Travel Policy #310

Policy #310 Approved: February 17, 2011
Travel Policy
Policy #310
Source of Authority: N.C.G.S. §§ 138-5 to 138-7;
N.C.G.S. § 14-247;
State Budget Manual § 5;
N.C.G.S. § 116-34(a);
UNC Code § 502(A)
Revision Authority: Chancellor
History: First Issued: February 17, 2011
Related Policies: Salaries, Fees, & Allowances, N.C.G.S. §§ 138-5 to 138-7;
Private Use of a Publically Owned Vehicle, N.C.G.S. § 14-247;
State Budget Manual § 5;
Accounts Payable Policy #301;
Cash Management Policy #302;
Conflicts of Interest (Employees) Policy #603;
EPA Recruitment Policy #609;
External Activities for Pay Policy #610;
Foundation Funds Use Policy #202;
Improper Activities Reporting Policy #114;
Political Activities Policy #116;
Purchasing Policy #308;
Smoking Policy #703;
Travel & Subsistence Expenses for Applicants Policy #311
Responsible Offices: Financial Services Department
Effective Date: February 17, 2011

I. Purpose

This policy incorporates State law and policy concerning the authorization and reimbursement of expenditures for official State travel.

II. Scope

All University related travel, whether funded from State funds or non-state funds, must conform to the travel rules and regulations stated in this manual.

Non-state employees, including Board of Trustees members, traveling on official University business whose expenses are paid or reimbursed by the University are subject to these policies and procedures, including statutory subsistence allowances, to the same extent as are University employees.

III. Definitions

A. “Employee’s Duty Station” means the headquarters or job location at which the employee spends the majority of his or her working hours. For an employee in travel status, the duty station should be the point where traveling begins the majority of the time (home or office). The designation of an employee’s home as the duty station requires the approval by the Chancellor and the Office of State Budget and Managements (OSBM) on an annual basis.

B. “Employee Training” means courses that develop an employee’s knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the duties of his/her present job. These courses generally have a set fee, are of relatively short duration, and are not part of a curriculum in leading to an education degree.

C. “Excess Lodging” means any amount over the maximum rates for in-state and out-of-state lodging under the State’s General Guidelines for Reimbursement.

D. “External Conferences” means those conferences that involve the attendance of persons other than employees of the University.

E. “Informal Meeting” means a meeting consisting of the Chancellor or his/her designee and non-State employees during which official University business is discussed for the majority of the meeting. Informal meetings are one-time occurrences and are not held on a recurring or routine basis.

F. “Internal Conference” means a conference were those that involve the attendance of employees within the University only. A routine staff meeting is not an internal conference.

G. “Management Retreat” means a meeting or series of meetings consisting of the Chancellor and his/her top assistances and co-workers.

H. “Motor Fleet Management (State) Vehicles” means those vehicles allotted to the University by the Department of Administration.

I. “Non-State Employees” includes, but is not limited to Board of Trustees Members, prospective professional employees, students on official University business, attendants of handicapped State employees, a consultant whose compensation will not be paid through the University payroll system and an employee of another governmental jurisdiction, local or federal, in whose travel the State may have a business interest.

J. “Non-State Funds” means University controlled funds deposited with any banking facility other than the State Treasurer.

K. “Out-of-Country Travel Status” begins when the employee leaves the United States and remains in effect until the employee returns to the United States. If the employee and other qualified official travelers use hotel and meal facilities located outside of North Carolina, but within the United States, immediately prior to and upon returning from out-of-country travel during the same travel period, out-of-state subsistence rates shall apply.

L. “Out-of-State Travel Status” begins when the employee leaves the State and remains in effect until the employee returns to the State. However, in-state allowances and reimbursement rates apply when employees and other qualified travelers use hotel and meal facilities located in North Carolina immediately prior to and upon returning from out-of-state travel during the same travel period.

M. “Registration Fees” mean fees that are generally charged for defraying the costs of speakers, building/room use, handout materials, breaks and lunches at conferences and conventions.

N. “State Employee” means any individual, including University faculty and staff, whether temporary or permanent, receiving compensation from the state of North Carolina.

O. “State Funds” means any funds deposited with the State Treasurer whether derived from appropriations or agency receipts.

P. “Subsistence” means an allowance related to lodging and meal costs (including meal tips).

Q. “Travel” means all activities involving expenses for transportation, subsistence or registration which are authorized to be paid from State Funds (including University funds) or which involve State or University vehicles for transportation.

R. “Travel Period” means the period from the beginning and ending dates of travel as shown on the Travel Authorization form.

S. “Tuition Fees” means those costs associated with employees enrolled in a course(s) or session(s) described as educational in nature. These courses are usually accredited by a generally recognized accrediting agency. Upon satisfactory completion of the course, the employee receives a certificate, degree or other similar acknowledgment of completion of work. Tuition fees are distinguished from registration fees in that they are an educational expense (not travel) and are charged to “Other Employee Educational Expenses .”

T. “University-Owned Vehicles” means cars, trucks, vans, and buses that are owned and operated by the University and are usually permanently assigned to various departments of the University.

IV. Policy

A. Responsibilities

1. The appropriate supervisor must review all authorizations and reimbursements for adequate and accurate documentation and available funds before sending to the Travel office.

2. If travel reimbursement is filed after the proscribed time, the individual seeking an exception can submit a request to OSBM for possible approval of the reimbursement.

B. Reimbursement Generally

1. University employees may have their travel expenses reimbursed by the University, subject to the limitations contained in these regulations.

2. Under no circumstance may duplicate reimbursement be made for that portion of an employee’s expenses paid or reimbursed by a non-State source.

3. Failure to comply with any filing deadline may result in denial of reimbursement.

4. All travel and reimbursement is contingent upon the availability of funds in the proper budget subheads.

5. Excess costs and services deemed unnecessary, unjustified or for the convenience or personal preference will not be reimbursed.

C. Penalties & Charges Resulting from Cancellations

1. Penalties and charges resulting from the cancellation of travel reservations (including airline or hotel reservations and conference registration) shall be the University’s obligation if the employee’s travel has been approved in advance and the cancellation or change is made at the direction of and/or for the convenience of the University.

2. If the cancellation or change is made for the personal benefit of the employee, it will be the employee’s obligation to pay the penalties and charges. However, in the event of accidents, serious illness, or death within the employee’s immediate family or other critical circumstances beyond the control of the employee, the University may pay the penalties and charges.

D. Travel by University Employees which Involves Political Functions or Meetings

1. State funds may not be used to pay travel and/or subsistence costs which are entirely related to an individual’s attendance at a political function or meeting.

2. If the travel and/or subsistence costs are related to official University business and partly related to the individual’s attendance at a political function or meeting, then State funds may be used to pay up to one-half (1/2) of the travel and/or subsistence cost of the trip.

3. If a State-owned vehicle is used, the reimbursement rate to the State will be the motor pool rate.

E. Travel Authorization

1. All travel must be approved by the traveler’s dean or department head prior to reimbursement to ensure that the travel is related to university business and in relationship to student recruitment, accreditation, certification, safety training, mandatory meetings, or mandatory training, and that funds exist in their departmental budget to cover any expenses incurred by the traveler.

2. All out-of-country travel must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration or Provost in advance of the trip.

F. Lodging

1. The travel must involve a travel destination located at least 35 miles from the employee’s regularly assigned duty station or home, whichever is less.

2. Excess lodging is allowed when the employee is attending a seminar or conference and is staying at the conference site or a recommended hotel, when an employee is in a high cost area and unable to secure lodging within the current allowance, or when the employee submits in writing an opinion that his/her personal safety or security us unattainable with the current allowance.

3. Reimbursement for lodging in an establishment that is being rented out by a third party or an establishment treated as an apartment building by state or local law or regulation is not allowed unless approved by OSBM in advance.

G. Meals

1. The employee may not request reimbursement for meals included in registration fees, conference fees, hotel registrations, etc.

2. A University employee in overnight travel status on official University business may be reimbursed for meals including lunch, and under certain circumstances, may be reimbursed for meals for partial days of travel when the partial day is the day of departure or the day of return.

3. Allowances cannot be paid to an employee for lunches if travel does not involve an overnight stay.

4. University employees may not be reimbursed for meals eaten in conjunction with a conference, assembly, convocation or meeting, by whatever name called, of employees within the University, or between employees of the University and other State departments, institutions, or agencies to discuss issues relating to the employee’s normal day-to-day business activities.

5. A University employee may be reimbursed for actual costs of meals, including lunches, when the employee’s job requires his attendance at the meeting of a board, commission, committee, or council in his/her official capacity and the meal is preplanned as part of the meeting for the entire board, commission, committee or council.

6. Employees are allowed to claim reimbursement for meals even if meals are offered as a part of one’s flight schedule on a commercial airline.

7. No excess reimbursement will be allowed for meals unless there are predetermined charges or the meals were for out-of-country travel.

H. Transportation

1. Ride Sharing

a. It is the policy of the University to limit the number of vehicles for which mileage expense is to be incurred by the University to the minimum necessary to transport multiple business travelers to a common destination with reasonable regard for safety, comfort, and efficiency.

b. When multiple passengers undertake approved business travel in a private vehicle, only one may claim reimbursement for mileage.

2. Via State or University-Owned Vehicles

a. State or University-owned vehicles shall be used for official University business only.

b. Drivers of State and University-owned vehicles shall observe all local and State ordinances pertaining to the operation of motor vehicles.

c. Any fines imposed for any violation that was under the control of the driver shall be the responsibility of the driver.

d. When a State vehicle is used for official travel, parking and storage fees, tolls, and required repairs are legitimate charges to the University, provided necessary receipts are obtained.

e. State vehicles and University-owned vehicles may not be used for commuting between an employee’s official workstation and his/her home.

f. Notwithstanding the above, a sworn public safety officer may use a state-issued public safety vehicle in commuting from an employee’s home to his duty station, provided the commuting distance is no greater than 20 miles from the officer’s duty station.

g. A State or University-owned vehicle should not be used for travel between the employee’s home or workstation, whichever is closer, and an airline terminal.

h. Non-State Employee Riders

i. Non-state employees may accompany University employees in State or University-owned vehicles when they have a business interest in the travel and their presence is related to University business.

ii. Students may be passengers in State vehicles to attend performance events and other activities officially sanctioned by the University. Students who are not on the University payroll may not drive any State or University-owned vehicles. Students who are on the University payroll and who possess a valid driver’s license are allowed to drive State and University-owned vehicles. A copy of their driver’s license must be on file in the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration’ office.

iii. Spouses and children of University employees may accompany them in State vehicles if space is available and all travel is strictly for official State business.

iv. Hitchhikers are not permitted to ride in State or University-owned vehicles.

v. Pets are not allowed in State or University-owned vehicles at any time. Animals necessary for the University productions may be transported in State or University-owned vehicles providing they are properly restrained, preferably in a cage.

i. At the employee’s destination, State or University-owned vehicles may be used prudently for travel to obtain meals, but not for private purposes or for entertainment while off duty.

j. If a State vehicle requires repairs, authorization for repair must be obtained from Motor Fleet Management in Raleigh.

k. If repairs are necessary while traveling away from the local area, the employee should call the Purchasing Office at 336-770-3319/3320 for further instructions.

3. Via Private Vehicles

a. A private vehicle may be used for travel between the employee’s home or workstation, whichever is closer, to an airline terminal.

b. A private vehicle may be used for official University business even if a State or University-owned vehicle is available.

c. Actual mileage is reimbursable.

d. Mileage is measured from the closer of the duty station or the point of departure to the destination and return.

e. Reimbursement will be paid at the lowest prevailing motor fleet rate.

f. Parking fees, tolls, and storage fees are reimbursable when the required receipts are obtained.

g. No reimbursement shall be made for the use of a personal vehicle in commuting from an employee’s home to his duty station.

4. Via Aircraft

a. Reimbursement is limited to actual coach fare on domestic flights and actual business class fare on overseas international flights.

b. Reimbursement for check-in fees is limited to actual costs substantiated by receipt.

c. Flight insurance and upgrades are not reimbursable.

d. Frequent flyer miles earned by a state employee while traveling on state business at state expense are the property of the state.

e. The use of chartered aircraft requires approval of the Chancellor with the following substantiated in writing:

i. A State aircraft is not available or not appropriate for the size of the party traveling or the destination airport.

ii. The use of a charter flight is more economical than a commercial flight.

iii. The use of a charter flight is necessary because of unusual travel circumstances.

f. Reimbursement for official business use of an aircraft owned by a State employee requires the approval of the Chancellor with the following substantiated in writing:

i. Use of an aircraft owned by a State employee is necessary because of unusual travel circumstances and is not for the sole convenience of the employee who owns the plane; AND

ii. Use of the aircraft owned by a State employee is cheaper than any other method of air travel.

5. Via Other Modes of Transportation

a. The payment of invoices or the reimbursement of transportation companies for travel between employee’s duty station or home (whichever is less) and the nearest airline terminal(or train/bus station if applicable) is only allowed if justification is provided that proves this was a cheaper method of transportation than the reimbursement of mileage for a personal vehicle when a state owned vehicle was not available.

b. Reimbursement for travel to and from the airline terminal (or train/bus station if applicable) at the employee’s destination may be made where travel is via the most economical mode available as listed below:

i. Taxi or Airport Shuttle service – actual cost with receipts.

ii. Rental vehicles – may be used; however, rental vehicles may not be used for the sole convenience of the employee. Receipts are required (refer to 7-E below).

iii. Public Transportation – reimbursed without receipts $5.00 for each one-way trip either from the airport to the hotel/meeting or from the hotel/meeting to the airport. The actual cost of the travel will be paid with the submission of receipts.

c. Reimbursement may be made for costs of transportation other than to/from the airport when required for travel on official University business where travel is via the most economical mode available. Reimbursement is limited as follows:

i. Taxi service – actual cost with receipts.

ii. Shuttle service – actual cost with receipts.

iii. Public transportation – actual cost up to $5.00 per one-way trip. Receipts are not required.

d. The actual cost of coach fare for rail and bus service when required for travel on official University business is reimbursable.

e. Rental cars may be used only when this is the most cost-efficient form of transportation.

I. Other Travel Expenses

1. State law allows reimbursement of the actual amount of convention registration fees when substantiated by a valid receipt or invoice.

2. Parking fees, storage fees and tolls are reimbursable when incurred while traveling on official University business when those fees are appropriate and not excessive.

3. Telephone Charges

a. Employees are not allowed to charge long distance telephone calls of a personal nature to the University, except as otherwise permitted by this policy.

b. Business phone calls are reimbursable.

c. An employee who is in travel status for two or more consecutive days in a week is allowed one personal long distance telephone call for each two days, unless if such call(s) is/are of an emergency nature.

d. Because mobile telephone charges (cellular and digital) are based on measured use, no personal calls should be made on mobile telephones except in case of emergency as determined by the University.

e. Mobile telephone calls to conduct official University business should only be used when more economical means of telephoning are not reasonably available.

4. Tips

a. No reimbursement is given for meal tips.

b. Baggage handling tips for porters at terminals and hotels and other tips (except tips for meals or food service) may be reimbursed.

5. Reimbursement for cost incurred in obtaining or renewing a passport may be made to an employee who, in the regular course of his duties, is required to travel overseas in the furtherance of official University business.

6. With sufficient justification and documentation, University employees can be reimbursed for usual, customary, and reasonable fees and service charges imposed by travel agents for assistance in making travel arrangements.

7. The cost of optional tours and social events is not reimbursable.

J. Prospective Professional Employees

The Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration or the Provost may approve reimbursement of certain expenses of prospective professional employees visiting the University for employment interviews.

K. Non-Employees’ Family Members

Travel expenses for members of a non-employee’s family are not reimbursable by the University.

L. Advances

1. Funds may be advanced upon request for expenses to be incurred for University-sanctioned travel by student groups.

2. Advances may only be issued to permanent University employees; therefore, the advance must be requisitioned by the group sponsor or accounting officer on a Check Request form.

3. Non-permanent employees may not receive travel advances.

4. If a travel advance is obtained and the trip is not taken, the advance must be repaid immediately.

5. If the trip is postponed, the advance must be repaid and a new advance obtained.

M. Handicapped Employees’ Attendants

Payment of travel and subsistence expenses (hotel and meal costs) for attendants for handicapped employees while traveling on official University business may be reimbursed at the same extent as are University employees if advance approval is obtained from the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration or the Provost.

N. Conferences

1. Internal Conferences

a. No payment for meals is allowed unless overnight travel criteria are met.

b. The conference must be planned in detail in advance, with a formal agenda or curriculum.

c. There must be a written invitation to participants, setting forth the calendar of events and the detailed schedule of costs.

d. No excess travel subsistence may be granted for internal departmental meetings, conferences, seminars, etc. and such meetings must be held in State facilities when available.

e. No registration fee may be charged.

f. Refreshments for “coffee breaks” can be purchased as provided by the UNCSA Travel Policy Manual.

g. University funds cannot be used to support or underwrite a meeting, assembly, conference, seminar, rally, celebration, or similar function, by whatever name called, that promotes any cause or purpose other than the mission and objective of the University.

h. State funds cannot be used to provide promotional or gift items to be distributed at the conference.

2. External Conferences

a. Payment for meals is allowable if included in the registration fee, but such fee must not consist exclusively of meal cost or it will not be allowable unless meeting overnight travel criteria.

b. Conferences sponsored or co-sponsored by the University are authorized when they meet the limitations and requirements listed below.

c. The conference is planned in detail in advance, with a formal agenda or curriculum.

d. There is a written invitation to participants, setting forth the calendar of events, the social activities, if any, and the detailed schedule of costs.

e. Conferences should be held in State facilities where feasible; however, non-state facilities can be rented and the cost charged to the University without allocation to participants’ daily subsistence allowances.

f. Registration fees may be charged by the sponsoring department to participants for costs of external conferences.

g. Registration fees may not include costs of entertainment, alcoholic beverages, setups, or flowers and/or promotional (gift) items.

h. Registration fees collected and not used to defray expenses of the particular conference may not be used for other programs and must revert to the general or highway fund of the State.

i. Refreshments for “coffee breaks” can be purchased as provided by provided by the UNCSA Travel Policy Manual.

O. Training Sessions

1. University-sponsored training sessions may provide refreshments for “coffee breaks” provided there are 20 or more participants and costs do not exceed $4.50 per participant per day.

2. Departments may reimburse employees for training books and materials related to training sessions, provided those books are required to participate in the training sessions. These books are considered property of the department and not the personal property of the employee.

P. Management Retreats

1. Management retreats may not be held more than once a fiscal year.

2. The Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration or Provost may authorize an annual management retreat.

3. Expenditures for management retreats are treated in the same manner as those for internal conferences.

Q. Informal Meetings

1. The Chancellor, or his/her designee for a specific event, may be reimbursed from State funds for actual costs of meals for themselves and individuals who are not State employees who are their guests, when accompanying them in the course of conducting official University business.

2. Cost of meals and other expenses for family members are not reimbursable from State funds.

R. Board Member Reimbursements

1. UNCSA appreciates the fact that many of its Board Members choose not to ask for reimbursement of travel expenses as a way to support UNCSA; however, if a Board Member chooses to do so, any reimbursements will be made according to this Policy and the specifics of this subsection.

2. Board members may be reimbursed at the private vehicle rate or for the cost of gas and a rental vehicle when traveling to a regularly or specially called Board of Trustees Meeting, whichever is the lesser of the two options.

a. If a car rental proves to be the lesser option, the rental must be secured from a state-approved vendor in order to comply with insurance and liability guidelines.

b. In order to get the state rental car rate and secure proper insurance, rental reservations must be made by the Secretary to the Board.

3. Hotel reservation can be made for qualifying nights by the Secretary to the Board.

4. Although meal expenses incurred while on Board related business may be reimbursed at the state subsistence rate, any meal provided by UNCSA is not eligible for reimbursement.

5. If necessary to participate in regularly or specially scheduled Board of Trustees meetings, air travel expenses may be reimbursed at the actual coach fare.

S. Corporate Credit Card

1. The University has authorized the use of a corporate credit card for use by employees traveling on official university business.

2. Employee misuse of these credit cards is grounds for termination.

3. Only valid business-related travel expenses may be charged on these cards.

4. No personal expenses may be charged to these cards.

5. The cardholder (employee) is solely responsible for the use of the card and the card is to be used for University use only.

6. The balance on the card must be paid in full by the employee each billing cycle.

7. The University is not responsible for any late fees charged to the employee’s card.

V. Revision History

A. February 17, 2011 – Adopted by Board of Trustees as part of UNCSA Policy Manual


Travel Procedures

Procedure #310

I. Travel Policy Manual

A. Financial Services will establish and maintain a Travel Policy Manual which will contain more information and procedures for implementing the Travel Policy.

B. The Travel Policy Manual is available at