Travel Policy and Procedures
The purpose of this policy is to define and explain William Paterson University’s (“the University”) travel policies and procedures, describe reimbursable expenditures and inform travelers (employee, student and other) and approvers of their responsibilities in reporting and managing University travel related costs.
These policies apply to all employees, students and others authorized to travel on behalf of University. Compliance with these policies is the responsibility of the traveler. Employees, students and others traveling on official University business are expected to use the most economical means of transportation and exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business at his/her own expense.
PROCEDURES REQUIRED FOR ALL TRAVEL:
The University’s travel procedures are outlined below. The five major steps in the process are: 1) Complete and Submit Travel Request and Approval Form, 2) Process Conference Registration Fee (if applicable), 3) Schedule Transportation, 4) Reserve Hotel Accommodations and 5) Submit Request for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses.
1) Complete and Submit Travel Request and Approval Form:
The purpose of the Travel Request and Approval Form is to reserve funds in the budget to pay travel expenses for specific events. If the travel is cancelled and not taken, it is the responsibility of the traveler (or department) to notify Business Services who will then transfer the funds back into the departmental budget.
A fully approved Travel Request and Approval Form must be received by Business Services prior to any travel, including same day travel (as detailed by the University’s Ethics Liaison Officer). Arrangements for travel should not be made until the request is fully approved, as the traveler would not be reimbursed for any expenses incurred for non-approved travel.
- The traveler must complete the Travel Request and Approval Form which is located on WPConnect. All anticipated costs should be included on the form. Standard travel expenses include: registration fees, lodging costs, transportation costs (airfare, train, bus, mileage, taxi/car service), and meals.
- The Travel Request and Approval Form must be fully approved.
Approvals Required for Overnight Travel:
1) Department Chair or appropriate Director who will: a) review the form, b) approve the trip and c) indicate amount of funding with corresponding Fund, Organization, Account and Program (FOAP).
2) Dean (if applicable) who will: a) review the form, b) approve the trip and
c) indicate amount of funding with corresponding FOAP.
3) The Provost’s Office (academic staff/students) or appropriate Vice President (non-academic staff) who will: a) review the form, b) approve the trip and c) indicate amount of funding with corresponding FOAP.
4) Business Services who will first have the form approved by the Ethics Liaison Officer and then review to ensure compliance with University policy and encumber funds as authorized.
Approvals Required for Same Day Travel:
1) The supervisor “at the next level of review” will: a) review the form, b) approve the trip and c) indicate amount of funding with corresponding FOAP. (For example, a Chairperson will approve for faculty and the Provost’s Office will approve for a Dean).
2) Business Services will obtain the Ethics Liaison Officer’s approval and attach to the Travel Expense Voucher or Petty Cash Receipt Form when received.
Please note that the full cost of the trip may not necessarily be funded. If actual expenses exceed amount funded, an additional authorization must be sent in writing to Business Services by the department providing the additional funding.
2) Process Conference Registration Fee:
Registration fees can be paid directly by the University. A Voucher Payment Form (with completed registration form attached) should be submitted to Business Services together with the Travel Request and Approval Form. By doing so, the registration will be approved at the same time as the trip is approved and the registration fee will be paid immediately upon receipt and review of forms by Business Services. If the registration is paid directly by the traveler, the registration fee should be included on the Travel Expense Voucher submitted after the trip’s completion.
3) Schedule Transportation:
Air/Train arrangements can be arranged once the Travel Request and Approval Form has been approved and encumbered by Business Services. The traveler has the option to either schedule the arrangements through a travel agent of the traveler’s choice or through the internet. Be advised that reimbursement will be processed after the traveler returns from the trip and submits a fully approved Travel Expense Voucher.
Since travel arrangements should be made as early as possible to ensure the best pricing possible, the Travel Request and Approval Form must be completed well in advance of the travel date.
First class or business class travel, including Acela, is not permitted. If the traveler chooses to travel by first or business class, reimbursement will be limited to coach airfare or Amtrak unreserved fare. If the traveler chooses to drive to a conference site where air or train travel is readily available, reimbursement will be the lesser of mileage and parking or air fare/ train fare and shuttle service.
Taxi/Car Service arrangements to/from airport must be scheduled by the traveler who will be reimbursed via Travel Expense Voucher. Travel to and from airports should be confined to regularly scheduled shuttle services when available and when such service is less costly than a taxi or car service. Taxi fares to restaurants for meals are not reimbursable.
Mileage to/from airport or train station will be calculated using the reimbursement rate authorized by the University. Currently, the reimbursement rate is as posted on WPConnect. Tolls are also reimbursable (see section on receipts below).
Parking costs at the departure airport or train station will be reimbursed at the rate for the most economical on-site parking location, regardless of where the traveler chooses to park.
Rental Cars are permitted only under extenuating circumstances where commercial transportation is not available. The rental car expense must be included on the Travel Request and Approval Form accompanied by written justification of the necessity and approved by both the appropriate Vice President and the University Controller. The justification must cite the need for rental, provide reasons why other transportation is not available or feasible to use, and give the estimated total rental cost (including fuel). If approved, the most economical car rental is to be used, including the use of subcompacts, discounted and special rates
4) Reserve Hotel Accommodations:
Hotel accommodations are reimbursable for single rooms in standard/first class hotels. Please note the hotel deposit should be included on the Travel Expense Voucher submitted after the trip’s completion. No prepayments will be made reimbursing hotel deposits before the trip.
5) Submit Request for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses:
- The traveler must complete a Travel Expense Voucher as soon as possible upon completion of the trip itemizing all out-of-pocket expenses incurred. The Travel Expense Voucher form is located on WPConnect. Please note that the Travel Expense Voucher will not be honored if the Travel Request and Approval Form is not received by Business Services in the same fiscal year the travel was incurred.
- Original itemized receipts must be attached to the Travel Expense Voucher documenting each expense. If the receipt does not indicate “Paid”, the traveler must also attach documentation of payment (e.g. Credit Card statement, cancelled check – front and back). Reimbursement will not be processed for expenses if the required documentation is not provided. Exception - Receipts are not required for individual expenses less than $25 or when the per diem meal allowance is selected.
- The Travel Expense Voucher must be approved by all responsible parties whose FOAPs are funding the trip. The approver will a) ensure the expenses are valid, b) ensure the correct FOAP is charged and c) authorize the reimbursement.
- The form should lastly be forwarded to Business Services who will review to ensure compliance with University policy and process the reimbursement. If during Business Services’ review the reimbursement requested is adjusted by either 10% of the requested reimbursement or $100, whichever is less, Business Services will notify the traveler of the adjustment and reason for the adjustment.
- A traveler should not approve his or her own Travel Expense Voucher. A supervisor’s approval must be obtained.
- When submitting a credit card statement as proof of payment, the account number should not be legible.
Documentation Required with Travel Expense Voucher:
Conference fee/Registration fee:
The conference fee/ registration fee should not appear on the Travel Expense Voucher if paid directly by the University. If paid by the traveler, attach the detailed invoice/receipt and documentation of payment.
Air or train expenses should be accompanied by either the airline or train ticket receipt which must clearly document times of departure/arrival, cost of ticket and proof of payment. If booked on-line, the confirmation page with credit card number must be submitted. Travelers will not be reimbursed for use of personal frequent flyer miles. If the traveler chooses to travel by first or business class, documentation supporting the coach airfare or Amtrak unreserved fare as of the date of registration must be attached.
Car service or taxi cab:
Another acceptable method of transportation to/from the airport is shuttle if such service is less costly than a taxi. Receipts are required and must be marked as paid. Reimbursements will not be allowed for taxi service when courtesy (no fee) transportation is offered to/from the airport.
Mileage costs to and from the airports/ train stations should be included. In addition to reimbursement of mileage and tolls, parking costs will also be reimbursed not to exceed the most economical rate of long term parking at the airport or train station, regardless of where the traveler parks. If the traveler chooses to drive to a conference site where air or train travel is readily available, documentation supporting the cost of the coach airfare or unreserved Amtrak fare as of the registration date must be attached.
Original copies of the rental agreement and proof of payment must be attached to the Travel Expense Voucher for this expense to be reimbursed. If you choose to rent a car without an approval, you will be reimbursed based upon the most economical taxi or shuttle fare available at that time.
Attach original detailed hotel bill. The hotel bill must indicate that the balance was paid. If not, documentation of payment must also be attached. Personal charges appearing on the hotel bill, i.e.: movies, laundry, valet service, athletic or spa fees and room service, must be deducted from the reimbursement requested and not included on the Travel Expense Voucher. One personal telephone call per day of reasonable duration to an employee’s home will be reimbursed. Internet service, if used for University business, will be reimbursed. When lodging is shared with others, the fact must be stated on the travel expense voucher and hotel bill. Reimbursement will be prorated accordingly.
Actual expenses for meals will be reimbursed up to the maximum allowed by the federal government per diem rate less $3.00 a day. The federal per diem rate schedules can be obtained at http://www.gsa.gov. If the per diem option is selected, receipts are not required and the per diem rate must be used for the entire trip. If the per diem option is not selected, the detailed check must be provided for all meals. The credit card charge slip alone or the room service charge appearing on the hotel bill will not suffice as documentation. The reimbursement under this method will be the lesser of the submitted receipts or the per diem rate. If a meal or meals are included in the conference registration, the per diem for those meals will not be reimbursed. No alcoholic beverages will be reimbursed.
Prepayment of Travel Expenses:
It is not the policy of the University to prepay travel expenses. Travel expenses are to be reimbursed upon completion of the trip. This includes hotel deposits, airfare and train tickets purchased, registration fees paid directly by employee, etc.
Same Day Travel:
Meals are not reimbursed for same day travel.
A Travel Request and Approval Form may or may not be required for same day travel. If the travel requires the Ethics Liaison Officer’s approval, a Travel Request and Approval Form is required. Please refer to the guidelines outlined by the Ethics Liaison Officer for more details.
A Travel Expense Voucher must be submitted for reimbursement of same day travel expenses. If the expenses are less than $50, attach fully approved Travel Expense Voucher to a Petty Cash Receipt Form, obtain approval from the Travel Coordinator in Business Services and present to the Bursar’s Department for reimbursement. The Petty Cash Receipt Form is located on WPConnect.
Recruitment of Full-Time Faculty:
Travel expenses of candidates are reimbursed under the same conditions, limitations and requirements of staff members traveling on University Business. Travel Guidelines for Search Committee Chairs have been created by the Provost’s Office and posted on the University’s website to assist with all phases of the interview process, including reimbursement of expenses.
A Voucher Payment Form, with supporting receipts attached, must be submitted to Business Services for reimbursement of candidate’s travel expenses. Do not use a Travel Expense Voucher.