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Section: Business and Support Operations Section Number: 3.22.2
Subject: Travel and Expense Policy Date of Present Issue: 09/15/2015
  Date of Previous Issues: 07/72, 07/79, 10/79, 07/86, 07/89, 08/90, 11/92, 07/93, 09/96, 08/00, 07/05, 10/06, 07/08, 10/11


Travel on University Business

  1. Documentation and Approval

    This policy generally applies to all individuals requesting travel reimbursement including, but not limited to, employees, students, and the Board of Trustees.  All University business travel expenses must be documented on Form LSSU-114 (Travel Reimbursement Voucher).  This form is available on the Business Office web page under traveler information.  The form should be completed in Excel, if possible, to use the calculation features embedded in the form.

    Approval to travel must be obtained from the account administrator/supervisor prior to the commencement of a trip.  If the travel request is for the account administrator, the next level supervisor’s approval is required.  Approval can consist of a signature on Form LSSU-114 or a written document of approval attached to the form.  If supervisor approvals are not secured prior to travel, travel expenses will not be reimbursed.

    Upon return from a trip or to request reimbursement for University business travel expenses, the employee will fill in their name and department, if applicable, on the form.  Parts A, B, C and D (when applicable), should be filled in as completely as possible by the employee.  The employee will sign and date the form.  Part E should be completed by the traveler and reviewed by the account administrator/supervisor.  The form shall be submitted to the Business Office immediately.

    The purpose of the travel, destination and name(s) of others on the trip must be included for each trip.  This information must be included on the LSSU-114 and/or P-card report as applicable.

    If any expense from a trip has been paid for on a University purchasing card (P-card), the employee will include those purchases on the LSSU-114.  The employee will deduct the amount of P-card purchases in Section D of the form similar to deducting cash advances.

    The employee will attach copies of P-card receipts and originals of all other receipts to the completed LSSU-114.  The original P-card receipts will be retained and attached to the P-card expense report.

    The purpose of including P-card expenses on the travel voucher is to fully document all expenses and the purpose of travel for each trip.Letters of contract which include travel reimbursement for faculty traveling to off-campus locations will not require additional travel approval.  P-cards may be used for athletic personnel traveling with student teams and admissions counselors.  The Vice President for Finance may approve travel advances for employees traveling with students for special student trips.

  2. Reimbursement Policy

    Reimbursement for approved travel and travel related business expenses will be in accordance with approved rates or receipts and will be subject to the following procedures:

    The mode of travel by University employees must be selected after considering both travel costs and the time of the travel. The department head will be the final authority for this determination. However, the basis of judgment must be the business interest of the University. The use of commercial airlines is permitted when it is to the advantage of the University. Use of Charter aircraft must be approved by the University President.

    Receipts are required for all cash expenses claimed on the travel or business expense voucher as reimbursable items.

    The University is exempt from payment of Michigan State sales tax and state gasoline tax. Travelers are requested to issue tax exemption certificates for Michigan State sales taxes on lodging, and miscellaneous travel expenses whenever possible. Exemption certificates are available from the “O” drive, department secretary or Business Office.  The University is not exempt from payment of air transportation taxes, city taxes or hotel taxes.

    Employees traveling on official business are expected to use a university P-card or provide themselves with sufficient funds for all current expenses and are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business. Use of generally recognized credit card receipts (monthly statements only are not acceptable) will be accepted as evidence of payment. Compliance with this directive is the responsibility of each employee. The Vice President for Finance will review travel vouchers which appear to violate the intent of this directive.

    1.  Routing of Travel

      All travel must be by a usually traveled route at the least expensive fare available at the time of booking. If routing is scheduled for personal convenience, any extra costs for excess mileage, lodging and meals shall be borne by the traveler, and reimbursement for expenses will be based only on such charges as would have been incurred by a usually traveled route. If travel by most direct route is not possible because of construction, detour, or other legitimate reason, the claim for the additional mileage should be explained on the reimbursement voucher.

    2. Air Travel

      It is the responsibility of the traveler to obtain the airline tickets through a travel agency, on-line, or directly from the airline.Employees are encouraged to contact Superior Travel when they need assistance in making airline reservations.  Individuals may charge tickets to personal credit cards and be reimbursed by use of a travel expense form.

      The University pays for the lowest priced ticket available for the dates of travel, and will not be responsible for any charges made by airlines for late flight cancellations or failure to use the reservation. These charges are the responsibility of the employee.

    3. Transportation by University Motor Pool Vehicles

      Motor pool cars should be used for official University travel over 100 miles, if they are available. Gasoline, oil, and repairs for motor pool cars must be charged to the “Motor Pool” universal credit card provided with the vehicle. Vehicles can be reserved by calling extension 2617. The Motor Pool staff will provide guidelines for vehicle use.

      Mileage rates charged to departments for use of motor pool vehicles can be found on the motor pool web page at:

    4. Transportation by Privately-Owned Cars

      1. When a personal vehicle is used for University business travel, the vehicle owner’s insurance is primary. Mileage reimbursement for the use of a personal car will be posted on the Business Operations web page at:

        The posted mileage reimbursement will be paid at the full posted  rate  if no motor pool vehicle is available for trips over 100 miles, otherwise mileage will be paid at 75% of the posted rate.  The employee must provide documentation that an attempt to use a motor pool vehicle was unsuccessful in order to receive the full mileage reimbursement rate.  Exceptions to the 75% reimbursement policy may be made when in the best interest of the University.  Exceptions must be approved as either a one-time or limited time exception by a supervisor and by a Vice President when the supervisor is not a Vice President or President

      2. Transportation for prospective employees

        The top three (3) candidates for faculty or administrative/professional positions may be reimbursed for travel related to an LSSU job interview (section 4.8.4, C2 of the University procedure manual). The vice president of the division in which the position is located must approve the travel for the candidate in advance of the trip. Reimbursement will be at the same reimbursement rate and conditions as for employees. The post-travel voucher for reimbursement of the candidate must be approved by the interviewing department manager and by Human Resources.

    5. Transportation by Rental Vehicle

      Approval for the rental of any vehicle must be provided in advance on the travel form by the account administrator. Reimbursement will be at the full rental agency rate. When signing the rental contract, the employee must sign his/her name and Lake Superior State University to ensure LSSU has an insurable interest in the transaction. Physical damage insurance must be taken when renting the vehicle. This cost also should be listed on the travel expense voucher.

    6. Computation of Mileage

      Total mileage must be listed from point to point, and will be allowed on the basis of the current State Highway Department map of Michigan. If a trip involves several destinations, or is not directly to a destination and return listed, a log should be attached to provide detail. Vicinity mileage necessary for conduct of official business is allowable and must be shown as a separate item on the attached log. When local mileage is in excess of fifty (50) miles in any one day, the charge should be supported by a listing of the vicinity itinerary in sufficient detail to justify the mileage claimed. No mileage reimbursement will be made for requests less than $10.  No mileage will be allowed for travel between an employee’s domicile and employee’s official workstation.

    7. Parking Charges

      Reimbursement for parking charges is allowable. Receipts must be attached to the travel voucher for all parking expense claims. Exception: Reimbursement for meter parking charges will be paid without receipts, if reasonable. Meter parking should be so designated on the voucher. Daily parking permits for entry into state parks on official business are reimbursable.

    8. Reimbursement for Meals and Lodging Expenses

      General – The university P-card is the preferred method of payment for all university meals and lodging expenses.  All meals charged to a university P-card should be less than or equal to the per diem rate.  The president or vice president must approve meals that exceed the per diem rate.  If approval is not obtained, then the employee is responsible for repaying the excess amount to the University. Reimbursement under this directive provides for meal allowance, plus lodging charge.

      Meals – The University will reimburse travelers for meals consumed during business related travel. The University defines meal times as: breakfast, 8 a.m.; lunch, noon; and dinner, 6 p.m. To be reimbursed for any particular meal travel must include a period of two hours prior and two hours after the designated meal time. For example, reimbursement for luncheon expenses will occur only when a traveler is on travel status from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (two hours before and two hours after the designated lunch time). Meal receipts must be attached to the P-card expense report or the LSSU-114 travel reimbursement voucher.  The reimbursement will be the lesser of per diem or actual.

      Per Diem meals will be reimbursed according to the U.S. General Services Administration schedule of per diem rates as found at This web site lists the per diem rates by primary destination. If a city is not specifically listed as a high cost destination, the standard per diem rate per day will be allowed. The daily standard rate will be allocated for breakfast/lunch/dinner as posted on the Business Operations web site at High cost rates will be allocated for breakfast/lunch/dinner as 21%/26%/53%.

      Whenever meals are served at meetings, conferences, at motels/hotels as part of the lodging cost or on planes, the traveler shall not be entitled to any meal allowance for those particular meals.

      Lodging – The University will reimburse lodging expenses for: a) trips of 250 miles or more (round trip); b) overnight stays required as part of an approved University business-related event; or, c) as permitted for faculty teaching at regional centers. Each lodging expenditure submitted for reimbursement must be supported by a paid receipt at actual cost of the lodging and the hotel folio, which shows the breakdown of charges incurred during the hotel stay. A credit card receipt showing only the total amount charged at the hotel is not sufficient. All University employees traveling on University business must request the "government" rate when making hotel reservations and confirm the "government" rate upon check-in.

      Motel receipts – Receipts for lodging expenses are required. The receipt must indicate the amount paid, the street address, city or town in which the lodging place is located and the date of occupancy. Any change in motel charges during continuous occupancy by an employee must be explained on the voucher. Allowable telephone charges must be listed separately on the voucher. Under no circumstances will an employee be reimbursed for extraneous hotel charges such as movies, mini-bar or personal phone calls.

      Altered receipts – When travel expense vouchers are supported by receipts which show signs of erasures or alterations, the voucher will be returned to the employee for a statement of facts explaining the reasons for the alterations before the travel voucher will be approved for payment.

      Foreign Travel - If the expenses are incurred in a foreign country, the receipts should not be adjusted to reflect US funds. The Business Office will adjust the reimbursement request using the exchange rate applicable on the date of reimbursement. The foreign currency denomination must be indicated on the travel voucher.

      Lodging Charges for Multiple Occupancy – When a University employee in travel status shares motel or other lodging with non-employees (spouse, members of a family, friends, etc.), reimbursement to the traveler will be as follows:

           i. If a motel or other lodging is shared with one or more non-employees who receive no travel reimbursement from another source, reimbursement to the traveler will be the single rate.
           ii. If  motel or other lodging is shared with a non-employee who is receiving reimbursement for travel from a source other than the University, such as an employee of the state or U.S. Government, reimbursement will be a proportionate amount on an equal percentage basis of the amount paid, based on the number of persons occupying the room: if two (2) people, 50%; if three (3) people, 33 1/3%, etc. In no case will the University employee be reimbursed for more than the maximum allowed by these regulations.

    9. Conventions, Conferences, Meetings

      The following rules have special application to conventions, conferences and meetings which employees attend as official representatives of Lake Superior State University:

      Employees attending conventions, association meetings, or other formal gatherings called by an independent organization are eligible for actual subsistence expenses at the convention location. Reimbursement for expenses to and from the convention, or other formal gathering, will be at the normal rates. A full explanation of the event, including a program, must be provided with the voucher. Note: When meals are provided as part of the conference fee, duplicate reimbursement will not be provided.

    10. Lodging and/or Meals Furnished by State Institutions or Facilities

      In no case shall an employee who is furnished lodging and/or meals without charge by a state institution or facility be entitled to the allowance provided by this policy.

    11. Annual or Sick Leave during Tour of Travel

      Employees may take annual leave during University travel with advance approval of the supervisor, provided that in no case shall travel expense be allowed while in annual leave status. Whenever an employee in travel status becomes incapacitated due to illness or injury which is allowable as sick leave under rules of the University, travel status may be continued for a period not to exceed seven (7) calendar days. The rates cannot exceed the maximum standard meal allowance and reasonable lodging charges.

    12. Time of Departure and Arrival

      Dates and times of departure from, and arrival at home or official workstation, must be shown on the travel voucher.

    13. Miscellaneous Expenses Reimbursable on Travel Vouchers

      Miscellaneous Expense – General. It is expected that miscellaneous expenses incidental to official University travel will be held to the minimum amount required for essential and efficient conduct of business. The employee making application for reimbursement will be held responsible for all items of expense as being necessary and correct.

      The following rules are established as guides for the traveler and the approved officials and should not be considered as making all claims for these items allowable without question.

      Taxicab and Airport Shuttles – Necessary taxicab and airport shuttle fares from home or office to terminal, between terminals, or from terminals to home, office or business destination are allowable. Taxicab fares at temporary workstations are allowable where unusual conditions do not permit the use of public transportation. A statement explaining the necessity must be made on the voucher in the latter case.

      Faxes – Charges are allowable when necessary for official business and communicating by mail will not suffice.

      Personal Expenses – Charges for cleaning and pressing clothing, movies, room service and similar personal expenses are not allowable as reimbursable expenses. Exception – University team uniforms may be laundered as needed.

      Tips for meals are reimbursable up to the maximum allowable per diem. Tips for meals purchased for guests are reimbursable when approved by a vice president or the president.

      Baggage Expense – Charges for handling and checking baggage are allowable up to $5 at each point of handling when such charges are incurred as a necessary expense of the trip, and not just for the convenience of the traveler. The actual cost of handling equipment, displays, etc. is allowable when fully explained and justified.

      Toll Bridge, Toll Road, and Ferry Expenses – Charges are allowed when supported by receipts. (Receipts for International Bridge or Mackinac Bridge are not required but will be reimbursed at the “Bridge Card” rates).

    14. Guest Meals and Mementos

      The cost of guest meals is allowable only if it can be shown that such cost was necessary to the conduct of official University business. The president or vice president must approve meals and tips that exceed the per diem rate. Full explanation must be given on the voucher, including the name of and position held by the guest. Guest meals are reimbursable upon presentation of receipts or at authorized University rates. Note: Spouses or family members of the University employee who attend meals with visitors or job candidates are not generally eligible for meal expense reimbursement. The appropriate vice president must approve exceptions. If mementos are purchased for guests to the University, they are reimbursable only when the item is purchased at the Campus Shoppe and approved by a dean or vice president. Expenditures for mementos will not be approved if purchased for employees or students.

      The University does not reimburse for alcoholic beverages.

    15. Recruitment

      Expenses related to the recruitment of employees and athletes are subject to general reimbursement rules as all other travel. Exceptions must be approved by the appropriate vice president.

      Meals consumed as part of the process of entertaining and interviewing prospective employees are to be limited to the standard per diem rate for the meal being consumed.  Exceptions to these rates must have prior approval of the President or the Vice President of the area for which the employee will be employed.

    16. University Meetings/Banquets

      Light refreshments (coffee, tea, soft drinks, cookies, rolls, etc.) purchased from the University’s Food Services Department are acceptable expenditures for University-wide events or meetings when approved by the President or a Vice President.

      University funds are not to be used for coffee, refreshments or food at staff or department meetings. Departments required to work with students (housing, admissions, etc.) may upon advance approval by the President or Vice President purchase refreshments when meeting with large student groups for communication purposes. Similarly, refreshments may be purchased for events hosting visitors and prospective students.

    17. Individual Recognition/Special Occasions

      The University recognizes retirements, significant events (receptions for new arrivals, holidays, etc.) through University-wide activities. Therefore, reimbursement will not be provided for food, flowers or mementos for individual students and University staff or for special occasions other than as provided in paragraph 16 or by the annual Retirement and Service Awards Ceremony. Reimbursement will be allowed for banquets/flowers, or mementos for University student recognition ceremonies upon advance approval by the President or Vice President.

    18. Travel Expense Reimbursement

      All requests for reimbursements must be submitted to the Business Office within 30 days upon the return from any business related travel. Requests not submitted within these time limits will be refused for reimbursement unless specifically approved by the President or Vice President.

      All travel related expenses occurred prior to June 30 and reported on LSSU-114 must be submitted prior to July 31st in order to be recorded in the prior fiscal year.

      P-Cards reports are due as soon after the end of a reporting cycle as possible but no later than the 5th of the month following the reporting cycle.

    19. Use of Alcohol and Illegal Substances

      Employees and representatives of Lake Superior State University, LSSU recognized student organizations, andLSSU athletic teams must recognize their responsibilities for compliance with LSSU policies and federal, state and local laws. Use of alcohol or illegal substances is not permitted during University –sponsored travel involving students, student organizations, or athletic teams in University owned, rented, or chartered vehicles.


Revision Date Revision Summary Revision Made By Title/Dept.

Updated policy regarding documenting travel expenses made via purchase card. Replaced specific rates to be reimbursed with reference to specific web pages where those rates can be found. S. Brooks Vice President of Finance/ Business Operations

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