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Travel Policies and Procedures


Travel Policies


Adopted by Augustana College: August, 2008
Revised August 20,2010; June 13, 2011
 



Table of Contents

1.0    OVERVIEW
2.0    Travel Policies 
2.1    P-Card (Purchasing Card) 
2.2    Reimbursable expenses 
2.2.1 Personal Autos 
2.2.2 Rental Cars
2.2.3 Bus, Train, Taxis and Limousine Service
2.2.4 Commercial Air Travel
2.2.5 Lodging

2.2.6 Miscellaneous Expenses
2.2.7 Expenses of Authorized Visitors
2.2.8 Meals and Incidentals
2.3    Actual Cost Reimbursement

2.4    Per Diem Reimbursement
2.4.1 Foreign Per Diem Rates
2.5    Non Reimbursable

2.6    Travel Advances  

 


1.0 OVERVIEW 

In Authentically Augustana: A Strategic Plan for a Premier Liberal Arts College, Augustana College commits itself to conducting its affairs "in a manner befitting a good institutional citizen," and includes among its specific goals the implementation of "best practices" in such areas as purchasing.  While the following policies and procedures certainly do much to promote the best interests of the institution, they likewise represent a critical safeguard for those who engage in purchasing on Augustana's behalf.  These policies are intended to provide employees with a resource they can reference in ensuring the most effective processes for purchasing are shared by colleagues across the campus.  Thank you for your attention to these important guidelines.
 
--Steve Bahls, President of Augustana College

2.0 Travel Policies - Introduction

The purpose of these guidelines is to establish standards and procedures in order to reduce travel costs while complying with Federal regulations regarding reimbursement for business expense. The guidelines are designed to ensure consistency and fair treatment for members of the Augustana community whose travel will be reimbursed or paid for by the College and for visitors (speakers, candidates) whose travel is at Augustana expense. This policy applies to all travel regardless of the source of the funds.

This policy will assist in the following: 
* Identifying reimbursable versus non-reimbursable expenditures.
* Clarifying responsibility for controlling and reporting travel and entertainment costs.
* Identifying required documentation.

Travel expenses incurred while on Augustana College business will be paid for by the College if the expenses are reasonable, properly approved and documented. College approved travelers who incur such expenses should neither lose nor gain personal funds as a result.

This statement covers reimbursement for transportation, auto mileage, auto rentals, hotel lodging, meals, gratuities, tolls and parking, telephone calls, and other miscellaneous expenses.

It also details the documentation required, as well as describing travel advance procedures and the authorizations needed for reimbursement.

Note: If travel expenses are to be charged to a grant or contract sponsored by an outside agency, the requirements of the outside agency prevails if they are more restrictive than the College's travel policies.

In general, travelers should make necessary travel arrangements (air travel, ground travel, hotel accommodations) through the college's designated travel agency.

2.1 P-Card (Purchasing Card)

An employee who frequently travels on college-related business is encouraged to use a College P-card to pay for business and travel expenses.

Individuals are personally liable for the expenses until valid receipts are presented for proper reimbursement. Receipts should be held until statement arrives and the employee's department should compare the receipts to the statements, reconcile online, and forward the receipts and the statement to the Accounts Payable Supervisor.   

Please note that the P-card is not to be used for personal expenditures.

If an employee desires a P-card, the program director should contact the Director of Purchasing. 

2.2 Reimbursable expenses

Actual reasonable expenses will be reimbursed subject to the limits set forth in these guidelines.

All requests for reimbursements of travel related expenses must be submitted on properly completed College forms.
 

2.2.1 Personal Automobiles

The use of a personal automobile is discouraged, except for regional travel. (For regional travel beyond 100 miles in a 24 hour period, it is generally more cost effective to use a rental car rather than your personal vehicle.) Personal vehicle travel shall be reimbursed at a stated IRS rate in effect at the time of travel. Normally, the College adopts the IRS standard reimbursement rate for personal auto use, for fuel, insurance, depreciation, and any other costs of usage. Parking and tolls should be itemized separately and receipts should be included. Reimbursement should not exceed the cost of commercial transportation, where available. For two or more persons traveling together in the same vehicle, only one person will be reimbursed for mileage.

2.2.2  Rental Cars


Automobile 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. The College has discount agreements with major automobile rental agencies. Detailed information can be obtained from the Purchasing Office. The Loss Damage Coverage (LDW) and/or Personal Accident (PAI) or Additional Liability Insurance (ALI) should be declined when renting a car. The College maintains comprehensive, collision and liability insurance on all vehicles rented or leased for official business. It is preferable to enter "Augustana College" as well as the individual's signature on the rental forms. If a rented vehicle is involved in an accident, the employee must notify the College within 24 hours, in addition to notifying the car rental agency. Reimbursable costs include the daily rental fee, gasoline charges, parking and tolls.  Original receipts are required for reimbursement.
Note: Travelers should refill gas tanks before returning the vehicles. Rental companies levy a charge for refueling, far more than the price of gas. Avoid drop charges by returning the vehicle to the renting location. Compare the cost of air travel versus driving and drop charge.
 

2.2.3 Bus, Train, Taxis and Limousine Service


A receipt should be requested to document these expenses. Indicate on the receipt the starting and ending point for the trip, date and a brief description of the purpose of the trip. Limousine service to and from airports should only be used when other means of transportation are not practical or available.

2.2.4 Commercial Air Travel

Commercial air travel expense is reimbursed on the basis of the actual cost incurred by the traveler using normally traveled routes. All College approved travel should be at the most economical rates, not first or business class. Travelers are expected to take the least costly fare offered that realistically meets scheduling needs.  Booking flights at least 30 days in advance is encouraged to avoid premium airfare pricing.  All attempts to be flexible in selection of airlines and flight times are encouraged for expense savings.
The last page of an original airline ticket, called the "passenger receipt", is required for reimbursement, or in the case of E-tickets, the receipt provided or the ticket itinerary from the travel agent.
Personal "Frequent Flyer miles" earned while on a business trip may be kept by employees. However air carrier selection cannot be biased by any traveler's frequent flyer affiliation.  The lowest cost air travel should take precedence over frequent flyer programs.
When free tickets are awarded for group travel, these tickets must be forwarded to the Purchasing Office for College use.

2.2.5 Lodging


Travelers are strongly encouraged to use standard accommodations at reasonably priced mid-market hotels or motels. Requests should be made for educational discounts or business traveler's rates. Original itemized hotel receipts are required for reimbursement. The College does not approve accommodations at up market or luxury hotels (Ritz, Four Seasons, etc.) However, an exception is made when a conference, workshop, or other college business is scheduled at a luxury or upscale hotel.  Pre-approval for luxury accommodations is required for reimbursement.
 

2.2.6 Miscellaneous Expenses

Miscellaneous reimbursable expenses include business telephone calls, and charges for baggage handling, storage and tips (maximum of $20 per day).
 Conference Registration
Original receipts or proof of payment are required accompanied by a requisition for reimbursement. Prepayment registration can be arranged through the Accounts Payable office.
 

2.2.7 Expenses of Authorized Visitors


Departments may authorize reimbursement to official visitors for expenses incurred in connection with their travel to Augustana. The College Travel Policy as well as reimbursement procedures as authorized in this document should be followed, unless waived by the Director of Purchasing.
 

2.2.8 Meals and Incidentals


Augustana College will reimburse a traveler for allowable meal and incidental expenses incurred during College-related travel. The College provides two distinct methods for reimbursement of meals and incidentals; actual cost and per diem.
Incidental expenses include fees and tips for persons providing services, such as food servers, hotel housekeeping and luggage handlers. Incidental expenses do not include ground transportation, telephone calls or laundry.

2.3 Actual Cost Reimbursement

Actual Cost Reimbursement is the preferred method of reimbursement and is to be utilized by the majority of employee travel including admissions, development and athletics.  The College will generally reimburse travelers for three meals a day. On the days of travel to or from the destination, the individual's departure and return times should determine whether a meal was incurred during the period of travel. Meal and incidental reimbursement for single day travel is allowed if an employee is traveling more than 45 miles from the College.

Total meal expense, assuming three meals, should not exceed $60 in a metropolitan area and $40 in non-metropolitan areas. All restaurant receipts are required when the total meal expenses for the day exceed such limits.

Individual meals over $40 should include justification, including a statement of who attended the meal and reason for extraordinary expense.

The College will not reimburse for gratuities that are greater than the accepted standards. Currently, the domestic standard is 15-20% of the total bill; international standards may vary.

In cases of reimbursement requests for business meals for others (e.g. additional guests) reimbursement will be made on the actual cost basis. Indicate on the receipt the name(s) of those at the meal and the purpose of the meal.

Note: If reimbursement is requested from grant funds, additional restrictions and limitation may apply as stipulated by the grant. In such cases, refer to the terms and conditions of the grant. Federal regulations prohibit reimbursement of any expenditure for alcoholic beverages with federal funds.

2.4 Per Diem Reimbursement

Receipts and detailed documentation are not required when requesting reimbursement of meals and incidentals using the per-diem option. The following apply using the meal and incidentals per-diem method of reimbursement:
 Domestic Per Diem Rates

At the Program Director's discretion, students may receive a per diem rate for food.

2.4.1 Foreign Per Diem Rates


Food may be reimbursed on a per diem basis while on foreign travel. For per-diem rates for foreign travel the College refers to guidelines for per diem rates as established by the U.S. Department of State by country and locality. These rates can be found at: http://www.state.gov/m/a/als/prdm/c16476.htm
Because rates for specific localities may change as often as every two months, the traveler must be careful to ensure that the applied rate is appropriate to the actual dates of travel.


2.5 Non Reimbursable


The following categories of expenses are not deemed to be necessary to College travel and are therefore non-reimbursable:
* Personal entertainment expenses (movies, games, health club, golf outings, and other optional conference activities not included in the general conference fee)
* Travel accident insurance premiums
* Costs incurred by failure to cancel transportation or hotel reservations
* Traffic and/or parking violation fines
* Repairs to personal vehicles used for College travel
* Spouse or other family member expenses, unless authorized in advance by the College
* Commuting costs between home and the College
* Laundry service (unless the trip is longer than 5 days)

2.6 Travel Advances

When necessary, an advance of funds may be obtained from Accounting Payable for authorized travel purposes, by submitting a properly completed Check Request Form at least one week prior to travel. These forms are available in the office of Accounts Payable or upon request by calling ext. 7351. 

Cash advances for airfare and lodging are not allowed; rather airfare and lodging must be prepaid with use of a P-card, prepaid through the Accounts Payable Office or reimbursed upon return. 

No more than three travel advances may be outstanding at any one time to an individual.

A travel Expense Report properly completed and signed must be submitted to the Accounts Payable office within one week of the conclusion of the trip. Settlement for additional funds due to, or from, the College, is to be made at this time. Original receipts for actual expenditures are required. If funds are due to you, submit a travel expense report with a requisition to the Accounts Payables office. If funds are due Augustana, deliver your travel expense report with payment (check or cash) to the Accounts Payable.

Preferred Travel Agencies

As they become available preferred travel agencies are listed on the College Purchasing website.