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General Travel Information

Policy
Purpose: 

Provide general instructions for University travelers

Applies to: 

All University departments and offices

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

Reimbursement for the expense of travel is governed by:

  1. The laws and regulations of the State;
  2. Regulations of the Board of Regents; and
  3. Policies of the University.

Department chairpersons, research supervisors, and the heads of divisions, bureaus, and offices are responsible for regulation of travel for their respective units. All expense reimbursements for international and domestic travel are made in the travel and expense module, and must be approved electronically by authorized approver.

Travel outside the state must be authorized within the travel and expense module by the Dean, Director, or their designee before the trip is started. Requests for out-of-state travel, except those from the Graduate Travel Fund, are to be made to the appropriate Dean or University Director 30 days in advance. Requests for grants from the Graduate Travel Fund are to be made 30 days in advance on application forms regularly supplied to all members of the graduate faculty by the Graduate School. An out-of-state trip commences upon departure from one's official station and concludes upon return to official station; therefore, dates authorized must include the in-state part of out-of-state trips.

When travelers discover that the conditions are going to change the information originally submitted on a travel authorization, the authorization must be cancelled and a new one created. A new request is required when:

  • Departure date or return date changes
  • The destination changes
  • Additional stopover locations are added

The university reimburses employees for travel expenses incurred on a trip within the state only when travelers are on official university business and when the travelers’ departments have funds budgeted for this purpose. All reimbursement claims must be made within 30 days of the travel end date, but in no event more than 60 days from the travel end date.  Reimbursement claims submitted by employees after 60 days will be processed as a taxable fringe benefit.  No expenses can be reimbursed until travel is complete.

In general, faculty members are expected to attend state association meetings at their own expense. However, if staff members plan to present part of the program at such a meeting, or to attend a special conference as the representative of the university, they should submit a request for reimbursement, in writing and in advance, to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Faculty members who plan to present in person, either a research paper which will likely be published, or a paper especially requested by the president or secretary of the society or the editor-in-chief of its official journal, should apply for reimbursement to the Office of the Graduate School. Except for travel by private car (where two or more authorized travelers desire to travel together so that mileage can be paid), the maximum graduate travel grant is equivalent to the actual cost of transportation.

  1. Travel associated with research and development projects which are funded by at least 50% non state funds: This section includes travel which is funded at least 50% by an external sponsor (KU funds 0702-0715).
  2. Travel authorizations must be completed for all out-of-state and foreign travel.  Travel authorizations must be approved in advance by the appropriate chairperson, dean, or principal investigator.
  3. The use of a state designated travel agency is not required.
  4. Meal & incidental expense reimbursements will be based on federal per diem rates by location.  Current federal rates are available at www.gsa.gov/perdiem
  5. Mileage will be reimbursed at either the State of Kansas standard rate if using state funds (003 – 899) or the IRS standard rate if using KU Center for Research funds (900-998).
  6. Lodging will be reimbursed at actual cost.
  7. Travel reimbursement must adhere to any special constraints imposed by the sponsoring agency. Travel reimbursement will be accomplished through regular state travel reimbursement procedures. Reimbursement requests must include an appropriate reference to K.S.A. 76-770.
  8. Purpose of travel must be stated on the reimbursement request.

No advances of state funds for travel expenses can be made except for travel where a staff member must pay expenses for a group of students. Advances are available for travel funded from KU Center for Research funds (900-998) and must be processed through KU Research Business Services.

Claims for travel expense reimbursement for out-of-state trips may be made immediately upon completion of the trip. All in-state trips chargeable to the same account number can be listed on one reimbursement and submitted for payment immediately after the close of the month in which travel was undertaken, except in June. In June, fiscal year-end deadlines apply.

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

The purpose of a trip must be listed on the travel reimbursement. The department chairperson, or principal investigator for a sponsored project, must approve all reimbursement via the travel and expense module.

Fees paid for driving state owned vehicles on the Kansas Turnpike will be reimbursed upon the completion of travel expense report. Fees paid for driving privately owned vehicles on the Kansas Turnpike will be reimbursed.  Parking fees at a transportation terminal can be paid. Fees paid for driving a rental car on the Kansas Turnpike can be claimed by including them in the travel reimbursement. These fees must be supported by receipts, if available.

No payment or reimbursement for any special conveyance (i.e., rental car, etc.) will be allowed unless the rental thereof is justified for the use of the special conveyance instead of public transportation either as most economical for the state or as the only suitable transportation available for the trip undertaken. Failure to present suitable justification for the rental of a special conveyance may result in a reduction in the amount of any repayment to the equivalent local air, rail, bus fare, or private car mileage rate for the official mileage from origin to destination and return. State regulations contemplate the use of state owned vehicles where available and appropriate, public transportation, privately owned vehicles and, lastly, rental conveyances in that order. Reimbursement for the use of a private automobile, plane, motorcycle, or specially equipped vans for the physically handicapped cannot exceed the established mileage rate for private vehicles for the official mileage between origin and destination and return.

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

  1. Staff members 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. Claims for reimbursement must be included as subsistence (125180, 125280, or 125380). Students' names must be listed on the reimbursement except that, if the group numbers more than 10, the group is to be identified. A student who has a payroll appointment and is traveling in connection with duties as an employee is expected to submit for reimbursement.
  2. State employees sharing a room. One employee may claim the entire room charge; however the two reimbursements must be cross-referenced.

Original receipts are required for all items not covered by the meal allowance. Photocopies of receipts are not acceptable except when the original receipt has been lost or destroyed or had to be turned over to the federal government for partial payment. Although "other suitable evidential matter" may be substituted in limited exceptional circumstances, when it becomes absolutely necessary to use the "other evidential matter" provision, it must be in the form of a letter setting forth the circumstances (including efforts to obtain the required receipts) and a statement that the claim represents a true and actual claim in accordance with the travel regulations. Receipts are required for transportation, registration fees, and all expenses of students; airline receipts; the lodging establishment receipt; and a receipt for meals when a state employee is claiming reimbursement for the expenses of students. Credit card receipts and canceled checks cannot be used to claim reimbursements. Registration fees can be paid by the traveler or reimbursement claimed by the submission of a receipt and travel expense report. Registration fees can also be paid in advance by the use of a Procurement Card.

Travelers must indicate for any registration fee or conference fee whether or not meals or lodging are included. If meals or lodging are included and an amount is shown on the receipt for these items, this amount must be deducted. If an amount is not shown on the receipt, the meal allowance must be deducted for meals provided to an employee at no cost as follows on the Payables website:

Border cities are all cities within 200 miles of the Kansas border.

A travel authorization is required for all reimbursements to border cities, unless mileage only is being claimed. If only mileage is being claimed, then it is coded as in-state travel. Otherwise it is treated as out-of-state travel.

Examples:

  1. An employee picks up a speaker from the Kansas City airport, and submits a reimbursement for mileage – No travel authorization is required. Uses in-state expenditure accounts.
  2. An employee attends a conference in Kansas City and submits reimbursement for mileage and registration – Travel authorization is required. Treated as out-of-state travel. Uses out-of-state expenditure accounts.

Generally, reimbursement for air travel is limited to tourist or economy class. However, for individual flight segments of four hours or more, the traveler may opt for an expanded leg room seat at University expense. Otherwise, the traveler must enter a statement on the reimbursement voucher identifying the class of travel used and if the class is other than tourist or coach air fare the traveler must deduct an amount equal to the excess over the cost of these fares. However, if a trip to be undertaken is by a route or on a flight where tourist or coach class is not available, the traveler can submit a statement, signed by the travel agent, certifying that no "regular" accommodations were available. This statement must accompany the reimbursement upon which the fare is claimed.

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

Local Transportation Receipts Not Required

Receipt requirements for local transportation have historically been determined based on what the company providing the service chooses to call their business. For example, a shuttle in Seattle might be the equivalent of a taxi in Houston. Often when travelers ask for a receipt for local transportation, they are given a “blank” receipt with the driver’s signature or the company's rubber stamp. The traveler completes the receipt by filling in the amount of the fare. Since the traveler often completes these receipts rather than the driver, and the traveler is ultimately responsible for claiming only true and actual expenses, the receipt requirement for local transportation will be eliminated. This is intended to eliminate confusion for the traveler regarding receipt requirements for local transportation.

Airfare in lieu of mileage calculation - what should be used as the “airfare” comparison rate?

Mileage to KCI (RT) + parking + airfare available at time out-of-state travel request is signed + transportation from airport to hotel or meeting site. Take the lesser of the two when reimbursing an employee driving a privately owned vehicle rather than using the fastest public transportation.

Contact: 

Office of the Comptroller
comptroller@ku.edu
Ph: 785-864-3066
Fax: 785-864-5829

Procurement Services, Payables
payables@ku.edu
Ph: 785-864-3790
Fax: 785-864-3454

Approved by: 
Comptroller, University of Kansas
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
Review, Approval & Change History: 

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).

October 2013: Updated to include references to Payables, update the reimbursement process, and to add link to KUMC Travel Audit.

May 2012: Updated to provide for purchase of expanded leg room seats on flight segments of four hours or more.

August 2011: Updated for FY2012

07/01/2010: Updated for FY2011

Financial Categories: 
Travel

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