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Financial Management
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Sponsored Funds Financial Management
Sponsored Funds | Travel


Travel costs are generally allowable on sponsored awards provided that they are directly related to the intent of the award. Travelers are expected to travel by the method most conducive to achieving the objectives of the trip, while keeping in mind the reasonableness of costs.

This guide serves simply as a general reference for travel. Travel regulations are complex. Some sponsors may have additional travel conditions or restrictions. Therefore, it is always best to consult with Sponsored Funds Financial Management staff in advance for additional guidance and clarification.


  • Requests for travel advances or reimbursement should be done using the Travel Payment Request Form
  • All travel requests require original receipts as well as a conference announcement, agenda or a brief description of the purpose of the travel
  • As a tax-exempt entity, the Research Foundation cannot pay for or reimburse New York State Sales tax; a tax exempt form can be provided
  • All travel funded by a sponsored award, including non-project personnel travel expenses, should conform to the same regulations and policies

Travel Advances

Travel advances are available for employees if needed. The advance can cover 100% of common carrier transportation costs, and 80% of other transportation costs, lodging and meal per diems. Requests should be submitted with appropriate documentation utilizing the top portion of the Travel Payment Request form.

Travel advances must be reconciled with in two weeks of return. No subsequent advances will be issued until a prior advance has been reconciled.

Post Travel Reimbursement

Reimbursement should be submitted with in two weeks upon return from travel.


Common Carriers:Travelers are expected to use the lowest-priced available coach-class airfare. All travel charged to a federally funded sponsored award must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. Nonrefundable airline tickets should not be charged to a sponsored award if the trip is cancelled. Travelers can contact Advantage Travel to have airfare or rail expenses direct billed to their Research Foundation account. Please provide the agency with the RF award # (Project/Task/Award). Requests for reimbursement of common carrier transportations expenses must be supported by original passenger coupons.

Personal Car Mileage:Personally owned automobiles may be used when other transportation is not available or appropriate. Mileage in excess of an individual's typical commute to or from their official work station is reimbursable at the allowable business mileage rate established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Requests for mileage reimbursement should be substantiated with appropriate documentation.

IRS business mileage rate is as follows:

Applicable Period

Rate (cents per mile)

1/1/15 -


1/1/14 - 12/31/14


1/1/13 -12/31/13


1/1/12 - 12/31/12


7/1/11 - 12/31/11


Rental Car: Rental vehicles may be appropriate when the utilization of such is in the best interest of the project. For example, renting a vehicle is considered appropriate when renting is the least costly alternative, renting is the only method of transportation, or renting will eliminate substantial delays. Vehicles should be rented in the name of the Research Foundation to ensure that both the RF and the traveler are properly covered by insurance. Rentals can be booked through our direct billing arrangement with Enterprise Rent-a-Car using the RF billing number either through the online reservation system or by calling 1-800-RENT-A-CAR (see rates here). Speak with your department's Grant Administrator for details. Reimbursable costs include tolls, parking fees, fuel, and the cost of renting the vehicle. Non-reimbursable costs include the costs of personal accident insurance or personal effects insurance, citations, violations, and vehicle upgrades such as satellite radio or GPS. To authorize payment to Enterprise, complete the Enterprise Requisition for Payment form.

Miscellaneous: Transportation costs such as taxi, subway, tolls, or parking expenses are typically reimbursable. Original receipts are requested. Travelers are expected to use the most economical means available.

Other Expenses

The Research Foundation can pay conference registration fees directly to the conference or event organizer. Reimbursement for conference registration fees paid by the traveler should be accompanied by proof of payment.

Incidentals such as communication expenses are reimbursable when documented and receipted.

Lodging and Meals

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for lodging and meal reimbursement, a traveler must be in official travel status; ie: greater than 35 miles from both their place of residence and their official work station.

Meal Eligibility: Allowances and rates are determined by the travel destination. Meal allowances should be adjusted based upon travel departure and return times and meals which were provided at no expense to the traveler, (ie: breakfast provided at the conference).

On the day of departure, the traveler is eligible for breakfast if travel begins before 7am and dinner if travel begins prior to 6pm. On the day of return, the traveler is eligible for breakfast if travel ends after 8am, and dinner if travel ends after 7pm. No reimbursement is given for lunch.

Receipts are not required for meal reimbursement under either method. Therefore, meals should typically be reimbursed using appropriate un-receipted rates. If receipts will be used, they MUST be itemized, showing all items purchased, not simply a total paid. This is done to ensure compliance with all policies concerning the purchase of alcohol.

Non-Overnight Meal Reimbursement: Reimbursement for meal allowances for non-overnight travel, should be done using the Taxable Meal Payment Request Form. This reimbursement is taxable, and will be processed through payroll.

Payment requests for non-overnight per diems for a State Employee traveling for Research Foundation business must also be accompanied by a signed State Travel voucher. The reimbursement will be processed through the state system so that the payment may be correctly captured as reportable compensation.

Direct Billings: In efforts to reduce the expenses incurred by the individual traveler, it may be feasible to arrange for the lodging expenses to be billed directly to the Research Foundation. Direct billings also help ensure that government rates are offered and New York State Sales tax is not charged. Please contact your Grant Administrator for additional information concerning direct billing arrangements for lodging expenses.

Reimbursement Rates
There are two methods to reimburse travelers for lodging and meal costs:

Method I:An approved flat rate reimbursement to cover lodging, meals, and incidentals without the use of receipts.

Unreceipted per diem rates for domestic travel are as follows:



New York City and surrounding counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester


Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and their surrounding metropolitan areas (any city, town, or village within 15 miles of these cities)


All other locations within New York State


All other locations within the continental US


Method II: Allows for the reimbursement of actual (receipted) lodging costs up to the established Government Service Administration per diem rates. Receipts which exceed Government per diem rates will require justification. Receipts are not required to reimburse meal and incidental expenses under this method.

Meal Allowance Rates

Non-overnight travel meal allowance and adjustments to Method I reimbursements based on times of travel or exclusions for meals provided at no cost to the traveler are allowable as follows without meal receipts:




All locations



Travelers with meal receipts are reimbursed up to the maximum amount of the meal per diem (Method II) specified for the particular area of travel. The meal per diem allowance is apportioned for breakfast and dinner.

Method II meal allowances are adjusted based on times of travel or exclusions for meals provided at no cost to the traveler at the following rates:

Effective October 1, 2009:

Meal Per Diem


Dinner Allowance



















Effective October 1, 2005 - September 30, 2009:

Meal Per Diem


Dinner Allowance



















International (Foreign) Travel

Additional policies exist surrounding international travel, which are pertinent to all non-domestic travel, including Canada. There may be restrictions based on Sponsor or Federal guidelines, Export Controls, as well as US Department of State travel warnings. Any travel to a country on the US Department of State Travel Warning list requires additional campus approvals. Please contact your Grant Administrator for assistance.

International travel policy indicates specific requirements for use of a rental vehicle as well the method of reimbursement. Compliance with the Fly America Act is of particular importance for international travel on federal awards which requires that any air transportation to, from, between or with in a country other than the US is provided by a US Flag carrier when such is available.

Reimbursement for travel outside the continental United States is based on Federal Foreign per diem rates, also found on the GSA website. Please note that these rates may be updated as frequently as monthly.

Export Controls are laws regulating the shipment, transmission or transfer of items, information, technical data/software to foreign countries, persons and entities. Export Control issues pertinent to foreign travel typically include the destination, the parties involved, and the items being transported, either shipped or hand carried. The items do not necessarily have to be physical as the Export Control laws apply to the transfer of knowledge.

Export licenses may be required for foreign travel which involves travel to sanctioned or embargoed countries, contact with restricted people or entities, or transportation of restricted items such as laptops, encryption software, or data. Exclusions to license requirements do exist. However, regulations require the exemption to be documented in advance of the travel. For additional information surrounding Export Controls, please contact the Office for Sponsored Programs.

The Research Foundation can provide blanket international travel assistance coverage, as well as emergency health insurance benefits, for persons traveling overseas on official Research Foundation business.

Reimbursement for international travel not conforming to all applicable regulations may not be feasible from a sponsored award. For additional travel related information, or clarification on any of the above policies, please contact your Grant Administrator prior to making travel arrangements.


Travel Payment Request Form

Non Overnight Taxable Meal Form

Enterprise Rental Car Requisition Form

Page last updated on 1/12/15.