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Travel Services

The primary function of Travel services is to ensure the timely and accurate reimbursement of allowable employee travel expenses. This is completed through consistent application of relevant controls, policies, and procedures of the University and the State of Idaho.

Travel Definitions - Policy Summary

  • Commuter Miles - The non-reimbursable miles traveled between a person's home and Offical Work Station, regardless of the time or day of the week.

  • Official Workstation - This is your primary area of business. If you normally work on the Pocatello campus or related properties, then Pocatello and the immediately surrounding area would be your "Official Workstation."

  • Meals Per Diem - ISU reimburses full-day meals based on GSA rates which are published by the U.S. General Services Administration, excepting Idaho. For non-Idaho destinations, we reimburse full-day meals based on the corresponding GSA rate for the zip code of your destination/hotel. The rate for Idaho destinations is $30 per day (as of 9/26/13). For partial-day meals, these amounts are reduced.

  • Partial-day meals - The GSA rates and Idaho rate are a maximum daily amount. However, the actual daily amount is calculated based on travel times and if a meal was provided through a conference registration. Depending on travel times and/or if a meal was provided, the daily reimbursement can be recalculated. For partial-day meals, the reimbursement percentages of the applicable per diem rate are 25% for breakfast, 35% for lunch, and 55% for dinner (the total weights are over 100% because incidentals are included for partial day meals).

    E.g., if you travelled from Eastern Idaho to attend a conference in Boise and lunch was provided at the conference, then your daily meal per diem would be $24 ($30x25% + $30x55%).

    Travel Policy - Definitions (Section IV)

    • A. Commuter Miles - The non-reimbursable miles traveled between a person's home and Offical Work Station, regardless of the time or day of the week.

    • B. CONUS -Term used by GSA, which refers to Continental United States.

    • C. Federal Export Control Regulations - Information and materials are subject to export control restrictions for a number of reasons, ranging from national security and anti- terrorism purposes to trade sanctions. Export control regulations restrict the "export" of specially designated items from the United States without obtaining an appropriate export license. The reach of such regulations is broad and covers activities that one may not normally think of as an "export." While the majority of University activities are not subject to export control restrictions, it may not be the case that all research and information dissemination conducted within the University setting is exempt from all export control regulations. Both funded and unfunded research can be subject to export control regulations.

    • D. General Services Administration (GSA) - The office of the federal government that oversees federal travel policy and provides federal per diem rates for lodging and meals.

    • E. Incidental Expenses - Fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids and others for personal services performed. An allowance for incidental expenses is included within the daily subsistence rates (see Per Diem) for the area of travel. These are not reimbursed separately and should not be requested.

    • F. Official Workstation - The definition of official workstation is "all territory within the corporate limits of the city in which the employee is permanently stationed; or all territory within a two-mile radius of his/her permanently assigned official duty post if not situated in an incorporated city. The official workstation is based upon the employee's Personnel Recommendation (PR) form maintained by the Office of Human Resources.

    • G. Official University Business or Business Purpose - Activities performed by a University official or employee, registered volunteer, or student as directed by his or her supervisor, to accomplish University programs and/or as required by the duties of his or her position or office. Such activities benefit the University's educational, research, and public service objectives and mission.

    • H. Per Diem Expenses - For purposes of this policy, Per Diem expenses represent the daily reimbursable travel limits for specified travel costs incurred by individuals while traveling on University business. At ISU, meal costs are reimbursed on a Per Diem basis, which includes meals, meal gratuities, fees, and tips to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards, or stewardesses on ships, and hotel servants in foreign countries. The Per Diem allowance is always calculated on a daily basis. The IRS publishes yearly federal Per Diem rates that ISU uses to reimburse employee travel expenses. The federal Per Diem rates will be used as long as the State concurs.

    • I. Travel and Expense System (T&E) - An electronic travel processing system that all employees of the University must use to authorize and obtain advances for travel, submit and document claims for reimbursement of travel, and reconcile and account for amounts due to or from the traveler.

    • J. Travel Authorization (TA) Screen - The electronic screen within T&E used by all ISU- employed travelers to define the nature of travel and enter a cost estimate of the trip for approval.

    • K. Travel Reimbursement (TR) Screen - An electronic screen within T&E used by ISU- employed travelers to request reimbursement for costs incurred while on University travel.

    • L. Travel Advance (TV) Screen - The T&E screen that permits ISU-employed travelers to request a TV. A TA must accompany a TV request or a TA must be in approved status before a TV can be processed.

    • M. Travel Delegate - An individual within a department or organization designated and authorized to enter travel information into T&E on behalf of travelers within the organization.

Travel Authorizations - Policy Summary

  • All University travel away from an employee's official workstation requires a completed TA. For domestic travel, the traveler is required to receive approval from their time card approver, the account director on the index being charged and the UBO/Grant Accounting. If the traveler is the account director they will approve the authorization as the account director. A traveler may not solely approve his/her own TA, but have other levels of approval such as timecard approver and UBO.

  • For travel involving University funds, a TA must be completed, approved, and submitted to the Accounts Payable/Travel office prior to departure.

  • "Most Economical and Effective" - Travel approvers are responsible to review each TA to assure travel is conducted in the most economical and effective means, and to question unusual or extraordinary issues. They are responsible to only authorize valid travel that conforms to ISU and State of Idaho policy.

  • International Travel - Approval is required from the VP of Finance and Administration at least 30 days before the departure date.

  • Faculty and staff who teach class outside of their official workstation are required to file a TA for their travel to and from secondary location(s). Blanket TAs are an option if said travel is frequent.

  • For other policy questions, including attending State Board of Education meetings, please consult the policy below or contact Travel Services.

    Travel Authorization Policy (Section V.A)

      A. Travel Authorization

      • 1. Approval to Travel - All University travel away from an employee's "official workstation" must be supported by a properly completed TA. Travel for official University business must be authorized in advance by the President or the President's designee.

        • a. Authorization to approve travel within the United States is delegated to the employee's supervisor, account director, and UBO. A traveler may not solely approve his/her own TA, but must obtain a signature at least one supervisory level above the traveler. Employees authorized to approve University travel are responsible to review each travel authorization to assure the travel is conducted with an appropriate balance between economy and practicality and reasonableness and to question unusual or extraordinary issues. They are responsible to authorize only valid travel that conforms to ISU and State of Idaho policy.

        • b. Authorization to approve travel outside the United States requires prior approval of the Vice President of Finance and Administration and the Vice President of the traveler's department. In addition travelers must contact the office of Research Integrity within the Office for Research (Extension 2618) to ensure their travel plans comply with federal Export Control regulations (see section J., Foreign Travel). Additional information is available at this web site:

          In addition, international travelers should contact the office of General Counsel (Extension3234) to secure a convenient insurance identification/contact information card for the University's foreign travel insurance.

        • c. Faculty and staff who teach classes or work at other campus locations in addition to their official workstation will be required to file a TA for their travel to and from the secondary location(s).

      • 2. To obtain approval for travel involving University funds, a traveler, or the Travel delegate, must enter a TA into T&E and obtain appropriate approval by submitting the TA into the approval process. Submitting the document will route it to the appropriate supervisor, indexing authorities and Travel Services. The TA must be completed and approved prior to the traveler's departure. Travelers should not commit to or book non-refundable travel until the authorization has been finalized.

      • 3. In the comment section of the TA screen, the traveler must include a statement detailing the business purpose of the travel. In this statement the traveler needs to clearly explain how this travel will benefit the department and the University.

      • 4. Authorization for travel not requiring University funds must be completed through T&E and still requires a TA. To accommodate this, estimates of travel expenditures are entered on the TA using the payment by option of "other Institution/Entity."

        In the comment section the traveler should identify the third party that is covering the travel expenses. This authorization is required and is in the employee's best interest, as it can be used in case of accident to verify that he/she was in fact traveling on ISU business and therefore covered by ISU liability insurance and industrial accident insurance.

        It should be noted that employees traveling during regular duty hours, but who are not on approved ISU business, are not covered by ISU liability insurance or industrial accident insurance.

Travel Advances - Policy Summary

Travel advances can be issued to assist ISU travelers with covering upfront costs. Normally, an advance will only be issued if the estimated costs on the travel authorization exceed $100.

  • If you would like to setup direct deposit through Accounts Payable (separate from payroll) to receive your advances and reimbursements directly into your bank account, please click here.

  • You must submit your advance for approvals at least 5 days prior to your departure date.

  • Travel Advances generally are not paid more than 60 days prior to the departure date. For the exceptions please read the policy below or contact Travel Services.

  • For other policy questions, including attending State Board of Education meetings, please consult the policy below or contact Travel Services.

    Travel Advance Policy

      B. Travel Advances (Section V.B)

      • 1. When necessary, travel advances are issued to assist ISU employees with upfront travel costs. Travel advances may be obtained by University employees if the estimated cost of an approved trip exceeds $100. With advanced approval by the Controller's Office, advances may be issued for amounts less than $100 if the lack of such funds would result in a demonstrated hardship to the employee.

        Travel advances are limited to 50% of the travelers estimated out-of-pocket expenses. Expenditures to be made with a travel card are not eligible for advances.

        Travel advances are only available to ISU employees and student workers on ISU's payroll system. Any exceptions must be approved through the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

      • 2. To accommodate timely processing, the travel advance must be requested at least 5 days before the trip departure date. An advance may only be requested once the traveler receives their TA for review from their delegate.

        Once the advance has been processed an email will be sent to the traveler notifying them the advance is available to be picked up or has been deposited into their bank account if they elected the direct deposit option through Accounts Payable (this is separate from a Payroll direct deposit.)

      • 3. Advances will not be released more than sixty (60) days prior to the departure date, except for advanced payment of airfare or registration fees, as detailed below.

        • a. To accommodate cost savings and avoid potential financial hardship for the traveler, if a traveler incurs airfare or registration expenses more than 60 days prior to travel they may submit copies of the receipts for those expenses and a 50% advance will be provided to reimburse the out-of-pocket expenses. The traveler must attach a scanned copy of the receipt(s) to the TA within T&E and notify the Travel Office in the comments section that receipts are attached and an expense has been incurred. The traveler must also identify the cost savings warranting the early advance, which is limited to the total of the attached receipts.

      • 4. Travel advances are limited to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for student group travel.

      • 5. Travelers are responsible to submit their TRs in a timely manner and are therefore limited to no more than 5 outstanding travel advances, with maximum total of $10,000 for individuals and $15,000 for student group travel.

      • 6. If a traveler is more than 15 days late in filing a reimbursement request on a previous trip, the traveler is ineligible for further advances until the overdue advance is processed.

      • 7. Before a travel advance will be released or mailed, the traveler must provide Accounts Payable with a signed Employee Travel Advance Authorization Form. By signing this form, the employee acknowledges receipt of the advance and authorizes the University to deduct past due travel advance balances from the travelers paycheck. The travel office will always contact the traveler when a balance is owing to the University after a reimbursement is filed or if a travel advance is past due. The traveler will be given a date by which the advance must be paid. If the travel office does not receive payment by this date, a payroll deduction will be initiated for the next pay period.

        Employees located at a branch campus may request the Employee Travel Advance Authorization Form be faxed to them for signature. This can be accomplished by including a fax number in the comments section of the TA when requesting the advance. If an employee has opted to have their advance deposited directly into their bank account, they have also authorized the University to deduct any amounts owed the institution from the requested advance amount by their acceptance and signing of the direct deposit form.

      • 8. The process for reconciling a travel advance with related travel expenditures is detailed below:

        • a. Within ten (10) working days of returning from a trip, the traveler will submit the necessary documentation and receipts to support the travel advance by entering a TR in T&E. Reimbursement is limited to allowable travel expenses. If the travel advance exceeds the allowable reimbursement amount, the traveler will be sent an email invoice for the excess. Payment must be submitted to the Cashier's Office within 10 working days of the email billing date.

          If the claim for reimbursement is not submitted within 30 days of the return date, the advance amount will be processed as taxable income to the traveler. If allowable travel expenses exceed the travel advance, the traveler will be reimbursed for the difference within approximately 10 working days of the email billing.

          Reconciliation and timely repayment of travel advance funds to the University is the responsibility of the traveler. Travelers with outstanding delinquent advances will be notified by email and must respond within ten working days. If not repaid in a timely manner, the University may exercise its option to recover the advance through payroll deductions, as authorized by the traveler on the Employee Travel Advance Authorization Form or the Accounts Payable Direct Deposit Form. In the event payroll deduction is required frequently to resolve a particular traveler's outstanding advances, or advances consistently and significantly overstate costs incurred, advance privileges may be revoked.

        • b. Once a travel advance is requested, failure to pick up the advance or to notify accounts payable if it is no longer needed may result in denial of future advances. An advance for a canceled trip that was deposited into a travelers account must be returned to Travel Services immediately upon learning of the cancelation.

Reimbursement of Travel Expenses - Policy Summary

  • A Travel Reimbursement (TR) must be completed and approved through Travel and Expense and documentation needs to be attached to the document in T&E. Without receipts and agendas to substantiate the claimed expenses, the document may be returned for correction and reimbursements won't be processed until all necessary receipts are attached or the amount will be reduced.

    • Receipts must show vendor names, dates, amounts, and evidence of payment (zero-balance receipt).

  • Receipts are not required for mileage of personal vehicles, meal expenses, certain miscellaneous expenses (see section D. 4 Miscellaneous Expenses).

    • For overnight trips where only receipt exempt expenses are claimed, the traveler must provide a travel related receipt to show that they were actually in the travel destination.

  • Expenses not supported by required receipts will be deducted from the reimbursement amount and/or the TR might be returned for further documentation.

  • The traveler should retain copies of all receipts in their department office.

  • For other policy questions, including attending State Board of Education meetings, please consult the policy below or contact Travel Services.

    Reimbursement of Travel Expenses Policy (Section V.C)

      C. Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

      • 1. The traveler must complete the electronic TR to obtain reimbursement of allowable travel expenses. Scanned, itemized receipts must be attached to the TR within T&E (see Attaching Receipts - Section C.1.a.) Receipts must show vendor names, dates, amounts, and evidence of payment (zero-balance receipt). If the original receipts are misplaced, the traveler must make a reasonable effort to obtain duplicates. If a reasonable effort to obtain duplicates fails, the traveler must provide a signed Affidavit of Lost Receipt form. This form can be found on Travel Service's Forms website on the Controller's Office website.

        It should be noted that this form may not be used for the following types of travel costs since a duplicate receipt may be obtained for these expenses:

          • Airfare Receipts
          • Car Rental Receipts
          • Lodging Receipts
          • Registration Receipts

        • a. Attaching Receipts in T&E - Travelers are required to attach scanned copies of receipts (including conference agendas when required) to the TR in T&E. If receipts are not attached for expenses other than meals and mileage, the TR will be returned for correction (scanning documentation can be found under T&E forms in the T&E channel).

        • b. As noted above, receipts are required for all travel expenditures except for (a) mileage for use of personal vehicles, (b) meal expenses, and (c) certain miscellaneous expenses (See section D. 4 Miscellaneous Expenses.) Claims for expenses not supported by required receipts will be deducted from the travel reimbursement amount or the reimbursement request will be returned to the traveler for further documentation. The traveler should retain copies of all receipts in their department office.

        • If an ISU employee in overnight travel status submits a travel reimbursement claiming only meal Per Diem and/or mileage, which, according to state policy do not require receipts, additional documentation is required. The traveler must include at least one receipt or other form of documentation that substantiates the traveler was in the travel location at the time of the trip. The receipt can be for a meal or gas purchased while in travel status. If the traveler was not required to make any purchases, a signed declaration detailing the travel must be included in the documentation.

      • 2. Once the traveler has completed the electronic TR it is forwarded through the electronic approval process. Scanned copies of required receipts must be attached to the TR before it is submitted into the approval process.

      • 3. Processing time for a completed and fully approved TR is approximately ten (10) working days. Incomplete requests, including requests that lack adequate documentation, will be returned for correction, which delay completion of the approval and the overall reimbursement process. Travel reimbursement requests entered into the T&E approval process six months or later after the trip return date will be denied.

      • 4. Unusual travel circumstances or situations should be discussed with the Controller's Office prior to travel, or before submission of the claim and should be clearly explained on the TA or the TR. This will help avoid delays in processing, rejection of claims, or other complications. In the case of circumstances or situations that cannot be resolved between the traveler and the Controller's Office, the Dean/Business Unit Head and the applicable Business Officer will assist in obtaining an appropriate solution.

      • 5. When a traveler attends a conference or workshop they are required to attach a scanned copy of the conference/workshop brochure or agenda in T&E, along with the appropriate receipts.

      • 6. If the traveler departs earlier than one day before a conference or workshop or returns more than one day following the event, a valid business justification must be provided to support any additional expenses incurred. Travelers should always attempt to return home the day the conference or workshop ends, provided they can arrive home at a reasonable hour.

Allowable Expenses Policy (Section V.D)

Allowable travel expenses are confined to costs actually incurred by the traveler, with the exception of meal per diem and/or mileage reimbursement. The traveler will use the most economical and practical standard mode of transportation, both from the standpoint of time, cost, and reasonableness. Deviation from the most direct routes must be justified and approved by the department chairperson/director.

The traveler is certifying with their submission of a TR in T&E that all expenses are correct and incurred in performance of University-related business. This entails, in addition to determining that the travel is appropriate and necessary, that the mode of travel and the cost thereof, as well as related costs of food and lodging, are appropriate and reasonable in terms of the stated purpose of the travel and comply with this travel policy.

    1. Transportation

      a. Public Transportation

      • i. Transportation costs by common carrier (air, bus, or rail) for authorized, official travel are allowable for reimbursement. The cost of airfare approved for reimbursement is limited to the lowest priced airfare available. When the traveler elects to drive his/her own vehicle the entire trip in lieu of using a commercial carrier, reimbursement will be at the approved allowable mileage rate or the applicable coach airfare rate, whichever is lower. It is the traveler's responsibility to provide documentation to support the determination of the least expensive and most practical mode of transportation. This documentation should be obtained prior to departure, using the dates that would be required if flying. If no documentation is provided, Accounts Payable will reimburse based upon the information gathered at the time the reimbursement is submitted. Infrequent exceptions to this limit may be granted when a valid business reason can be substantiated, in advance of the trip, to the ISU Controller's Office.

      • ii. Employees that choose to fly will need to provide sufficient documentation to determine if a purchased flight is a first class or coach/standard flight. The receipt or itinerary will suffice if this information is included. If not, the boarding pass should be included with the reimbursement.

        In accordance with the Fly America Act of 1974, US flag air carriers or shippers must be used when traveling or shipping items and the costs are charged to a federal grant or contract. Some exceptions apply, including Open Skies agreements, which allow for the use of air carriers from countries who have transportation agreements with US government-consult with Grant Accounting for details.

      • iii. Automobile rental or airline charter may be authorized when the use of such conveyance is the most economical and practical means of transportation. In most cases, commercially rented vehicles for passenger use are limited to subcompact, compact, or intermediate sizes. The rental of a larger vehicle is acceptable with approval of the department chairperson/director and a legitimate, written justification in the comments section of the TA and TR. Automobile rental is not mandatory but employees/departments should be aware of limited resources within their departments. Employees should also be aware, as stated in section v below, that if you are involved in an accident with your personal vehicle on official ISU business you are responsible for your insurance deductible.

      • iv. A written statement indicating why the rental of a large or specialty vehicle or charter was necessary and represented the lowest feasible cost must accompany all claims for reimbursement of rental vehicle costs. Airline charters, if deemed to be the most economical means of transportation, must be pre-approved by the Vice President of Finance and Administration.

      • v. Automobile rental insurance and/or related waivers are not required for ISU travelers. By statute, the State of Idaho provides liability coverage in the event of an automobile accident involving a State owned or leased vehicle while an employee is within the scope or course of his/her employment. Since the statute applies to the use of leased vehicles, it is not necessary for the traveler using a rental car to obtain additional coverage or waivers provided by the rental car companies. If a personal vehicle is used, the vehicle owner's personal insurance is the primary source of recovery. The driver must have a current driver's license and the vehicle must be insured at the minimum automobile liability insurance required by Idaho Code 49117(18), which is currently $25,000/$50,000/$15,000.
      b. Use of University Vehicles

      • The use of University vehicles for personal or other non-official business is specifically and strictly prohibited. Home-to-office driving in University vehicles is only permissible when beginning or ending an authorized trip outside the regular business hours or for other reasons considered in the best interest of the University and approved by the governing authority.

      • ii. Federal, State, and local traffic regulations must be observed at all times.

        An employee committing an infraction of such regulations will be personally liable for any damage or fines and may be subject to disciplinary action. University vehicles may be driven only by employees or authorized volunteers of ISU or the State of Idaho who possess a valid driver's license. Hitchhikers, dependents of University employees, or individuals not directly related to the purpose of the travel are not allowed in University vehicles. Seat belts must be worn at all times while driving or riding in University vehicles. (Refer to the ISU Motor Pool Policies and Procedures for more detailed instructions on the use of University vehicles.)

      • iii. Mileage rate charges for departmental use of University vehicles are listed on the University Motor Pool website.
      c. Private Transportation

      The use of privately-owned vehicles, airplanes, or other conveyances may be authorized when more practical than common carrier, provided such privately-owned conveyances are adequately covered by public liability and property damage insurance. Idaho State University liability insurance does not provide primary coverage for privately owned vehicles when used on University business. Reimbursement of costs associated with the use of privately owned conveyances is permitted under the following terms:

      • i. The driver must have a current driver's license and the vehicle must be insured at the minimum automobile liability insurance required by the Idaho Code 49117(18), which is currently $25,000/$50,000/$15,000. In the case of an incident or accident where the costs exceed the driver's insurance coverage, the University insurance through the state will cover additional costs up to the state's limit.

      • ii. Mileage reimbursement for the use of privately-owned vehicles or aircraft to conduct University business is limited to the current rate authorized by the State of Idaho as published on the Travel Services web page. A lesser amount may be authorized by a department chairperson/director to conserve department funds or meet specific limitations stipulated by grants and contracts. If a department chooses to reimburse at a lesser amount, it must be consistent across the department and clearly communicated on all department TAs and TR requests for reimbursement.

      • iii. Allowable mileage is computed according to any on-line map software (google maps or MapQuest). Odometer readings are acceptable only when mileage computations cannot be made from such maps or charts.

      • iv. When a traveler chooses to use privately owned transportation for personal reasons, reimbursement will be limited to the lesser of coach airfare or the applicable mileage rate computation. In such cases, the reimbursement request must show the departure and return times and the coach airfare that would have applied if the travel had been by air.

        Claims for meals or lodging for additional travel time resulting from driving cannot be reimbursed. In addition, extra travel time necessitated by the traveler's optional use of private transportation is not considered time worked and must be taken as vacation.

      • v. In addition to mileage for travel between localities, reimbursement is authorized for the use of private vehicles for traveling in and about a community while in travel status in the conduct of official business (including reasonable travel between places of business and food and lodging establishments). Such mileage should be consolidated on a daily basis and reported as "vicinity travel" on the TR. If total "vicinity travel" is greater than 15 miles per day, an explanation of the travel destinations and related business purpose must be submitted with the travel reimbursement request.

      • vi. Reimbursement for mileage within the employee's official workstation will be reimbursed if approved by the account director and UBO. The Vicinity Travel Request form, located on the F&A Web site, may be used for requesting reimbursement if the traveler would like to document several trips. If this form is used, the traveler should enter one mileage line on the reimbursement for the total travel. Travelers should scan and attach this document to the TR for documentation. In most cases vicinity mileage is not reimbursable. This would include travel within your official workstation city and includes the Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Boise city limits.

      • vii. Expenditures for repairs, tires, gasoline, towing or other vehicle operating expenses are not reimbursable, since the University only reimburses privately owned vehicle use on a mileage basis, which considers these costs.

      • viii. Vehicle storage or parking fees are allowable expenses when necessary to protect University or private property, or for other reasons advantageous to the University. Claims for storage or parking fees for private vehicles must be substantiated by receipts attached to the TR.
      d. Standard Distances Between Travel Points

      The following paragraphs explain the process to be used to determine the point of origin and define the distance between selected travel points when traveling by vehicle to and from the traveler's official workstation:

      • i. The first point of origin on a trip should be the traveler's official University workstation as maintained by the Office of Human Resources.

      • ii. If you begin your business travel from an alternate location, you may list that location only if the mileage to the business destination is less than the mileage from your official workstation to the same destination.

      • iii. When your home is not located in the same city as your official workstation:

        • If you begin your business travel from home, mileage between your home and official workstation is not reimbursable and cannot be included in mileage reimbursement totals.

        • Travel from your home to a point between your home and your primary official workstation cannot be submitted for mileage reimbursement.

    2. Lodging

      • a. Lodging costs are reimbursable to the traveler while on official business for the University. Allowable reimbursement is the actual amount paid by the traveler. This amount will be documented by the paid receipt. Travelers should endeavor to secure the most economical and practical lodging possible.

      • b. Scanned copies of original receipts are required for reimbursement of lodging expenses.

      • c. When making reservations or when registering at hotels, ISU employees should always identify themselves as an employee of the State of Idaho to obtain a government rate, if available.

      • d. If quarters are shared with a spouse or family member, the single rate must be indicated on the lodging receipt or the receipt must show that the double rate is the same as the single rate. If quarters are shared with another University employee and no additional cost is incurred, the expense can be reported on one travel reimbursement. If an additional charge is incurred, the additional charge should be reflected on the second employee's request for reimbursement.

    3. Meal Expenses

      a. Per diem Reimbursement

      The University reimburses meal costs using a Per Diem meal allowance. Travelers are not required to submit meal receipts; instead the traveler is reimbursed based on established federal Per Diem rates applied to the time and length of travel. Per Diem reimbursement for official travel requiring an overnight stay shall be paid to the traveler in accordance with the federal Per Diem rates for out-of-state travel and the amounts set by the State of Idaho Board of Examiners for in-state travel. See b. below for details on meal exclusions for the first and last day of travel.

      Complimentary meals, including continental breakfasts provided by a hotel and meals provided by common carriers, will not be deducted from the Per Diem allowance to be paid. However, as noted earlier, full meals included as part of a registration fee must be deducted from the Per Diem allowance.

      b. Limitations on Partial Day Reimbursement with Overnight Stay.

      The following limitations on reimbursement are applied separately to the expenditure on each day of travel when travel involves an overnight stay. When an employee is in full travel status, but travels for fractional days, the limitation is applied on the basis of the time of departure on the first day and the time of return on the last day, as per the following schedule:

      • Where the departure schedule is:
        After 7:00 a.m.No Breakfast
        After 11:00 a.m. No Lunch
        After 5:00 p.m. No Per Diem Allowed

      • Where the return arrival schedule is:
        Before 8:00 a.m. No Per Diem Allowed
        Before 2:00 p.m. No Lunch
        Before 7:00 p.m. No Dinner

      The amounts reimbursed for partial day travel are shown below:

      In State ($45/day maximum per diem)Out-of-state ($51/day maximum or applicable federal Per Diem)
      Breakfast - $11.25Breakfast $12.75, or 25% of applicable per diem
      Lunch - $15.75 Lunch $17.85, or 35% of applicable per diem
      Dinner - $24.75 Dinner $28.05, or 55% of applicable per diem

      c. Out of State Per Diem

      The out-of-state federal Per Diem reimbursement rate is $46 per day, unless the GSA publishes a location-specific, higher federal allowance in its publications. The Per Diem amounts will automatically calculate in T&E when the traveler or delegate uses the destination zip code to populate the itinerary. The link to the federal guidelines is available at:

      d. Per diem Reimbursement for Same Day Travel

      University travelers may qualify for personal meal reimbursement during same-day travel. Per Diem reimbursement for same day travel is reimbursed the same as partial day reimbursement shown above in section D.3.b. Same-day meals, however, are taxable income to the traveler and will be taxed through the payroll process.

      e. Official Conferences or Workshops

      If meal costs for conference or workshops are included in registration fees, the traveler's meal Per Diem will be reduced for that meal. Reimbursement is not typically allowed for meal expenses at an employee's official workstation (see e. below). However, with approval of the department chairperson/director and with proper documentation, it is permissible for employees to be reimbursed for the actual cost of meals incurred while attending conferences or conventions at their official workstation in connection with their University responsibilities.

      Any potential determination as to what comprises a "conference" at the official workstation should first be subjected to certain validation criteria before meal reimbursement will be considered. Criteria that suggest the event is a valid conference include:

        • The function has participants from various locations;
        • A registration fee is charged;
        • An agenda is published;
        • Meal cost is included in the registration fee;
      f. Meals at Employees Official WorkStation

      Reimbursement for meals at the official workstation is not allowed for informal meetings (i.e. over a casual breakfast, lunch, or dinner) between staff members of a department or other department; state or federal employees; and/or state employees and legislators, unless it is charged to a public relations account (see ISUPP on meals). All meetings will be considered informal unless documented proof is submitted with the request for reimbursement.

      Unless a department specifically defines otherwise, the definition of official workstation is "all territory within the corporate limits of the city in which the employee is permanently stationed; or all territory within a two-mile radius of his/her permanently assigned official duty post if not situated in an incorporated city."

      An exception may be made when the department head determines that, due to unusual circumstances, it is in the best interest of ISU that the employees not return home each night, or when these expenses are prepaid as part of a registration for a conference.

      The cost of a conference held at the traveler's workstation that involves only registration does not require a TA or a TR. This cost may be paid from a billing made directly to the University, or put on a university procurement card (P-card), but only if the conference is sponsored by an entity outside the University. If any other travel expenses are involved, the traveler must file a TA and TR that includes all expenses.

      g. Staying with Friends or Relatives

      Reimbursement is not allowed for meals or lodging expenses while staying with friends or relatives, unless they are in the business of providing such services and advertise such to the general public.

      h. Reducing Federal Per Diem

      Departments may choose to reimburse travelers less than the federal Per Diem rate for meals, but any reduction must be consistently applied across the department for the same location. That is to say, different rates cannot be applied to different personnel for the same location. If the department chooses to use an amount less than the federal Per Diem must indicate in the comments.

    4. Miscellaneous Expenses

    Expenses for certain miscellaneous items are reimbursable if incurred by a traveler in the official conduct of University business. These expenses require supporting documentation. Some examples of allowable miscellaneous expenses include:

      • a. Taxi or bus fares to and from depots, airports, and hotels and as otherwise required by an employee to conduct official University business while in authorized travel status.

      • b. Transportation, handling and storage of baggage or equipment

      • c. Telephone calls, including one daily personal call (not to exceed ten minutes) to the traveler's home.

      • d. All business-related expenses, including computer or internet services, facsimile services, stationery, postage, or other supplies necessary for the transaction of University business. If travelers request reimbursement for internet access while on their flight, they must provide justification for this expense.

      • e. Customary fees for cashier's check, bank drafts, fees for currency conversion, or money orders for purpose of conducting University business.

      • f. Registration fees required for attendance at authorized conferences, conventions, or other meetings. If the fee includes meals and /or lodging costs, a breakdown of expenses is required.

      • g. Laundry expense during a University business trip away from the employee's official work station of five (5) days or longer.

      • h. With prior approval from the University President or designated representative, employees with documented disabilities are allowed payment of certain additional travel expenses to accommodate their disabilities as such, but not limited to, subsistence and transportation of an attendant when the employee requires assistance, cost of specialized transportation, increased cost of specialized services for public carriers or special baggage handling

      • i. Allowable miscellaneous expenses for which receipts are sometimes not available may be reimbursed upon certifications by the employee.

      • j. Items not specifically described herein as allowable expenses, but which are necessary for the performance of official duties for the University.

Non-reimbursable Expenses (Section V.E)

    The University does not reimburse the following:

      • 1. Employee travel expenses paid using the University P-Card. Employee travel should never be charged to a University P-Card. However, see section G below for information on University Travel Cards.

      • 2. Expenses of a personal nature incurred for the convenience of the traveler such as; traveling by indirect routes, stopovers for personal reasons, or leaving earlier or returning later than necessary from a trip for personal convenience.

        Notwithstanding the restrictions stated in the preceding paragraph, an employee may be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred by an indirect route or during a personal stopover to the extent the costs do not exceed the costs of the usual, direct route and are sufficiently documented. Miscellaneous costs incurred during a stopover that is not related to official travel, meals, or lodging, are not reimbursable. Extra travel time resulting from the indirect routing or stopover must be reported as vacation time.

      • 3. Expenses for transportation between home and office or for other non-official purposes.

      • 4. Except as provided in D.3.d above (Official Conferences or Workshops), meal or lodging expenses to an employee at his/her official workstation.

      • 5. Expenses incurred by an employee during periods of compensable or non- compensable leave (may be granted with prior appropriate approval.)

      • 6. Personal travel insurance premiums (i.e. accidental death insurance).

      • 7. Personal items, such as movie tickets, magazines, bar service, sightseeing fares, or other items considered personal in nature.

      • 8. Global Positioning System (GPS) and roadside assistance on rental vehicles (except when traveling internationally, in which case a moderately priced GPS rental is allowed.)

Blanket Travel (Section V.F)

    In situations where an employee is assigned job duties at an off-campus site that are continuous in nature and over an extended period of time, and travel is within the State of Idaho, or whose job requires frequent in-state travel, a blanket TA may be issued by the employing department, for a specific period of time within the current fiscal year. A blanket TA must be entered and approved in T&E. Related TRs must be entered and approved in T&E in a timely manner, i.e., monthly, if airfare or lodging are not involved, or within 10 days after each trip if expenses include airfare and lodging. Blanket TAs will need to be renewed with Accounts Payable at the beginning of each fiscal year. All account numbers that may be charged should be listed on the blanket TA.

Travel Cards (Section V.G)

    The University provides two types of travel cards for use when traveling on official ISU business; an Individual Travel Card (ITC) and a Department Travel Card (DTC). Individual Travel Cards are provided only to employees that travel regularly and frequently. Department Travel Cards are provided to departments that may have infrequent travelers or students that need to travel.

    • 1. Individual Travel Cards

      Employees may obtain an ITC to pay for certain expenses they incur while traveling on university business. ITCs may be requested by completing an Individual Travel Card Request Form. This form is located on the Travel and Expense website at:

      The form must be completed and signed by the requestor and signed by the UBO of the organization. The ITC is issued in the name of the traveler and the University is responsible to pay the charges on the card. However, it is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure the card is only used for allowable travel costs, is reconciled in a timely manner (as per the user guides,) and that the card is kept safe and secure.

      Individual Travel Cards may be used for the following travel expenses:

      • Airfare
      • Vehicle Rental
      • Fuel for Vehicles
      • Lodging
      • Conference/Seminar Registration
      • Ground Transportation (taxi, bus, subway, shuttle, etc.)
      • Baggage Fees
      • Student Group Travel (See Student Group Travel Policy)
      • Parking
      • Booth Rental

    • 2. Department Travel Cards

      Department Travel Cards are available for departments or organizations that have a need for student employees to travel or for employees who travel infrequently. Department cards are issued in the name of the department, but a specific ISU employee within the organization is responsible for the card. This employee is responsible and accountable to manage access and use of the DTC. Department cards must remain in the office at all times and should never be given to a traveler to take with them on a trip. Therefore, DTCs may only be used to incur expenses that can be made before travel begins.

      Departmental Travel Cards may be requested by completing the Departmental Travel Card Request Form. This form is located on the Travel and Expense website at:

    • 3. The following travel costs are not allowed on any Travel Card:

      • Business Meals
      • Meals in travel status (meals are reimbursed based on federal and state Per
      • Diem) Memberships, unless part of conference registration
      • Towing or fueling for personal automobile that is being used for University business travel.
      • Additional fees/services over and above the most economical fare available at time of purchase (special seating, priority boarding or other circumstances that increase the base price).
      • Commuting expense between an employee's residence and official work location.
      • Personal items, such as movie tickets, magazines, bar service, sightseeing fares, or other expenditures considered personal in nature.
      • Alcohol

    • 4. Travel Authorization for Travel Involving the use of Travel Cards

      Travel authorization for travel that will involve the use of Travel Cards will need to be completed in the T&E system as with non-card travel. However, when estimating travel costs, the travel delegate is required to distinguish between expenses on the travel card and expenses paid personally by the traveler.

      Because expenditures paid with the Travel Card are not out-of-pocket, travel advances are limited to 50% of estimated out-of-pocket expenditures.

    • 5. Travel Card Reimbursement

      Reimbursement of travel costs incurred with the travel cards must be filed in the T&E system. The traveler's delegate will reconcile the travel card transaction with the reimbursement expense in T&E. The traveler must provide receipts for all travel expenses except meals, which may not be charged to the card and are calculated based on federal or state Per Diem.

    • 6. Personal Travel in Conjunction with Business Travel

      When personal travel is scheduled in conjunction with business travel, all personal expenditures must be paid with personal funds and may not be charged to a Travel Card. When making reservations and vendors are unable to split the costs between business and personal, all expense must be charged to a personal credit card. Reimbursement for the business portion of the trip will then be made after the trip is complete.

      When completing the travel authorization a complete itinerary of the business portion of the trip is required, along with a statement of the beginning and ending time of the personal portion of the trip.

      The traveler must complete a cost comparison for transportation for the business portion of the trip. This cost comparison must be submitted with the reimbursement request.

    • 7. Inappropriate Use of Travel Cards

      Travelers who inappropriately use a travel card for expenses that are not allowed will receive two warnings from the travel office. On the third inappropriate use, the travel office will notify the traveler that their card is being revoked. The travel office will then inactivate the card. The procedure is as follows:
      • First incidence of noncompliant activity - The travel card manager will issue a written warning to the cardholder. The warning will include details of the inappropriate transaction and what must to be done to remedy the issue.
      • Second incidence of noncompliant activity -The travel card manager will issue a written warning to the cardholder. The warning will include details of the inappropriate transaction and what needs to be done to remedy the issue and notification that this is the final warning.
      • Third incidence of noncompliant activity - The travel card manager will notify the cardholder both verbally and in writing that their travel card has been inactivated. The traveler will be advised as to what must be done to remedy the inappropriate transaction. Reactivation of the card requires attendance at travel card training and a waiting period of six months before the card can be re-activated.

      Cardholders may lose their travel card privileges for the following reasons:

      • Use of the travel card for prohibited purchases
      • Failure to provide scanned documentation for travel expenditures
      • Failure to reconcile travel card transactions in T&E in a timely manner (see #8. below)
      • Allowing the travel card to be used by individuals other than the authorized cardholder

    • 8. Failure to reconcile travel card transactions in a timely manner

      Once travelers return from their trip they must file a travel reimbursement and reconcile their travel transactions within 15 business days. If a traveler does not file a reimbursement and leaves unreconciled travel transactions in the system for longer than 45 days, they will be notified and their travel card will be dropped to a zero limit. In order to have the limit increased they will need to have all travel transactions reconciled and meet with the travel office to review the travel card policy.

Third Party Payments, Reimbursements, Rebates, or Promotions (Section V.H)

    When a third party is expected to reimburse the University for a Trip, such expectation must be clearly stated on the travel request, along with the name and billing address of the third party. If the travel expenses are incurred by ISU, the reimbursement must be made directly to the University.

    Travel awards and benefits such as frequent flyer miles awarded as a result of University travel become the property of the traveler and are not claimed by the University.

Travel by Non-employees on University Business (Section V.I)

    • 1. Independent Contractors

      Occasionally, ISU asks a non-employee to perform a service requiring travel in ISU's interest. All related travel expenses the University has agreed to pay should be reported on an Independent Contractor form and submitted for payment through the Accounts Payable Office. ISU will reimburse travel costs as part of the service paid to the Independent Appropriate authorization must be obtained from the requesting department.

      Departments may make prepayment of airfare or lodging for Independent Contactors if no honorarium or speaker fee is being paid. If the non-employee is being compensated in any form for their service, it is their responsibility to pay for travel expenses and include this as part of their fee. All payments related to non-employees, such as speaker's fees, consulting fees, and honoraria must be processed through the Accounts Payable Office.

    • 2. Volunteers

      On occasion, community members are asked to serve ISU as volunteer committee or board members (search committees, Alumni Board, Foundation Boards, etc.) In these instances, travel expenses are typically not reimbursed. Acknowledgment of this service to ISU should be made in writing to the volunteer for their personal records. No representations should be made to the volunteer or reimbursement recipient regarding the tax consequences of any donations or reimbursement. Each individual's circumstance is unique and any determination of tax liability is the responsibility of the individual and/or his/her tax advisor. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Vice President of Finance and Administration.

Foreign Travel (Section V.J)

    All travel outside the United States is subject to the following policy insofar as it does not contradict the provisions of specific contracts and/or grants.

    • 1. International Travel Authorization.

      • a. All international TAs must be submitted to the Vice President of Finance and Administration for approval at least 30 days prior to the proposed departure date. This is done through the T&E system, once all other required approvals are granted. Travel authorizations involving contract and/or grant funds will be routed through the Grants and Contracts Accounting Office for review and signoff before being sent to the Vice President for approval. If not expressly designated in the grant award/proposal, foreign travel on sponsored funds may require agency approval prior to traveling.

      • b. Federal Export Control Regulations - A review of foreign travel is required to ensure your destination and/or the people you are visiting have no federal restrictions. Exports include equipment, materials, cell phones, laptops and other storage devices as well as information and software on a laptop, cell phone or storage device. All faculty, staff and students traveling outside the United States on University business, regardless of who is sponsoring the travel, must contact the Division of Research Integrity within the Office for Research (Extension 2618) at least 30 days before the travel authorization is submitted. Additional information can be found at:

      • c. The TA must include an attached itinerary showing the name of the traveler, the purpose of the travel, origin/destination, and dates of travel.

        • i.      The traveler is required to contact the Office of General Counsel to ensure they are covered under foreign travel insurance.

    • 2. Allowable Transportation Costs

      • a. All transportation costs shall be limited to coach fares on commercially scheduled air travel by the most direct and/or expeditious route. Other necessary transportation required by efficiency or work requirements will be reimbursed at actual cost (reason for such requirements must be thoroughly documented.)

        Based on the Fly American Act, any traveler using funds from a federally funded grant must fly with U.S. flagged carriers. Usage of non-U.S. flagged carriers on foreign travel must be pre-approved by the office of Grants and Contracts Accounting.

    • 3. Per Diem Allowances The per diem rate for foreign travel will be calculated as follows:

      • a. For the day of departure the traveler will use the maximum CONUS GSA Per Diem rate (adjusted as applicable for partial day travel.) This amount is automatically calculated by the T&E based upon the traveler's destination. Per Diem.

      • b. Upon arriving in the foreign country, the traveler will use the current Foreign GSA Per Diem for the country they are visiting.

      • c. The day of departure from the foreign country, the traveler will use the current Foreign GSA Per Diem for that country, until they arrive in the continental United States. If they have an overnight stay in United States, but before they arrive home, T&E will use the CONUS GSA Per Diem rate for the city of their stay.

    • 4. Reimbursement of Foreign Travel

      To be reimbursed for foreign travel, receipts must be converted to U.S. dollars. A link to a currency conversion tool is available on the Travel Services Tips web page. Explanations of expenditures must be in English, either on each receipt or included in a cover letter and referenced to the receipts. Foreign travel paid from federally funded contracts and grants requires advance approval from the office of Grants & Contracts Accounting.

    • 5. Non Reimbursable Foreign Travel Expenses

      ISU will not reimburse the cost of a passport or immunizations for foreign travel. Both of these expenses are personal in nature and can be used for personal travel.

Bi-Campus Travel (Section V.K)

    ISU employees are not reimbursed for the commute to their official workstation. It is the responsibility of each employee to get to and from work. When secondary work locations are involved, special circumstances apply. For example, if an employee lives in Idaho Falls (their home area) and commutes to the Pocatello campus (their official workstation) for regular work hours, but teaches an evening course in their home area, ISU will reimburse the employee's mileage from the secondary campus location to their home, if that added mileage exceeds the mileage of their normal commute. ISU will not reimburse mileage to and from the Pocatello Campus (their official workstation) or for meals in their home area.

Athletic Team Travel (Section V.L)

    The athletic department will designate one coach from each team to be responsible for the travel expenditures of the team. An ISU Travel Card will be issued in the designated coach's name to be used to pay for hotel, meal, and miscellaneous expenses related to team travel.

    To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, team meals for team travel are allowed on an ITC, but must still include a Meal Money Sign-off Sheet signed by each athlete. This form, along with the Travel Manifest for Team/Group Travel Form, must be attached to the team travel reimbursement request. (See Group Travel ISUPP) Travel advances are available for costs that are not allowed to be charged to the travel card. Advance requests must be submitted through Accounts Payable at least 3 days before the advance is needed.

Spouse or Family Travel (Section V.M)

    The University does not generally reimburse spouse or family member travel expenses when a spouse or other person attends a meeting or conference and has no significant role or performs only incidental duties of a clerical, secretarial or medical nature (except as provided with an approved ADA accommodation.) Such attendance does not constitute a valid university business purpose.

    • 1. Athletic Team/Group Travel

      For team or group trips there are times that the employee may wish to take their spouse at their expense and the air tickets are being direct billed to the department. The employee can reserve the flight for their spouse with the travel agent at the same time as the team/group, but must provide their personal credit card to cover the cost of the ticket. The employee must include their spouse on the Travel Manifest for Team/Group Travel Form.
    • 2. Spousal Travel Reimbursed by the University

      The university recognizes that at times there is a valid business reason for a spouse to travel at University expense with an employee. When a spouse attends a function and has a significant and essential role in the proceedings or is involved in fundraising activities, this constitutes a valid University business purpose. Prior to travel, a Request for Spouse Travel Form must be completed and approved as appropriate by the President, Vice President, Provost or Dean with the spouse's non-personal costs included on the TR. In such cases, ISU will reimburse the business traveler for the spouse's non-personal expenses directly resulting from travel on University business. The business purpose for the spouse's expenses must be clearly stated on the expense report. Non-business expenses for spouses of travelers, if reimbursed as an approved exception, are taxable and included on the employee's payroll records as taxable income.

      The University does not permit travel by a minor (under 18) with Team/Group Travel on a chartered bus or aircraft, unless the minor is a team member or is affiliated with the team as an employee of the University. Family members are welcome to attend games, but must travel separately from the Team or Group.

Student Group Travel Policy (Section V.N)

  1. Click here to review the Student Group Travel Policy

Individual Student Travel Policy (Section V.O)


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