Northern Michigan University
Travel Procedures

INITIATED: AUGUST 13, 1998

APPROVED: AUGUST 13, 1998

PURPOSE

To establish procedures pertaining to Travel Expenses for faculty, staff, and students.

APPLICABILITY

All faculty, staff, and students.

PROCEDURE

It is the responsibility of each traveler to obtain approval from their department head, appropriate dean, and/or vice president prior to making any travel plans. Consideration should be given to available department funds, the type of program or activity, and benefits that may be derived for the University. University business travel to destinations that have a warning or advisory issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and/or the state department will need written approval from the traveler’s vice president.

  1. Advisories and Warnings

    Advisories and warnings can be found at the following website:
    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html
  2. Authorization for Travel

    A completed Authorization for Travel form provides the traveler evidence that they are authorized to travel on University business. Motor Pool vehicles or deposits and pre-payment of expenses will not be issued without an approved Authorization for Travel form submitted to Accounts Payable.
  3. Reimbursable Expenses
    1. Transportation

      Reimbursement will be based on travel by the usual direct route for the authorized mode of travel. If by common carrier, the traveler is responsible for making his or her own schedule and reservations.
      1. Common Carrier
        1. Plane fare should be at economy or lowest priced fare. A printed copy of the ticket or itinerary showing payment must be submitted when reconciling expenses.
        2. Many of the major airlines offer incentive programs for frequent flyers whereby the accumulated mileage traveled provides bonuses which can be used for free tickets or other benefits. Because of the difficulty of monitoring or segregating these programs, the University will permit the benefits derived from tickets paid for by the University to accrue to the individual.
      2. Private Vehicle
        1. Faculty and staff members may be authorized to use private vehicles instead of Motor Pool vehicles or common carrier. Mileage will be reimbursed at the established current rate, but should cost the University no more than the common carrier.
        2. When two or more faculty or staff members could drive together but choose to drive separately in private cars, the department head may, at his or her discretion, authorize limited reimbursement for each traveler.
        3. Expenses for gasoline, repairs, towing, etc. are included in the mileage allowance. Expenses for parking, storage, tolls and ferries are separately reimbursable.
        4. Mileage incurred in the vicinity of the destination will be allowed when the vehicle is used for business purposes in the area being visited. This item should be separately shown and clearly described on the Travel Expense Settlement form.
      3. Motor Pool Vehicles
        1. Motor Pool vehicles may be used only in conducting University business by an authorized driver having a valid driver’s license.
        2. Motor Pool vehicles are authorized for a specified trip or specified period of time. It is necessary to submit a new Authorization for Travel form at the end of the specified period for continued use of the vehicle. When a vehicle is authorized for a period of more than one week, the vehicle should be checked in at Motor Pool weekly. Motor Pool reserves the right to assign a different vehicle at that time to best utilize the available fleet. If the traveler refuses the alternate vehicle, his or her departmental account may be charged for unmet minimum mileage.
        3. When a Motor Pool vehicle is used, drivers will be reimbursed for towing and service calls when necessary. Receipts are necessary for reimbursement and are to be submitted as part of the normal Travel Expense Settlement. Towing and service calls required because of the driver’s negligence will not be reimbursed.
        4. State credit cards are available for payment of in-state gas and vehicle expenses (these cards typically are not honored outside of Michigan). For reimbursement of cash expenses, receipts are required showing:
          • Station name and address
          • Number of gallons purchased
          • Total purchase price
          • Car number
          • Traveler’s signature
        5. Motor Pool vehicles are for business use only and may not be used for commuting to and from work.
      4. Rental Vehicles
        1. The use of rental cars is limited to situations where commercial transportation facilities either are not available or their use is impractical. The use of compact cars is preferred.
        2. Rental car expenses must be supported with original receipts.
      5. Charter Air Service

        Charter air service may be authorized when it is to the advantage of the University, measured by comparative travel costs and the time of the travelers.
      6. Private Plane

        Air travel on University business by employee-owned or employee-leased aircraft is prohibited. All University air travel is to be by regularly scheduled airline or University-chartered aircraft.
    2. Meals
      1. Reimbursement for individual meals is at actual, not to exceed maximum allowance.
      2. Reimbursement will not be made for meals included in a conference or meeting fee.
      3. The actual cost of a meal with no maximum is reimbursable if the cost is reasonable and if an employee is entertaining a University guest. Reimbursement requests must include an original receipt, the guest’s name, his or her position, the name of the business or organization he/she is representing, and the business purpose of the meeting.
    3. Lodging

      The actual lodging expenses, as evidence by an original receipt, will be reimbursed. If a hotel or other lodging is shared with one non-University faculty or staff member, reimbursement to the traveler will be at the single room rate. The single room rate should be put on the lodging receipt by the motel or hotel.
    4. Required Receipts

      Only usual business expenses actually incurred, supported by actual receipts (not carbons or photocopies) where required, should be submitted for reimbursement. If extenuating circumstances resulted in altered travel plans or unusual expenses, please explain fully on the Settlement form. Any material variance from the amount authorized (Authorization for Travel form) will require your department’s approval. If certain claimed expenses do not meet the regulations for reimbursement, or if expense receipts show signs of erasures or alterations, the expenses may be deducted from the Settlement or returned to the traveler for further explanation before final processing.
    5. Foreign Currency

      Expenses must be expressed in U.S. dollars, identifying and taking into account the foreign exchange rate or currency difference where necessary.

REFERENCES

None.

INITIATING DEPARTMENT/DIVISION

Controller, ext. 2054

For implementing instructions, please click here: Travel Policies