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Official University Business Travel

Policy
Purpose: 

To provide general instructions to individuals traveling for official University of Kansas business.

Applies to: 

All University units and individuals traveling for official University business.

Campus: 
Edwards
Lawrence
Juniper Gardens
Parsons
Yoder
Topeka
Policy Statement: 

Travel approval and reimbursement for travel expenses is governed by:

  1.  State laws and regulations;
  2. Kansas Board of Regents regulations;
  3. 2 CFR 200 Uniform Guidance and KUCR Cost Accounting Policy; and
  4. University policies.

Unit leaders (e.g., directors, chairpersons, research supervisors, principal investigators, heads of divisions, bureaus, and offices) are responsible for ensuring their unit adheres to all applicable travel requirements.

Out-of-State/International Pre-Trip Travel Approval:

No fewer than 14 days prior to domestic travel and 30 days prior to international travel (i.e., the “14/30 Rule”) all University employees and students traveling outside the state on official University business must have an approved Travel Request within Concur. If the need for travel first arises within the applicable 14/30-day period, the traveler must (1) submit the Travel Request as soon as possible, and (2) receive approval at least one day prior to departure.

Out-of-state travel commences upon departure from the traveler’s home or official Human Resource Management (HRM) work location and concludes upon return to the traveler’s home or official HRM work location; therefore, if applicable, dates authorized for travel must include the in-state part of out-of-state trips.

Advances of state funds for travel expenses are not allowed, except when an employee must pay expenses for a group of students. Travel advances for employees and students are available for travel funded by KU Center for Research (KUCR) funds and must be submitted within Concur.

When the information originally submitted on a Travel Request changes, the Travel Request must be cancelled and a new one submitted within Concur. A new Travel Request is required when:

  • The departure or return date changes;
  • The designation changes; or
  • Additional locations are added.

Border cities are all cities within 200 miles of the Kansas border. A travel request is required for all University funded reimbursements to border cities, unless only mileage, tolls, and parking are being claimed. All border city expenses will be coded as out-of-state expenses.

Examples:

  1. An employee picks up a guest speaker from the Kansas City International Airport and submits a reimbursement for mileage and registration. No travel request is required.
  2. An employee attends a conference in Kansas City, MO and submits a reimbursement for mileage and registration. A travel request is required.

Booking Travel:

Use of a Designated Travel Agency or Booking System

Per the Travel Request and Booking policy, use of the University’s designated travel agency (Collegiate Travel Planners) or travel system (Concur) is required for official University business travel arrangements.

Travel Expense Requirements:

Travel Expense Reimbursements

The University only reimburses travelers for allowable travel expenses personally incurred while on official University business travel and when the travelers’ unit(s) have funds budgeted for this purpose.

The University reimburses travelers under an accountable plan. This means all travel expenses must have an official University business connection or purpose, and all expenses for reimbursement must be submitted by the traveler within a reasonable period of time, which has been defined by the Internal Revenue Service as 60 days from the end of travel. Travel expense reports submitted more than 60 days from the traveler’s return date will be processed as a taxable reimbursement to the traveler. Required federal and state tax withholdings related to the reimbursement (e.g., federal and state income tax withholdings Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)) will be deducted from a future paycheck.

All expense reimbursements for official University business travel are made in Concur and then approved by the authorized individual or their designee. The business purpose of a trip must be listed on the travel reimbursement. No expenses can be reimbursed until travel is complete.

Travel reimbursement must adhere to any special constraints imposed by the sponsoring agency. A travel reimbursement will be through regular state travel reimbursement procedures.

Travel expenses for a trip starting prior to June 30, but not ending until July 1 or later will be charged to the new fiscal year in which the trip terminates, provided funds are available in that fiscal year.

Form of Payment

Allowable forms of payment consist of University or KUCR Procurement Card (P-card), personal funds, or cash advance for KUCR funded travel.

Itemized Receipts

Itemized receipts are required for all items, except meals covered by meal per diems. Summarized credit card receipts, credit card statements, and canceled checks cannot be used to claim reimbursements.

Mode of Transportation

Travelers shall use the most direct route and economical mode of transportation. This may include airfare, car rental, taxi, shuttles, or other public transportation.

Air Travel

Generally, the payment or reimbursement for air travel is limited to economy class; however, for individual flight segments of four hours or more, the traveler may opt for an expanded leg room seat. If any other class besides economy is purchased, the traveler must submit an itemized airfare receipt with their expense report identifying the class of travel purchased. In the expense report the traveler must provide documentation of the economy fare amount and deduct the amount equal to the excess over the cost of this fare. However, if economy class is not available, the traveler can submit a statement, provided by the travel agent, certifying that no economy accommodations were available. This statement must accompany the expense report upon which the fare is claimed. For business purposes only, changes or cancelations are allowed depending on the circumstance.

Baggage

Reasonable airline charges (1 or 2 checked bags) for traveler’s checked bags will be paid for or reimbursed. Charges for baggage exceeding the weight or size limits are reimbursable if such excess baggage is used for official University business (excess personal baggage expense is not reimbursable). Cost of transporting equipment and supplies is reimbursed if valid business purpose is documented. Tips are not a reimbursable expense except when given for assistance regarding an individual’s disability or special circumstances. Travelers with a physically disability may claim reimbursement for special assistance.

Mileage

Mileage when driving a personal vehicle will be reimbursed at the State of Kansas standard rate if using state funds or at the IRS standard rate if using KUCR funds. Mileage reimbursement is based on the shortest available route unless documentation is provided that supports an acceptable alternate route. The mileage rate is meant to cover all costs associated with the use of a personal vehicle including fuel, oil, tires, insurance, deductibles, uninsured losses, and expenses of any type. Reimbursement for the use of a personal vehicle cannot exceed the established mileage rate for personal vehicles for the official mileage between traveling to the intended destination and return trip.

Mileage in Lieu of Airfare

When driving a personal vehicle rather than using the fastest public transportation, an employee may be reimbursed the lesser of the mileage or “cost to fly” amount.

Vehicle Rentals

No payment or reimbursement for any rental vehicle will be allowed without documenting the need to use a rental vehicle instead of public transportation. When renting a vehicle, the size is to be determined by the number of travelers and use. Vehicles must be rented using the mandatory contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car or National Car Rental.

Local Transporation

Local transportation (i.e., taxi, shuttles, buses) may be paid for or reimbursed while traveling except when traveling to and from restaurants.

Tolls and Parking

Tolls and parking will be paid for or reimbursed at actual cost.

Insurance

Employees traveling on official University business are automatically covered by a travel insurance policy which includes life insurance, medical evacuation, and repatriation. When renting a vehicle, liability insurance will not be paid or reimbursed. The University has an automotive liability policy, which automatically covers drivers while on official University business. Vehicle rental rates with the University’s mandatory contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car or National Car Rental include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance.

Travel insurance, medical insurance, and other personal insurance policies are not paid for nor reimbursed.

Lodging

Lodging will be paid for or reimbursed at actual cost. Nightly lodging limits are determined by the Federal CONUS (continental United States), OCONUS (outside the continental United States), and Department of State rates and pre-payment on a University P-card is not permitted with the exception of a one-night deposit, if required.

Meal and Incidental Expenses

Meal & incidental expense (M&IE) reimbursements will be based on federal per diem rates by hotel location. Meal and hotel tips are included in the daily per diem rates and will not be reimbursed separately. When travel does not include an overnight stay, units may allow employees one meal on same-day trips provided the travel is more than 30 miles from traveler's work location and the trip exceeds 11 hours.

Registration Fees

Registration fees can be paid in advance using a P-card, or with the traveler’s personal credit card and the reimbursed by submitting the receipt with a travel expense report. For any registration or conference fee, travelers must indicate whether meals or lodging are included. If meals or lodging are included and an amount is shown on the receipt for these items, reimbursement cannot be claimed for those items. If meals or lodging is included but an amount is not shown on the receipt, the traveler must report meals and/or lodging was provided and cannot claim additional lodging expenses and those meal allowances must be deducted from the meal per diems.

Charitable donations and fees associated with optional events cannot be paid or reimbursed.

Virtual Conferences

Due to export compliance, international virtual conference registration fees are coded as international and a Travel Request is required. Domestic virtual conference registrations are coded as in-state and a Travel Request is not required.

Miscellaneous Travel Expenses

Miscellaneous travel expenses such as the purchase of supplies, telephone calls, and internet access charges can be paid for or reimbursed if a documented business purpose is provided.

Personal Time Mixed with Official University Business Travel

Travelers are required to document a business purpose for their trip and verify which days are personal and which days are dedicated to business purposes. If personal days exceed business days, the cost of transportation will be treated as a personal expense and will not be reimbursed, per IRS regulations. Per diem, lodging, parking, local transportation, and other costs will be reimbursed for business days only.

Reimbursement for Payment of Other Employee Expenses

Employees may not be reimbursed for expenses incurred on behalf of any other person except as follows:

  1. Employees may be reimbursed for the travel expenses of students they sponsor. Receipts are required for all student expenses. The amount reimbursed for students shall not exceed the established limitations for state employees. Students' names must be listed on the reimbursement. A student employee who is traveling in connection with duties as an employee is expected to submit expenses for reimbursement.
  2. Employees may share a room; however, it cannot be required. If employees share a room, one employee may claim the entire room charge; however, the two reimbursements must be cross-referenced. Additional information can be found in the University of Kansas Policy on Consenting Relationships.

Future University Employee Travel Expenses

Future University employees traveling for University business before their start date are reimbursed following employee reimbursement procedures.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Drivers are personally responsible for traffic and parking violations, as well as towing fees related to violations. 

Contact: 

Financial Services
1246 West Campus Road
Carruth O’Leary Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045
financialservices@ku.edu

KUCR Fiscal Affairs
2386 Irving Hill Rd
Youngberg Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045
kuresaccounting-l@lists.ku.edu

Approved by: 
Director, Financial Services
Approved on: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Effective on: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Keywords: 
Travelers, travel guidance, graduate travel, prior approval, meal reimbursement, sponsoring agency, travel advance, travel expense, Kansas Turnpike, parking fees, air travel, U.S. Transportation Tax, flight, hotel, Uber, Lyft, subway, train, automobile
Change History: 

11/22/2022: Updated policy to align with governing bodies requirements.
04/15/2021: Updated Contact, Approver, and owning unit sections from Comptroller to Financial Services.
01/09/2016: Updated procedures to reflect current process.
07/08/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
01/05/2016: Updated for FY2016.
10/01/2015: The wording in the sentence "Claims for reimbursement must be included as a Misc. Non subsistence Expense section reimbursement subsistence (125180, 125280), or 125380)" was corrected to Claims for reimbursement must be included as a subsistence (125180, 125280), or 125380) based on the State Travel Policy.
11/03/2014: Updated for policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
10/2013: Updated to include references to Payables, update the reimbursement process, and to add link to KUMC Travel Audit.
05/2012: Updated to provide for purchase of expanded leg room seats on flight segments of four hours or more.
08/2011: Updated for FY2012.
07/01/2010: Updated for FY2011.

Financial Categories: 
Travel

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