Travel Policy

Policy Number: 200.002.02
Effective Date: August 2006
Revised: January 2014

Purpose

This document establishes guidelines for reimbursement of reasonable and necessary expenditures for College authorized travel.

Background

It is the policy of Scripps College to pay for or reimburse employees for approved travel expenditures incurred on behalf of the College.

Policy

The principal controls on travel are through the approval process and the travel budgets of the various departments.

Accountability

Travel expense reports for faculty and staff are approved by the appropriate senior staff member responsible for the department. The Treasurer and/or Assistant Treasurer will approve the President’s travel and other reimbursement requests.

A travel expense report should be completed within two weeks of completing a trip. The report should include original receipts for all travel and lodging expenses and other expenditures of $75 or more. In lieu of actual receipts, the published IRS per diem rates may be used for meals and incidentals. The per diem meal allowance for the day you depart and the day you return is counted as 75% of the standard meal allowance. A copy of the current rates, by city, is on the U.S. Government Services Administration website. Prior to travel, the method of expense reporting should be approved by the employee’s supervisor or dean.

Travel will be budgeted and charged to a travel expense account. Employees should verify that sufficient budget funds are available in advance of any travel related purchase. Travel advances may be requested, in writing, with the traveler’s supervisor, no more than 30 days prior to travel. Travel advances must be returned immediately if an authorized trip is cancelled or indefinitely postponed.

Applicability

The College will reimburse all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in approved College related travel. A reimbursement request must be submitted on a timely basis; normally not more than 30 days after expenses were paid or incurred. Failure to submit these expenses within 60 days of occurrence will result in the reimbursement becoming reportable as compensation on the payee’s W-2 in accordance with IRS publication 463.

Purchase Cards

In order to gather data on travel for future analysis and to provide a convenience to employees, frequent travelers are provided with and requested to use College sponsored purchase cards. It is the responsibility of the employee to follow the month-end expense reporting guidelines and out-of-pocket expense reimbursement guidelines for the College issued purchase card as explained in the Purchase Card Policy and Procedures. Employees provided with College purchase cards should use them instead of personal credit cards.

Allowable Expenses

  • Commercial Air Travel – Expenses are reimbursed on the basis of the actual cost incurred by the traveler using normally traveled routes. The lowest airfare should take precedence over frequent flyer programs. Original boarding passes are required for reimbursement, or in the case of E-tickets, a copy of the itinerary. Frequent flier mileage accrues to the employee, not the College, in recognition of the time spent by the employee traveling outside of normal business hours and often on nights and weekends. Fees for benefits such as early boarding and extended legroom may be reimbursed with prior approval from the traveler’s supervisor. A breakdown of cost should be included with each request.
  • Bus, Train, Taxi, and Limousine Service – A receipt should be requested to document these expenses. Limousine service to and from airports should only be used when other means of transportation are not practical or available.
  • Car Rentals – Car rentals should be limited to situations where other means of transportation are not practical, economical, or available. Travelers are encouraged to choose compact or mid-sized cars whenever possible. Travelers should use a College purchase card for car rentals, which includes the collision damage waiver option otherwise offered through the rental company. Employees should ensure they are on the approved drivers list for the College prior to a trip by contacting the Treasurer’s Office.
  • Lodging – Travelers are encouraged to choose standard accommodations at reasonably priced hotels or motels. Travelers attending conferences may choose the accommodations specified by the conference sponsors. Original itemized receipts are required for reimbursement. Business related telephone calls are reimbursable expenses.
  • Conference Registration – Original receipts or proof of prepayment are required for reimbursement.
  • Meals and Incidentals – Travelers may be reimbursed for allowable meals and incidentals, which include gratuities, luggage handling, and hotel housekeeping, incurred during College related travel. The College provides two methods for reimbursement of meals and incidentals: actual cost or per diem rate, in accordance with the federal per diem rates established by the U.S. General Services Administration. To view the current meal and incidental (M&I) rates by travel location, please click here.

Note: Additional restrictions and limitation may apply to reimbursement requests from a grant fund. Federal regulations prohibit reimbursement of any expenditure for alcoholic beverages with federal funds.

  • Personal Vehicle Use – If a personal vehicle is used for College related travel, the traveler is eligible for mileage reimbursement. The College reimburses actual mileage using the IRS approved mileage reimbursement rate. When using your own personal vehicle for business, your personal automobile insurance coverage is the primary automobile insurance coverage. The College’s automobile coverage is secondary and will provide excess automobile liability coverage in the event of third party claims. No comprehensive or collision coverage is provided for your personal auto by the College’s insurance.

Note: When choosing between driving or flying for business travel, the College pays for the most economical form of transportation, absent extenuating circumstances.

  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses – Should employees incur reimbursable out-of-pocket travel expenses or purchases, the current credit card reporting system has the option of managing the reporting and reimbursement of these transactions. Employees are encouraged to sign up for this option (see Procurement Card Policy and Procedures for specific guidelines).

Non-Allowable Expenses

  • Personal entertainment expenses (movies, sports outings, conference entertainment activities)
  • Valet parking, unless the hotel or conference venue prohibits guests from parking their own vehicles
  • Traffic and/or parking violation fees
  • Repairs to personal vehicles used for College related travel
  • Travel accident insurance premiums
  • Expenses incurred by failure to cancel transportation or hotel reservations
  • Home to office travel
  • Laundry service
  • Snacks, gum, bottled water, coffee, and personal items
  • Interest on personal credit cards
  • Spouse or other family member expenses
  • Meals for same-day travel*

Absent extenuating circumstances, exceptions are generally not allowed.

*Same day travel begins and ends on the same day; for example, attending a local one-day seminar.

Payment Requests

In addition to the travel expense report, a request for check and supporting documentation (itemized receipts, boarding passes, etc.) must be submitted for reimbursement of travel expenses (see Payment and Purchasing Policy). As noted above, a reimbursement request should be submitted on a timely basis; normally not more than two weeks after expenses were paid or incurred. Failure to submit these expenses within 60 days of occurrence will result in the reimbursement becoming reportable as compensation on the payee’s W-2 in accordance with IRS publication 463.

Cancelled or Postponed Trips

Travelers who are unable to honor a reservation shall be responsible for canceling the reservation in compliance with the cancellation terms established by the hotel, airline, etc. The traveler must return any refundable deposits to the College. Charges or lost refunds resulting from failure to cancel reservations shall not be reimbursed unless the traveler can show that such failure was the result of circumstances beyond the traveler’s control. The traveler shall be responsible for promptly returning any unused or partially used transportation ticket.

A non-refundable airline ticket associated with a cancelled trip must be used for the employee’s next business related trip. Unused tickets may not be used for personal travel.

Travel advances must be returned immediately if an authorized trip is cancelled or indefinitely postponed.

Forms:

Travel Report

Mileage Reimbursement