Fiscal Operations Manual
Section 411: Travel
Effective: 02/01/1982
Revised: 08/01/2016



Please see current Fiscal Policy Manual for current policies


The Oregon State University (OSU) Travel Policy and allowable reimbursements are derived from the applicable Policies and Standards established by the OSU Board of Trustees.

Many of the OSU travel policies exist to comply with the rules of the Accountable Plan established by the IRS.  The Accountable Plan’s rules are

  1. Expenses must have a business connection,
  2. Expenses must be adequately accounted for within a reasonable period of time, and
  3. Any excess reimbursement or allowance must be returned within a reasonable period of time.

All travelers (including students, official volunteers, and guests) on official University business must comply with OSU travel policies and procedures.  Transactions will be reviewed according to statutory requirements and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).  Individuals must ensure transactions are for authorized purposes and an appropriate use of funds. All public employees have a duty to exercise good judgment and common sense in obligating and expending the resources of the University.  Every employee must use the University’s resources wisely.

Travelers within a department may be subject to the unit's travel policy which may be more restrictive than the standards expressed in this policy. A travel policy more restrictive than the OSU policy requires review by the appropriate Business Center and prior approval by the Vice President for Finance and Administration via the Assistant Vice President and Controller of Business Affairs. It also must apply to all travelers with the department.

A negligent or fraudulent expenditure can result in personal financial losses and/or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Specific contracts or other awards may have different requirements for the submission of receipts relating to domestic or foreign travel.  The Office of Sponsored Research and Award Administration (OSRAA) assists units in identifying the contract or award by noting the requirement on the original Award Information Sheet.  Units will be held responsible for receipts that are not submitted with reimbursements or for reimbursements that are done using incorrect methods.  A cost overrun to the unit will be prepared for any travel that is billed to the contractor and subsequently disallowed due to lack of receipts/documentation for the reimbursement.

Pre-approval from OSRAA is required when an employee travels internationally using a grant index or funding source.

Individual departments are responsible for educating their personnel and insuring personnel adherence to the OSU Travel Policy which contains the following guidelines:

  1. Select travel options that are the most efficient and economical to the University.
  2. Exercise good judgment when incurring expenses and accomplishing the purpose of the travel.  Excess costs, circuitous routes, delays or luxury accommodations that are unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official duties are not acceptable.  Any additional expenses incurred for personal preference or convenience are the responsibility of the employee.
  3. Verify that all travel arrangements are confirmed prior to departure.
  4. Ensure that the Travel Reimbursement Request form is prepared in a timely manner, and provides appropriate receipts and documentation as required per FIS 411-07.

Travel authorization must be obtained from the department head or chairperson, dean or director prior to the commencement of travel.  Contact the appropriate Business Center for internal approval procedures.

Expenses related to bringing potential Fellows to campus need to comply with the OSU Travel Policy.  Recording of these expenses is dependent upon their ultimate status with OSU.  See also GCG 205-18: 39XXX-Travel in the Grant, Contract & Gift Accounting Manual.

  • Those persons who will be OSU registered students (stipend paid on a 55xxx account code series on non E&G funds per OSRAA approval) are recruited as students.  Expenses related to their campus visit(s) should be charged to account code 28613.
  • Those persons who will not be OSU registered students (stipend paid on 28636) are recruited as faculty.  Expenses for their airfare, ground transportation, lodging, non-hosted meals, etc. should be charged to account code 39117 Non-Empl Travel - Domestic. 
  • Expenses for hosted meals involving the potential Fellow are charged to account code 28612. 

When payment is made to an outside vendor on behalf of the Fellow the expense should appear in Vendor History (FAIVNDH) as those connected to the Fellow.  For instructions refer to FIS 1106-04: Payment When Check Disbursed to Other Than Vendor in the OSU Fiscal Operations Manual.