Travel - Authorization and Funding

Effective: Moved to Policy Library from UPM 8.1(1)
Updated: August 1, 2020
Contact: Controller's Department


This policy clarifies authorizations required for university business-related travel. Employees and non-employees are subject to the same reimbursement limits.

Policy Statement

Prior to travel beginning, travelers are required to obtain permission to travel from a supervisory or designated authority.

An individual traveling on university business should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of that travel. Travelers are expected to choose the least costly method of transportation that also meets their scheduling needs. Expense reimbursements must be university business-related, properly documented, and in compliance with university policies and procedures. Travelers may also use a university issued Travel and Hospitality (T&H) Card as an alternative method of payment for qualifying travel related purchases. 

This policy applies to travel paid from all sources of university funding, which includes all programs, grants, gifts, or projects. Grantors funding travel often have policies that are more or less restrictive than those of the university. The more restrictive policy must always be followed. Supervisors may find it necessary to limit business travel expenses. Supervisors may set a maximum dollar amount per trip utilizing the Workday Spend Authorization or a maximum number of meals for day trips. The traveler must be aware of any limitations. All travel expenses must be in compliance with related policies (see Resources below).

If the travel is international, travelers are required to register with the Office of Risk Management and are strongly encouraged to complete a spend authorization prior to the travel. International travel must be Fly America Act compliant to be paid from federal funding. 

When personal and business travel is combined, expenses must be well documented and may not exceed the lowest available cost of a direct or uninterrupted route. If the traveler uses an indirect route or interrupts travel by direct route for personal convenience, any additional expenses incurred will be the sole responsibility of the traveler.

Through the use of T&H Cards and prepayment of registration fees or deposits, travel advances should not be necessary. However, if this is not practical, an employee or graduate assistant may obtain a travel cash advance. An expense report must be completed within 30 days of the completion of the trip to avoid charges to the traveler’s U-bill and potential finance charges on a travel cash advance. As a condition of travel cash advances, cash advances will be deducted from reimbursement of other personally paid expenses or charged back through ISU University Receivables.