East Tennessee State University
Financial Procedures 


FP - 7


The following policy applies to the travel of all employees of the university in the performance of their official duties. Provisions of this policy also may apply to individuals other than employees who are authorized to travel at university expense. Authorization for travel will not be granted and expenses will not be reimbursed unless the travel is made and reimbursement claimed in accordance with this policy and any approved exceptions hereto. Procurement cards may be used for the payment of registration fees and required advance payments for airline or hotel payments. Procurement cards may not be used for expenses incurred during actual travel time.

This policy and specific reimbursement rates for travel expenses allowed under this policy shall be consistent with those of the Comprehensive Travel Regulations of the State of Tennessee.


I.      General Provisions
Authorization of Travel
   Miscellaneous Expenses
Corporate Card

       Links to Exhibits 

I. General Provisions

A. No authorization for travel by an employee shall be granted, and no reimbursement for travel expenses shall be made, except in accordance with the provisions of these policies and procedures. Reimbursement for travel expenses shall be limited to expenses incurred upon travel authorized in advance (Travel Authorization Request Form - Exhibit 7.B) in accordance with Section II.

B. Travel which may be authorized, and pursuant to which expenses may be reimbursed, shall be limited to the following:

1.      Travel which is necessary for the proper execution of official University business, or in justifiable pursuit of the University's educational and research objectives; or

2.      Travel to meetings and conferences of a professional nature which will increase the attending employee's usefulness to the University.

C. Travel shall not include, and no reimbursement for expenses shall be made for, transportation in connection with an employee's official station of employment. The employee's "official station" is his or her regular area of employment activity, e.g., campus, or designated location of an employee established in the field. The official station of an employee shall be designated by the appointing authority. It is normally expected that the official station is that location at which the employee spends the major portion of his or her working time. For an employee required to be on call (as determined by his or her job description), either overnight or on weekends, the official station of the employee while on call becomes his or her residence, or the location at which the employee receives the call. Reimbursable mileage begins at the location at which the employee receives the call.

D. The employee is considered to be on official travel status, and as such, eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses, at the time of departure from the employee's official station or residence, whichever is applicable, for the purpose of traveling on University business. Expenses for meals and lodging will be allowed when overnight travel or occasional excessive hours of work are required outside the county of the employee's official station of residence.

En route lodging will be allowed for only one day each way on trips of long duration. Expenses for lodging will only be allowed in cases where the approved and most direct or expeditious mode of travel will require more than ten (10) hours of continuous travel for trips of long duration. The lodging expense will not be considered en route lodging if it does not add an additional day of lodging expense. For example: An employee has a 9:00 a.m. meeting in Atlanta. Assume the employee needs to work a full day prior to the trip. It would be less expensive and more convenient to drive rather than fly. The employee leaves the night before and drives to within two hours of Atlanta. Then the employee spends the night, continues the drive the next morning and arrives for the 9:00 a.m. meeting. This will be reimbursed but is not considered en route lodging as it did not add an additional day of lodging expense to the normal travel expenses.

E. The limitations on travel expenses contained herein are maximum amounts above which reimbursement will not be made. Employees are expected to be as conservative as possible in incurring travel expenses.

F. Reimbursement for travel expenses shall only be allowed for actual expenses incurred, subject to the maximum limitations cited in Exhibit 7.F. and Exhibit 7.G. Original receipts must accompany claims for reimbursement for all expenses exceeding the amount cited on Exhibit 7.F. and Exhibit 7.G with the exception of meals, taxi fares, tolls, and ferry fees, which require no receipt. Lodging receipts are required and must itemize room charges and taxes. No expenses shall be reimbursed until after travel has been completed.

G. When using websites (such as Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, Hotwire.com, etc.) to make travel arrangements using package deals, documentation is required for each specific item included in the package such as airfare, hotel, and rental car. Documentation should be provided to substantiate the conformance with set rates as established in CONUS and in the general travel policy. If such documentation cannot be obtained from the website or vendors, the employee is responsible for comparing the package price to the separate coach airfare rates, hotel rates (as allowed by CONUS/ conference rate) and vehicle rental rates and providing documentation to reflect that the package price is less expensive than fares allowed individually. When the website documentation is not sufficiently detailed, a signed statement by the employee (along with documentation from separate coach airfare rates, hotel rates, etc.) referencing the comparison above is to be attached to the travel claim to certify that a reasonable effort was made to procure the best price for the university. The employee is responsible for abiding by rates as approved by TBR.

H. Procurement cards may be used for travel expenses for team/group travel as approved by the procurement card administrator.
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II. Authorization of Travel

Approving Authorities

All employees must obtain prior written authorization to travel in accordance with the approval requirements contained in FP-20. The authorization must show the name of the person traveling, purpose of the trip, destinations, date of departure and return, mode of transportation, estimated expenses and availability of funds. Employees whose employment requires frequent local area travel may obtain blanket authorization in writing for such travel.
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III. Transportation

A. General

All travel must be by the most direct or expeditious route possible and any employee who travels by indirect route must bear any extra expense occasioned thereby. When work is performed by an employee en route to or from the official station, reimbursable mileage is computed by deducting the employee's normal commuting mileage from the actual mileage driven in performing the work in route to or from the official station. For example, if an employee normally commutes 10 miles (20 miles round trip), and performs work on the way home from the official station which results in 12 miles driven, the mileage reimbursement will be for 2 miles only, as that is the amount of mileage in excess of the employee's normal commute. In no instance shall mileage claimed for reimbursement exceed actual miles traveled.

B. Mode of Transportation

Transportation for employees traveling singly should be by common carrier (air, train, or bus) whenever practical. The use of air travel is recommended when time is an important factor or when the trip is so long that other methods of travel would increase the subsistence expense. Automobile transportation may be used to save time when common carrier transportation cannot be satisfactorily scheduled or to reduce expenses when two or more employees are making the trip. Employees who have approval to drive rather than fly on long trips will be reimbursed for two day's meals and one day's lodging in route to the destination and similarly on return to campus. Reimbursement for personal vehicle use may be claimed at the standard mileage rate provided that the cost of such reimbursement is less than comparable use of commercial transportation including taxi fares and/or limousine charges.

C. Common Carrier Travel

When travel is by common carrier, the fare must not exceed the regular tourist fare charged the general public, and advantage must be taken of round trip rates when available. The employee's copy of the ticket, or an acceptable receipt, must be submitted for reimbursement of common carrier expenses.

D. Chartered Aircraft

Generally, faculty and staff (including group travel and athletics) whose duties require travel will use commercial ground and air carriers or a university vehicle.  However, a chartered aircraft may be used if time and/or distance preclude ground travel or if a commercial air service is either unavailable or does not meet the needs of the traveler(s).  The following guidelines apply:

1. The Vice President for Finance and Administration will be responsible for:

a. reviewing and approving requests for charter air services,
b. scheduling charter flights, and
c. informing those who request charter flights of the charter company’s policy on canceling scheduled flights.

2. Charter services will be obtained only when it can be shown that the charter does not exceed the sum of all traveling costs by commercial carrier (e.g. transportation, meals, and lodging) or that circumstances necessitate travel when no other means is available.

3. The charter company must provide the institution with an original, itemized invoice showing the beginning and ending dates of the charter, the origin and destination of each flight, and the names of passengers on each flight.

E. Travel by Personal Vehicle

When travel by personal vehicle is appropriate, employees may use state-owned vehicles whenever available and feasible. However, state-owned vehicles should be used only on official business.

1. State-owned vehicles - When transportation is by a state-owned vehicle, all necessary repair bills, tolls, parking, gasoline and storage expenses are allowable. When using motor pool vehicles, employees will be furnished with courtesy cards for purchase of gasoline, oil, and other vehicle services, and such expenses should not be claimed by employees as travel expenses. Emergency out-of-pocket expenses, such as towing or emergency repairs, will be reimbursed but must be accompanied by proper receipt identifying the vehicle and itemizing the services. Such expenditures must be of an emergency nature where immediate service is required and access to a state facility is not possible. Major repairs should be approved by campus officials prior to work being performed. Such expenditures are allowed but should be filed or reimbursement separately.

2. Personally-owned vehicles - Use of a personally-owned vehicle must be authorized. Mileage reimbursement rates are provided on Exhibit 7.H. The authorized mileage allowance includes all operating expenses such as gas, oil, and repairs precluding any separate claim for such items.

3. The travel claim must indicate the employee's itinerary and must show the official business mileage. Business mileage as indicated in the Rand-McNally mileage table or the official State map will be regarded as official. Vicinity mileage must be reported on a separate line and not included with point-to-point mileage. Only mileage while on official business may be claimed.

4. Necessary charges for hotel and airport parking will be allowed provided that airport parking fees do not exceed normal taxi fare to and from the airport or the cost of two round trips in the employee's personal vehicle. Receipts must be furnished on airport and hotel parking.

F. Limousine and Taxi Service

When travel is by common carrier, reasonable limousine and taxi fares will be allowed for necessary transportation. Bus or limousine service to and from airports will be used when available and practical. After arrival at destination, necessary taxi fares for traveling between hotel or lodging and meeting or conference will be allowed. No receipt is required for reimbursement of reasonable taxi fares.

G. Vehicle Rentals at Destination

Charges for vehicle rental shall be allowed whenever it is more economical than alternative methods of transportation or it is the only practical means of transportation. Charges for insurance and navigations systems for rented vehicles are not reimbursable. Whenever possible, employees should refuel before returning vehicles to the rental agency.

H. Tolls and Ferry Fees

Reasonable tolls and ferry fees will be allowed when necessary. No receipt is required for reimbursement of tolls and ferry fees.

I. Daily Parking Fees

Daily parking fees for those employees working in downtown offices will not be allowed. However, if an employee is required to leave his or her office on state business and later returns, the actual additional charge required to park will be reimbursed up to the maximum indicated (see Exhibit 7.F or Exhibit 7.G). Also, those employees required to utilize commercial parking facilities in the daily performance of duties, or while on travel status, will be allowed reimbursement for actual costs up to the maximum indicated per day. A receipt is required if the fee exceeds the maximum indicated in Exhibit 7.F or Exhibit 7.G). Valet parking is not a reimbursable expense.

J. Unnecessary meals and lodging expenses which are occasioned by the use of an vehicle for reasons of the employee's personal convenience, or which are due to travel by an indirect route, will not be allowed.

K. If travel is by common carrier, the employee will be reimbursed for expenses in traveling to and from the common carrier including but not limited to the reasonable cost of one of the following options, whichever is less:

1. one round trip taxi fare, or

2. parking of the employee's personal vehicle at the location of the common carrier, plus mileage of one round trip, or

3. mileage of two round trips in the employee's personal vehicle (subject to a 200 mile maximum for two round trips).

Receipts must be furnished on airport and hotel parking exceeding maximum parking allowance in Exhibit 7.F or Exhibit 7.G.
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IV. Lodging

A. In-State Lodging

Lodging expenses incurred within the State while on authorized travel will be reimbursable to the maximum stated in Exhibit 7.F.

B. Out-of-State Lodging

Lodging expenses incurred out of the State while on authorized travel will be reimbursable to a maximum stated in Exhibit 7.G. En route lodging will be allowed for only one day each way on trips of long duration. En route lodging will only be allowed in cases where the approved and most direct or expeditious mode of travel will require more than ten (10) hours of continuous travel. See Section I.D. for explanation of en route lodging expenses.

C. Additional Lodging Expenses

Sales taxes on lodging costs will be reimbursable. Equipment handling fees will be allowed up to the maximum indicated on Exhibit 7.F and Exhibit 7.G for in-state and out-of-state travel. This charge is not an automatic reimbursement and should be claimed only when an actual expense has been incurred.

Higher rates for lodging at the location of a convention or conference will be allowed, without special approval, up to the amount indicated in the convention or conference website. A printed copy of the online information is to be submitted with the claim for reimbursement. Additional lodging for the president/directors will be approved on the same basis as approval is granted for other employees. Any exceptions must be approved by the Chancellor. The convention or conference brochure which indicates the lodging rates must be included with the travel claim. Otherwise, reimbursement will be limited to the applicable lodging rate as provided in these regulations.

D. Shared Lodging

In the event of double occupancy for university employees on official travel, both employees should attach an explanation to his or her travel claim detailing dates and other employees with whom the room was shared. The lodging cost may be claimed by the employee who incurred the cost, or one half the double occupancy charge may be allowable for each employee. If a room is shared with other than a university employee, actual cost subject to the maximum in Exhibit 7.F and Exhibit 7.G will be allowed. The receipt for the entire amount should be submitted with the travel expense claim.
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V. Meals

A. In-State Meals and Out-of-State Meals

While on authorized travel, actual expenses not to exceed maximum stated in Exhibit 7.F and Exhibit 7.G per day will be allowed for meals. The maximum per diem rates include a fixed allowance for meals and for incidental expenses (M&I). The M&I rate, or fraction thereof, is payable to the traveler without itemization of expenses or receipts. Incidentals are intended to include miscellaneous costs associated with travel such as tips for baggage handling, phone calls home, etc.

Out of Country meals are reimbursed at actual expense with receipts. If no receipts are provided, the maximum rate will be the maximum CONUS rate for Out-of-State travel.

The M&I rates for out-of-state travel are available on the CONUS web site. As with lodging, there is a standard rate for the continental United States, and a list of exceptions. Reimbursement for meals and incidentals for the day of departure shall be three-fourths of the appropriate M&I rate prescribed for the lodging location. Reimbursement for M&I for the day of return shall be three-fourths of the M&I rate applicable to the preceding calendar day.

The breakdown of meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and incidental expenses is available on the CONUS web site. Reimbursement for meals will not be permitted when overnight travel is not involved.

B. Official Banquets

When the expenses for an official banquet of a meeting or conference are in excess of the above limits, the excess will be allowed provided a receipt or other documentation of the charge is submitted.

C. Business Meals

See Financial Procedure FP-21 for criteria on reimbursing business meals.
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VI. Miscellaneous Expenses

A. Personal expenses

Expenses for entertainment (employees or others), laundry, valet service, tips, and gratuities, etc., are personal expenses and will not be reimbursed in excess of the incidental portion of the M&I rate.

B. Electronic Voice and Data Expenses

Charges for long distance telephone calls, internet access, telegrams, and/or fax on official business will be allowed provided a statement is furnished showing the date, the name and location called, and the nature of the business. Charges for necessary local calls on official business will be allowed.

C. Registration Fees

Registration fees for approved conferences, conventions, seminars, meetings etc., will be allowed including cost of official banquets and/or luncheons if authorized in advance by the appropriate approving authority and provided receipts are submitted with the travel claim. Registration fees may be paid in advance after the travel authorization has been approved.

The Procard may be used for payment of conference registrations, workshop registrations and booth/exhibitor fees. The Procard may not be used for CME credits, entertainment, tours, charges for spouses, family members, or students.

D. Handling Fees

Fees for the handling of equipment or promotional materials will be allowed up to the maximum indicated on Exhibit 7.F or Exhibit 7.G.
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VII. Claims

The standard form for claims for travel expenses shall be used for reimbursement of expenses (Exhibit 7.D). The form must show movement and detail of expenses on a daily basis and be signed in ink by the employee. The employee signature must include the full last name of the traveler, and be approved by the employee’s immediate supervisor prior to reimbursement. All signatures on travel claims must be original. Original receipts for appropriate expenses must be attached to the form. Expenses for books, supplies, postage, and other items that do not constitute actual traveling expenses should not be included in the claim form. Claims for reimbursement for travel expenses should be submitted no later than (30) days after completion of the travel.
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VIII. Corporate Card

A. General

The TBR has established a Corporate Card Account for institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Board Office to assist with travel expenses. This is not the same as the University Procurement card.

B. Membership

Corporate Cards are made available to faculty and Professional/ Administrative staff, with the employee’s personally responsible for all amounts charged to the Corporate Card. The Corporate Card application is available in the Financial Services office.

C. Advances

1. Normally, travel expenses should be paid when incurred by an employee, with reimbursement made to the employee for actual expenses upon proper submission of a claim for travel expenses. Advances to employees for anticipated travel expenses in excess of the amount cited on Exhibit 7.F or Exhibit 7.G may be made under the circumstances hereinafter described. All travel advances must be approved by the employee’s appropriate approving authority.

2. Travel advances, permanent or temporary, shall not be issued to:

a. any employee who is issued a Corporate Card, or

b. any employee who is designated but chooses not to apply for a Corporate Card, or

c. any employee who has had his or her Corporate Card cancelled or was refused a card based on the vendor’s credit requirements.

The University may make individual exceptions to the above provisions when the circumstances are determined to warrant such exception.

3. Permanent Travel Advances

When an employee has blanket travel authorization, and is expected to travel the major portion of each month, the employee may be placed upon permanent travel status. Upon determination of the employee's estimated monthly expenses, if such expenses exceed $100, the employee may be provided with a single advance in an amount sufficient to cover such expenses for one month, provided such amount may not exceed the semi-monthly salary of the employee. Subsequent to the initial advance, the employee shall submit appropriate claims and be reimbursed as heretofore provided, with any unused portion of the advance to be returned upon termination of the employee's permanent travel status.

4. Temporary Travel Advances

When temporary travel is authorized for an employee the employee is expected to request reimbursement for their expenses after travel is completed. As an exception to policy, the employee may receive an advance, provided a request for the advance is submitted to the appropriate approving authority with the Travel Authorization Request. Exceptions may be granted by the Associate Vice President Procurement and Contract Services based upon written request for exception for an advance approved by the Dean or Director. An amount equal to 80% of the estimated expenditures will be allowed as an advance, however, no advance less than $100 will be made. Students traveling under individual authorizations or an employee traveling with a student or students who is responsible for disbursing all funds for the trip may be advanced 100% of the amount of the authorization.

5. Payroll Deduction Authorization

Each employee receiving a permanent or temporary travel advance must sign a payroll deduction authorization which will allow the University to recover the advance from any salary owed the employee in the event of termination of employment or failure to submit a travel claim. This deduction from payroll will be used as a last resort only in the event all other efforts to collect the advance have failed.

6. Expense Claim

Upon return, the employee should submit an expense claim detailing his or her actual expenditures within 30 days of the completion of the travel. This claim should show the total expenses incurred. The advanced amount should be subtracted from this total. No advance should exceed actual expenses. If this does happen, however, the excess should be returned by the employee to the Financial Services office for deposit as a credit against the original advance with proper distribution being made of the actual expenses incurred. In the latter instance, the expense account claim should be forwarded to the Travel office with notification to file it with the advance request.

D. Reimbursement

Reimbursement for travel expenses shall only be allowed for actual business expenses incurred, subject to the provisions of Section I.F., and the maximum limitations shown on Exhibit 7.F and Exhibit 7.G.

E. Cancellations

The Tennessee Board of Regents, the University and/or Corporate Card supplier may cancel an employee's Corporate Card at any time. In the event of cancellation of a Corporate Card, the Tennessee Board of Regents or the University shall promptly notify the employee of the cancellation and use its best efforts to obtain the cancelled Corporate Card and return it to the Corporate Card office.

F. Termination

The University shall notify the Corporate Card office if a Corporate Card member's employment is terminated, and the effective date of such action.

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The following forms may be found on the web at http://www.etsu.edu/comptrol/frm.htm.  The attached Exhibits provide additional details on travel procedures. Please refer to your Financial Procedures Manual.

Exhibit 7.A Travel Authorization Request Flowchart

Exhibit 7.B Travel Authorization Request

Exhibit 7.C. Travel Authorization Request Definitions

Exhibit 7.D. Travel Claim 

Exhibit 7.E Travel Claim Definitions

Exhibit 7.F Travel Rates – In State

Exhibit 7.G Travel Rates – Out of State

Exhibit 7.H Mileage Table

Exhibit 7.I Travel Claim Mileage Only

Exhibit 7.J Students Registration Fee Prepayment Request Form

Exhibit 7.K Request for Exception for Travel Advance

Original effective date: April 9, 1982
Revised: September 1, 1989; November 27, 1991; January 2, 1992; March 1, 1994; October 17, 2000; September 21, 2001; November 25, 2002; October 1, 2003; December 18, 2003; March 22, 2004; January 1, 2005; January 20, 2006; December 1, 2007, February 28, 2008

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