertainment falls into two basic categories for reimbursement:
- The business meal
- Entertainment directly related to a business function
The Business Meal:
Business meals are reimbursed when the person being entertained has an apparent business relationship with the college/, or when the primary purpose of the meal is a business discussion.
Entertainment Directly Related to Business:
In order to qualify for reimbursement, the entertainment must be business oriented. It must be fully documented in the expense report, and be worth the cost from the college’s standpoint.
CONFERENCES / STAFF MEETINGS:
Travel and entertainment costs incurred in connection with conferences or staff meetings are reimbursable when the meeting is strictly of a business nature. Expenses incurred must be fully documented, including place, date, persons present, purpose and costs. If the college is host or in another official capacity (as against individual attendance), all anticipated costs must be approved in advance by the appropriate college officer.
Individual attendance at professional association meetings, etc., must be approved in advance by the appropriate college official.
Approval prior to registration and all expenses such as hotel rooms that are included in the registration fee are to be identified.
Attendance must be approved by the appropriate college officer.
Attendance at meetings aboard a cruise ship requires advance approval.
PURCHASES WHILE TRAVELING
Purchases of a personal nature, such as tobacco products, alcohol or gifts will not be reimbursed.
Laundry and Dry Cleaning:
Reasonable expenses for laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing required on a trip will be reimbursed when the length of the trip warrants such expense or when such service is required because of damage or soiling while on the trip.
Required Personal Purchases:
Personal purchases required for business purposes must be itemized for full or partial reimbursement.
The college will reimburse the traveling employee for communication expenses for business purposes. Further, the college will reimburse the traveling employee for personal communications within the prescribed limits.
All business communication expenses should be at the lowest possible costs. The traveler should be cognizant of the surcharges attached to phone bills for some hotels, and use every effort to avoid incurring such costs by use of telephone credit cards or cell phone, etc.
On extended trips, reasonable reimbursement will be made for personal calls home. REASONABLE is defined as one call every two days of domestic travel, and one every five days of international travel.
Expenses for an employee’s spouse are not reimbursable.
Last updated: 3/2004