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University Governance, Ethics, Integrity, and Legal Compliance

Travel Policy

General Policy Statement

This document sets forth policies to govern domestic and international travel on authorized Syracuse University business. This document also includes policies governing the payment of or reimbursement for business-related travel expenses incurred by travelers. Academic or Administrative Units may impose further restrictions. This policy does not cover relocation.

Reason for Policy/Purpose

This policy, along with the University guidelines and procedures, is intended to:

  1. Provide a clear and comprehensive description of the policies and procedures for payment or reimbursement of travel expenses
  2. Provide for safe travel for those traveling on University business
  3. Clarify federal and state regulatory requirements, such as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, or sponsored research regulations (e.g., Uniform Grant Guidance (Omni-Circular))
  4. Reduce administrative burden
  5. Ensure that the University and its travelers receive the best value for their travel dollars

Policy

  1. General Guidelines
    1. University funds shall not be used for personal travel or for travel by members of their party who are not traveling on University business. Further, travelers will not be compensated for personal travel costs incurred in conjunction with business travel.
    2. When travel expenses are reimbursed by non-University entities and the purpose is connected with University business, for example, as part of speaking arrangements or third-party consulting fees, travelers should notify their supervisor of travel plans in advance and should follow the travel policy with respect to the rules on international travel (when applicable). Travelers may not use their University Credit Card for this category of travel.
    3. The term "sponsored travel" will be used for travel where expenses are paid by University funds resulting from grants awarded to the University. Specific stipulations set forth by the sponsoring entity supersede this policy when the two conflict. Travelers should refer to the "Additional Requirements for Sponsored Travel" section and consult with the Office of Sponsored Accounting and/or the Office of Sponsored Programs for further guidance.
    4. All travel expenses must meet federal regulations, including IRS rules on "accountable plans." Under these rules, travelers will be advanced or reimbursed tax-free for certain travel expenses provided the following three conditions are satisfied:
      1. Advances and payment or reimbursements must be legitimate expenses as defined by this policy and be paid or incurred by the traveler in connection with his or her services to the University;
      2. Travelers must substantiate through documentation the date, place, amount, names of attendees (University and non-University individuals), and explicit business purpose of each expense within 60 days of the trip end date to avoid part or all of the reimbursement being treated as taxable wages; and
      3. Advanced amounts in excess of these expenses must be returned within 60 days after the trip end date.
    5. Travelers are strongly encouraged to book travel at least 21 days in advance to yield the best overall value for the University.
    6. Travelers have the option of traveling on "per diem" rates for meals, incidentals, and lodging costs, traveling on "per diem" rates for only meals and incidentals, or accounting for actual expenses incurred.
    7. In the event that travel must be changed or cancelled for business conflicts or illness, the University will pay all fees that can't be cancelled. In the event that there is a resulting credit, this credit must be applied to the current or subsequent business trip. Per IRS guidelines, under no circumstances can unused tickets be used for personal travel. Change fees and cancellation fees incurred other than those for a University related business conflict and/or illness will be at the expense of the traveler.
    8. The Purchasing Department maintains discounts with preferred vendors with which it has contracted for below market rates. Refer to the Purchasing Department website http://purchasing.syr.edu for these vendor discounts.
    9. The use of direct deposit is encouraged for all travel reimbursements to SU employees. This provides the most expedient method to have funds returned to the traveler. Log on to Myslice.syr.edu to establish direct deposit.
    10. In this policy, the budget approver for a traveler is defined as follows:
      1. For staff, the budget approver is typically a direct line report or designee.
      2. For faculty, the budget approver is typically the department chair, dean, principal investigator of the research project for which the travel is supported, or designee.
      3. For students, the budget approver is typically the department chair, the supervising faculty member, or the program coordinator.
  2. Traveler Responsibilities
    1. For University-funded travel, travelers are encouraged to seek pre-approval from the budget approver. This allows the traveler and budget approver to agree on expected costs before travel is booked and facilitates approval and repayment of expense reimbursement post-travel. Travelers must obtain approval from their budget approver in advance of booking any upgrades or exceeding spending limits as defined by this policy for air travel, car rental, lodging, meals, and fees resulting from international travel.
    2. Individual travelers are responsible for submitting completed, accurate reimbursement forms in a timely manner. Failure to do so may prevent travelers from being reimbursed. Travel expense reports submitted more than 60 days after trip completion will result in part or all of the reimbursement being treated as taxable wages and reported as additional wages on the traveler's W2 form.
    3. Employees must notify their supervisor or designee in writing before travelling on University business and provide emergency contact information to be used in case of emergencies. Students must notify the department chair, the supervising faculty member, or the program coordinator, depending on who is supervising the travel. Travelers cannot approve their own expenses.
    4. Before traveling internationally, please contact the Office of Risk Management at (315) 443-0315 or 443-5334, for guidance related to international travel safety matters.
    5. Before traveling internationally, travelers are required to register with International SOS ("ISOS") https://www.internationalsos.com, a University vendor that provides worldwide access to emergency medical, security and travel assistance, as well as evacuation services, if necessary. For more information on use and the University's group membership code, please contact the Office of Risk Management at (315) 443-0315, or 443-5334, or http://riskmanagement.syr.edu. ISOS provides additional coverage that travelers may use for personal travel. This additional coverage is not reimbursable.
    6. Before traveling internationally, travelers are strongly encouraged to register with STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program; https://step.state.gov/step/) so that the local U.S. Embassy can contact the traveler in an emergency.
  3. Expense Approver Responsibilities
    1. Except when per diem reimbursement is used, expense approvers should confirm that expense reimbursement requests and University credit card purchases are accompanied by required receipts, that receipt totals match requested amounts, that all amounts are listed with the proper general ledger (GL) chart string, adequate budget balance in the listed chart string, and that dates, locations, traveler signatures, and required approvals and documentation are provided.
    2. Travel expenses require the approval of the expense approver.
    3. For sponsored travel, travelers must follow the requirements from the sponsoring agency for the appropriate approvals, which typically require approval of the project director / principal investigator. The Office of Sponsored Accounting is responsible for ensuring the expenses for reimbursement meet sponsored project requirements
  4. Disbursements Office/Travel Reimbursement Group
    1. The Disbursements Office will perform an independent review of expense reimbursement requests and University Credit Card reconciliations to ensure that receipt totals match requested amounts, that all amounts are listed with a general ledger (GL) chart string matched to the appropriate unit, that approvals are present in the form of signatures from the appropriate authorities, that the business purpose is clearly stated, that dates and locations are provided, and that the documentation provided is compliant with relevant University policies.
    2. The Disbursements Office will return any requests with incomplete/missing information or inappropriate/unallowable expenses as defined by this policy to the individual in the department who has signed as expense approver.
  5. Reimbursement Options

    All University travelers will be reimbursed for legitimate business expenses incurred for authorized travel on University business provided those expenses comply with this policy. Note that academic or administrative unit policies may further limit travel policy options indicated in this document.

    Travelers may opt to travel under either a "per diem" option or an itemized "actual expense" option. The latter option allows use of the University credit card or personal funds/credit card. Travelers must use the selected reimbursement option for the entire duration of the trip. Note that travelers using a "per diem" reimbursement option should not use their University Credit Card for expenses that are covered under the per diem reimbursement option (e.g., meals, incidentals).

    1. University Credit Card

      The University Credit Card may make travel easier for travelers to pay for business travel expenses by eliminating the need for travel advances and reimbursements and eliminating most out-of-pocket expenses. In accordance with the University Credit Card policy (http://supolicies.syr.edu/ethics/travel_card.htm) employees are required to provide receipts for all charges incurred above $25.00 by use of the card. Detailed receipts, including itemized charges, are to be submitted to support the summary charge which typically appears on a credit card receipt.

      1. The University will provide authorized employees with a University Credit Card for business travel expenditures.
      2. A University Credit Card may be issued after the employee completes an Acceptance Statement according to the stipulations outlined in the document (http://administrativeforms.syr.edu/administrativeforms/uploads/University%20Credit%20Card%20Acceptance%20Statement.pdf).
      3. The employee may not use the University Credit Card for travel expense that would be reimbursed by the per diem method of reimbursement or for travel reimbursed by a third party (see General Guidelines).
      4. Employees using the University Credit Cards should make a good faith effort to advise the vendor that purchases are tax exempt. The New York State tax free number is located on the front of the card. Some vendors require the applicable state-issued sales tax exemption form. To obtain the appropriate form, contact the Purchasing Department at (315) 443-2281.
      5. If inappropriate or unallowable expenses as defined by this policy are charged to the University Credit Card, the traveler will be required to reimburse the University for these charges prior to the reconciliation being processed and upon repeated violations may have his or her credit card privilege revoked.
    2. Actual Expense Reimbursement
      1. Under actual expense reimbursement, detailed receipts are required for all transactions above $25.00, except for tips and other incidentals that are typically not receipted. This includes lodging, transportation expense, and meal charges, in accordance with Internal Revenue Service guidelines. Meal charges for persons other than travelers on University business are reimbursable only when names, positions, University affiliation, and business purpose are indicated. Requests without this information will not be reimbursed.
      2. Tips should not exceed 20% of the pre-tax bill. Detailed receipts, including itemized charges, are to be submitted in addition to the summary charge which typically appears on a credit card receipt.
      3. In the event the traveler cannot obtain a receipt, a detailed explanation of why a receipt is not available must be provided, including the date, place, amount, and explicit business purpose of each expense. This explanation must be signed and approved by the traveler's expense approver before charges will be reimbursed. Any travelers expecting to travel to areas where receipts may be difficult to obtain are encouraged to discuss the matter with their expense approver prior to booking travel.
    3. Per Diem Reimbursement
      1. The University Credit Card should not be used as a form of payment for any expenses covered using the per diem option.
      2. Per diem is the payment of a flat sum to cover for each day, in lieu of actual costs, expenses for (1) lodging (including tips and service fees) or (2) meals (including tips and service fees). When a per diem reimbursement is used, there is no need to provide detailed receipts. Travelers must provide evidence of travel to qualify for reimbursement. Note that transportation costs are never included in the per diem and will only be reimbursed based on an actual expense incurred; this can include air, rail, taxi, car, or bus tickets.
      3. Per Diem reimbursement can be used for lodging and meals in combination or individually.
      4. In accordance with IRS regulations, per diem rates may not exceed the government standard cost. All actual expenses in excess of per diem rates will not be reimbursed under this option. (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-regs/perdiemfaq&a.prn.pdf). Note that travelers may elect to claim less than the government standard cost.
      5. The U.S. General Services Administration sets domestic per diem rates, which vary by location and season. A full schedule may be found on the GSA website (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877).
      6. The U.S. State Department sets international per diem rates, which can be found on the State Department website (http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp).
      7. Travelers may choose either the actual expenses reimbursement option or a per diem reimbursement option, but are required to use the chosen option for the entire trip for lodging expenses and/or for the entire trip for meals expenses.
      8. Per diem rates may also be used for conference travel. Travelers must exclude any meals provided through conference registration from the reimbursement request at the following schedule: (breakfast 20% of total daily rate; lunch 30%; dinner 50%). This may also apply in other instances, such as exclusion of group meals paid by SU from students traveling on per diem.
      9. In certain instances where medical or religious reasons prevent the traveler from consuming a meal provided by the conference, the traveler may claim the full per diem. Further details on the IRS policy for conference meal exceptions may be found on the GSA website (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104206).
      10. When using the per diem method, the business purpose and departure and return dates (travel dates) must be submitted with the reimbursement request. Note that the first and last days of a trip are considered "partial" travel and the per diem rate is 75% of the applicable daily per diem rate at the destination. When traveling to more than one destination, different per diem rates may apply to different locations on a given trip. The business purpose and arriving and departure dates (travel dates) must be reported for each destination. Transit from one business destination to another business destination is not considered "partial" travel.
    4. Travel Advance
      1. For travelers who cannot otherwise use a University Credit Card or their own personal credit card, travel advances may be issued for estimated out-of-pocket expenses. However, a travel advance will not be issued to travelers who have an overdue or delinquent advance or a University Credit Card violation.
      2. Travel advances may be requested, once travel has been approved, by submitting a travel advance form (http://administrativeforms.syr.edu/administrativeforms/display.cfm?content_ID=%23%28%285%2D%0A) to the Disbursements Office at least two weeks prior to the scheduled departure to allow for sufficient time to process a check payable to the traveler.
      3. While traveling using a travel advance, University travelers and students must retain receipts for expenses incurred, except for expenses that will be claimed via a per diem option. A completed travel voucher form must be submitted to Disbursements Processing to settle actual travel business expenses within sixty (60) days after a traveler or student returns from a trip. Approved actual expenses that total more than the advance amount will be reimbursed; approved actual expenses that total less than the advanced amount will require the traveler to pay the excess money to the University. Advance amounts not refunded to the University by the end of the calendar year will be reported as additional wages on the traveler's W2 form and taxes withheld accordingly.
  6. Transportation
    1. Air Travel

      The Purchasing Department has preferred vendors with negotiated rates, and travelers are encouraged to use these vendors. Refer to the Purchasing Department website http://purchasing.syr.edu for these vendor discounts. It is strongly encouraged that tickets be purchased at least 21 days in advance to reduce costs.

      1. University travelers are expected to purchase the lowest fare ticket available that meets their travel needs, except in the following instances.
        1. Upgrades are permitted if a medical justification has been documented and approved by the University's Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services Office (available at 315-443-4018 or http://www.syr.edu/hcd/equal-opportunity.html). This upgrade must be approved in advance of booking to be reimbursed.
        2. For flights with scheduled in-air flying time in excess of six (6) continuous hours, upgrades to business class are permitted. On those flights that meet this duration requirement and where business class is not offered by the airline, first class is permitted
        3. Upgrades to "premium economy" seating, such as exit row seats or additional leg space, are permitted on flight segments with scheduled in-air flying time in excess of three (3) continuous hours.
        4. Upgrades to first class will not be reimbursed, except as noted in a(ii) above.
      2. When booking travel on a personal credit card, travelers may take advantage of frequent traveler programs. However, flight charges will not be reimbursed if booked using travel reward programs.
      3. Ground transportation to and from the airport is reimbursable. This includes personal vehicles, public transportation, and taxi transportation. Travelers are encouraged to use the lowest cost option.
      4. The first piece of checked baggage will be reimbursable. However, additional bags or special baggage fees will not be reimbursed unless these bags only contain items required for University business (e.g., field equipment, athletics equipment, conference equipment or documents, or personal effects for extended field travel).
      5. Travelers are not authorized to fly or travel in a personally-owned, corporate noncommercial, chartered, donated, or leased aircraft on University business without prior written authorization from the Division Head. A certificate of liability insurance of at least $5,000,000, naming Syracuse University as additional insured and approved by the University's Risk Management Department, must be provided. Other documents (i.e., evidence of air worthiness) may be required by the University.
    2. Personal Vehicle Use

      Personal vehicles may be used when traveling for University business, and their use is encouraged to save time or reduce costs when there are multiple travelers to the same destination. Normal commuting costs of traveling to and from work will not be reimbursed.

      1. The University does not cover comprehensive or collision insurance for a traveler who drives his/her personal vehicle on University business. The traveler is responsible for primary liability insurance. The University does carry non-owned liability coverage to protect the University and traveler(s) (excess basis) in the event of a suit resulting from an accident in which a traveler was driving on University business. (http://riskmanagement.syr.edu/RiskManagement/display.cfm?content_ID=%23%288I%20%0A).
      2. Business trips will be reimbursed up to the current IRS authorized mileage rate (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-13-80.pdf) for miles incurred rounded down to the nearest penny; travelers must take a direct route to their final destination.
        1. Mileage-based reimbursement covers all costs related to the operation of the vehicle, including service, maintenance, insurance, depreciation, and fuel. These expenses cannot be reimbursed separately. Mileage reimbursement may only be submitted by the vehicle owner or driver.
        2. Parking fees and highway tolls will be reimbursed. Tickets, fines, and/or lock-out fees will not be reimbursed.
        3. For additional guidance or questions regarding mileage reimbursement, please visit the BFAS Forms website (http://administrativeforms.syr.edu/administrativeforms/display.cfm?content_ID=%23%28%285%2D%0A).
      3. Trips in personal vehicles of over 500 miles one way must be approved by the budget approver in advance of travel. Travelers are encouraged to consider air, rail, or car rental alternatives if they are less expensive options before using their personal vehicles for long distance travel.
    3. Commercial Vehicle Rental

      The use of rental vehicles should be avoided whenever safe, reasonable, and less expensive alternatives exist, such as taxis, trains, and personal or public transportation. Travelers are encouraged to share cars when traveling in groups. Vehicle rental agencies may have minimum age requirements. The Purchasing Department has preferred vendors with negotiated rates, and travelers are encouraged to use these vendors. Refer to the Purchasing Department website http://purchasing.syr.edu for these vendors.

      1. Individual travelers may rent mid-sized vehicles or smaller if traveling individually or full-sized vehicles if there are at least three travelers traveling together.
        1. Upgrades are permitted if a medical justification has been documented and approved by the University's Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services Office (available at 315-443-4018 or http://www.syr.edu/hcd/equal-opportunity.html). This must be approved in advance of booking to be reimbursed.
        2. Upgrades may be granted for work based on specific conditions (e.g., inclement weather, need to transport University property).
      2. For safety reasons, travelers are not permitted to rent a 15-passenger or larger van.
      3. Only Global Position System (GPS) upgrades are reimbursable; other upgrades (e.g. satellite radio) will not be reimbursed.
      4. Travelers are encouraged to decline pre-fill options and make every effort to refuel at a gas station prior to returning the vehicle at the end of the rental period. Fuel charges will be reimbursed.
      5. Travelers are encouraged to decline "collision damage waivers," also referred to as "loss damage waivers," when traveling in the United States, but to accept this when traveling outside the United States on University business. Travelers outside the United States should inquire with the Rental Car Agency as to what the requirements are within that country and purchase the mandatory insurance required by the country of travel. International insurance coverage is limited to 30 days from the date of contracting the vehicle. Additional coverage is necessary for international rentals lasting longer than 30 days.
        1. Travelers using the University Credit Card (and, typically, personal credit cards) are covered under the card carrier's business automobile policy in the U.S. The University Credit Card holder must pay for the car rental and must be the primary driver of the vehicle in order to guarantee coverage.
        2. Travelers using other forms of payment are typically covered under the University's business automobile insurance policy. Full details on the policy are available on the Risk Management website. (http://riskmanagement.syr.edu/RiskManagement/display.cfm?content_ID=%23%288I%21%0A).
      6. Travelers may accept "Personal Effects and Personal Accident" coverage to insure against loss of personal items due to theft at their own discretion. However, this expense is not reimbursable.
      7. Parking fees and highway tolls are reimbursable expenses. Tickets, fines and/or lock-out fees will not be reimbursed.
    4. Bus and Rail Travel

      The use of bus or rail is encouraged when it provides a cost-effective and safe travel alternative.

      1. Tickets should be purchased in advance, that meets the traveler's needs, to limit costs.
      2. Tickets should be booked at the lowest available fare, except as stated in b(i) below. If travel does not meet this exception, travelers may upgrade by paying out of pocket, but this payment will not be reimbursed.
        1. Upgrades are permitted if a medical justification has been documented and approved by the University's Equal Opportunity and Resolution Services Office (available at 315-443-4018 or http://www.syr.edu/hcd/equal-opportunity.html). This must be approved in advance of booking to be reimbursed.
      3. Ground transportation to and from the bus or rail station is reimbursable. This includes personal vehicles, public transportation, and taxi transportation. Travelers are encouraged to use the lowest cost option.
      4. In the event that travel plans must be changed or cancelled for business conflicts or illness, the University will pay related fees for bus and rail travel. In the event that there is a resulting credit, this credit must be applied to the current or next business trip. Per IRS guidelines, under no circumstances can unused tickets be used for personal travel. Change fees and cancellation fees incurred other than those for a University-related business conflict and/or illness will be at the expense of the traveler.
    5. Destination Transportation
      1. Travelers moving from locations within a destination, such as between hotels and conferences or appointments, may use public transportation, personal vehicles, airport shuttles, taxis, and/or car services as appropriate. These expenses are reimbursable.
  7. Lodging
    1. General

      Travelers should choose convenient, safe, and reasonably priced accommodations. The Purchasing Department has preferred lodging vendors with negotiated rates, and travelers are encouraged to use these vendors. Refer to the Purchasing Department website http://purchasing.syr.edu for these vendor discounts. Original itemized hotel folios are required for all lodging expenses to be processed as an "Actual Expense Payment or reimbursement of."

      1. No lodging expense is authorized for trips under 50 miles from a traveler's residence unless a special exception due to compelling need or business reason is granted by the approver before booking.
      2. Lodging should be reserved at the best available rate that allows for the convenience and safety of the traveler.
        1. Upgrades are permitted if a medical justification has been documented and approved by the University's Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services Office (available at 315-443-4018 or http://www.syr.edu/hcd/equal-opportunity.html). This must be approved in advance of booking to be reimbursed.
        2. Upgrades are permitted if travelers are expected to entertain non-University business contacts in the room as part of their official travel responsibilities, such as for employment interviews or donor conferences. This must be approved by the traveler's budget/expense approver in advance of booking to be reimbursed.
      3. When booking accommodations on a personal credit card, travelers may take advantage of frequent guest programs. However, only the out-of-pocket cost will be eligible for reimbursement when booking is done using a hotel or credit card rewards program.
      4. Lodging gratuities (i.e. tips for maids, porters, valets, and concierge) may not exceed $5 per day.
  8. Business Meals
    1. General

      Travelers will be reimbursed for reasonable meal expenses incurred while traveling away from home or entertaining on University business. When traveling, meals may be reimbursed for actual costs or using the per diem meal rates option. Reasonable meal expenses should be guided by federal per diem allowances regardless of the reimbursement method used by the traveler (higher expenses are not subject to this general guidance if a medical or religious justification has been documented and approved by the University's Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services Office or if travelers are expected to entertain non-University business contacts as part of the purpose of the meal). A schedule of per diem meal rates may be found on the GSA website (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877).

      1. Tips on meals will not be reimbursed above 20% of the pre-tax bill.
      2. The University's Alcohol policy can be located at http://supolicies.syr.edu/fac_teach/alcohol.htm
      3. The costs of alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be charged to federal grants and contracts. See the "Additional Requirements for Sponsored Travel" for further information.
  9. Miscellaneous and General Expenses
    1. Telecommunications Expenses
      1. Business-related long distance phone and fax expenses will be reimbursed according to IRS rules only if the business purpose is documented with the receipt.
      2. Cell phone calls or data charges on personal cell phones, in excess of normal monthly plan costs, that are incurred for University business will be reimbursed according to IRS rules only if the business purpose is documented with the receipt. Travelers are discouraged from using cell phones internationally due to high costs.
      3. Internet access charges while traveling on University business will be reimbursed.
    2. Conferences and Professional Events
      1. Conference registration or professional organization event fees, associated room rental fees, and conference related copy fees are reimbursable.
      2. Meals included in conference fees will not be reimbursed beyond the conference registration fee. Meals included as part of conference registration may not be included in per diem reimbursement.
        1. In instances where medical or religious reasons prevent the traveler from consuming a conference-provided meal, the traveler may be reimbursed. Further details on the IRS policy for conference meal exceptions may be found on the GSA website (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104206).
      3. When attending a conference, travelers are permitted to stay in a hotel specifically designated for the conference by the conference sponsor
    3. Fees Related to International Travel
      1. Passport, travel visa, and supporting documentation, including passport photographs and birth certificates, costs will be reimbursed with prior approval from the budget/expense approver.
      2. Required vaccinations and immunization costs will be reimbursed with prior approval of the budget/expense approver.
      3. cCurrency exchange conversion fees will be reimbursed when traveling on international business.
      4. Guide, interpreter, or driver costs incurred outside the United States for the purpose of conducting field research will be reimbursed. Travelers are strongly encouraged to agree on acceptable prices with their expense approvers in advance to facilitate rapid reimbursement.
    4. Laundry Expenses
      1. Laundry expenses or dry cleaning charges will not be reimbursed unless travel exceeds six or more consecutive nights. Any charges must be incurred while travelers are on travel status.
  10. Additional Requirements for Sponsored Travel
    1. General

      Sponsoring funding rules vary with the terms of the grant. Overall federal grant regulations are detailed in the Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Grant Guidance (Omni Circular). This section provides guidance on key aspects of these requirements. Sponsoring agencies for a particular grant may have other requirements. If you are unsure of specific travel requirements, contact the Office of Sponsored Accounting or the Office of Sponsored Programs before arranging travel. Here are some of the rules that are most frequently asked about:

      1. Federal regulations prohibit using business or first-class fares on federally sponsored research projects unless it is specifically approved by the funding sponsor and is documented by the Office of Sponsored Accounting or the Office of Sponsored Programs. Unapproved reimbursement requests will be denied.
        1. Travelers who fly business class must document the lowest available coach fare and may allocate the difference between the fares to a non-sponsored discretionary chart string. This must follow the exception process described in "Air Travel" in advance of booking to be reimbursed.
      2. Federal regulations typically require individuals traveling outside the United States on federal funds to use U.S. flagged carrier airlines as part of the "Fly America Act." If you are booking international travel on federal funds, you must ensure that all flights, where possible, are scheduled on U.S. flagged carriers, a U.S. carrier code share flight, or an "Open Skie" partner. For a list of Open Skies carriers, please visit the State Department website (http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/othr/ata/114805.htm).
      3. Alcohol purchases are not allowed using federally sponsored funds.
      4. Global Position System (GPS) upgrades for rental vehicles are not reimbursable for sponsored account travel unless they are specifically allowed by the sponsor. These expenses may be submitted separately for reimbursement by non-sponsored funds.
  11. Student Travel
    1. General

      This policy is intended to cover students traveling on official University business, such as employment, research, or University sponsored sports events. Student travel associated with the Division of Student Affairs is governed by the policy of the Division of Student Affairs (available at the web site http://supolicies.syr.edu/studs/travel.htm).

      1. Athletes

        Student athletes traveling to participate in official University events will be expected to abide by all Athletics policy guidelines and NCAA regulations.

      2. Student International Travel

        All enrolled student travel fully funded by the University will be expected to abide by the guidelines set forth in this policy as defined in the "General Guidelines" section above.

      3. Student Travel in Traveler Vehicles

        For safety reasons, student participants choosing to ride in a traveler's personal vehicle do so voluntarily and at their own risk. Whenever possible, student travel in rental vehicles is preferred for insurance reasons. For additional details, please see the Field Trip Guidelines outlined by Risk Management. (http://riskmanagement.syr.edu/RiskManagement/display.cfm?content_ID=%23((-!%0A)

  12. Non- Employee Travel
    1. Presenters/Performers/Artists/Consultants

      Individuals contracted - paid or unpaid - to perform services for the University who have travel requirements that are to be paid or reimbursed by the University are governed by this policy unless superseded by the written contractual terms of their service.

    2. Prospective Employees

      Travel for prospective employees will be reimbursed if it conforms to this policy. This must be approved in advance by the budget/expense approver responsible for interviewing candidates.

  13. Travel Emergency Guidelines
    1. In the event of an emergency, resources exist to help travelers and students, particularly those traveling abroad.
    2. In the event of an international travel emergency, travelers are required to contact International SOS ("ISOS"; https://www.internationalsos.com/en/Pre-travel-advice.htm), a vendor that provides worldwide access to emergency medical, security, and travel assistance, as well as evacuation services, if necessary. For more information on use and the University's group membership code, please contact the Risk Management Department at (315) 443-0315, 443-5334, or http://riskmanagement.syr.edu.
    3. In the event of a domestic travel emergency, such as a car accident or medical emergency, contact local authorities as necessary using 911. Then contact the University Department of Public Safety Communication Center at (315) 443-2224. The Department of Public Safety will contact Risk Management and the traveler's supervisors to inform them of the emergency and coordinate help. The Department of Public Safety can also notify family members.
  14. Unallowable Expenses

    The following list provides additional guidance on common expenses that are considered personal and will not be reimbursed. This list is not exhaustive. If travelers have questions about an expense not mentioned in this policy, they are advised to contact the Purchasing Department at (315) 443-2281 or http://purchasing.syr.edu/ If inappropriate or unallowable expenses as defined by this policy are charged to the University Credit Card, the traveler will be required to reimburse the University for these charges prior to the reconciliation being processed and may have his or her credit card privilege revoked.

    • Annual fees for personal credit card
    • Barbers / hairdressers
    • Car washes and detailing
    • Clothing, luggage, and toiletries
    • Delinquency and/or late fees for personal credit cards
    • Hotel or car "no-show" charges without a business purpose
    • In-room entertainment (e.g., movies, games, etc.)
    • Separate lodging for family and friends traveling with the traveler
    • Membership (including airport clubs) and reward fees
    • Meals for social occasions or local meals with University travelers that lack a Business Purpose
    • Meals covered by the conference fee
    • Meals for family and friends traveling with the traveler
    • Mini-bar alcoholic refreshments
    • Non-business postage
    • Normal commuting expenses
    • Optional baggage insurance
    • Parking tickets, speeding tickets, traffic tickets, or court costs
    • Personal effects and/or personal accident coverage - Rental vehicles
    • Personal entertainment (e.g., sporting events without a business purpose)
    • Personal mobile phones and data devices
    • Personal medical or medication expenses (prescription or over the counter) unless approved as necessary
    • Personal vehicle insurance
    • Personal vehicle repairs
    • Personal property insurance
    • Pet care or kennel costs
    • House-sitting fees
    • Reading materials for use during travel
    • Sauna/massages or other health club fees
    • Shoeshine
    • Souvenirs and personal gifts
    • Travel-sized toiletries for personal use
    • Trip insurance
    • Vacation and personal expenses when on business trips

To Whom Does This Policy Apply

Students, Faculty, Staff

Links and Related Information

Date: Amended: 9/23/16
Amended: 6/17/15


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For technical assistance contact supolicy@syr.edu