101 Travel on College Business

Policy Statement:

Expenses for travel on official college business will be reimbursed as allowed by state law.

Procedure (Updated 12.09.19):

  1. Travel and Professional Improvement:
    1. All travel expenses for college business for which reimbursement is desired must be authorized in advance and approved on official forms. For any trip, all employees must submit a Travel Request form (available on the MSC Commons/MSC Forms).  Requests for in‑state travel should be submitted at least five working days in advance.  Out‑of‑state travel requests should be submitted at least one month in advance if possible.  Persons must not leave the campus prior to receipt of approval for any trip.
      1. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of professional improvement opportunities whenever possible. Attendance at meetings of a professional-improvement nature is encouraged when such attendance can be arranged so as not to materially interfere with routine duties.
      2. Conditions covering the use of travel funds are as follows:
        1. The allocation is made to the division.
        2. It will be the responsibility of the area supervisor to coordinate the plan for using these funds in his/her area. It is not intended that the funds necessarily be prorated equally within the area.  It may be that the area supervisor will decide to send some personnel to more distant meetings one year, and others the following year.
      3. Request for reimbursement of expenses under this allocation should be submitted on the regular travel request form, which must be approved prior to travel.
      4. Absences which conflict with work assignments must be cleared with the area supervisor.
  2. Travel Laws ‑ Reimbursement Rate Provisions:
    1. General Provisions:
      1. Only the actual and necessary expenses of a traveler in the performance of official duties will be reimbursed. If meals and lodging at a meeting, workshop, or other objective of travel are furnished as a package plan, reimbursement may be made based upon a receipt, but at a daily rate not to exceed the total daily rate provided in the State Travel Reimbursement Act.  No per diem reimbursement for meals is made for periods of less than overnight travel status.  Travel status for the purpose of meals and lodging is defined as absence from the employee’s home area and/or official station area while performing assigned official duties.  Reimbursement for meals and lodging on out‑of‑state trips does not begin more than 24 hours before or continue more than 24 hours after the objective of the trip; such as, a meeting, workshop, conference, etc.
    2. Lodging:
      1. Reimbursement for overnight lodging while in official travel status may be made (a receipt from a hotel, motel, or other public lodging place must accompany claim) at the current rate approved by the state. Current rates may be viewed on the following Web site:  www.gsa.gov
      2. The lodging receipt accompanying the claim for reimbursement in one of the out‑of‑state, high-rate geographical areas must indicate the location of the public lodging place. If the receipt does not indicate the public lodging place location, the higher lodging rate is not paid.
      3. State employees attending meetings, workshops, conferences, etc., which are conducted at a designated hotel, motel, or other public lodging place are reimbursed the actual lodging expense not to exceed the single-occupancy room rate charged. A receipt and documentation of the designation must accompany the claim for reimbursement.
    3. Meals and Incidentals:
      1. A standard reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses per day, while in official overnight travel status, is authorized at a rate not to exceed current rates established by the state of Oklahoma. Current rates may be viewed on the following website:  www.gsa.gov
      2. In computing reimbursement for meals, a day is a period of 24 hours. Reimbursement for each 1/4-day (6 hours) or major fraction thereof (more than 3 hours) may be made at a rate not to exceed the rate established by the state of Oklahoma for partial day reimbursement and will be calculated based on the per diem rates for the travel location.  Current rates may be viewed on the following website:  www.gsa.gov.  NOTE:  Reimbursement for meal expenses continues to be based on overnight status for travel.  Any meals provided, excluding continental breakfast, must be deducted from the per diem.  An agenda should be submitted.
    4. Transportation:
      1. In‑State: Travel by a privately owned vehicle may be reimbursed at the current state–approved rate, based on the distance set forth in the latest Transportation Commission road map.  Vicinity travel must be entered on travel claims as a separate item.  Travel by railroad, bus, or other such public conveyance will be reimbursed at a rate not to exceed the normal charge of such conveyance, and in no instance will the rate exceed coach airplane fare.
      2. Out‑of‑State: Regardless of the mode of travel (including privately owned vehicle), reimbursement for out‑of‑state transportation costs are not exceeding that of coach airplane fare.  Except, travel by commercial airline on a first‑class basis may be reimbursed if coach class is not available within a reasonable time and is justified by attachment to claim.  Claims for reimbursement for transportation by a commercial airline are to be accompanied by the passenger’s duplicate ticket or other airline receipt, including information regarding class accommodations.
      3. Local Transportation:  Taxicab fares in state will be reimbursed only upon justification as to the necessity for their use.  Local transportation costs incurred during out‑of‑state travel may be reimbursed on the basis of an itemization of such costs.  Reimbursement for leased or rented automobiles outside of this state for official state business is restricted, subject to the advanced approval of the agency head or authorized designee and must be supported by a receipt indicating miles traveled.
    5. Miscellaneous Expenses: Reimbursement claimed for miscellaneous travel expenses, such as communication charges and registration fees for attending workshops, conferences, etc. must be itemized and supported by a receipt.
      1. Reimbursement for communication charges incurred during in‑state travel must be justified as to the necessity.
      2. Reimbursement claimed for necessary parking and turnpike fees incurred for the use of a privately owned automobile for official state business must be itemized.
    6. Grant Program/Contract Travel: In lieu of foregoing reimbursement rate provisions, the Senate Bill #243 enacted by the Regular Session of the 1985 Oklahoma Legislature, provides:  “Per diem payments, travel, and other actual and necessary expenses may be paid if same is provided for in any contract or grant.”  The State Budget Office has interpreted this section to mean ‑ Monies received by a state agency from outside sources under the conditions of a contract or grant agreement entered into by the agency under state statutory authority, may be expended to pay actual and necessary reimbursement of per diem (subsistence) cost, transportation cost, and other miscellaneous travel expenses.  However, if the contract or grant agreement simply provides that the funds received will or may be expended and accounted for in accordance with the laws applicable to other state funds, and does not specifically provide otherwise, then reimbursement exceeding the rates established by the State Travel Reimbursement Act is not made.
    7. Overnight Travel of Student Groups (athletic teams, student clubs, student organizations and academic purposes):
      1. Student groups taking trips are as follows:
        1. Those representing the College. (Example: athletic teams, music performers, cheerleaders, etc.)
        2. Student clubs and organizations. (Example: Professional Business, PTK, Social Science Club, etc.)
        3. Classes and curricular groups. (Example: biology class field trip, etc.)
      2. All student activity trips involving overnight lodging must be cleared by the appropriate supervisor. Club and organization trips will generally be approved if:
        1.     Appropriate sponsorship is arranged;
        2. Transportation is available;
      3. Conflicts with the academic program or other activities are avoided; and
      4. Goals, purposes, arrangements, and other features of the trip are congruent with the educational program of MSC.
  3. Overnight lodging must be tracked by MSC and reported according to Federal Clery Requirements as follows:
    1. A Student Travel Request Form will be submitted requiring all signatures for approval.
    2. Coaches/Director of Student Life will enter lodging information on the Google Doc (Student Travel Reporting)
    3. Campus Police will enter law enforcement data on the Google Doc (Student Travel Reporting)
    4. Student Affairs will enter/verify crime statistics on the Google Doc (Student Travel Reporting)
  4. Travel and Claim Procedures: Employees who travel on College business should use the following procedural steps for approved travel reimbursement.  Exceptions are made only when and if it is in the best interest of the College.
    1. Travel Approval: Employees must submit a completed Travel Request form (available on the MSC Commons/MSC Forms) to their supervisor for approval.  The form must be submitted in a timely manner.   Pay close attention to the dates and times of departure and arrival.  In-state travel requires only the signature of the Vice President/supervisor; out-of-state travel requires the signatures of the supervisor, Vice President.Travel (including travel with students and employee travel) that exceeds regular work time for non-exempt employees would be considered overtime.  While traveling only those hours spent traveling during the employee’s normal working hours are included in the hours worked-unless the employee is performing work during the travel.  Employee must be engaged in work activity while traveling to be acknowledged as hours worked.  Comp Time at the rate of one-and-one half hours for each hour worked will be earned.
    2. Upon Return: Submit the approved Travel Request form along with the Travel Claim form (available on MSC Commons/MSC Forms) to the Business Affairs Office, including the following documentation where applicable:
      1. All receipts for items such as lodging, parking, shuttle services, etc. (meal receipts are not necessary because they are covered with per diem).
      2. Copy of the meeting agenda.
      3. Document that identifies designated lodging place and number of meals provided. (If lodging is not designated, then eligibility for reimbursement is at the applicable state rate.)
    3. Issuance of Reimbursement Check: The claimant will be contacted by the Business Office to pick up the check as soon as it is available.
  5. Helpful Notes:
    1. Lodging: While attending a meeting or conference, an employee may choose to stay in a hotel that is not designated lodging as long as it is less expensive than the designated hotel. In this event, the lodging reimbursement is at the designated state rate.  An overflow hotel (designated as such for the meeting or conference) may be used when the designated hotel is full.  If documentation is provided showing that the designated conference or meeting hotel is full and direction was made to a designated overflow hotel, reimbursement will be for the total cost of the hotel accommodation.
    2. Airline: State-approved travel agencies are to be utilized when purchasing airline tickets unless the ticket can be purchased at a savings through another source (cost comparisons are required).  Approved travel agencies for this area are:  All Seasons Travel in Durant, and Classic Travel in Ada (subject to change).  The state preference for out-of-state travel is to fly; however, driving is allowed if it is cheaper to do so, or if reimbursement for driving is equal to the lesser of the two costs (flying or driving).


Murray State College Institutional Policies and Procedures Copyright © by Murray State College. All Rights Reserved.

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