515 - Travel
Responsible Office: Business Office
Responsible Officer: Vice President of Finance and Administration
Reference: Minnesota State Board Policy 5.19, Procedure 5.19.3
PART 1. POLICY
The college provides funds for authorized travel/official business. The college will reimburse employees for allowable expenses incurred. The college travel policy assures compliance with pertinent state and federal laws, IRS regulations, policies and procedures of the Minnesota Departments of Employee Relations and Finance and applicable bargaining agreements or compensation plans.
Requirements and expense limits/restrictions are contained in Travel Procedures below.
PART 2. PROCEDURE
Prior authorization is required for in-state travel outside of an employee's normal job duties as well as for all out-of-state travel. An annual blanket authorization for travel routinely undertaken may be approved.
A Travel/Special Expense Approval/Authorization Form is used to secure authorization by describing the purpose of the travel and outlining associated travel costs. The authorization must verify that adequate budget is available prior to travel. Travel advances may be requested with this form. See below for guidance.
The traveler is responsible for making all travel arrangements such as lodging and transportation. The traveler is expected to plan ahead in order to achieve the most economical costs and practical arrangements. The following are important guidelines:
Spouse/Non-College Personnel Travel
All costs are at employee's expense. Information regarding non-college personnel traveling with the employee should be included on the Travel/Special Expense Approval/Authorization Form.
College-Issued Credit Cards
College issued credit cards must be in compliance with Minnesota State Board Policy 7.3.3 . Purchasing Cards. Cards are intended for business use only by state employees. They may not be used for meals.
Air Fare: Air travel requires prior administrative approval on the Travel/Special Expense Approval/Authorization Form. A credit card purchase must be encumbered before purchasing air fare (see Purchasing policy for additional guidance.) The traveler should compare rates with at least two carriers. The traveler may use the state approved travel agency for travel arrangements. NOTE: Frequent flyer miles are the property of the state including those awarded for bumping.
Car Rental: If a rental car is necessary, employees must rent from the state's contracted car rental vendor. The state vendor has full insurance coverage. If you need assistance contact the Business Office.
College Vehicle Usage: Employees and authorized students are provided access to college vehicles for in state travel purposes. Vehicles must be reserved in advance. Contact Maintenance office for assistance.
The driver is responsible for having a valid driver's license when operating a college vehicle. Student usage requires a copy of a valid driver's license and a current DMV report to be filed with the Business Office.
Vehicles must be refueled at the end of travel. Payment will be made with the college Voyager credit card that accompany the key to the vehicle.
No smoking is allowed in the vehicles per Tobacco-free Campuses Policy.
Privately Owned Vehicle: Use of a privately owned vehicle is acceptable. Exact mileage must be reported for reimbursement according to the employee's current collective bargaining agreement. When a college vehicle is available, mileage reimbursement will be at a lower rate. Current rates are available (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Business expense reimbursement forms). Towing or repair of a personal vehicle is not reimbursable.
A purchase order may be used for lodging, if accepted by the vendor. Employee lodging charges can be charged to a college issued credit card. If you need assistance contact the Business Office.
Meals are reimbursed for the actual amount of the expense up to the allowable maximum. Allowable maximums are determined by collective bargaining agreements (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Business expense reimbursement forms\Bus_Exp_employee_expense_report.xlsx). To be reimbursed for meal costs during travel status::
- Breakfast: must depart residence before 6:00 a.m.
- Lunch: must be more than 35 miles from assigned campus
- Dinner: must arrive residence after 7:00 p.m. or stay overnight
Meals within the work area and not in travel status require pre-approval by using the Travel/Special Expense Approval/Authorization Form (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Purchasing forms\Special Expense-Travel Form.docx). Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable.
Registration and Conference Fees
If the purpose of the travel is to attend a conference or seminar, the registration, conference and travel fees are required to be included on the Travel/Special Expense Approval/Authorization Form (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Purchasing forms\Special Expense-Travel Form.docx). A college-issued credit card purchase must be encumbered before registration. If acceptable by the vendor, a purchase order may be issued. If required, pre-payment for registration can be processed. Cancellation of the conference is only allowed for a sound business reason.. If you need assistance contact the Business Office.
Advances are available for expenses estimated to be greater than $50. A request for an advance requires the Travel/Special Expense Approval/Authorization Form (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Purchasing forms\Special Expense-Travel Form.docx). Requests for travel advances must be submitted to the Business office two (2) weeks prior to the payday before travel begins. Only one (1) outstanding travel advance is allowed at one time. A Business Expense Reimbursement Form (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Business expense reimbursement forms) for travel expenses must be submitted within five (5) business days after returning. If not submitted within 28 days, the advance will automatically be deducted.
After Travel Completed
After returning from travel, the traveler must complete an Employee Expense Report. H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Business expense reimbursement forms This form is used for reimbursement of actual business expenses. This form is also used for travel advances.. Signatures by the employee and their supervisor are required on the Employee Expense Report.
Requirements for the Employee Expense Report
- Original receipts are required for all expenses, except for meals, taxi, shuttle, baggage handling, and parking meters. If a receipt is lost, a signed and notarized affidavit can be accepted in lieu of the receipt (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Purchasing forms\Affidavit in Lieu of Receipt.docx).
- Examples of non-reimbursable travel costs include: costs for non-college personnel/students, meals or lodging if covered by registration or conference fee, meals included in cost of airfare, late payment fees or interest on delinquent credit cards, costs for vacation/personal days linked to travel, and parking violation or traffic violation tickets. If you need assistance contact the Business Office..
- Meals without lodging are taxable according to IRS regulations.
- Lodging charges of a personal nature, such as movies, room service, personal call charges, are required to be paid separately by the traveler.
Summary of Related Forms
- Travel/Special Expense Approval/Authorization Form (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Purchasing forms\Special Expense-Travel Form.docx): In-state and out-of-state request to travel and request for travel advance
- This form gives written administrative approval for out-of-state overnight travel or overnight travel outside of normal job duties.
- This form is used to request a travel advance.
- Include information regarding non-college personnel traveling with the employee.
- Employee Expense Report (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Business expense reimbursement forms\Bus_Exp_employee_expense_report.xlsx): This form is signed by the employee and their supervisor for the purpose of reimbursing the employee for business expenses.
- Travel/Special Expense Approval/Authorization Form (H:\FORMS\Business Office Forms\Purchasing forms\Special Expense-Travel Form.docx): Request for approval to incur special expenses. This form gives written administrative approval for expenses that would not be reimbursable under Department of Finance guidelines. Examples of special expenses are: conference or registration fees greater than $500, meals within a work area for employees not in travel status, or meals for non-state employees.
Approved: August 20, 1997
Reviewed: December 28, 2010; July 2020; November 20, 2020
Revised: November 19, 1999; February 15, 2000; April 2, 2002; June 30, 2004; July 2020; November 20, 2020