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ORA

Travel Policy

Reimbursement from University funds for domestic travel will be made on the basis of reasonable actual expenses. Original receipts are required for all reimbursable expenses (i.e., lodging, meals, taxis, registration) claimed.

The employee may, however, choose to be reimbursed on a per diem basis using the CONUS (Continental United States) Per Diem Rates and may elect one of the following:

Reimbursement for actual lodging expense and CONUS per diem for meals/incidentals. In this instance, proof of travel and lodging is required, but receipts for meals/incidentals are not. Incidentals are defined as taxes, service charges, and customary tips. All other approved trip related expenses (ground transportation, registration, etc.) are reimbursable with receipts. Reimbursement utilizing CONUS Per Diem for both lodging and meals/incidentals. Proof of travel and lodging is required even though per diem is requested. Receipts, however, are not required for meals/incidentals. All other approved trip related expenses are reimbursable with receipts.

In certain instances, grants and contracts have specific limitations, which may be more restrictive than University policy. In these cases, the terms and conditions of the grant or contract must be followed.

FOREIGN TRAVEL

Reimbursement for foreign travel funded from government grants and contracts will be made on the basis of U.S. Department of State Foreign Travel Per Diem. these rates are kept current for every foreign country, and are available from the University Accounting Office and the TMC Office of Grants and Contracts Administration.

For foreign travel on University funds, all approved costs will be reimbursed. Original receipts are required for all reimbursable expenses (i.e., lodging, meals, taxis, registration) claimed. The employee may, however, choose to be reimbursed on a per diem basis using the U.S. Department of State Foreign Travel per Diem Rates, and may elect one of the following:

Reimbursement for actual lodging expense and U.S. Department of State Foreign Travel Per Diem for meals/incidentals. In this instance, proof of travel and lodging is required, but receipts for meals/incidentals are not. Incidentals are defined as taxes, service charges, and customary tips. All other approved trip related expenses (ground transportation, registration, etc.) are reimbursable with receipts. Reimbursement utilizing U.S. Department of State Foreign Travel Per Diem for both lodging and meals/incidentals. Proof of travel and lodging is required even though per diem is requested. Receipts, however, are not required for meals/incidentals. In no instance shall reimbursement for lodging exceed the actual lodging cost. All other approved trip related expenses are reimbursable with receipts.

In certain instances, grants and contracts (especially governmental) have specific limitation, such as per diem allowances, which may be more restrictive than University policy. In these cases, the terms and conditions of the grant or contract must be followed.

Several divisions and administrative areas have additional rules concerning reimbursement of expenses incurred when attending professional meetings. In such circumstances, it is required that the faculty member contact the dean's office and that administrative personnel contact the person to whom they report for prior approval.

University personnel are required to make every effort to use the lowest available air fare. The cost of transportation tickets may be charged to the employee's Tulane business card, personal credit card, or charged directly to the department. The original plane ticket stub should be submitted with the travel voucher, irrespective of whether the travel voucher includes a reimbursement request for air fare. In instances where the traveler utilizes an airline that does not issue a passenger ticket, it is the responsibility of the traveler to obtain from the airline an original receipt or itinerary which documents the dates of travel, destinations, and fare. Reimbursed personal phone calls should be limited to one per day.

As a general rule, where a private vehicle is used as transportation, reimbursement will be made based upon mileage at a specific rate per mile multiplied by the number of business miles substantiated, or tourist air fare, whichever is less. The current mileage rate is 55cents per mile effective January 1, 2009. Reimbursement ordinarily will not be made for overnight lodging or meals enroute on the assumption that the traveler can reach his or her destination by air in one day. Exceptions will be made when it can be documented that the group travel by automobile results in a lower total cost to the University.

Some examples of expenses which are NOT reimbursable are:

  • Laundry and valet service (exceptions may be requested for long and frequent periods of travel)
  • Personal entertainment
  • Fees for traveler's checks for domestic travel
  • Flight insurance
  • Credit card fees

ADVANCES

If an advance of funds is needed, a request for the advance must be submitted and approved by the University. Travel advances for incidental expenses on domestic business travel may be obtained and charged directly to the employee's Tulane business card. Advances to employees who are not eligible for a Tulane business card, advances to students who travel on University business, and advances for foreign travel may be obtained and charged to the traveler's personal Accounts Receivable account. Cash advances are discouraged and should be requested only in unusual circumstances.

To comply with the Internal Revenue regulations, faculty and staff members receiving advances on their personal Accounts Receivable must substantiate expenses incurred for each advance by submitting an accounting of each separate expenditure and supporting receipts within a reasonable period of time. The faculty or staff member shall submit the accounting and receipts no later than 30 days from the date of his or her return to the University. Individuals who fail to comply with this requirement may have the unsubstantiated advance balance deducted from their payroll checks.

If an advance was obtained for travel or other business function in excess of the actual expenses (other than an advance charged to a personal Tulane business card), the employee's personal check (or copy of receipt showing deposit of unused advances to the employee's personal account) must accompany the reimbursement voucher.

The University will calculate a reasonable amount for foreign travel advances needed to conduct a University related project based upon the individual's anticipated expenditures. Foreign travel advances for a brief conference or research project will be based on per diem rates for the estimated time outside the continental United States (see Foreign Travel below). Advances for foreign travel may be made for a maximum of 3 months. In cases of foreign travel for more than 3 months, the individual must comply with the accounting and substantiation requirements, and then request an additional advance from his or her foreign post for the remaining days or months of travel.

To comply with the Internal Revenue Service regulations, employees receiving advances for foreign travel for 3 months or less shall submit the travel voucher and receipts no later than 30 days from the date of his or her return to the United States. In cases of foreign travel for more than 3 months, the faculty or staff member shall submit the travel voucher and receipts no later than 4 months from the date of the advance, regardless of whether such individual has returned to the United States. Individuals who fail to comply with this requirement may have the unsubstantiated advance balance deducted from their payroll checks.

APPROVAL

There should be written approval for all reimbursements by the person to whom the traveler/payee reports.

All academic departments' business expense reimbursement vouchers, including travel reimbursements, must be signed by the traveler/payee and approved (i.e., signed) by the department chair, or by the dean if the traveler/payee is the chair of the department. Similarly, all requests for business expense reimbursement by deans and directors must be signed by the individual, and approved (i.e., signed) by the budget head, or by the applicable Senior Officer to whom such individual reports relative to the purpose of the business expense.

All administrative departments' business expense reimbursement vouchers, including travel reimbursements, must be signed by the traveler/payee and approved (i.e., signed) by the budget head, or by the person to whom they report if the traveler/payee is the budget head. Similarly, all requests for business expense reimbursement by Vice Presidents and Vice Chancellors must be approved (i.e., signed) by the appropriate Senior Officer.

 


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