Finance Administrative Policies and Procedures
Section: 4- Grants and Contracts Accounting
Policy Procedure: 4-3.11.1
Subject: Charging Travel for Consultants and For-Profit Entities to a Sponsored Project
Effective Date: 1/1/2004
Responsible Department: Grants and Contracts Accounting

Overview

The purpose of this policy is to establish reimbursement criteria for domestic and foreign travel expenses on a federal sponsored award for private consultants (not related to a college or university or another not-for-profit entity), or representatives of a for-profit entity.

General Guidelines

Federally-funded sponsored projects are subject to the guidelines set forth in OMB Circular A-21; however,

  1. The terms of a particular grant or contract should be referred to for guidance on which types of travel and travel expenditures are allowable.
  2. The funding agency's specific policies or guidelines should be reviewed to determine if the agency imposes greater restrictions on travel.

Questions regarding travel expenditures for consultants and for-profit entities 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.

Procedures

1. Airfare - Domestic:

a. Travelers are expected to book the lowest-priced, nonstop coach class airfare available. Travelers 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.

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

C. When business or first-class air travel is not justified and not approved by GCA, any cost incurred in excess of the coach fare must be coded 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.

2. Airfare - Foreign:

Contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) for guidance if the award notice does not address policies and procedures regarding foreign travel on the project.

3. Lodging/Hotel:

Costs for hotel charges may not exceed those established by the Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR). Refer to the Forms section below for the link to the approved rates. Travelers should request the hotel?s federal government rate. Usually, a letter from the University, stipulating that the travel is to support a Federal project, will assist the traveler in obtaining the government rate.

4. Mileage:

Travelers will be reimbursed for business usage of personal cars at the federal government rate per mile. This rate covers use of the vehicle and gasoline. A new rate is issued each January and is available at the website listed in the Forms section below. Tolls and parking will be reimbursed in addition to the mileage allowance. Receipts should accompany travel vouchers for reimbursement of tolls and parking.

Travelers will not be reimbursed for the following items:

a. Car repairs.

b. Rental car costs during repair of personal car.

c. Tickets, fines, or traffic violations.

It is the responsibility of the owners of vehicles being used for business to carry adequate insurance coverage for their protection and for the protection of any passengers. Departments should ensure that the use of private cars is the most efficient method in terms of cost and time.

5. Meals:

When traveling for the benefit of Federal projects, meals are reimbursed based on Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR) guidelines in effect. The rates vary per city. The U.S. meal per diem rates are set every January. The foreign meal per diem rates are issued on a monthly basis. These rates can be accessed via the web address listed below in the Forms section.

6. Incidentals:

a. Taxis/Ground Transportation: The most economical mode of transportation should be used to and from air, bus, and rail terminals. A receipt must accompany the request for reimbursement of these expenses.

b. Business Telephone Calls: Travelers will be reimbursed for business telephone calls:

1) that are reasonable and necessary for conducting the business of the Federally-sponsored award, and,

2) if not otherwise stipulated, when the hotel bill with the itemized calls is attached to the Expense Report, or

3). when an original phone bill is attached to the Expense Report.

c. A receipt is required for each expenditure of $75 or more.

Forms

The Federal Joint Travel Regulations can be accessed at through the General Services Administration web site at http://www.gsa.gov -> Policy -> Travel.

The Federal Per Diem Rates can be accessed directly at:http://www.gsa.gov/perdiems.
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:
http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?programId=9299&channelId=-13224&ooid=10359&contentId=9646&pageTypeId=8203&contentType=GSA_BASIC&programPage=%2Fep%2Fprogram%2FgsaBasic.jsp&P=MTT