Policy Steward: 
Fiscal Policy Officer
Format Updated: 
University Policy & Standards Converted: 
Revision Date: 
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

* Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to fiscal policy 03-140-401 Travel




Pre-Travel & General Information

Do I need pre-approval for my travel?

Some departments, colleges and Business Centers require pre-travel authorization for certain types of travel.  Contact your Business Center for details.  In addition to approval from your department, pre-travel authorization from the Office for Sponsored Research and Award Administration (OSRAA) is required for foreign travel on a grant.

Can I get a travel advance? If so, what is the process?

When traveling on official university business, OSU employees (faculty and classified staff employed at least 0.5 FTE), Graduate assistants (appointed at .3 FTE), students and official volunteers may be eligible for limited travel advances.  Please refer to fiscal policy 03-140-208 Travel Advances for details and contact your Business Center for more assistance.

Can a procurement card (Pcard) be used to prepay travel expenses?

Yes.  The Pcard can be used to prepay conference registration, airport shuttle and with advance planning, lodging.  To use the Pcard as the final payment method for lodging, in most cases you will need to make advance arrangements with the hotel.

I need to fly business class due to a medical condition, what is the process for requesting an accommodation for my specific travel needs?

Any required accommodation due to disability, medical condition or other special need must be approved in advance by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (employees) or Disability Access Services (students) and noted on applicable travel form.

Why are travelers encouraged to utilitze OSU contracted travel agencies?

There are several advantages to using the contracted travel agencies:

  • Contracted services are billed directly to the university
  • Provide access to airfare contracts that may represent a significant savings to units
  • Allow flexibility to change or revise travel plans
Where can I find OSU’s per diem rates and other travel resources?

On the OSU Travel webpage.

Air Transportation

If I have to change my flight, can I be reimbursed for the airfare change fees?

No.  The traveler (not OSU) will be personally responsible for fees unless they are necessary for OSU’s business needs or are outside the control of the traveler.


Can I be reimbursed for commercial lodging near the airport the night before or when arriving back from a flight when traveling for business?

Yes.  If it’s not possible for you to travel to the airport on the day of the flight within your normal work hours and allowing for reasonable delays.  When traveling from Corvallis to PDX, this could include any flight departing prior to noon.  When traveling from PDX to Corvallis, this could include any flight arriving after 5pm.

Is there a limit for lodging expenses?

Travelers are expected to use economical and reasonable lodging.  Lodging, including taxes, will be reimbursed at actual cost.  Please check with your manager, Budget Authority or whoever is authorizing your travel for clarification.  OSU’s per diem rates may be used as a starting guideline.

My trip occurred in September prior to the new Travel Policy changes, should I use actual cost or a lodging per-diem on my travel reimbursement form?

All travel reimbursements created after 11/1/20 will be subject to the new travel policy even if the trip occurred prior to 11/1/20.  Lodging will be reimbursed at actual cost.

Ground Transportation

How do I book a shuttle to the airport?

Check the OSU Travel Reference Guide on the Travel Webpage for a list of vendors providing airport shuttle service.

How can I book a Motor Pool Car?

Contact the OSU Motor Pool at (541) 737-4141 or use their online reservation system.  First-time motor pool customers will need to fill out a Driver Authorization Form prior to reserving a vehicle.

How can I book a rental car?

A rental car may be direct-billed to OSU through our contracted agency, Enterprise Rent-A-Car/National Rental Car.  Please refer to the Rental Car Contract Summary for booking details.  Contact your department’s travel administrator or your Business Center  for assistance when booking a rental car as a direct bill.

What information do I need to provide when requesting reimbursement or payment for a specialty class vehicle rental?

Specialty class of rental vehicles must be justified with a business purpose (e.g. group travel, equipment transportation, etc.).

When renting a vehicle, what insurance costs are reimbursable?
  • Collision damage waiver (CDW), also known as loss damage waiver
  • Liability insurance supplement, also known as supplemental liability insurance
  • Note:  Personal accident insurance (PAI) should be declined and is not reimbursable
Can I use a procurement card for emergency repairs to a Transportation Services vehicle while traveling for the university?

Yes.  Those charges must be documented and verified by Transportation Services. Transportation Services will reimburse the department for the costs.

What documentation do I need for mileage reimbursement?

You can use the Oregon Mileage Chart, Google Maps, Mapquest or actual odometer readings for the calculation.

How do I calculate personal vehicle mileage if I am traveling from my home to a temporary work location, like a meeting in Salem?

OSU will reimburse the mileage between the employee work station and the destination or the mileage between the employee's home and the destination, whichever is less.

I am temporarily working from home and drive to my office location for various job duties.  Is the mileage from my home to regular office location reimbursable?

No.  These miles are considered personal commuting expenses.

I am temporarily working from home and my duties require me to drive to post office or printing and mailing with regular frequency.   Should I claim mileage from their home or regular office location?

These miles are eligible for reimbursement.  Mileage should start from whichever location results in the shorter distance in accordance with IRS guidelines.

I am an off-campus employee and paid cash for a one-day parking permit at a pay station when I was on campus attending a workshop.  Can I be reimbursed for this cost along with my mileage on a travel reimbursement?

Yes, in most cases.  Please refer to fiscal policy 03-110-206 Parking Fines and Permit Sales for more information on when university funds may not be used for parking permits.  Receipts are not required for expenses under $75.00.


What lodging location determines the daily M&IE per diem?

The traveler's overnight lodging location.  For the day the traveler returns from the trip, the last location where the traveler stayed overnight is used to determine the per diem rate.

Can meals be reimbursed over the per diem rate?

No.  The per diem rates provided for Meal & Incidental Expenses (M&IE) are the maximum amounts allowed.

Can I be reimbursed for meals on one-day trips?

Yes.  Meals can be reimbursed as taxable income when an employee is away from their official work location for at least six hours, but not in travel status.

Conference Expenses

No questions at this time

Business Travel Combined with Personal Travel

Can personal and business travel be combined?

Yes.  Travelers may combine business travel with personal travel as long as no added expense is incurred by the university.  The personal days must be clearly stated when submitting a reimbursement request.

  • Airfare – Only the business portion of the airfare can be direct billed.  The personal portion must be paid with personal funds.  A quote showing the business only portion will be needed for comparison.
  • Private vehicle – If a traveler chooses to drive for personal reasons instead of flying, OSU will reimburse the lesser of either the mileage rate amount or the potential cost for airfare.
  • Please refer to section 3.6 Business Travel Combined with Personal Travel in fiscal policy 03-140-401 Travel for more details.
What documentation is required for reimbursement of travel expenses when combining business travel with personal travel?

A comparison quote showing how much it would have cost without personal travel should be submitted with the travel reimbursement request.  The quote should be obtained within 24 hours of actual booking(s) and for the most economical, reasonable, direct route or practical accommodations available for the business being conducted.

International Travel

If I travel overseas on OSU business, will I be insured?

In order to be insured for foreign travel you must contact OSU Risk Management prior to your trip and register with them.

Travel on Grants

No questions at this time

General Travel Reimbursements

I just returned from a business trip; what do I need to do to get reimbursed for my travel expenses?

Depending on the procedures for your work unit, either fill out a Travel Reimbursement Entry System (TRES) document or give the original receipts to your department’s travel coordinator and ask them to initiate a reimbursement request for you.

  • Direct access to the TRES system requires previous training; please refer to the TRES System Training webpage.

Print out the TRES reimbursement request, sign it and have it approved by your department’s budget authority.

The traveler or travel coordinator (depending on procedures for your work unit) sends the original signed form and original receipts to your Business Center and submit the electronic TRES document.

Please be aware that you must submit your travel reimbursement within 60 days of the end of your university-related travel in order to be reimbursed. Review fiscal policy 03-140-401 Travel for more details.

Note:  Direct deposit is a convenient option for travel reimbursements. Here are the instructions to sign up for Direct Deposit.

When do I need to submit my travel expenses for reimbursement?

All reimbursements must be submitted via the Travel Reimbursement Entry System (TRES) for payment within 60 days of incurring the cost or within 60 days after the conclusion of the travel/field-work during which the expenditure was made.  The reimbursement request must also be made within the same fiscal year as the expenses were incurred (OSU’s fiscal year ends June 30th).  Please review fiscal policy 03-140-401 Travel for more details.

You must contact your Business Center for direction, if your reimbursement request occurs beyond the 60-day time limit.

Do I need to include receipts in order to get reimbursed?

Purchases that have been made with personal funds will be reimbursed by OSU when proper documentation of the purchase is provided, including itemized receipts.  Receipts are not required for meals that are being claimed under the per diem rate.

Please refer to section 3.9 Reimbursements in fiscal policy 03-140-401 Travel for more detail.  Contact your Business Center for assistance with handling lost receipts and other questions.

What travel expenses require receipts for reimbursement?
  • Any expense based on actual cost such as lodging, group meals, fuel for rental vehicle;
  • Airfare, rental vehicle and conference registration if purchased by traveler;
  • Mileage for private vehicle, hosting expenses; and
  • Any other travel expense over $75
Is the $75 receipt requirement per expense or cumulative for the day or trip?

Each transaction is considered an independent expense, in the same manner that you would require a receipt for other independent expenses.  For example, a $50 baggage fee on the first day of travel is a separate expense from a $50 baggage fee on the last day of travel, so receipts would not be required for either of these expenses.  In contrast, a receipt would be required if multiple bags were checked at one time and incurred fees over $75 for that single transaction.

Can I submit multiple trips on one travel reimbursement form?

Yes, if one of the following conditions is met:

  • The reimbursement requested for each trip is for mileage only. The reimbursement must be requested within 60 days of the earliest date of travel.
  • The trips are back-to-back.  If the traveler returns home before leaving on the next trip, this is not considered a back-to-back trip and separate forms must be created.
My colleague and I traveled together. What is the best way to claim reimbursement?

When employees travel together it may be expedient for one employee to pay and claim reimbursement for certain expenses of other employees.  Reimbursement for multiple employees is only allowed when actual expenses are being reimbursed and supported by itemized receipts.  Other members of the group may not claim reimbursements.

Following are guidelines to determine reasonableness of individual costs:

  • Lodging – Calculated as total lodging costs divided by total number of travelers.
  • Meals – Cost per person should not exceed M&IE per diem.
How do I claim reimbursement of travel expenses that I’ve paid on behalf of other OSU travelers?

When an OSU employee, such as a coach, athletic director or group leader, pays for the travel expenses of the team or group members, follow the steps below when preparing the travel reimbursement request.

  • Keep non-employee travel expenses separate from those of employees.
  • Include an attachment that provides a detailed itemization of each employee's expenses.
  • Include an itemized vendor receipt for meals provided to team or group members. If no receipt is available, such as when individuals are provided cash to purchase their own meals, a list of the individual's names, their signatures and the amounts disbursed is required.
Can I be reimbursed for travel expenses paid on behalf of non-OSU travelers from another institution?

No.  Itemized receipts supporting expenses must be submitted by the non-employee traveler, as required by policy.  If the traveler is hosting non-employees while traveling, reference the Hosting Groups and Official Guests section of fiscal policy 03-140-505 Meals, Refreshments and Events.

Are tips reimbursable?

No.  Gratuity and tax are included in the M&IE per diem, except group travel (15-20%) when supported by an itemized receipt.

Can I claim for alcohol while traveling?

No.  Alcohol is not reimbursable with state funds.

I purchased some field supplies while on a trip, can I include those on my travel reimbursement request?

Yes.  Any expenses claimed for non-travel business-related purchases (such as supplies, 20xxx account code) must be accompanied by a receipt regardless of the dollar amount.

Which travel insurances are allowable & which are not?

Allowable Insurance Expense:

  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), required when you rent a vehicle through a non-contracted vendor
  • Liability Insurance Supplement (supplemental liability insurance), required when you rent a vehicle through a non-contracted vendor
  • Foreign Car Insurance
  • Travel or trip insurance, when deemed necessary for OSU business needs

Non-Reimbursable Insurance Expense:

  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
  • Any additional insurance when you rent a vehicle through one of the contracted car rental agencies.
  • Any personal insurance
If receive a travel reimbursement from an outside source, are there any requirements or restrictions I should know about?

Any reimbursement or payment an employee receives from an outside source could be considered a gift and may not be in compliance with state ethics laws.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you are complying with such laws, and the university ethics advisor should be consulted.

A payment is not normally considered a gift if it is for reasonable expenses that would normally be paid by OSU for attendance at a convention, fact-finding trip, conference or other meeting where you are representing OSU as defined in ORS 174.111.

If you are paid directly by an outside entity and OSU pays the actual travel expenses, you must return the funds to OSU for those expenses.