University Travel Policy

This policy and guidelines applies to University employees or other persons traveling on behalf of the University on documented official University business.

Employees who authorize travel, make travel arrangements, process travel documents, or have signature authority on accounts providing funds for travel should read and understand this policy. Each traveler is responsible for understanding this policy before planning and commencing travel for the University. Travelers must complete and submit appropriate forms in a timely and accurate fashion, accompanied by sufficient documentary evidence (disclosing; who, what, when, where, why and how much) demonstrating expenses are reasonable and have a University business connection.

Understanding travel is essential to the teaching, research, and overall mission of the University, NCA&TSU is committed to meeting the needs of the traveler by paying for reasonable business expenses actually incurred by the traveler that are not paid by another party.

Travel policies and procedures at NCA&TSU require compliance with state policy, state law, and federal law. Refer to the Office of State Budget and Management Policies and listed references for guidance relating to topics not covered in this document. To ensure sound business practices and proper reporting, travel expenses must comply with external regulations, particularly federal cost regulations under OMB Circular A-21, tax regulations under the Internal Revenue Code, and National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) regulations.

Table of Contents


  • Employee Responsibility

An employee traveling on official University business is expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business and expending personal funds (i.e., a cost-efficient manner). Excess costs, circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodations and services unnecessary, unjustified, or for the convenience or personal preference of the employee in the performance of official University business are prohibited. Employees will be responsible for unauthorized costs and any additional expenses incurred for personal preference or convenience.

The University has authorized the use of credit cards (Bank of America Visa) for employees traveling on official University business. These cards are distributed to employees (if they wish to enroll) at the discretion of the department head. Employee misuse of University-issued credit cards is grounds for termination.

Authorizations for travel must be completed and approved prior to the first day of travel via Chrome River.  Pursuant to G.S. 138-6(c), requests for reimbursement shall be filed within 45 days after the travel period ends for which the reimbursement is being requested. One should never claim expenses on someone else’s travel.

  • Subsistence Rates

Subsistence is an allowance related to lodging and meal costs (inclusive of gratuities) (G. S. 138-6). For the purposes of determining eligibility for allowances, the employee/traveler must be in travel status minimally 35 miles away from the employee's normal duty station or home (whichever is closest to the destination) and, while traveling, the employee must be acting in his/her official capacity as required by his/her work activities). Current subsistence rates can be found at: OSBM 5.1.2 ( Federal per diem is only available for out-of-the country travel if: a) funded by a Contracts & Grants account, b) documented prior approval is attached and c) the contract has authorized the federal rate. The reimbursable rate is the prevailing rate (less incidentals) at the time of travel if the federal per diem is requested.

  • Tips and Gratuity

Reimbursable gratuity or tips must be considered reasonable for items that are not already covered under subsistence. Excessive tips will not be reimbursed. A reasonable tip would be one that a prudent person would give if traveling or conducting personal business and expending personal funds. Information on calculating tips can be found at: OSBM 5.1.3

  • Out-of-State Travel

Out-of-state travel status begins when the employee leaves the state and remains in effect until the employee returns to the state. However, in-state allowances and reimbursement rates apply when employees and other qualified official travelers use hotel and meal facilities located in North Carolina immediately prior to and returning from out-of-state travel during the same travel period.

  • Out-of-Country Travel

All out-of-country travel must be authorized by the chancellor and designated department officials.

Out-of-country travel status begins when the employee leaves the country and remains in effect until the employee returns to the country. If the employee and other qualified official travelers use hotel and meal facilities located outside North Carolina, but within the continental United States, immediately prior to and upon returning from out-of-country travel but during the same travel period, out-of-state subsistence rates shall apply.  (OSBM 5.1.39)

Additionally, any faculty member, administrator, staff or student who plans to travel internationally must contact, in writing, the Office of International Programs (OIP) following established protocols that can be found on the website. 

  • Authorization for Lodging

Prior approval in Chrome River by the supervisor and department head or his/her designee must be obtained in order to qualify for reimbursement for overnight stays. Supervisory personnel certifying the reimbursement request as necessary and proper must require documentation from the traveler to substantiate that the overnight lodging was necessary and accomplished. The travel must involve a travel destination located at least 35 miles from the employee's regularly assigned duty station or home, whichever is less, to receive approved reimbursement. The designation of an employee's home as the duty station requires the approval of the department head.

  • Reimbursement for Lodging

Each employee is responsible for his or her own request for reimbursement. The travel must involve a travel destination located at least 35 miles from the employee's regularly assigned duty station or home, whichever is less. Requests for reimbursement must be filed within 30 days after the travel period ends for which the reimbursement is being requested (G.S. 138-6(c). Specific dates of lodging must be listed on the reimbursement request, which shall be substantiated by a receipt from a commercial lodging establishment.

  • Third Party Lodging

Reimbursement for lodging in an establishment that is being rented out by a third party or an establishment treated as an apartment building by state or local law or regulation is not allowed unless approved by OSBM in advance. Requests for third party lodging must provide evidence of savings to the State. An exception may be granted for requests that do not show a savings with sufficient justification to support the necessity for third party lodging.

In each case where third party lodging is being considered, the applicant must provide their budget officer and OSBM all details regarding the arrangement, including the amount to be charged, the length of stay, and contact information. A signed rental agreement must be presented to receive reimbursement.

  • Cancellations and Penalties or Charges Resulting from Cancellations

If a planned event/meeting is canceled or the traveler cannot attend the event for personal reasons, the travel office should be notified immediately. If a travel card has been used to pay travel expenses in advance, the traveler is responsible for pursuing refunds of prepayments and preventingany potential charges, if possible.  The traveler must reconcile the expense (and credit) in Chrome River.

If a cash advance has been requested and approved, however, the trip is not taken or is canceled, the traveler must out a transmittal form to return monies to the treasurer’s office immediately. The traveler must also reconcile the advance In Chrome River with proof of deposit obtained from the treasurer’s office within 10 days of the notice of cancellation. 

A letter regarding the cancellation should be attached to the travel reconciliation in Chrome River.

Penalties and charges resulting from the cancellation of travel reservations (including airline, hotel, or other travel reservations and conference registration) shall be the department’s obligation if the travel has been approved in advance and the cancellation or change is made at the direction of and/or for the convenience of the department. If the cancellation or change is made for the personal benefit of the traveler, it shall be the traveler's obligation to pay the penalties and charges. However, in the event of documented incidents such as accidents, serious illness, or death within the traveler's immediate family or other critical circumstances beyond the control of the traveler, the department may elect to pay the penalties and charges.

Credits resulting from nonrefundable airline tickets prepaid by the University must be used for future University travel prior to the expiration date usually one year from ticket issue date.  If the airline ticket remains unused after the expiration date it becomes the obligation of the traveler to reimburse the University for the amount of the ticket unless cancellation was due to University business reasons documented in the report filed in the Travel Office. Any penalty/charge assessed while applying a credit resulting from a cancellation is also the responsibility of the traveler.

  • Fees and Service Charges

With sufficient justification and documentation and with approval of the department head, principle investigator and special funding agency (when applicable), employees can be reimbursed for usual, customary, and reasonable fees and service charges imposed by travel agents and other agencies for assistance in making travel arrangements. Common instances include: special medical expenses required by a foreign country to be visited, visa and passport expenses (OSBM 5.1.19).

  • Meals

Reimbursement for Meals

Each employee is responsible for his or her own request for reimbursement. Tips for meals are included in the meal allowance/per diem. Each meal reimbursement rate must be listed on the reimbursement request. Departure and arrival times must also be listed on the reimbursement request to determine reimbursable meal amounts. The costs of meals included in other related activities (registration fees, conference costs, hotel registration, etc.) may not be duplicated in reimbursement requests. Upon request, an employee may be reimbursed for breakfast even if their lodging establishment offers a free continental breakfast.

Travelers may be reimbursed for meals, including lunches, while on official state business when the employee is in overnight travel status. The destination must be located at least 35 miles from the employee's regularly assigned duty station (vicinity) or home, whichever is less, to receive approved reimbursement.

Employees may be reimbursed for meals for partial days of travel when in overnight travel status and the partial day is the day of departure or the day of return. The following applies:

Breakfast: depart duty station prior to 6:00 am and extend the workday by 2 hours.

Lunch: depart duty station prior to Noon (day of departure) or return to duty station after 2:00 p.m. (day of return).

Dinner: depart duty station prior to 5:00 p.m. (day of departure) or return to duty station after 8:00 p.m. (day of return) and extend the workday by 3 hours

The travel must involve a travel destination located at least 35 miles from the employee's regularly assigned duty station (vicinity) or home, whichever is less

Allowances cannot be paid to employees for any meals if travel does not involve an overnight stay (day trip); however, meals when an overnight stay is involved, the following may apply:

Breakfast (morning): depart duty station prior to 6:00 am and extend the workday by 2 hours.

Dinner (evening): return to duty station after 8:00 pm and extend the workday by 3 hours.

The travel must involve a travel destination located at least 35 miles from the employee's regularly assigned duty station (vicinity) or home, whichever is less.

Allowances for the breakfast and evening meals for employees working nontraditional shifts must have prior approval of OSBM.

Refer to OSBM 5.1.14 – 18 for additional information regarding meal policies.

  • Transportation

Travelers should select a mode of transportation that is cost-effective and efficient. The University will not reimburse the business use of personal aircraft or personal modes of transportation other than vehicles described in this policy without pre-approval and meeting OSBM requirements. (OSBM 5.1.30 April 2010)

  • Air, Rail and, Bus Travel

In general, air/rail/bus fare is reimbursable when the departure and return dates are within one (1) calendar day of the business purpose of travel. Fare for the travel outside the continental US is reimbursable when the departure and return dates are within a justifiable time period around the purpose of the travel. (If the flight involves a foreign carrier from a US airport, please remember that it is important to comply with the Fly America Act restrictions.)

If the traveler would like to combine personal and business travel, the traveler may, but note that no advances will be issued for the personal portion of any trip. To obtain reimbursement for travel within the continental United States, the traveler must show that the traveler haven’t incurred extra expense to the university for the personal portion of the trip. The traveler must provide printed documents from an online travel site or from the actual airline, obtained on the same date as the purchased ticket showing the price of the ticket for the extended stay is no more expensive than the price of the ticket to depart immediately before, or return immediately after, the reason for the business travel. If no documentation is available, the reimbursement will be based on the number of days considered business travel. If the traveler are traveling outside the continental United States and would like to combine personal and business travel, the traveler must delineate all applicable travel costs between business and personal expenses. This includes airfare, parking, mileage, rental car, and any other common costs.

If the purpose of the trip includes several business-related activities, the traveler should include them all in the notation of business purpose.

If the traveler paid for the fare, and would like to be reimbursed before the traveler leave for the trip the traveler should submit a paid, itemized receipt and trip itinerary with the completed Chrome River pre-approval. To be reimbursed after the traveler return from the trip, the traveler should provide the same documentation along with the expense/reimbursement documents in the Chrome River expense report.

*NOTE: Reimbursement of air/rail /bus fare requires original receipts. A boarding pass or baggage claim ticket in addition to the online/email receipt are the best examples of original receipts since they show proof of travel on a carrier, proof of a particular flight/train ride, proof of presence on the flight/rail, etc., and proof of a completed purchase. The traveler must provide an original receipt, baggage claim ticket, or an airport/depot kiosk printed receipt for every reimbursed and prepaid ride aboard a common carrier.

  • Personal Vehicle

Actual mileage is reimbursable. Mileage is measured from the closer of duty station or point of departure to destination (and return). The business standard mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service will be paid. Parking fees, tolls, and storage fees are reimbursable when the required receipts are obtained.

It is the intent of the State that state employee travel shall be conducted in the most efficient manner and at the lowest and most reasonable cost to the state. With regard to passenger vehicle travel, whether in- or out-of-state, agency travel policies shall:

  • Maximize utilization of state-owned vehicles (agency-owned or agency-assigned vehicles owned by the Department of Administration),
  • Make use of State term contracts for short-term rentals (State Term Contract 975B Vehicle Rental Services), and
  • Reimburse for use of personal vehicles on a limited basis. (OSBM 5.1.26 January 2016)       

Commuting and Local Travel

No reimbursement shall be made for the use of a personal vehicle in commuting from an employee's home to his duty station. (No mileage reimbursement is allowed to employees on "call back" status.) For the State's policy on compensation to employees on "call back" status, see the State Personnel Manual.

Local mileage (and distances within 35 miles of duty station/home) including distances traveled within the destination city will not be reimbursed except mileage to the airport/depot to board a commercial carrier.

  • Frequent Flyer Miles and Coupons/Certificates for Reduced Air Fare

Frequent flyer miles earned by a University employee while traveling on University business at University expense are the property of the University. Frequent flyer miles accumulated by an individual University employee during previous University business trips should, to the extent possible, be used by the University employee accumulating the frequent flyer miles while traveling on future University business trips.

Coupons or certificates for reduced air fare, if acquired while traveling on University business at University expense, are the property of the University and should be used, to the extent possible, by the traveler on future University business trips.

  • Accountable Plan Processing Requirements for Travel

NCA&TSU policies regarding reimbursement/allowances for travel expenses incurred during the course of business meet the IRS accountable plan requirements. To be an accountable plan, the reimbursement or allowance arrangement must include all of the following rules.

Your expenses must have a business connection — that is, you must have paid or incurred deductible expenses while performing services as an employee of your employer.

You must adequately account to your employer for these expenses (include original receipts) within a reasonable period of time. (defined as 30 days –NC G.S. 138-6(c))

You must return any excess reimbursement or allowance within a reasonable period of time (10 days).

When the employee meets the three rules for accountable plans, the University will not include the travel reimbursement in box 1 of (the employee’s) Form W-2.

  • Travel Advances

Travel advances are generally not the policy of the University, but are granted if necessary for official NCA&T business to employees traveling internationally, University recruiters and faculty/staff members when student travel is involved. A travel advance is a personal loan to the employee who is personally responsible for all monies advanced to them. A promissory note must be signed (by the payee) with the request/authorization for the advance (with completed worksheet on page 2 of the Travel Authorization form, TVL-1). Fiscal records must be maintained by the department for proper control.

No travel advances will be issued to employees with outstanding balances due (from previous travel advances). Advances must be greater than $100 but no greater than the "Estimated Cost of Trip". University employees who have been issued a corporate credit card should not be issued a travel advance.

All travel advance funds should be accounted for or repaid to the University immediately (no longer than the first 10 days) after the end of travel. Travel expense reports/reimbursement requests are due in the travel office no later than 30 days (after return from trip) whether the traveler anticipates a refund or not. Travelers must immediately make arrangements (with the travel office) to repay any advanced funds not accounted for on the expense report or repaid. Advances remaining outstanding will be processed as a payroll deduction. Once a payroll deduction has been initiated, you may not request reimbursement for the expenses related to that travel.

Requests for travel advances must be received in the travel office no later than fifteen (15) business days prior to departure if funds are to be made available five (5) business days prior to departure date. If the advanced funds are needed sooner than five (5) business days before departure, the traveler must demonstrate the need in writing when submitting the travel authorization form no less than thirty (30) days in advance.

  • Non-employee Travel

The University will pay the travel costs of non-employees (prospective professional employees and certain costs associated with honorariums) when approved. Non-employees traveling for the University are required to comply with this policy.

*CAUTION: If services of an independent contractor have been engaged, travel expenses must be part of the overall fee reflected in the contract and vendor invoice. DO NOT PROCESS A TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT REQUEST FOR AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR. Read University Policy VI. Contracts 1.0 Section XI. A, Independent Contractor.

  • Prospective Professional Employees

A department head is authorized to approve reimbursement of transportation expenses of prospective professional employees visiting the University for employment interviews. These expenses are limited to transportation and subsistence at the in-state-rate. Requests for travel reimbursements to interview candidates must include the (approved) invitation for interview letter identifying all reimbursable items to the candidate. See OSBM 5.7.2

  • Travel Associated with Honorariums

Travel expenses associated with honorariums may be paid if payment is disbursed directly to the hotel and airline/common carrier on behalf of the University guest. All conditions must be met to qualify under the University "Honoraria Payments" policy. Additionally, policies and procedures outlined for securing authorization for travel and honoraria payments must be strictly followed.

  • Students

A student (as defined for this policy) refers to an individual enrolled in course(s) for credit. Students who are on the payroll are considered employees and follow all employee policies relating to travel. Travel under the accountable plan for student employees should be funded by the same fund from which the student’s employee wages are paid.

Instances where students travel for academic requirements or other personal benefits may need to have the award/payment applied to their individual student account (in Banner Student System). Non-employee student travel must follow the Payments to Students and Reporting Policy and be cleared by the Division of Student Affairs upon completion of the Student Travel Checklist.

  • Attendants for Handicapped Employees

Paymentnt of travel and subsistence expenses (hotel and meal costs) for attendants for handicapped employees while traveling on official University business may be reimbursed to the same extent as are state employees if advance approval is obtained from the department head or his or her designee.

  • Payments Reported as Taxable Income

The University reports payments as taxable income when tax law requires this treatment. The most common instances in which taxable income is likely to occur are from payments that do not meet Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accountable plan rules.

Additionally, reimbursed lodging, meals and transportation costs associated with employee educational expenses does not necessarily meet the criterion for business travel and may be reported as taxable income. (See IRS Publication 15-B)


Accountable Plan - An accountable plan is an employee reimbursement allowance arrangement or a method for reimbursing employees for business travel expenses that comply with IRS regulations. To qualify under the accountable plan the expenses must have a documented business connection — that is, you must have paid or incurred deductible expenses while performing services as an employee. One must adequately account to the employer for these expenses within a reasonable period of time (30 days). The accountable plan must also include a plan by which employees return excess allowances or reimbursements (those in excess of allowable amounts) to the employer within a reasonable amount of time (10 days). If an employer sets up and maintains an accountable plan, employee travel expenses do not have to be treated as taxable income. Accountable Plan is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) term. (See IRS Publication 463)

Duty Station - The location where the employee is assigned.

Fly America Act restrictions - The restrictions of the Fly America Act  apply whenever travel is financed by U.S. Government funds (federal funds). Essentially, if your travel is paid for by the U.S. Government, you have to use a U.S. flag air carrier. U.S. flag air carrier means that the carrier providing the service holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. § 41102, and the services are authorized by such a certificate, or by exemption or regulation.

In-State - Travel within the borders of North Carolina.

Official University Business - Official University business occurs when the University employee or other person is traveling to attend approved job related training (to maintain or improve job skills which enhance service to A&T), work on behalf of (perform services required for any sponsor, grantor or affiliate of A&T pursuant to a research or other contract), officially represent, or provide a service upon the University’s request. Specific examples of University business purpose include the following:

*Prospective candidate for employment at NCA&TSU

*Students working as employees when traveling as a duty of their positions (travel must be paid from the same source that pays the student’s wages).

*Students presenting research findings at meetings/conferences on behalf of NCA&TSU

*Employees attending a continuing education conference, symposium or meeting related to the field of employment.

Scholastic program requirements for students and travel taken for the primary benefit of an individual or outside entity which does not benefit the University will not be reimbursable or funded by the University.

Original Receipt - An original receipt should show the amount of the expense, the date of the expense, the location of the expense, and an itemization of what was purchased and from whom. The receipt cannot be reprinted or reacquired if lost, stolen or mutilated.

Original Signature – A mark or markings made with the intention of authenticating a document by the person listed/required. Only the person listed on the document or required to sign the document may actually sign the document for it to be valid. Proxy signatures nor rubber stamps are allowed.

OSBM - Office of State Budget Management

Out-of-State - Travel in all the continental United States except North Carolina, Alaska and Hawaii.

Out-of Country - Travel anywhere not included in the two definitions: In-State or Out-of-State. Alaska and Hawaii are considered Out-of-Country for purposes of State Travel regulations.

Subsistence - An allowance related to meal costs (inclusive of gratuities) (OSBM 5.1.2) (G.S. 138-6). Amounts paid for lodging are categorized as subsistence.

Travel Advance - Personal loan money provided to the employee (for out of pocket expenses) prior to beginning travel status.

Travel Status - The employee is away (minimally 35 miles) from the normal duty station or home and acting in his/her official capacity as required by his/her work activities.


All travelers should determine if the potential benefits of the trip justify its time and expense after considering cost-effective alternatives, such as video or teleconferencing. Become familiar with any applicable sponsor requirements, as they may be more restrictive than the University’s. Familiarize yourself with the University’s requirements for documentation, approval and other reimbursement issues before you travel.

Before the trip

*Complete a Chrome River Pre-Approval making sure that all anticipated expenses are listed before traveling.

*The Pre-Approval should be approved by the budget authority and traveler's supervisor prior to traveling.

*Determine your method of transportation.

*Make travel arrangements early to secure attractive prices for lodging and transportation.

*Plan ahead and allow at least fifteen business days to apply for a travel advance.

*Travel Advances are available only to Faculty/Staff Members claiming all expenses while escorting students or faculty/staff members traveling out of the country.

*Travel Advances will not be issued earlier than five days before departure.

*Review transportation polices affecting use of personal car, rental car and taxis. (OSBM 5.1.26 – 27 and 5.1.36)

*Practice good judgment and prudence when incurring expenses. Luxury rooms, personal services, and other expenses will not be reimbursed. Booking travel for personal convenience, even while conducting university business, is prohibited.

*Learn the basic policies which apply to state guidelines for travel so you can avoid personal costs.

During the trip

*Obtain receipts for any expense in which you wish to be reimbursed. (Per diem is awarded at a flat rate, so receipts are not necessary.)

Lodging – Itemized receipt with a zero balance.

Airline/Train – Tickets/Itineraries (receipt) at coach/economy rate.

Car Rental – Rental agreement contract showing total cost of rental with a zero balance. Optional insurance is not reimbursable. Should be from a state contracted vendor.

In case of an accident call (800) 277-8181 and reference policy# TRJCAP#104T6800

Bus – Must have ticket (receipt).

Gas - Fuel receipt that shows the cost per gallon.

Obtain original receipts for - Parking, tolls, and taxis.

Meals – If business meals for a group you will need an itemized meal receipt.

Baggage Charges - Must have receipt showing dollar amount was for baggage expense.

If traveling by personal car or ride share (Uber, Lyft) use navigational software.

Registration – Agenda from the conference must be on file with travel forms.

Expenses that are not reimbursable:

  • Room Service expenses
  • GPS system (in rental cars)
  • Laundry services
  • Snack between meals
  • Tours or other social activities
  • Flight insurance or any type of personal accident car insurance
  • Additional expenses of a personal nature
  • Movies charged to hotel bills
  • Expenses for children, spouses, and companions while on travel status.

After the trip

*Prepare the Chrome River Expense Report and submit to Travel within 30 calendar days from the return date.

*If the travel expenses are less than the Travel Advance received, deposit the difference into the advance account 130104-5079 with the university Treasurer referencing the travelers name on the deposit slip. Scan the original receipt for documentation in Chrome River (traveler should retain original receipt).

*Be sure to attach all original receipts to the expense/reimbursement form (TVL-2). If receipts are smaller than a half page please tape the receipts down to an 81/2 by 11 page. Do not tape over top of any print.

*If foreign currency receipts are attached please label what it is for, date it was incurred and, submit the foreign currency converter sheet for that date.

*After the travel office approves the expense report requesting reimbursement, the traveler will receive a personal check. NOTE: If travelers wish to receive direct deposit for travel reimbursements, they must fill out a Direct Deposit form- Vendors and Employees (not for payroll purposes) and submit the form along with either a voided check or an official document certifying the bank account and routing number to Bivian Ejimakor,

Policy adopted 12/2010

Revisions and Updates:

  • Cancellations and Penalties or Charges Resulting from Cancellations  (11.1.2012)
  • Out-of-Country Travel  (4.9.2013)
  • Personal Vehicle (1.16.2016)
  • Boarding Pass Requirement Deleted (2.19.2016)
  • Meal Reimbursements for Day Trips - Disallowed (7.1.2018)