Crest for Policies 

Policy G7
Policy Name: Travel Authorization and Reimbursement
Responsibility for Maintenance: Financial Services

Date of most recent changes: June 18, 2019

I. Policy Statement 

Onondaga Community College shall approve and fund travel necessarily incurred by College personnel in the course of their responsibilities to the College, subject to and in accordance with the conditions set forth in this policy.

II. Reason for Policy 

This policy is intended to furnish College personnel with guidance relating to the authorization and subsequent reimbursement of necessary travel expenses incurred in the pursuit of official college business.

III. Applicability of the Policy 

This policy applies to all College employees and members of authorized College boards and committees.

IV. Related Documents 

V. Contacts 

Subject Office Name Title or Position Telephone Number Email/URL
  Financial Services Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (315) 498-2268 [email protected]  

VI. Definitions 

Term Definition
Employee An employee or trustee of Onondaga Community College, or a member of an authorized Onondaga Community College board or committee.

VII. Procedures 

Responsibility for Expenditures 

Except as otherwise provided in this policy or required by applicable law, the College will not advance funds for anticipated travel expenses. It is the responsibility of each employee to provide funds for his/her own expenses. The College will reimburse the employee for authorized travel expenses as and to the extent provided in this policy.

General Instructions

1. Advance travel authorization is required for all travel to conventions, conferences, etc. An “Authorization for Travel Expenses” form must be prepared in advance and signed by required authorizing officials (see below). This form should be matched with related vouchers or expenses incurred will not be reimbursed. It is necessary to submit the travel authorization form and obtain approval at least 30 days prior to travel.

2. Advance travel authorization is not needed for the following types of travel/activities: Routine field work within the boundaries of Onondaga County and other contiguous counties. A list of employees who routinely incur such mileage expenses should be forwarded by the department head to Financial Services. Emergency travel is allowed when a detailed explanation of the travel and justification is submitted with the voucher for reimbursement.

3. Airline reservations and ticket arrangements must be coordinated in advance by Financial Services. They will provide the College’s Travel Agent’s contact information for the employee to work with directly for the most economical flight. The College will not reimburse for airline tickets that were purchased directly by the employee without going through the travel agency. This policy is inclusive of Faculty travel approved through the Teaching Center.

4. Advance registration fees can be arranged by Financial Services when a signed, approved purchase order is received by Financial Services. At least 30 days notice is necessary.

5. Only those expenses which are actual, necessary, and reasonable will be reimbursed. Personal expenses which do not fall into these categories will not be reimbursed. Expenditures such as laundry, valet service, entertainment, snacks, refreshments and bar bills are not reimbursable.

6. Travel by common carrier is the preferred mode of transportation. Air travel should be by coach or tourist accommodation.

7. Use of a privately-owned vehicle for travel is authorized when the conditions of the travel make it easier, more economical or equal to the cost of a common carrier such as a rental car. Such travel will be reimbursed at the prevailing mileage rate as described below. Anticipated mileage costs should be included in the total amount requested on the “Authorization for Travel Expenses” form.  

Travel Authorization Form; Approval Requirements  

1. A completed “Authorization for Travel Expenses” form must be completed by the employee. Details of the travel expenses should be attached to the form. The maximum amount requested should reflect all expenses expected to be incurred and paid by the College. It is necessary to submit the travel authorization form and obtain approval at least 30 days prior to travel.

2. Requests for travel authorization must be approved by the appropriate department chairperson/head, as well as the appropriate Senior Vice President or Vice President. For grant-funded requests, travel must also be approved by the Project Director of the Grant to ensure the requested travel is consistent with the terms of the sponsored funding contract and by Financial Services to ensure that the sponsored account has sufficient funds.

3. In addition to the approvals required pursuant to paragraph 2 above, all travel outside New York State must be approved by the President.

4. The original of the approved/signed “Authorization for Travel Expenses” form must be forwarded to Financial Services for verification and encumbering of funds. If proper verification is made, a copy of the request will be returned to the requesting department. Once verification is obtained and funds are encumbered, travel is authorized.

5. If authorized travel is postponed the employee must notify Financial Services so that the funds may be unencumbered.

6. If significant additional costs are discovered prior to departure, the employee should submit another “Authorization for Travel Expenses” form marked “Supplemental” to Financial Services, through the proper channels, for the additional amount required.

Reimbursable Travel Expenses 

Lodging. Rates for lodging must be actual and supported by receipts, specifying dates and rates. For federal grants, the allowable rates can be found on the Federal GSA website - If lodging is within New York State, the employee must present a “NYS Hotel Exemption Certificate ST-129” (available on the College web site under “forms”) when registering at the motel/hotel. If the certificate is not presented and the motel/hotel applies sales tax to the room charge, the tax will not be reimbursed. Lodging within the County of Onondaga and contiguous counties is not an ordinary and necessary expense and will not be reimbursed except under emergency conditions. Approvals for reimbursement under emergency situations must be submitted and approved by the divisional Senior Vice President or President.

Meals. Meals are reimbursed on a per diem basis in lieu of actual expenses by using the “Per Diem Meal Allowance Request” form that is available from Financial Services. Separate per diem reimbursement rates for breakfast, lunch and dinner shall be determined by Financial Services based on the rates that can be found on the Federal GSA website - These rates are all inclusive and include gratuity and applicable taxes. Employees are not required to furnish receipts for meals claimed under the per diem meal allowance provision. If lodging, registration, or other items of expense include meals, they cannot be claimed again as a per diem allowance. Employees who submit receipts in lieu of the per diem reimbursement must provide an itemized receipt with the reimbursement request in order to be reimbursed. Credit card receipts without the itemized detail will not be sufficient. The policy will not reimburse for alcohol.

Meals will be reimbursed on the date of departure if departure occurs before 7 a.m. (breakfast) before 11:30 a.m. (lunch) or before 6 p.m. (dinner). Meals will be reimbursed on the date of return if return occurs after 8 a.m. (breakfast), after 2 p.m. (lunch), or after 7 p.m. (dinner).

Tipping Taxi Drivers. Tipping taxi cab drivers will be allowed up to 15 percent. No other tipping may be claimed. Receipts are required for reimbursement.

Transportation and Related Expenses. Transportation costs will be paid from point of departure to the destination. Travel must always be by the most direct route and any other travel will be at the expense of the employee. Use of a personal vehicle should only be used when a rental car is not a feasible option, or the cost of mileage is less than the cost of the rental car and estimated fuel. If a personal vehicle is used instead of a College contracted rental car, reimbursement for the trip will be limited to the total cost of the rental car, including estimated fuel costs.

Mileage will be paid at the rate as established by the Internal Revenue Service from time to time, and only those miles traveled which are actual, necessary and reasonable will be allowed for purposes of reimbursement. For federal grants, follow the federal rates that can be found on the Federal GSA website - A “Daily Mileage Sheet” is required in order for mileage reimbursement to a claimant. The form should be completed on the day of the trip, and each trip must be recorded separately. The completed “Daily Mileage Sheet(s)” should be attached to a complete approved claim voucher and submit to Financial Services for reimbursement. When two or more employees travel in a privately owned vehicle, the claim for reimbursement must list the names of those traveling in the vehicle, and reimbursement will be made only to the owner. Mileage reimbursement is meant to cover only those miles incurred above and beyond the employee’s normal commute to the College.  For example, if normal commuting round trip is 20 miles, and the employee goes on a trip that covers 75 miles and does not leave from or return to the college, only the incremental 55 miles are reimbursable if the travel took place during a work day.  If the 75 miles in the above example were incurred over three business days, then the incremental reimbursable miles would be 15 (75 – (3 *20)).

An automobile liability insurance policy covering the privately owned vehicle must be in force when using a personal vehicle on college business. The policy should provide minimum bodily injury limits of at least $250,000 for each person, $10,000 each accident, and property damage liability limit of $25,000.

Other transportation-related expenses, such as parking fees, tolls, taxis and buses, will be reimbursed provided that a properly documented receipt is submitted with the claim voucher.

Miscellaneous Expense(s). Miscellaneous charges, such as supplies in conjunction with a school program or seminar, may be claimed provided there are itemized receipts. These items will be charged to the department’s supplies budget.

VIII. Forms/ Online Resources 

Approved by OCC Board of Trustees April 3, 2006

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 16, 2015

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 21, 2016

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 20, 2017

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 19, 2018

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 18, 2019