Finance Administrative Policies and Procedures
Section: 4- Grants and Contracts Accounting
Policy Procedure: 4-3.11
Subject: Charging Travel Expenditures to a Sponsored Project
Effective Date: 1/1/2004
Responsible Department: Grants and Contracts Accounting


This procedure explains guidelines and procedures for charging travel costs to a Sponsored Project.

General Guidelines

All travel by MUSC employees is subject to the regulations outlined in Chapter 7 of this manual, entitled "Travel." Expenditures for travel may be charged to Sponsored Projects in accordance with OMB Circular A-21-Section J48, specific sponsor guidelines, and specific award terms and conditions.

Reimbursement for travel costs is generally limited to individuals being paid from or supported by the sponsored award. See Procedure 4-3.11.1: Charging Travel for Consultants and For-Profit Entities to a Sponsored Project for regulations on charging consultant and for-profit entity travel costs.

Per diems must be adjusted downward if meals for project meetings are being charged separately to the Sponsored Project.

Travel for patients under NIH clinical research projects, including costs of public transportation may be allowable if research patient care is an approved activity of the project.

Travelers are expected to book the lowest-priced, nonstop coach class airfare available and should be encouraged to take advantage of discount fares for airline travel through advance purchase of tickets where travel schedules can be planned in advance.

Refer to Circular A-21 and the NIH Grants Policy Statement for Federal requirements concerning domestic vs. foreign travel and airfare restriction.

Questions regarding travel expenditures should be addressed prior to the travel to the appropriate Grants and Contracts Accounting Accountant based on departmental assignment (see Distribution of Grants by Administrator) or at 792-2850.


1. Follow guidelines outlined Chapter 7 (Travel) of this manual relating to authorization for travel, travel regulations and methods of reimbursement.

2. If there are medical reasons or other extenuating circumstances that require business or first-class domestic travel, provide written documentation of the nature of the requirement, which must be approved by Grants and Contracts Accounting (GCA), prior to the travel.

3. When business or first-class air travel is not justified and not approved by GCA, code any cost incurred in excess of the coach fare as an unallowable expense. The difference must be coded to a non-sponsored project using the unallowable expense account code designated with a "3" in the second position.

4. Current travel per diem rates, vehicle mileage reimbursement rates, and requirement for submission of receipts are listed in Chapter 7 of this manual.

Use the following account object codes:
a. Employee Domestic Travel - Account 51501
b. Employee Foreign Travel - Account 51502
c. Non-Employee Travel - Account 50236 (to be used for travel by consultants, for-profit entities, research patients, and students who are not employees)
d. Registration Fees - Account 50237


The Federal Joint Travel Regulations can be accessed at through the General Services Administration web site at -> Policy -> Travel.

The Federal Per Diem Rates can be accessed directly at:
Per Diem Rates can then be selected based by the State of travel and then by the city.  The rates have two components:  1) Lodging and 2) Meals & Incidentals (M&IE).  There is a link on the Per Diem main page that provides a breakdown of the M&IE Rate (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner).

The reimbursement rates for privately owned vehicles can be accessed at the same GSA website by selecting "Privately Owned Vehicle Reimbursement Rates (POV)", or directly at: