All official University travel must be prudently planned so that the best interests of the University are served at the most reasonable cost. Anyone traveling at the University's expense shall exercise the same economy that a practical person would exercise when traveling on personal business; i.e., obtain the lowest possible fares and rates by scheduling the travel in the manner that will be most economical. Excessive or unjustifiable costs will not be reimbursed. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license appropriate for the vehicle being driven and, if necessary for insurance purposes, may be asked to provide additional information to the University or its insurance carrier.
This policy is based on Alabama law and Internal Revenue Service regulations as they may be revised, and covers University employees, students and others who may travel on approved, official University business.
Authorization and Reimbursement
Prior to traveling, approval to be away from campus must be obtained in accordance with established procedures. Approved authorizations provide necessary documentation for the University’s insurance program.
In-state travelers may claim reimbursement on a per diem basis, or if attending or assisting in hosting an in-state convention, conference, seminar, or other meeting of a national organization of which the University is a dues-paying member, may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses as allowed by State law. The per diem allowance covers lodging, meals, and gratuities. When an employee claims per diem reimbursement, no receipts are required to be submitted with the in-state travel claim. When in-state travel expenses are less than the per diem allowance, employees may choose to be reimbursed for the actual cost of travel. In this case, a signed statement waiving the per diem allowance must be included with the in-state travel claim.
Out-of-state travelers are reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses as allowed by State law. When official University travel consists of both in-state and out-of-state business, and the length of business being conducted in-state is longer than six (6) hours, the traveler will be reimbursed for the in-state portion according to in-state guidelines. The out-of-state portion will be reimbursed beginning at the last point of official business within the state and in accordance with out-of-state guidelines. When the in-state business portion of the travel requires less than six (6) hours to conduct, all expenses will be reimbursed as out-of-state travel.
When traveling to a conference, reimbursement may be claimed only for meals not provided by the conference and not included in conference registration fees. In the event that all meals are included in the registration fee, the traveler may not claim meal reimbursement.
After returning from official travel, travelers must present original itemized receipts for all travel expenses that require documentation. Itemized meal receipts that indicate what was purchased, date, name and location of the restaurant, and the number of persons served are required. When original itemized receipts cannot be obtained, an un-itemized receipt may be submitted along with a statement, signed by the traveler, indicating what was purchased, the number of persons served and certifying that no alcohol was purchased.
Requests for travel reimbursement must be filed in a timely manner as soon as possible after completing the travel. Travel reimbursements submitted subsequent to 60 days after the completion of the trip will be treated as income subject to withholding according to federal tax regulations.
The University does not reimburse travelers for the following:
Medical expenses incurred during travel are not reimbursed as travel costs. However, if during official travel an employee becomes incapacitated by an illness or injury covered by the University’s sick leave policy, that employee’s travel status may be continued beyond the date originally authorized.
Team and Other Group Travel
Athletic teams and other officially recognized University groups (e.g., Concert Choir, class field trips) traveling on official University business may use the following approved types of vehicles: automobiles, minivans, twelve-passenger vans, buses, or commercial air carriers. The type of vehicle chosen will depend upon the size of the group and the distance to be traveled. Students, other than Graduate Assistants, may not drive other students as a part of group/team travel.
Rented or Leased Automobiles
The University maintains coverage for physical damage to automobiles and other vehicles leased or rented by the University and its employees on official University business. Such coverage is subject to a $1,000 deductible. Therefore, purchasing collision damage insurance from the rental agency is an optional expense and may prove more cost effective. However, the University may be eligible for this coverage at reduced or no cost when renting from a state approved vendor. Therefore, please contact the Purchasing Office for current offerings before reserving rental cars. Individuals should always carefully inspect rental vehicles for existing physical damage before and after use of a rental car.
Last Revised 5/11