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Travel Policy
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Travel Policy

(Amended January 1, 2012 - Effective Immediately)

Contents of this page:

  1. General

  2. Student Travel

  3. Foreign Travel

  4. Travel Authorization and Advance Request

  5. Amended Travel Authorization and Advance Request

  6. Expense Reimbursement Envelope

  7. Transportation (University autos ; Private cars ; Rental cars ; Taxis, shuttles, and limousines ; Airline tickets)

  8. Orginial Receipts (Airline receipts ; Cash register receipt ; Checkbook carbon copies of checks ; Credit card receipts ; Personal credit card monthly statements ; Hotel receipts ; Conference registration ; Personal checks ; Restaurant receipts ; Alcoholic beverages ; Rental car receipts ; Foreign currency ; Other receipts)

  9. Missing Receipts


Trinity University provides for reimbursement of all reasonable expenses for authorized official travel in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the following policies.

Generally, these guidelines are intended for the individual employee traveling on University-related business. Exceptions (i.e., group travel) will be considered as the occasion arises. The person with the authority to make exceptions to specific sections of the policy is identified in each section. If a particular section does not specify the responsibility for exceptions, the authority for exception rests with the Controller or Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration. When necessary, exceptions should be cleared in advance in order to avoid delays in processing paperwork after the trip.

In-town trips are excursions within the San Antonio metropolitan area, or one-day trips by car or other ground transportation to destinations outside of the metropolitan area not requiring an overnight stay (e.g., Austin, Kerrville). In-town expenses are not considered to be travel-related as defined in this policy; therefore, travel authorization and reimbursement forms are not required for in-town travel, but may be submitted if desired. Expenses for in-town activities may be submitted on a DPO (see example). If necessary, cash advances can be made via an AUTHORIZATION FOR PETTY CASH (see example).

Department chairs, directors, or principal investigators are responsible for the regulation of travel for their respective units. All travel authorizations and reimbursement requests must be signed by the traveler and have two approvals. The two approvals should be those of the two most immediate supervisors. The appropriate vice president’s signature is required for trips with total expenditures exceeding $1,000, or for trips which include any expenditure not substantiated by an original receipt.

When traveling with other persons who are not employees of Trinity University, such as family members or those who are not on official University business, the traveler must make separate arrangements with the travel agency to pay the travel agency directly for costs incurred. In some cases, the travel agency may be unable to make separate arrangements. Under such instances, the employee is responsible for reimbursing the University for all non-business-related costs when submitting the TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND ADVANCE REQUEST (see example). (Refer also to "Friends Fly Free" under "Airline Tickets.") Employees who do not reimburse the University for non-business-related costs may become personally liable for all of their travel costs. University employees may not be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred by anyone who is not a Trinity University employee.

The Associate Vice President for Budget and Business Operations will ensure that University travel expenditure and reimbursement policies are carried out in accordance with the definition of an accountable plan given in Section 62 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended. If necessary, periodic modification will be made to the travel policy to ensure that favorable tax treatment is obtained in accordance with the Code.

  Student Travel

When one or more students travel, the sponsoring employee’s name should be given as the "Traveler’s Name" on the TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND ADVANCE REQUEST (TAAR). A list of the traveling student(s) should accompany the TAAR. A student’s authorized expenses are reimbursed to the student. Adequate documentation in accordance with this policy is required for student expenses.

Travel advances for student travel will be made to the student. Student travel sponsored by multiple departments should be discussed in advance with the Controller to coordinate funding and the submission of proper paperwork.

  Foreign Travel

Pre-travel authorization. The Director of Risk Management (extension 7507) is responsible for assessing any risk associated with travel at the time of the trip on a global basis, based on the route of travel, and based upon the current political environment. Therefore, all travel outside the North American continental area (i.e., outside of the United States and territories of the United States, Canada, and Mexico) requires the advance approval of the Director of Risk Management on the TAAR. The Risk Manager will consult the appropriate vice president in approving all foreign travel.

If at any time the risk of travel is determined to be high, previously approved travel may be revoked, the trip may be canceled and/or the traveler may be required to return to the United States. The determination of risk and the decision to terminate travel rests with the Risk Manager in consultation with the appropriate vice president.

  Travel Authorization and Advance Request *

The TAAR should be submitted within three working days after booking airfare reservations, or two weeks prior to departure date, whichever is earlier. In addition to this timeframe, supervisory approval will require one or two days. The TAAR should include the purpose of the trip, the period of time at the destination, and the account number(s) to which travel expenses are to be charged. (Refer to numbers 12 and 13 of the section on "Department Purchase Order Preparation" in the chapter on "Purchasing Policy and Procedures" about providing a Control Number when booking reservations, and note also that the Business Office charges a fee for invoices not covered by a TAAR in a timely manner.)

Estimates of the costs of the trip should be itemized as shown on the form. If the request is approved and funds are available in the department’s supplies and expenses budget pool (object code 54000), then the travel funds will be encumbered against that department.

Travel advances over $100 (minimum request) and up to $500 (maximum request) may be obtained for travel on official University business. The amount requested should not exceed the estimated expenses less amounts paid in advance or billed directly to Trinity University. The amount of the advance, including any pre-payments for hotel, car rental, registration fees and airfare, will be deducted from any reimbursement requested by the traveler.

The travel advance may be requested in the form of cash or University-issued check.

If no advance is requested, type "0" or "N/A" in the Travel Advance Request section of the TAAR.

Advances are available for release no sooner than three (3) working days before the departure date. Earlier release must be approved by the appropriate vice president or the Controller. Departments will be notified when advances are ready for release. Advances in cash must be picked up in person at the Cashier’s window between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. **

Unused cash may be deposited with the University cashiers upon completion of the trip. The traveler should include a copy or the cashier’s receipt in the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope documenting the deposited funds (see example).

As an alternative, the traveler may deposit the unused cash into his or her personal checking account and issue a personal check to the University, placing the check in the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope.

Travel expenses must be substantiated, and any advance in excess of the actual expenses must be returned within thirty (30) days after the last day of the trip. Not substantiating travel expenses or returning excess travel advance monies within this thirty-day period may result in the cost of the trip being added to the traveler’s taxable income and becoming subject to all applicable payroll taxes as required by IRS regulations.

Hotel Taxes. Exemptions from hotel use taxes vary from state to state, and even from hotel to hotel. Experience has shown, however, that considerable savings can be realized by providing the hotel with a HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE (see example) and/or a TEXAS SALES TAX EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE (see example) at the time of check-in. Both certificates may be obtained from the Business Office prior to departure, at ext. 7390. If the hotel declines to honor the exemption, the University will pay the tax.

*    updated 8/23/10 - Travelers Checks option deleted  

** updated 8/23/10 - hours to obtain advance changed from 8:30-3:30pm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

  Amended Travel Authorization and Advance Request

If, prior to the departure date, the traveler becomes aware of a significant change in travel plans and expenditures, the authorization must be amended. To amend the TAAR, the traveler should make a photocopy of the original form, write "AMENDED" on the top of the copy, highlight the word "AMENDED," make handwritten changes to the form, and submit the form through the normal approval process. Approving officials will indicate their approval by initialing the form near the signature area. The Business Office will make copies of the approved amended TAAR for processing. A "significant change in travel plans and expenditures" is defined as a 20% increase in total estimated expenditures, or the addition of an expenditure category (such as rental car) that is not previously authorized. The traveler must be sure to designate at the top of the TAAR that it is an AMENDED travel authorization.

Changes in estimated expenditures that arise during the trip should be approved by the appropriate supervisors via telephone or e-mail. An amended travel authorization is not needed once the trip has begun.

  Expense Reimbursement Envelope

With the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT package, you should:

Items of a personal nature charged to food, lodging or other receipts are not reimbursable.

If you received an advance, deduct it and any prepaid expenses from the total expense to show the net amount due to the traveler or the University. If the traveler owes the University, attach a personal check made payable to Trinity University or pay the amount in cash at the Cashier’s window. If you pay in cash, include a copy of the cash receipt in the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope received from the cashier. Do not put cash in the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope.

If the University owes the traveler, a check will be processed promptly after the Business Office receives the appropriately submitted and approved EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope. The Business Office will call the traveler or the traveler’s secretary when the check is ready for pick-up.

All reimbursements for travel ending on or before May 31 must be received by the end of the first week in June. This is to allow time for these expenses to be charged to the fiscal year ending May 31. Travel beginning prior to May 31 but ending in the following fiscal year will be charged to the year in which the trip terminates. Exceptions require the approval of the Controller.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Not providing proper documentation in accordance with this section may result in the unsupported expenses or travel advances being added to your taxable income and becoming subject to all applicable payroll taxes as required by IRS regulations. Once added to taxable income, the amount cannot be subsequently reversed, even if the employee subsequently complies with these requirements.


1. University autos. 

Trinity University maintains a small fleet of general purpose motor vehicles. Reservations for vehicles to be used for official travel are to be made through the Motor Pool Services (ext. 8411). If the traveler has not been pre-approved as an authorized driver, contact the Director of Risk Management to obtain authorization. (Refer to the "Authorized Driver Policy" in the chapter on "Vehicles" for information related to obtaining authorization.)

2. Private cars. 

Use of a private car for official University business in connection with travel is reimbursed at the rate of 56.5 cents per mile ( as of January 1, 2013). The maximum reimbursement for private car mileage is 1,000 miles or $565 per approved trip. No reimbursement will be made for subsistence expenses incurred while driving to or from the travel destination. Exceptions must be approved in advance by the Controller or the Associate Vice President for Budget & Business Operations.

The traveler should log the beginning and ending odometer readings to substantiate a claim for reimbursement for private car mileage. The odometer readings should be written in the indicated section of the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope.

Trinity University does not pay for repairs, gas, oil, or insurance on private cars. Taxi or limousine expenses are not allowed when a private car is used for the trip.

When two or more travelers use a private car, only one transportation reimbursement is allowed. Refer to the other traveler’s name on the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope.

Parking at an air terminal will be paid for private car use, but it is suggested that travelers who will be gone more than seven days should use a shuttle or taxi for transportation between their home and the airport.

3. Rental cars. 

Rental cars may be used when such travel is more advantageous to the University than the use of taxis or other means of transportation. Rental car arrangements can be made with the rental car company of your choice. Rental car arrangements may be made through any travel agency or rental car company.

Trinity University’s commercial automobile insurance program provides coverage for liability or collision losses on rental car use for all authorized drivers for the University. Therefore, the optional rental car collision/loss damage or liability insurance offered should not be purchased. However, if traveling overseas, it is strongly recommended that collision/liability coverage be purchased in the country where the vehicle will be operated.

The University will reimburse for the use of subcompact, compact, and mid-size cars. Exceptions to the class of car rented will be made by the appropriate vice president.

If the traveler who will drive a rental car has not been pre-approved as an authorized driver, contact the Associate Vice President for Finance & Administration to obtain authorization.

4. Taxis, shuttles, and limousines. 

Fares for taxis, shuttles, and limousine services are allowed if the trips are reasonable, and if no other practical alternative is available. Receipts should be obtained if practicable.

5. Airline tickets. 

With the proliferation of Internet sites and consolidators through which one can book airline flights, and in some cases receive substantial discounts, the University no longer requires booking exclusively through Corporate Travel Planners. Effective immediately, one may use any source to book travel.

Unless the individual uses the department's purchasing card, the individual will be responsible for paying for any airline travel arrangements made, with personal funds, and will not be reimbursed for those travel arrangements until the trip is completed and all receipts are turned in for reimbursement.

If one prefers, one may continue to use Corporate Travel Planners and charge airline travel arrangements to the University as before. Appropriate travel authorizations are still required. Questions regarding this new policy should be addressed to the Controller, at extension 7387.

In addition, if any employee who is approved for Trinity University business travel secures a "Friends Fly Free" or similar type of ticket for transportation with a non-employee or another employee who is not traveling on University business, the employee whose travel is approved will be required to reimburse the University for fifty percent (50%) of the cost of the transportation.

"Friends Fly Free" and similar travel promotions, in general, cost more than a ticket for one person traveling alone. The University has no desire to instruct Corporate Travel Planners not to issue these tickets, but it also does not wish to create a significant administrative burden to determine whether one of these tickets does cost more than an individual ticket.

When using "Friends Fly Free" tickets, the gross ticket price less the promotional discount should be stated clearly on the airfare section of the TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND ADVANCE REQUEST (TAAR), and "Friends Fly Free" or similar wording should be highlighted on the TAAR. The employee’s check for one-half the total airfare must be submitted with the TAAR. TAARs without the employee’s check attached will be returned to the requestor.

The University will not pay for airfare in excess of tourist/coach airfare. If the class is other than tourist/coach fare, the traveler must reimburse the University an amount equal to the excess over the cost of these fares. However, if a trip to be undertaken is by a route or on a flight where tourist/coach class is not available, the traveler can submit a statement signed by the travel agent, certifying that tourist/coach fare was not available. Either this statement or the employee’s personal check must accompany the TAAR upon which the fare is claimed.

  Original Receipts

This section of the policy defines an acceptable receipt in accordance with Section 274 of the Internal Revenue Code as amended. The University must comply with these requirements in order to obtain favorable tax treatment for travel-related expenses.

The following guidelines shall be used for determining whether an original receipt is acceptable for purposes of this policy. To be acceptable, original receipts must contain, at a minimum, the name and address of the payee, the date of expenditure, the dollar amount, and a description of the purchase. Photocopies of receipts are acceptable if the expense was shared by another University employee who submitted the original receipt. The photocopy of the receipt should state with whom the expense was shared.

Original receipts should be obtained for all travel-related expenditures where possible, but shall be required for all expenditures greater than $25. Because of the importance of obtaining receipts, the Controller, in consultation with the appropriate vice president, may lower the $25 limit for travelers who consistently fail to obtain receipts for items less than $25. Exception is allowed for taxis, buses, or other forms of local transportation when obtaining a receipt is sometimes not practicable. (See additional information for Missing Receipts.)

Reimbursed expenditures which are not substantiated by acceptable original receipts within 30 days following the last day of the trip shall be added to the employee’s taxable gross income in the payroll immediately following the end of the thirty (30) day period.

1. Airline receipts. 

Original airline receipts must be included with the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope. These receipts are required since they are needed by the supervisor and second reviewer and not necessarily by the Business Office. Receipts are required for all University or grant-funded student travel.

2. Cash register receipt. 

The cash register receipt provided by automated point-of-sales machines is a valid receipt provided the tape includes the name and address of the vendor, and the date of the purchase. If this information is not pre-printed on the receipt, manual entry of the information is acceptable.

3. Checkbook carbon copies of checks. 

The checkbook carbon copy of a personal check is not an acceptable receipt for any University expenditure.

4. Credit card receipts. 

The carbon copy receipts provided when using credit cards are an acceptable receipt for most University purchases if the receipt includes the name and address of the payee, the date of the purchase, the dollar amount, and a description of the purchase (i.e., dinner, gas, etc.). Credit card carbon copy receipts are not acceptable for hotel or conference registration expenses.

5. Personal credit card monthly statements. 

The monthly billing statement provided by the credit card company is not an acceptable receipt for University purchases.

6. Hotel receipt. 

Original hotel receipts are acceptable, provided the receipt includes the name and address of the hotel, and a daily itemization of charges for the cost of room, taxes, room service, etc. Credit card receipts alone are not acceptable receipts for hotel expenses because they do not provide an itemized listing of expenses.

When sharing a room with another University employee, the costs of the room and other charges should be appropriately allocated to each employee’s travel reimbursement. Obviously, only one employee will be able to submit the original receipt. The other employee may submit a photocopy of the original and note on the copy with whom the room was shared.

Personal expenses such as, but not limited to, personal long distance phone calls, valet services, in-room movies, medications, and non-business magazines will not be reimbursed and should not be included on the EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT envelope.

Miscellaneous business-related items on the hotel bill, such as business-related long-distance telephone calls should be noted as such on the receipt to expedite the reimbursement process.

7. Conference Registration. 

There is often confusion in processing conference registration. It is strongly recommended that you pay for conference registration fees with a University check via the TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND ADVANCE REQUEST (TAAR). The check can be mailed to the conference or given to the traveler to carry to the conference. Paying by University check obviates the need to obtain original receipts for registration fees.

If you choose to pay for conference registration fees with a personal check or credit card, you should follow these guidelines:

8. Personal checks. 

Photocopies of canceled personal checks are generally not acceptable as receipt unless a separate original receipt is provided that indicates the payee’s name, address, and description of the expenditure. A canceled personal check provides evidence only that the amount was paid; it does not provide the other required information (payee’s address and description of the purchase).

9. Restaurant receipts

Original restaurant receipts are accepted, provided that the receipt includes the name and address of the restaurant, the date of the expenditure, the dollar amount, and the number of guests. Note that receipt stubs provided by many restaurants do not include all of the required information. In this case, a credit card receipt may provide the additional information that is required, or the traveler may write the information on the receipt.

Restaurant receipts for business-related entertainment expenses must include the names of all guests, the business affiliation of each guest, and the business purpose of the expenditure.

10. Alcoholic beverages

Many federal and state grants, and some private grants, do not provide reimbursement for alcoholic beverages. Please consult your grant guidelines and adjust your claim for grant-funded reimbursements accordingly.

11. Rental car receipts. 

Original receipts from rental car companies will be reimbursed. The Business Office will provide information from the rental car receipts/contracts to the Director of Risk Management for the purpose of risk assessment.

12. Foreign currency. 

Expenses paid in foreign currency while traveling will be reimbursed by the University based upon the currency exchange rate in effect on the date of the expenditure. The University often uses the currency exchange rate quoted by Frost National Bank. You may call the Currency Exchange Office of Frost National Bank at (210) 220-5651 during normal banking hours for the "sell rate." For convenience, the employee may use a currency rate quoted by another financial institution or the Wall Street Journal.

The traveler should translate receipts written in a foreign language into English. In order to expedite the reimbursement process, receipts should include a description of the expenditure and the dollar amount of reimbursement (in U.S. dollars based upon the appropriate exchange rate). Receipts from foreign travel must otherwise comply with the original receipts policy.

13. Other receipts. 

Receipts that do not fall within one of the above categories must be approved by the Controller to be considered acceptable for University purchases. The Controller will determine whether the new form of receipt should be widely accepted and will periodically update this policy accordingly.

Missing Receipts

  1. Documentation Requirements

    Original receipts should be obtained for all expenditures when possible. Exceptions may be allowed for travel expenses under $25 such as taxis, buses, and other costs when obtaining a receipt is not practicable.

    The following documentation is required to substantiate expenses:

  1. General Expenditures

    Individuals must attempt to obtain a copy of the original receipt from the vendor for all costs.  Missing Receipts Affidavits must be signed by the individual claimant with a complete explanation of the expense if a copy of the receipt is unobtainable.

  2. Airline Ticket Receipt

    In the event of a  missing airline receipt (last page of the ticket stub), the affidavit must be accompanied by some form of documentation.  If the traveler is unable to obtain a copy of the airline receipt, acceptable alternatives are:  copy of the airline or travel agency itinerary showing form of payment, credit card statement, or cancelled check.

  3. Hotel Folio

    The IRS requires a hotel folio or itemized bill for all lodging reimbursements.

The Missing Receipts Affidavit form may be found on the policies and procedures Index under F (forms). Questions may be directed to ext. 7390.



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For further information, please call (210) 999-7306, or write to:

Trinity University
Office of Finance & Administration
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX   78212-7200

This page is provided to you for informational purposes.   Trinity University does not assume liability for omissions, typographical errors, or policy changes that are not updated immediately on this or other official university web pages.

This page was last modified on May 23, 2013.