Travel Policy

The following policy governs use of University funds as they relate to travel. For quick access to common travel resources, see Travel and Expense.

1.00 Purpose of Policy

It is the policy of the University to reimburse faculty, staff, students, visitors and any third-party vendors for travel expenses incurred during approved University business in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. All University travelers seeking reimbursement should incur the lowest reasonable travel expense and should exercise care to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety, including the public perception that a business trip has been taken for personal reasons.

2.00 Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all University travel regardless of the source of funding. The University will prepay most travel expenses by using the University P-Card for travelers attending University-approved business away from home or primary work location. The use of personal funds to pay for travel expenses is strongly discouraged. The University does not classify the commute between the employee's home and his/her primary work location as reimbursable travel.

Department heads or those responsible for the accounts being charged are expected to help ensure that expenses are kept to necessary and reasonable amounts.

Employees are responsible for following this policy and, if applicable, the policy of their particular program, school, department, center or division.

Authorized approvers have primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy. Before approving the expense report, the authorized approver must verify, to the best of his/her knowledge, that expenses and expense reports meet the following criteria:

  • The travel expense was incurred while conducting University business.
  • The information contained on the expense report and in the attached documentation is accurate and in compliance with this policy.
  • The expenditure is charged to the proper account(s).

3.00 Spousal Travel Policy

A spouse (or equivalent) may travel at the University's expense if the spouse's presence has a specific University business purpose.

Under IRS regulations, the travel expenses of a spouse are not taxable, provided it can be established that his or her presence serves a bona fide business purpose. A spouse who attends a function is considered to have a business purpose if he or she has a significant role in the proceedings or makes an important contribution to the success of an event. If a spouse has no significant role in the proceedings, attendance does not constitute a bona fide business purpose. Such expenses are taxable to the employee and therefore may not be reimbursed under this policy.

The Request for Spousal Travel Form must be approved prior to incurring any travel expenses.

4.00 Athletic Travel—Spouse and Other Family Members

Travel by a spouse or equivalent who accompanies the athletic director (or assistant director or head coach) to sporting events such as bowl games and tournaments is presumed to have a bona fide University business purpose (see section 3.00) in situations where the NCAA, MAC or potential donors expect that certain high-ranking members of the athletic department, and their spouses, will participate in events associated with these athletic activities. The travel expenses of a spouse incurred in the pursuit of such activities may be reimbursed provided documentation, such as an NCAA event agenda, is provided to substantiate the business purpose of the travel. Travel expenses incurred by other family members generally do not satisfy the bona fide University business purpose test and therefore are not reimbursable. If a spouse has no significant role in the proceedings, attendance does not constitute a bona fide business purpose. Such expenses are taxable to the employee and therefore may not be reimbursed under this policy.

The Request for Spousal Travel Form must be approved prior to incurring any travel expenses.

5.00 Authorization of Travel

Travel may be authorized and approved in advance by the appropriate person in the department, through a preauthorization request in Chrome River. Such approval indicates that the employee is authorized to travel on official university business and that related travel expenses will be covered per this policy. The preauthorization request should include the estimated expenses, account numbers, and electronic signature of the traveler and approver. Preauthorization does not include cash advances (see section 9.00).

The faculty or staff supervisor is responsible for reviewing the Expense Report for compliance with policy and for providing proper payment documentation. Supervisors are required to review expenditures. In cases where there is reason to believe the expenditures may be inappropriate or extravagant, reimbursement may be withheld. Deans and central administrative offices also review reimbursements and may question expenditures at any time.

Each department is responsible for ensuring that individual travelers and their supervisors properly implement and administer this policy.

6.00 Transportation

6.01 Common Carrier

Reimbursement for travel by air, rail, bus or other common carrier shall not exceed the cost of coach airfare or the economy rate in the chosen method of travel. Travelers should book airline tickets 14 days or more prior to the flight whenever possible as a cost savings to Miami University. A letter of explanation should be attached if the reservation of the airfare was booked less than 14 days prior to the trip.

Frequent Flyer Credits earned by University employees for travel on University business cannot be used for personal travel (see Ohio Ethics Commission advisory opinion no. 91-010). These credits must be applied towards future University travel.

Dues for memberships in travel-related clubs (hotel, air, car, etc.) are not reimbursable.

Additional insurance (medical or trip) for domestic travel is not reimbursable.

If the tickets are paid for personally, reimbursement will be made after the travel takes place and only for the airfare amount. Finance charges are not reimbursable.

6.02 Travel on Charter Aircraft/Private Aircraft

Employees may travel on chartered or private aircraft with prior approval by the appropriate Vice President. Reimbursement shall not exceed the equivalent of the lowest available common air carrier rate available at the time the travel was authorized plus necessary commercial ground transportation to the travel destination.

6.03 Foreign Travel Insurance

Miami University provides comprehensive liability insurance from Chartis Insurance Company covering the University and its employees while conducting workshops or other University programs outside the United States. See Finance and Business Services Insurance to receive the most updated information regarding liability and medical insurance questions.

6.04 Lost Baggage

The airlines are responsible for compensating the owners for lost baggage. The University will not reimburse travelers for personal items lost while traveling on business.

6.05 Unused, Voided, or Canceled Airline Tickets

Unused airline tickets or flight coupons may have a cash value and therefore must not be discarded or destroyed.

When a trip is canceled after the ticket has been issued, the traveler should ask about using the ticket for future travel. For a small change fee, many tickets can be used for future travel. Please consult with your travel agency.

Unused tickets should not be included with University Travel Expense Reports (see Travel and Expense).

6.06 Personal Automobile

An individual who uses a privately owned vehicle on university business must meet the State of Ohio's insurance requirements for the motor vehicles.

A traveler may be reimbursed for the use of a privately owned automobile at the federal government rate currently in effect. See the IRS Standard Mileage Rates for current rates. The mileage rate will cover all expenses incurred while using your privately owned car. You may choose either reimbursement for mileage or fuel cost (not to exceed the calculated mileage reimbursement) but not both.

When the traveler elects to drive his/her own vehicle, or rent a vehicle, in lieu of using a commercial carrier, reimbursement will be at the approved allowable mileage rate or the applicable coach airfare rate, whichever is lower. 700 miles is the maximum number of miles that will be reimbursed even if the actual mileage exceeds 700 miles. You must obtain flight pricing for the lowest fare available on the travel dates and attach that information as documentation. Claims for meals or lodging for additional travel time cannot be reimbursed. In addition, extra travel time necessitated by the traveler's optional use of private transportation is not considered time worked and must be taken as vacation.

Travelers may be reimbursed for the use of a limousine/car service if the fare does not exceed the maximum allowable mileage reimbursement for two round trips to the appropriate airport/terminal.

When traveling between Miami University or home (point of departure) and another business location (point of destination), the miles reimbursed are calculated as the actual miles driven.

Intra-University Mileage

Reimbursement cannot be made for commuting from home, regardless of the day of the week or the number of trips in a day. You cannot be reimbursed for commuting to your normal workplace under any conditions.

If you normally work at two or more campuses, you can claim the mileage reimbursement from one campus location to the other. This applies on days when you travel to multiple locations. If you do not go to your primary campus location and go directly to your secondary campus location instead, you cannot claim mileage between your home and your secondary campus location.

Reimbursement for the following round trip mileage between campuses will not exceed:

  • Oxford to Hamilton campus: 32 miles
  • Oxford to Middletown campus: 50 miles
  • Hamilton to Middletown campus: 40 miles
  • Oxford to VOA Learning Center: 50 miles
  • Hamilton to VOA Learning Center: 28 miles
  • Middletown to VOA Learning Center: 30 miles

Mileage will be reimbursed during the academic year for faculty, unclassified staff, and graduate students traveling to teach in-load and overload courses on a campus that is not their primary worksite.

Other Local Travel Mileage

Personal automobile travel may be reimbursed between the employee's normal workplace or home and another business location, under the following guidelines:

  • Mileage from a traveler's normal workplace to another business location and returning to the normal workplace is reimbursable for the entire roundtrip (see example 1 below).
  • Mileage to intermediary business locations during the traveler's commute is reimbursable. The reimbursable mileage will not include the normal commute to and from work (see example 2 below).
  • Mileage from home to another business location is reimbursable but cannot exceed the amount reimbursed if the traveler had departed from the workplace (see examples 3 and 4 below).
  • Mileage is not reimbursed for part-time faculty, or off-campus (non-university) personnel teaching on enrollment contingent contracts.
  • Mileage is not reimbursed for travel among campuses for instruction during the summer sessions.
  • Mileage reimbursement for carpooling is only eligible for the driver.

A record must be kept of the dates driven to the campus. At the end of each semester, employees must file a university travel report with Accounts Payable in order to receive reimbursement.

Mileage Examples

  1. An employee whose primary worksite is the Oxford campus travels from Oxford campus to a meeting at the Hamilton campus and returns to the Oxford campus. The eligible reimbursement will be the entire roundtrip to and from the Hamilton campus, 32 miles.
  2. An employee travels from their home in Cincinnati to the Oxford campus. Along the way, the employee stops at a print shop in Hamilton to pick up a print order for their department. The reimbursement would be calculated by taking the total mileage for this trip and subtracting the employee's normal daily commute mileage.
    • 60 miles round trip = total mileage for picking up printing
    • -45 miles round trip = total mileage from Cincinnati (home) to Oxford (work)
    • 15 miles will be reimbursed.
  3. An employee whose primary worksite is the Oxford campus travels 20 miles roundtrip from their home in Cincinnati to a business location in Cincinnati and returns home. Since the mileage is less from the travelers home than the mileage from the Oxford campus the eligible reimbursement will be the entire roundtrip, 20 miles.
  4. An employee whose primary worksite is the Middletown campus travels 98 miles roundtrip from their home in Cincinnati to a business location in Dayton and returns home. Since the mileage is greater from the travelers home than the mileage from the Middletown campus the eligible reimbursement will be the roundtrip from the Middletown campus, 52 miles.

6.07 Rental Vehicles

Rental car reservations must be made to an approved vehicle rental agency. If you book a rental vehicle through an unapproved agency, you must prove due diligence. Documentation could be a screengrab from an approved agency that shows no availability at the pickup/drop-off location or similar documentation.

7.00 Lodging, Meals and Incidentals

7.01 Allowable Lodging Expense

Hotel expenses will be paid only when the destination is further than 60 miles from the traveler's primary University worksite. Allowable cost for the room is the single room rate plus tax unless the other party is also on authorized University travel. If the lodging receipt states multiple occupancy, the traveler must indicate either the single room rate on the receipt or provide the name(s) of the University traveler(s) sharing the lodging. If all occupants are on approved university travel and under the same funding source, only one charge should be submitted on a travel expense report. The traveler's P-Card is the preferred method of payment for hotel expenses.

Travelers should obtain a current State of Ohio sales tax-exempt form for all in-state travel. Miami University is also Tax Exempt in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Texas. See tax exemption forms for the status for each state.

Cost of lodging of members of the traveler's family is not reimbursable.

Most personal expenses incurred while traveling will not be reimbursed. These charges must be paid out-of-pocket at checkout and are not permitted on a P-Card. Hotel-related expenses not reimbursed include:

  • In-room movies/video rentals
  • Newspapers
  • In-room alcoholic beverages or snack bar items
  • Babysitting
  • Recreational activities
  • Other personal items (i.e. spa charges, meals at hotel)

Travelers will be reimbursed for business-related telephone, fax, copying, computer connections and other necessary business costs.

Travelers can be reimbursed for laundry, dry cleaning and pressing if the employee is on continuous travel status in excess of one week without returning home.

7.02 Lodging in a Private Residence

Travelers who stay in a private residence with relatives or friends while on business will be reimbursed $25 per night for reasonable, actual expenses incurred to extend appreciation to friends or relatives for their hospitality. This private residence cannot be owned by the traveler, traveler's spouse or domestic partner. Name and addresses of those individuals providing hospitality are required on the travel expense report for proper reimbursement to the traveler.

7.03 Non-Traditional Lodging

Before making arrangements for accommodations for your trip, please make sure to review University policy for Non-Traditional Lodging.

7.04 Meals, Tips and Incidental Expenses

The University will reimburse meals at the IRS standard per diem rate, which varies by city. According to the IRS, if you travel to more than one location in one day, use the rate in effect for the area where you stop for sleep or rest. The per diem allowance includes reimbursement for incidental expenses such as fees and tips for porters, baggage carriers, house-cleaning and bellhops.

7.05 Meals in the Continental U.S.

The Continental United States (CONUS) standard per diem rate for meal and incidental expenses (M and IE) applies to all locations not specifically identified as having a higher per diem rate. Access current federal per diem rates.

Consistent with IRS regulations, employees may not be reimbursed for meal expenses unless traveling on overnight status. (See Internal Revenue Code Section #274 and Ohio Revised Code Section Section 126-1-02-7-D.) When the traveler is off-campus on one-day trips, meal expenses are the responsibility of the traveler, regardless of the number of hours traveling.

Meal allowances and incidental expenses may be reimbursed when the traveler is on authorized travel status. The traveler will receive 75% of meal per diem for first and last day of travel.

Actual and reasonable expenses for a qualified business meal may be claimed for the traveler with non-employees of the university. Appropriate documentation (itemized receipt with business purpose, persons in attendance, amount, date, etc.) is required. See the Hosting Policy and Procedures for reimbursement rates.

When meals are included in a conference registration or provided as part of a hotel stay, no reimbursement for those meals will be permitted as part of the per diem rate.

A traveler may opt for reimbursement of the actual cost of out-of-pocket personal meals versus using the per diem (not to exceed federal per diem guidelines). Tips are reimbursable up to 20% of meal cost. Alcohol cannot be reimbursed unless the traveler is hosting and has both departmental approval and a discretionary account to which the charge can be billed. Original, detailed receipts are required for proper reimbursement.

7.06 Meals Outside the Continental U.S.

The maximum per diem rates for travel in foreign localities, based on the worldwide lodgings-plus system, are those established by the Secretary of State.

7.07 Incidental Expenses

The University uses the IRS definition of the term "incidental expenses", meaning fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships. This applies to domestic and foreign travel.

7.08 Miscellaneous Business Expenses

Reimbursable miscellaneous expenses incurred while on University business include:

  • Business office expenses (fax, copy services, telegrams, etc.)
  • Business phone calls (list # and the purpose on the report)
  • Conference fees (include original paid receipt)
  • Gasoline (if mileage allowance is not claimed)
  • Ground transportation (taxi, bus, subway, etc.)
  • Parking and tolls
  • Overnight delivery/postage
  • Currency conversions

7.09 Miscellaneous Personal Expenses

Reimbursement is authorized for reasonable miscellaneous living expenses, including laundry, dry cleaning, personal telephone calls, postage, and other expenses if the traveler is in overnight lodging for more than one week including a weekend. One personal telephone call of short duration will be reimbursed for trips of one week or less. Two personal calls of short duration per week will be reimbursed if travel exceeds one week.

8.00 Reporting and Documentation of Expenses

It is the responsibility of the traveler and their department to submit, correct and complete Travel Expense Reports (for details, see Travel and Expense). Travel expenses must be reported in Chrome River on a travel expense report. The University requires the traveler to attach the documentation in Chrome River to substantiate expenses if not prepaid by the University's credit card for:

  • Air/Rail: Passenger Receipt or e-ticket itinerary, not an e-ticket confirmation.
  • Hotel: Original zero balance itemized hotel bill providing proof of payment in the traveler's name.
  • Car Rental: Original car rental receipt providing proof of payment.
  • Meals: Meal receipts while in travel status, if entertaining or claiming actual receipts.
  • Registration: Original receipt showing proof of payment.

8.01 Missing Receipts

You generally must have documentary evidence, such as receipts, canceled checks, or bills, to support your per trip expenses over $75.

Exception: Documentary evidence is not needed if any of the following conditions apply.

  • You have meals while traveling away from home for which you account to your employer under an accountable plan, and you use a per diem allowance method that includes meals and/or lodging.
  • Your expense for the trip, other than lodging, is less than $75
  • You have a transportation expense for which a receipt is not readily available and is less than $75.

8.02 Timely Return of Receipts

Since the IRS has determined that 60 days is a Reasonable Period of Time to document travel expenses, this deadline will be strictly enforced. Failure to meet the required deadlines may result in the travel reimbursement becoming taxable income to the traveler. Any travel-related expenses paid for personally, reimbursement will be made after the travel takes place and only for the expense amount. Finance charges are not reimbursable.

8.03 International Travel

When international travel occurs and currency conversions are involved, original receipts must be turned in for reimbursement. It is suggested that a credit card statement accompany the receipts to show accurate costs. If the traveler decides to make their own conversions, the exchange receipts should be turned in with the expense receipts. Accounts Payable maintains a link to the exchange rates of foreign currency. If an international travel is turned in without any conversions, the Accounts Payable office will make the conversions.

9.00 Cash Advances

Cash advances are available for student field trips, team travel, workshops, and special circumstances when all other payment methods are exhausted. An authorization and a request for a cash advance will need to be entered by the traveler in Chrome River. Upon return, travelers are required to complete an expense report in Chrome River alleviating the cash advance with the documentation and the purpose of the expenses. If there are unused funds, employees must provide a personal check payable to Miami University for the difference between the cash advance amount and the receipts. Any expenses over the cash advance can be reimbursed with departmental approval.

Cash Advances must be requested at least 7 days prior to leaving on your trip. You cannot receive the funds more than 14 days before leaving on your trip. You can only have one cash advance at a time. The Accounts Payable office will give cash advances for the following types of circumstances and the amounts you can receive:

Minimum and Maximum Cash Advance Amounts
Purpose Minimum Maximum
Human Research Subjects $50 $2,000
Special Circumstances (with proper approval) $250 $5,000
Student Organizations $50 $1,000
Athletic Team Travel $250 $5,000
Workshop Foreign Travel $250 $9,999

All cash advances are subject to review and approval by the Controller's Office. The traveler is required to sign a cash advance agreement and attach the form when entering their request for cash advance in Chrome River.

Documentation of cash advance expenditures of workshop funds is subject to the same rules and regulations as all other University travel expenditures.

Workshop cash advances are subject to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 62(C).

  • Cash advances must be documented and reported within thirty (30) days after the expenses are incurred (last day of workshop).
  • Original receipts are required for every dollar spent (excluding per diem).
  • Documentation must be included to verify the currency exchange rate for foreign travel (credit card receipt, bank memo, etc.).
  • Any advance amounts in excess of substantiated expenses must be returned to the University within thirty (30) days after the expenses are incurred (last day of the workshop).

In accordance with these IRS regulations, failure to comply with the above timetable will result in the cash advance amount being submitted to the University's Payroll Office for inclusion as additional income on the employee's wage and tax statement (W-2 form).

10.00 Workshop Declining Balance Cards

The Workshop Declining Balance Card is a Visa credit card that gives access to a credit line set up with a specific amount of funds to meet various workshop expenses. The card is issued in lieu of cash advances to meet purchase and travel expense needs of workshops conducted abroad or outside the local area. No checks are actually provided. The card can be used to pay authorized workshop expenses. They can be used at any Visa merchant. They can also be used to obtain small amounts of cash through automated teller machines (ATMs) for miscellaneous expenses (cab fares, etc.) where the card cannot be used directly. There will be a 2.5% charge with a minimum of $2.50 cash withdrawal fee plus any ATM fees charged at the time of approval. Any bank charges will be charged to your Workshop budget. The maximum cash amount that can be withdrawn from your Declining Balance card is $2,500 for the life of the Declining Balance Card.

10.01 Issuance

Workshop Declining Balance cards are issued by Accounts Payable (107 Roudebush Hall). Issuance will generally be limited to workshops or other programs where travel abroad or travel outside the local area is involved. Cards will be issued in the name of the Workshop Director and the University. Normally one card is issued per workshop or program.

To request a Workshop Declining Balance Card, please complete the following steps:

  • Enter a Buyway non-catalog requisition payable to Bank of America for the amount of the workshop debit card.
  • Fill out the application form and make sure to include the Buyway requisition number on the form.
  • Email or mail the completed form to Accounts Payable (107 Roudebush Hall).

10.02 Responsibility

The cardholder is responsible for the security of the assigned card. The card is issued in the Workshop Director's name, and it will be assumed that any use of the card is proper and authorized unless the card is reported lost or stolen prior to use.

Issuance of the card will be treated by the University as a cash advance, subject to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 62(C). The card will not be issued more than fourteen (14) days prior to when expenses will be incurred, and all usage of the card must be documented and reported within thirty (30) days after the end of the workshop. Original itemized receipts must be obtained and turned in for every dollar spent. Any individual who uses the card and does not provide documentation of the use of the funds (including individual itemized receipts for each expenditure) within thirty (30) days after the end of the workshop may have the non-documented amount reported to the University Payroll Office for inclusion as additional income on the employees wage and tax statement (W-2 form).

Additionally, use of the card in a manner contrary to University policies and procedures or failure of the cardholder or his/her designee to properly account for purchases/expenditures in a timely manner at the end of the program may result in the creation of a personal liability to the University and/or subject the cardholder to disciplinary action.

10.03 Use

Purchases made within the State of Ohio are to be tax-exempt and any taxes charged will be the cardholder's responsibility. For any purchases within the United States, the purchaser should attempt to make the purchase tax free and be prepared to provide an exemption certificate when requested. Exemption certificates are available (see tax-exempt forms). The provider will process the transaction as they would any consumer credit card purchase through the Visa network. Visa verifies that funds are available for the purchase and charges the account for the amount spent, reducing the available budget.

The charge slip and itemized sales ticket must be collected by the cardholder for each credit card and cash transaction and turned in to Global Initiatives with the reconciliation spreadsheet after the travel has been completed.

To obtain cash, the cardholder may use any ATM on the Visa system. Wherever possible, the card should be used for a direct payment, using cash only for incidentals such as cab fare, parking fees, etc. where a direct transaction is not possible. The ATM receipt as well as receipts for cab fares, parking fees, etc. must be collected by the cardholder and retained for reconciliation to be done upon return from travel.

Purchases made and expenses paid through the credit card, and the use of cash obtained with the credit card, are limited to items and amounts contained in the approved budget for the workshop or program for which the card was issued. Cash obtained with the credit card may not be used to reimburse individuals for their expenses. The check card may not be used in lieu of a Purchase Order (PO), except as necessary to support the workshop or program while in travel status. All purchases of goods and services and payment of authorized expenditures must conform to University procurement requirements, the University travel policy, and the University hosting policy. Purchase of personal items, payment of personal expenses through the card or with cash obtained with the card is not authorized.

10.04 Record Keeping

Issuance and use of a credit card requires the cardholder to maintain a card purchase log and individual itemized receipts for each transaction. The log is a Microsoft Excel workbook with tabbed spreadsheets containing a summary information sheet, three separate credit card transaction sheets, and a cash transaction sheet. The Workshop Log is available from the documents and forms section of the Accounts Payable website. The log is kept for the duration of the workshop or program. Individual itemized receipts must be obtained from the provider for each purchase and are kept with the log for reconciliation. At the end of the workshop or program, the log and individual receipts are reconciled by the cardholder, reviewed and reconciled by Global Initiatives and forwarded to General Accounting for final review. If this is not a workshop, please forward directly to General Accounting.

Meal expenses must list the names and number of people and if cardholder was in attendance. If hosting a large group you may use the group name with the number of people attending instead of individual names. Alcohol must be paid for personally or the expenses moved to a discretionary account if authorized by your department.

For cash withdrawals, a single line entry is made in the log denoting the date, location, and amount of the ATM withdraw. The receipts should be turned into Global Initiatives with all other workshop receipts.