Policy Steward: 
Director of Vendor Payment Strategies
Format Updated: 
University Policy & Standards Converted: 
Revision Date: 
Monday, May 23, 2016

* This information replaces FIS 411-04 Meals


Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) will be reimbursed based on OSU approved meal per diem rates located on the Business Affairs Travel Website. These travel rates are updated monthly by OSU.

M&IE per diem rates are determined by 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.

A deduction from the daily M&IE per diem is necessary when meals are provided by others or not claimed by the traveler. A deduction from the full daily rate is made using the following methodology established by OSU: Breakfast 25%, Lunch 25%, and Dinner 50%.

M&IE per diem is dictated by the departure/return time from the traveler's official work station.

Partial Day Per Diem Rates

(involving an overnight stay)

Initial Day of Travel - Leave

Prior to 7:00 AM

7:00 AM to 12:59 PM

1:00 PM and after

Meal Allowance

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Lunch, dinner


Final Day of Travel – Return

Prior to Noon

12:00 to 5:59 PM

6:00 PM and after

Meal Allowance


Breakfast, lunch

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

 FIS 410-29 Meals on One Day Trip

Meals reimbursed on one day business trips, with no overnight stay, have specific guidelines to be followed as determined.

For hosting of non-employees, reference the OSU's hosting policy in FIS 410-05 Hosting Groups and Official Guests.

Direct-bill invoices from vendors require the same written justification and approval for meal expenses.

Clarifications in regard to reimbursement of meal per diem:

  1. Meals provided at a conference included in the conference registration fee are not to be claimed. An exception due to dietary restrictions can be given with written justification.
  2. Breakfast is not to be claimed when staying at a bed and breakfast establishment as it is considered part of the lodging cost rather than “complimentary.”
  3. M&IE per diem will not be reduced for a complimentary meal provided by a common carrier or lodging establishment unless the complimentary meal is deemed to be sufficient by the traveler.
  4. Gratuity and tax is included in the M&IE per diem rate.
  5. The cost of alcoholic beverages will not be reimbursed, regardless of funding source.
  6. M&IE per diem may not be claimed for another individual traveling.

Meals for group travel should be based on either M&IE per diem OR actual costs when reimbursing for any single meal. Mixing reimbursement methods for any single group meal is not allowed.

Actual meal receipts are required for group travel when meal costs or food supplies (i.e. groceries purchased from a store or other entity) is being claimed for reimbursement. Note: OSU’s purchasing policies should be followed when buying any non-consumable item(s).

For group travel, the employee responsible for the group must submit an itemized, valid receipt obtained from the eating establishment to receive reimbursement. Gratuity may be reimbursed for group travel up to 15% of the meal expense when supported by a receipt. The 15% limit does not apply when the establishment dictates a service charge for larger groups in lieu of gratuity. In this case, the amount of the service charge is not within the control of the customer.

If a group traveling is provided M&IE per diem for the trip, it is the responsibility of the employee (group leader) to have each participant sign a signature sheet to indicate the dates, meals, and amount received.

If an individual pays meal cost for other travelers then the reimbursement must be based on actual costs. An itemized receipt is required. If an individual pays the meal cost for other travelers they cannot be reimbursed based on M&IE per diem.