5. Travel

Foundation policy requires that all travel be pre-approved. This is a requirement by the Chancellors Office and is not something we have any latitude on. Submit the Foundation Travel Pre-Approval Form at least two weeks prior to the start of the proposed travel. Be sure to include a justification for the trip explaining the specific benefit to the sponsored program. All individuals need to complete this process prior to making any travel arrangements. Reimbursement is contingent upon completion of this process. After receiving pre-approval, please use your best judgment in making all travel arrangements – state, federal, and private sponsors often reimburse only the most cost-effective methods of travel.

A complete description of Foundation travel policy can be found in the Foundation Travel Policy Manual. Some commonly used sections of the Travel Policy Manual are summarized below:

a. Official Travel Status:

An individual is not on official travel status unless:

  1. He/she has Foundation approval for the travel; and
  2. The approved travel requires the individual to travel more than 25 miles from their headquarters.

No travel reimbursements shall be made (with the sole exception of mileage reimbursement and related toll/parking fees) unless the individual was on official travel status.

b. Mileage Reimbursement

Reimbursement for use of an individual’s privately owned vehicle is determined under different rates and conditions as follows:

Where claimant is authorized to operate a privately owned automobile, the current State of California reimbursement per mile is allowable for authorized mileage reimbursement. The current reimbursement rate is 55 cents per mile.

The Foundation insurance program requires all non-occasional drivers (traveling more than 3 trips per month) to be enrolled in the Foundation DMV pull program. To be enrolled, submission of a valid California driver’s license and proof of insurance is required. Persons with more than three points will be considered ineligible to use private vehicles for Foundation business.

Expenses arising from travel between home or garage and headquarters shall not be allowed. Where a trip is commenced or terminated at claimant’s home, the distance traveled shall be computed from either the claimant’s headquarters or home, which ever shall result in the lesser distance. Exceptions are:

  • Where such expenses are incurred by call back for overtime work necessitating more than one trip to the work location on a normal workday or by reason of any call back on a claimant’s normal day off.

  • When travel to or from a common carrier commences or terminates before or after the regularly scheduled workday or on a regularly scheduled day off, distance may be computed from the claimant’s residence.

No reimbursement will be allowed for transportation expense when the claimant uses a privately owned motorcycle or motor driven cycle.

Where use of a privately owned automobile is authorized for travel to or from a common carrier terminal and the automobile is not parked at the terminal during the period of absence, mileage reimbursement may be claimed only while the claimant is an occupant of the vehicle for the distance between the terminal and his/her residence or headquarters, whichever is less; except if the claimant commences or terminates travel before or after his/her regularly scheduled workday or on a regularly scheduled day off, mileage may be computed from the claimant’s residence.

c. Meals & Incidentals Allowance

Individuals on travel status may claim the following meal allowances while on travel.

Breakfast $ 10.00
Lunch $ 15.00
Dinner $ 25.00
Incidentals $ 5.00

Pre-paid Meals: Per diem may not be claimed for meals that are already included in the cost of airfare, conference, or other fees (i.e. if lunch is provided in the airplane, traveler cans only claim breakfast and dinner).

Travel Status for more than 24 hours: To receive an allowance for all three meals and incidentals, a traveler must be on travel status for a full 24-hour period. Figure a 24-hour period from the time of departure on day one to the same time on day two, and to the same time on each succeeding day. (Note: The time of departure on travel claims may start when you leave your residence for the airport.)

Travel Status for less than 24 hours: For travel which is less than 24 hours in duration, the above stated allowance may be claimed for: breakfast if the travel begins before 7 a.m.; dinner if the travel extends past 6 p.m.; lodging if the travel extends overnight. Individuals who travel for less than 24 hours may not claim any lunch allowance.

25 Mile Rule: Meal expenses must be incurred more than 25 miles one-way from the individual’s headquarters, except that an individual who travels by air may claim breakfast or dinner if the hours involved are before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

International Per Diem: Meals and incidentals while on international travel shall be reimbursed at actual expense up to U.S. State Department Foreign Meals & Incidental Expenses Rate in effect at the time of travel for the specific foreign location. After selecting country, see “M&IE Rate”, column six) in accordance with the breakdown in FTR Appendix B.

d. Transportation

Transportation expenses shall be reimbursed based on the most economical mode of transportation and the most commonly traveled route consistent with the authorized purpose of the trip. Whenever possible, domestic U.S. flag air carriers and online ticket vendors offering discount rates shall be utilized. All air travel must be economy or coach class and special low-cost rates should be used whenever possible. If first-class is requested, the Foundation will only be responsible for the economy rate.

To purchase airline tickets and rent automobiles, the traveler should complete a Travel Pre-Approval Form. Once travel approval from the Foundation has been received, the individual(s) traveling may purchase the ticket/rental on their personal credit card and be reimbursed after travel has taken place.

e. Lodging

Each claimant is responsible for making his/her own lodging reservations as well as arranging for payment. The Foundation will only pay a single occupancy rate for one claimant.

Maximum Lodging Rates: The allowed rates for daily lodging expenses are based on the California Department of Personnel Administration Travel Rules, modified for use by the Foundation and sponsored programs and updated annually. The current maximum rates allowed for reimbursement are as follows:

Domestic U.S. Lodging

  • Major Metropolitan Cities (click for definition): up to $210 per night, plus tax
  • All others domestic locations: up to $165 per night, plus tax

Foreign Lodging

  • Actual cost, supported by receipt

The Foundation cannot reimburse travelers more than the daily maximum rates specified above except in the following situations:

  1. Reservations made at a hotel where the claimant is attending a conference (the conference’s special lodging rate must be requested if available).
  2. All other exceptions require the written prior approval of the Foundation.

Telephone charges are allowable on hotel bills if documented as work-related on the travel claim in the following manner:

  1. Name and number of party called (include area code);
  2. City and state to which the call was placed;
  3. Time and date of call;
  4. Reason for call.

f. International Travel

  • International travel usually requires prior approval from the sponsor. Please be sure to obtain written prior approval from the sponsor for the details of your proposed travel prior to submitting your travel pre-approval request to the Foundation.
  • All international travel must also have CSUEB President approval. Submit the Foundation Travel Pre-approval Form per the normal process and the Foundation will forward to the President for approval. The Foundation will notify the requestor once all approvals have been obtained.

g. Prepaid Travel Expense

In some instances, advance payment may be required for hotel deposits, registration fees, airline tickets and other miscellaneous expenses. To request the required payments, the traveler should complete two forms:

  1. Foundation Travel Pre-Approval Form which is signed by his/her supervisor or Project Director and submit to the Foundation for approval; and
  2. Foundation Check Request with documentation justifying need for advance payment and name and address of payee. Advance payments are made directly by the Foundation to the payee, these amounts will not be advanced to the traveler.

h. Travel Advances:

The steps for requesting a travel advance are as follows:

  1. Before requesting a travel advance, the proposed travel must be approved via the Foundation Travel Pre-approval Form process.
  2. Travel advances may only be requested if estimated travel costs to the traveler (prepaid travel expenses do not count) will exceed $500 ($100 for students).
  3. A travel advance may be requested by submitting a Foundation Check Request to the SRP Office. The check request must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the start of the travel.
  4. The amount of the travel advance requested may not exceed 80% of the total estimated cost of the trip as set forth in the approved travel pre-approval form.
  5. Unless required to secure a discounted rate, no advances shall be issued earlier than 30 days before the start of the planned travel.

Important Notes: Travel advances may not be issued to an individual who has outstanding travel advances. The advance must be returned or refunded immediately when a trip is cancelled or postponed. The traveler is personally responsible for clearing the advance. Outstanding advances may be reported to the IRS as income via IRS Form 1099.

Clearing an Advance: You must clear (substantiate) your advance within 10 business days of your return. There are two methods for clearing your advance:

  • If you are returning unused advance funds, complete a Foundation Travel Claim Form. Attach your receipts and a personal check for balance of advance to the form and forward to the SRP Office for approval and to clear the advance.
  • If you have no funds to return, complete a Foundation Travel Claim Form. Attach your receipts along with the Form and forward to the SRP Office for approval and to clear the advance. If the amount of your approved claimed travel is greater than the advance, a check will be issued to you for the difference.

i. Travel Reimbursements

To be reimbursed for travel expenses, the traveler must submit the original Travel Pre-approval Form (approved by the Foundation) and a completed and signed Travel Claim Form with all required receipts attached. The claim must be submitted within 30 days from the date on which the travel terminated. Travel claims submitted after 30 days may be disallowed if i) the travel is funded by a grant or contract, and ii) the grant or contract has been closed or will not pay delinquent claims.


Original receipts shall be submitted for every item of expenses except:

  1. Meal allowances – full allowance may be claimed w/o receipts*
  2. Street car, Bus, ferry fares, bridge tolls, road tolls and BART.
  3. Business long distance telephone or fax charges unless the telephone calls are in excess of $10 in which case supporting evidence shall be provided.
  4. Taxi or hotel bus fares under $25.
  5. Parking fees of $5.00 or less for any one continuous period of parking.

* At the traveler’s election, reimbursement for meals may be claimed for actual meal expenses up to the maximum allowance for each individual meal. Original receipts must be submitted with the travel claim form for reimbursement using this method.

Airfare: In addition to a purchase receipt or online order confirmation, the original airplane ticket boarding pass/stub must be attached.

Hotel: An original detailed hotel receipt must be provided when requesting reimbursement for lodging expenses. If the hotel will not provide a detailed receipt because the lodging was prepaid online, then all three of the following must be submitted instead: 1) an original hotel checkout receipt, 2) online payment confirmation, and 3) credit card statement with hotel cost highlighted.

Lost Receipts: In cases where receipts cannot be obtained or have been lost, a statement to that effect shall be made on the travel claim and the reason given. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, the item may be disallowed.

Receipt Copy: If, for some reason, a copy of the receipt must be submitted instead of the original, state the reason on the claim. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, the item may be disallowed.

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