General Travel Information
A. Guiding Principles
- Faculty, staff, and student travel is necessary to support and enhance the university’s mission
- Travelers are expected to be, and believed to be, reasonable and prudent utilizing university resources for travel
- Budget Authorities are accountable and responsible for appropriate use of university resources. Departments are free to create policies/limits that are more restrictive (but not less restrictive) than university-wide policies/limits
- All university travel will be conducted within the university’s managed travel program in order to inform university risk management functions and to exercise appropriate stewardship of public funds
- University processes related to travel should not be overly onerous so as to negatively affect travelers (including guests, visitors, recruits, etc.)
- Travel processes should be clear, consistent, transparent, convenient, efficient, and compliant
- Travel payments/reimbursements are for official, business-related expenses only, not for personal expenses of the traveler or any traveling companions
All official, business-related university travel, even if the trip does not incur any costs to the university, will be requested and approved utilizing the university’s managed travel program. Travel expenses will be paid/reimbursed provided the trip and expense report are approved by authorized university personnel (generally the traveler’s supervisor or designee). Travel authorizations are processed through the university’s travel management software system.
C. Tax Treatment
University payments/reimbursements are subject to tax or are tax-exempt depending on federal and state tax law. These laws are changed from time to time and those changes may affect the tax associated with any travel reimbursements.
The university pays/reimburses for travel expenses in accordance with federal tax standards for Accountable Plans so that employees are not subject to tax for university paid/reimbursed travel costs. These standards include the legal requirement that payment/reimbursement be limited to reasonable expenses and that the university receive an accounting of employee travel expenses within a reasonable period of time after the expenses are incurred.
Payment/reimbursement of travel expenses for employees who are on temporary assignments (less than one year in duration) to work in another location are generally not taxable to the employee. However, if the assignment is indefinite, the employee is considered to have moved to the new work location. Payment/reimbursement of expenses for indefinite assignment to another location or indefinite travel is generally recorded as taxable to the employee.
D. Persons Eligible for Travel-expense Reimbursement
Reasonable travel expenses of University of Oregon employees may be paid/reimbursed when incurred in connection with official travel. Moving/relocation expenses of existing university employees, when that relocation is predicated upon a change in work location, may be paid/reimbursed as approved by the hiring authority and in accordance with the University Fiscal Policy.
 Employees on Leave
Reasonable travel expenses incurred during sabbatical leave may be paid/reimbursed when the travel was approved as official university travel as part of the application for sabbatical leave. Payment/reimbursement for travel expenses while on other types of leave is warranted only in exceptional circumstances.
 University of Oregon Board of Trustees Members and Unpaid Members of university Advisory Committees
Reasonable travel expenses of University of Oregon Board of Trustees members and unpaid members (non-university personnel) of university advisory committees may be paid/reimbursed using an actual-cost basis, including mileage and gratuities.
 Prospective Employees
Reasonable travel expenses incurred in connection with prospective university employee interviews and recruitment are paid/reimbursed when properly authorized.
 New Employees
Moving/relocation expenses of new university employees may be paid/reimbursed as approved by the hiring authority and in accordance with the University Fiscal Policy.
Reasonable travel expenses of students who travel as employees or on behalf of the university may be paid/reimbursed.
 Non-Employees/Volunteer Workers/Independent Contractors
Official, business-related university travel expenses of individuals not listed above may only be paid/reimbursed in conjunction with providing a service to the university through a contractual relationship or who would otherwise perform services on the university’s behalf.
E. Travel-expense Payment
Airline travel will be purchased using the university’s travel management software system or through an approved and contracted Travel Management Company (TMC). Except for specific circumstances, payment for airline tickets will be made via the university lodge card, not as a reimbursement to the traveler. All other travel expenses may be paid either by reimbursement to the traveler or direct payment to a provider/merchant (e.g., direct billing from a hotel or rental car company).
Airfare booked/purchased outside of the travel management software system or a TMC will not be reimbursed unless there is a compelling business reason for the outside booking.
Requests to reimburse travel expenses and/or allocate prepaid travel expenses must be made via the travel management software system. Requests for reimbursement through the system must be accompanied by receipts, when required. Direct payments/reimbursements from the University of Oregon Foundation are subject to that organization’s policies and processes.
A corporate travel credit card is available for university business travelers subject to the employee’s agreement to comply with the university’s requirements and procedures. Travel advance funds may be requested and approved (under limited circumstances) through the travel management software system.
F. Students, Student Groups, And Teams
 Student Travel
The university’s Policy on Vehicles provides guidelines regarding transportation of students in a state owned, leased or controlled vehicle.
 Travel Expenses of Others
A university employee, such as a coach, athletic director, or group leader, may pay for the travel expenses of the team or group members. However, the employee may only pay for university students or university-affiliated group members. Refer to travel procedures for documentation requirements.
 One-Day Trips
Meal expenses for an athletic team or student group on a one-day trip may be reimbursed at actual cost (as opposed to per diem). An itemized receipt is required. University employees such as coaches, trainers, or group leaders who accompany and are responsible for the care, custody, or control of the team or group are also eligible for meal-expense reimbursement. The request for reimbursement must state that the expenses result from a trip by an athletic team or student group.
G. Travel Paid By Outside Source
If permitted under federal and state law, university policies governing employee ethics, and other applicable restrictions, outside entities may reimburse the university, pay a service provider directly, or reimburse a university employee for travel expenses related to university business. The university will not pay or reimburse for any travel expenses that are also being paid by an outside source directly to the university employee.
P. Miscellaneous Expenses
The university pays/reimburses authorized miscellaneous business-related travel expenses. The university maintains a list of miscellaneous travel expenses which may not be authorized for payment/reimbursement. All miscellaneous expenses must be itemized.
Authorized miscellaneous business-related travel expenses are not paid/reimbursed using per diem funds; rather, if the traveler has incurred a miscellaneous business travel expense as outlined below, that expense is payable/reimbursable at the actual cost.
 Checked Baggage
Up to two (2) standard-weight bags (standard weight as defined by the airline used). Charges for the following may be paid/reimbursed only when necessary for the business purpose and approved by authorized university personnel (receipts required):
- additional baggage (more than 2 bags)
- overweight/oversize baggage
 Other Business Related Expenses Normally Reimbursed
- Printing and mailing services
- ATM cash advance fees
- Materials and supplies purchased to meet an immediate business need
- Visa and passport expenses
- Vaccinations or medications required for foreign travel (if not paid/reimbursed through health insurance coverage)
Q. Per Diem References
Per diem rates for the continental United States are determined by the US General Services Administration. Per diem rates for the non-continental United States and Territories (e.g., Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico) are determined by the US Department of Defense. Per diem rates for foreign locations are determined by the US Department of State.