II.L. Travel and Expense Reimbursement 


POLICY TITLE: Travel and Expense Reimbursement


The FVTC Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy provides guidelines and establishes procedures for employees traveling on College business. This policy complies with IRS Rules and closely follows Federal Travel Regulations. This policy is meant for employees only.

These policies and procedures apply to all employees who incur expenses while on official College business and related travel, regardless of funding source. (Please note that some grants include their own travel guidelines. Where they differ, the guidelines of the grant will take precedence over this policy.)

This document outlines policies and procedures in general terms in order to allow reasonable discretion. This policy is not intended to cover every possible situation. Please contact Financial Services for clarification as needed.

Every effort should be made to encourage conservative use of college resources for business and travel related expenses. The College will reimburse employees for reasonable, necessary, appropriate and approved expenses.

Table of Contents
I. Responsibilities and Compliance

II. Authorization to Travel

III. Expense Reimbursement

IV. Receipts

V. Types of Expenses

VI. Extended Stay/Combining Business and Personal Travel

VIII. Policy Exceptions

For questions regarding this policy, please contact Accounts Payable or send an email to travelhelp.

A quick reference guide summarizing the more common items addressed in this policy is available on the Financial Services Travel Information page (for internal staff only).

I. Responsibilities & Compliance
A. Employee
Employees should spend College funds prudently. Business travel expenses will be paid by the College only if they are reasonable, necessary and in accordance with this policy.

Each employee should be familiar with this policy prior to travel to ensure that costs will be reimbursable. The employee is responsible for submitting all forms and receipts related to their travel within a timely manner. The employee may delegate responsibility for preparation of the forms but will always retain accountability of travel expenses.

B. Supervisor/Budget Manager
Supervisors and budget managers are ultimately accountable for the use of College funds and must verify that all travel is budgeted and expenditures are charged to the proper account(s). These individuals are responsible for knowing the policy, creating a process for ensuring that all travel expenses are approved within their department, and ensuring that their employees understand the process. The supervisor or budget manager (or their appointed designees) must sign each expense report, confirming that all travel expenses were necessary, reasonable, and consistent with this policy.

II. Authorization to Travel
All travel requires prior authorization from an employee’s supervisor and/or the manager whose budget is impacted. International travel requires approval from an executive team member. (See section V.D. International Travel.) Travel arrangements should only be made after approval has been received. The employee and respective supervisor are responsible for ensuring that travel is appropriate, reasonable and necessary. For professional growth activities, a Professional Growth Activity Tracking (PGAT) form is required. (See section V.E. Registration Fees & Professional Growth Activities.)

III. Expense Reimbursement
A. Travel Advance
Due to processing costs, travel advances are discouraged and will be approved by Financial Services on a case by case basis only when there is a demonstrated need.

Travel advances can be requested for expenses generally paid in cash, such as meals and incidental expenses (M&IE), taxi fares and parking fees. Travel advances are not to exceed the estimated amount of cash expenses.

B. Travel Claims
In order to receive reimbursement for travel expenses, it is necessary to complete an Employee Expense Report form upon completion of the trip and have it signed by the appropriate manager. This form is available on the Financial Services Travel Information page (for internal staff only). Requests for reimbursement should be submitted to Financial Services as soon as possible and no later than 90 days after the trip. The College reserves the right to deny reimbursement for requests that are habitually delinquent.

IV. Receipts
Original receipts are required for all expenses except for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) that are reimbursed on a per diem basis. (See section V.A. Meals & Incidental Expenses.)

The College expects that a good faith effort will be made by employees to collect and retain all required receipts. It is strongly suggested that employees keep copies of submitted receipts for their own files. If a receipt is lost or unable to be obtained, a detailed explanation of the expense is required.

V. Types of Expenses
A. Meals
B. Transportation
C. Lodging
D. International Travel
E. Registration and Professional Growth Activities

A. Meals

1.General Guidelines
The College will reimburse employees for normal meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) incurred during official business travel using the per diem, or maximum daily allowance, method. Business meeting meals will be reimbursed at actual cost up to per diem. Under no circumstances is alcohol considered a reimbursable expense.

2. Per Diem Rates
Meal expenses and any related tips will be reimbursed via the M&IE per diem rates established by the General Services
Administration (GSA) of the federal government. These rates vary by geographic location and can be found on the GSA web page under Per Diem Rates. The rate includes meals, tips and incidentals such as fees for food and luggage-handling type services.

If a meal is provided as part of a sponsored training session, conference, or meeting, the employee must deduct the per diem for that meal(s) from their per diem for that day. If a meal is provided by a conference as part of the registration fee and an employee elects to purchase a meal independent of the conference, such meals will be considered a personal expense and will not be reimbursed.

To comply with IRS regulations regarding taxable compensation, the amount of the meal per diem to be paid will depend on the duration of the trip:

When Travel is:
Meal & Incidental Expense allowance is:
Less than or equal to 12 hours
More than 12 but less than 24 hours
75% of applicable M&IE rate for destination
24 hours or more
First day of travel
75% of applicable M&IE rate for destination
Full days of travel
100% of applicable M&IE rate for destination 
Last day of travel
75% of applicable M&IE rate for destination 

The first and last day of travel will be determined as the day the employee leaves home and the day the employee arrives home. The following table shows an example of the 75% calculation of per diem rates:

M&IE Rates at 75% Proration for Travel Days
M&IE Rate for Location
$46 $51 $56 $61 $66 $71
75% of M&IE Rate:
$34.50 $38.25 $42.00 $45.75 $49.50 $53.25
Breakfast 5.25
6.00 6.75 7.50 8.25 9.00
Lunch 8.25 9.00
9.75 11.25 12.00 13.50
Dinner 17.25 19.50 21.75 23.25 25.50 27.00
Incidentals 3.75 3.75
3.75 3.75 3.75

In the event an employee travels to multiple cities and states during the same day of travel, the meal allowance for that day will be based upon the city where the employee spends the night.

In situations where business travel is combined with personal travel, reimbursement for meals will be limited to expenses incurred on days of official business. Travel days should be calculated as if the personal travel did not exist.

When two or more employees are on travel status and dine together, each employee is eligible for a per diem and will be reimbursed accordingly regardless of whether they get a single check and one employee pays. In those situations, employees should settle-up with each other in cash and each claim their own per diem upon returning from their trip.

3. Business Meals
Business meals are defined as meals taken with colleagues, students, donors or individuals from outside organizations during which specific College business takes place. These meals may occur locally or while in travel status. When two or more employees are traveling and dine together, the fact that they are dining together does not constitute a business meal.

Please see the College's business meals policy for more details.

B. Transportation
General Guidelines
While there are several acceptable methods of business transportation (air travel, public transportation, rental vehicle, personal vehicle, or College vehicle), employees are expected to use the most cost effective method possible. For assistance in determining the most cost effective transportation method, please contact Accounts Payable or send an email to travelhelp .

1. Air Travel
a. General Guidelines
The College will only pay for the cost of coach accommodations.

If an employee wishes to maximize comfort and convenience by traveling business or first class, the employee will pay the difference between the lowest priced coach fare and the actual final fare. The employee must submit a price quote along with their expense report. This quote can be obtained from the travel agency at the time of booking a ticket.

b. Airline Reservations
National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC): If travel is funded through the NCJTC, employees will automatically receive information for booking their airline tickets via an email or task order once travel is officially approved.

Travel under all other funding sources: Once travel is approved by the supervisor, the employee will send an email with the destination information, dates of travel, and chart-field string to travelhelp with a carbon copy (cc:) to their manager. The employee will receive an email response with instructions and an authorization number for booking an airline ticket. Airline tickets should be purchased through the College’s designated travel agency and will be charged directly to the College. Airline tickets purchased with personal funds will be reimbursed after the trip along with the other travel expenses to avoid additional processing costs and possible duplication of payment.

c. Airline Ticket Changes/Cancellations
The College will pay for change or cancellation penalties if approved by the supervisor and provided the change or cancellation was caused by unavoidable circumstances, and not personal preference.

d. Airline Frequent Flyer Programs
Employees may retain frequent flyer program benefits for their personal use. However, participation in these programs must not influence flight selection which would result in higher airfare. The College will not reimburse employees for tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles even if those tickets are purchased for business reasons.

e. Airport Club Memberships
The College will not pay for airport club memberships for employees and dues paid by employees for these memberships will not be reimbursed.

f. Baggage Charges or Lost Baggage
Employees will be reimbursed for any charges imposed by the airline for the first item of luggage. Excess baggage charges will be reimbursed only when traveling with heavy, bulky material or equipment that is required for business purposes.

The College will not reimburse employees for personal items lost while traveling on business. The airlines are responsible for retrieving and compensating for lost baggage.

g. Airline Boarding Compensation
Airlines occasionally offer free tickets or cash allowances to compensate for delays due to overbooking, flight cancellations or changes. Employees may volunteer for boarding compensation only if the delay in their trip will not result in any interruption of business or any additional costs to the College. Employees may keep the compensation for their own personal use.

h. Airport Delays
The College will reimburse employees for reasonable expenses such as additional hotel and per diem costs incurred due to flight delays and cancellations that are beyond the employee’s control. A brief description of the circumstances should be included with the Employee Expense Report. The Employee Expense Report form is available on the 
Financial Services Travel Information page (for internal staff only).

2. Public Transportation (Taxi, Shuttle, Rail, Subway, Metro, Bus)
Costs of public transportation with reasonable tips will be reimbursed with a receipt. These expenses are allowed for transportation to, from, and between places of business, lodging, and the airport. Taxi or public transportation expenses incurred while traveling to a meal will be reimbursed as long as the meal is at a reasonable location (i.e. the employee is not traveling across town to a restaurant when there are numerous restaurants within walking distance). Courtesy transportation should be utilized whenever possible.

3. Rental Vehicle
a. General Guidelines
    • Car rental is an allowable expense if authorized by the supervisor or budget manager. The use of a rental car should be justified as an economical, business necessity. Actual expenses will be reimbursed with a detailed receipt.

    • Employees should use a rental car when other transportation is not available or when the use of a rental car results in a cost savings. If the primary mode of transportation is going to be taxi, shuttle, subway or courtesy transportation once the employee reaches his/her final business destination, then a rental car is discouraged.

    • Mileage is not reimbursable for rental vehicles; however, the direct cost of gasoline will be reimbursed. Employees should fill the car with gasoline prior to returning it to the car rental agency.

    • When renting a car in the state of Wisconsin, employees should take advantage of the College's negotiated rates by renting from Enterprise. This rate includes the extra insurance at no additional cost. Employees should email  travelhelp@fvtc.edu with a carbon copy (cc:) to their supervisor or budget manager to obtain a PO number. When calling Enterprise to reserve a vehicle, employees will provide the PO number and the College's account number (WISC742). Enterprise will then directly bill the College.
b. Type of Vehicle
The size of the rental car should be the least expensive model consistent with the number of employees and the business requirements of the trip. Minivans and SUVs should be used only if transporting large or bulky material or if four or more individuals are traveling together. Employees should NEVER rent a 15 passenger van as the College’s insurance does not cover these vehicles.

c. Insurance
The College’s insurance policy provides coverage for car rentals (except for 15 passenger vans) within the United States so it is not necessary to purchase additional insurance offered by rental agencies. If purchased, this cost will not be reimbursed. The additional insurance should be purchased and will be reimbursed when renting vehicles for College business outside of the United States. (See Section V.D. International Travel.)

d. Accidents
If a rental vehicle is involved in an accident, employees should immediately contact the rental car company and local authorities as required. Risk Management should be notified at (920) 735-2575 no later than the following business day. The employee should also contact his/her supervisor and complete an Incident Report form available at the FVTC Human Resources web site . The form can be found under the ‘Quick Links’ section on the bottom right of the web page.

4. Personal Vehicles
  • Employees may use personal vehicles for official business travel when necessary and cost effective. Reimbursement will be at the current IRS mileage rate. The current rates can be found on the Financial Services Travel Information page (for internal staff only) and at www.irs.gov. This mileage rate covers all transportation and operating costs of the vehicle, including depreciation, repairs, towing, gasoline and insurance. Additional reimbursement will be made for tolls and reasonable parking fees.
    • Employees will not be reimbursed for tickets, fines or traffic violations. No reimbursement will be made for vehicle repair costs regardless of whether it results from the employee’s act or acts of others.
    • Employees who choose to use their own vehicles on a trip where air travel is more appropriate will be reimbursed an amount not to exceed the least expensive, logical air fare to the destination. Proof of this air fare cost must be submitted with an expense claim.
    • Expenses associated with normal commuting between an employee’s home and regular place of business are not reimbursable.
    • Requests for mileage reimbursement must include starting point, destination, number of miles and purpose of trip. Employees will be reimbursed based on actual starting and ending locations. For teaching assignments and contract training, Faculty will be reimbursed in accordance with the  Faculty Association Master Agreement.

5. College Vehicles
The College owns several vehicles that may be used for College business. To use one of these vehicles, contact Manufacturing Technologies or Facilities Services. See the complete college vehicle policy for more details.

6. Limousine and Private Car Services
Travel by limousine and private car service is not an acceptable mode of business travel unless it represents the most efficient and cost-effective method for the trip. The employee must attach documentation to support his/her decision to use a limousine or private car service.

C. Lodging
1. General Guidelines
  • Generally speaking, it is up to the employee to make their necessary lodging arrangements unless told otherwise. The choice of lodging shall be based on cost with consideration given to accessibility in conducting business. The College will pay actual room costs, as supported by the detailed hotel bill, for each night that lodging away from home is required for business purposes. Employees should choose good quality, reasonably priced hotels whenever practical. Receipts for lodging are always required.
  • FVTC is exempt from sales tax in the state of Wisconsin and several other states. Employees incurring lodging expenses within these states can provide the hotel with FVTC’s tax-exempt number to avoid sales tax charges when allowable. A list of states in which FVTC is tax exempt can be found on the Financial Services Travel Information page (for internal staff only).
    • When making lodging arrangements, employees should request the state rate, government rate, or corporate discounts if available. Employees should ask the hotel what type of identification or proof is required to attain these rates and be prepared to provide it.
2. Cancellations
In the event it is necessary to change or cancel guaranteed reservations, it is the responsibility of the employee to cancel the reservation. The College will not reimburse any charges or fees assessed due to failure to cancel a reservation unless there are circumstances beyond their control.

3. Lodging in a Private Residence
Payments to individuals for lodging at their personal homes are not reimbursable.

D. International Travel
1. General Guidelines
  • International travel is defined as travel outside of the United States and U.S. Territories and Possessions. In general, the travel guidelines outlined throughout this policy apply to international travel.
  • Travel to foreign countries must be approved by an executive team member prior to travel taking place.
  • Human Resources must be notified of all international travel prior to traveling.
  • If international travel is grant funded, verify the applicable grant guidelines before planning the trip. Many granting agencies require specific processing and/or prior approval before international travel is allowed.

2. Lodging and Meals
Per diem rates for meals and incidental expenses for non-U.S. overseas locations are set by the U.S. Department of State for the city and country of travel. As per the previous meal section of this policy, per diem rates on travel days will be reimbursed at 75%. Actual lodging expenses will be reimbursed with a receipt. (See also section V.C. Lodging.)

3. Vehicle Rental
When renting a vehicle while on international travel, confirm in advance whether an international driver's license is needed. The employee should accept the optional insurance coverage such as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Personal Accident Insurance (PAI). Cost for these expenses will be reimbursed with a receipt.

4. Currency Exchange
Expense reports for foreign travel must be submitted in U.S. Dollars using the exchange rate in effect during the dates of travel. Documentation indicating what exchange rate was used to make the conversions should be submitted with the expense reimbursement form. Currency exchange rates can be found at several web sites including gocurrency. If purchases were made via credit card, use the exchange rate provided by the credit card company. Credit card transaction fees associated with currency conversion will be reimbursed with appropriate documentation.

5. Foreign Travel Advisories
Travel warnings for individual countries and announcements for particular regions are available at the U.S Department of State’s International Travel Information web site. Health information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on specific destinations is available at the CDC web site.

E. Registration Fees & Professional Growth Activities
Fox Valley Technical College’s Human Resource Department maintains a professional growth activity tracking system (PGAT) system for the purpose of tracking and reporting on professional growth activities. Employees need to complete a PGAT form if:
  • A registration fee needs to be paid.
  • Salary advancement applies (for faculty).
  • Tuition reimbursement applies (for ESPA and management).
  • Training & Development is covering the cost, or part of the cost.
  • The activity counts toward certification renewal (for faculty and certified management positions).
Employees can obtain a PGAT form by selecting New Activity on the PGAT System web page . Once the PGAT form has been completed, the employee should complete and submit any registration paperwork to Accounts Payable for payment of the registration fee. Employees may also choose to pay registration fees with personal funds and be reimbursed after the trip via the Employee Expense Report . The Employee Expense Report form is available on the
Financial Services Travel Information
page (for internal staff only). This is the preferred method when registration fees are of a small dollar amount (less than $50). Original receipts or proof of payment are required.

It is the employee’s responsibility to notify Accounts Payable of any cancellations and/or refunds of a professional growth activity.

F. Miscellaneous Expenses
1. Phone/Fax/Internet Expenses
  • Employees will be reimbursed for business phone calls that are reasonable and necessary for conducting business. Business related cellular phone charges while in travel status will be reimbursed for airtime, roaming, and applicable tax. Charges for personal calls will not be reimbursed. An itemized hotel bill or original phone bill with itemized calls must be attached to the expense report. When possible, avoid making calls from hotels that add surcharges.
  • Use of air phones will not be reimbursed except in emergencies or extenuating circumstances. An explanation must be noted on the expense report.
  • Business related faxes and photocopy charges are reimbursable. Claims must be supported by a receipt.
  • Reasonable internet charges will be reimbursed with a receipt if there is a direct business need.
2. Laundry
Expenses for laundry, dry cleaning and pressing of clothing are generally unallowable except in extenuating circumstances.

3. Parking Fees
Parking fees, including parking meters, are an allowable expense. Charges for parking will be reimbursed at actual cost with an original receipt if available. Charges for valet parking are reimbursable if self-parking options are not available.

VI. Extended Stay/Combining Business and Personal Travel
A. General Guidelines

It is acceptable for an employee to extend their travel or combine personal travel with business travel, provided the related time and expenses do not affect the business objective or result in additional costs to the College.

When an employee deviates from the most direct travel route for personal reasons, reimbursement may not exceed the cost of the most direct route. Reimbursement for meals, lodging and other expenses will be limited to expenses incurred on days of official business and should be calculated as if the personal travel had not occurred.

B. Documentation Required
The employee is responsible for providing documentation separating official business travel from personal travel. If an alternate route versus the most direct route is taken, the employee must provide comparable price quotes that are obtained at the same time that the travel reservation is booked. The documentation must be submitted along with the Employee Expense Report . The Employee Expense Report form is available on the Financial Services Travel Information page (for internal staff only).

In some instances, airfare may be reduced by adding additional days to the trip, e.g., staying over a Saturday or flying on particular days. In these cases, if the employee can provide documentation of the cost savings, reasonable expenses for the additional lodging and meals may be reimbursed.

C. Car Rental Involving Personal Use
To be eligible for reimbursement, a rental vehicle must be required for business purposes or be an economical choice to meet business needs. If the personal use of the rental vehicle incurs costs greater than that required for business purposes, the additional cost will be the responsibility of the employee and will not be reimbursed by the College. To determine the appropriate cost sharing, the employee should submit receipts and documentation prorating reimbursement of expenses for only the business portion of the trip.

VII. Policy Exceptions
Exceptions to this policy may be made in special circumstances or when in the best interest of the College. These exceptions should be infrequent and require the written approval of a member of the Executive Team or the College president.

Related Policies:
Administrative Policy II.B1
Administrative Policy III.L

Administrative Policy V.AA

Adopted: 02/18/86
Reorganized: 06/24/97
Reviewed: 08/08/12
Revised: 09/11/12

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   Last Modified:
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