The University of Memphis

University Travel


Issued: May 17, 2011
Responsible Official: Vice President for Business & Finance
Responsible Office: Accounting Office

Policy Statement

Policy Statement

This policy applies to the travel of all employees of The University of Memphis in the performance of their official duties. Provisions of this policy also may apply to individuals other than employees who are authorized to travel at University expense.  Departments may adopt more restrictive policies than those included in this document.  Authorization for travel will not be granted and expenses will not be reimbursed unless the travel is made and reimbursement claimed according to this document.

These procedures and reimbursement rates will be consistent with the Comprehensive Travel Regulations of the State of Tennessee and the travel policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). Current reimbursement rates can be found in the Travel Rate Schedule. Reimbursement for expenses related to Authorized Travel cannot be made for amounts above the maximum limitations detailed in the schedule. Only necessary and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. Original receipts are required to document expenses except where noted.


1)      Travel must be consistent with the educational, research, and professional needs of the University.

2)      Employees must:

  • Conduct University business with integrity, in compliance with applicable laws, policies, and procedures, and in a manner that excludes considerations of personal advantage.
  • Exercise good judgment and travel on University business in a cost-efficient manner.



To facilitate effective and economical University travel while maintaining the necessary controls for accountability. The University needs to comply with TBR policies and state and federal law and to the greatest extent possible, minimize administrative costs.     


Official Travel Status

The employee is considered on official travel status at the time of departure from the employee's official work station or residence, whichever is applicable, for traveling on University business.    

Banner Finance Self Service

A module within Spectrum which is used to process electronic documents, such as budget revisions and purchase orders for travel.


Authorized Travel

 Authorized travel will be limited to the following:

  1. Travel which is necessary for the proper execution of official University business, or in justifiable pursuit of the University's educational and research objectives;
  2. Travel to meetings and conferences of a professional nature which will increase the attending employee's usefulness to the University.


Corporate Credit Cards

Eligible employees can receive a Corporate Credit Card. The employee is responsible for all charges to the credit cards. Only actual business expenses incurred will be reimbursed. See the University Policy on Corporate Credit Cards.  


Authorization of Travel

Approving Authorities - The President or President's designees will have authority to approve travel by employees of the University. The President has authorized the department or activity head (or approved "designee") to approve in-state and out-of-state travel. All authorizations must be approved by the next higher authority over the requester either verbally, by e-mail or in writing.  Expenses incurred by the University for travel that is not properly authorized or for an incomplete travel purchase order are the personal responsibility of the traveler.

In-State Travel - All employees must obtain prior authorization for in-state travel by the employee's appropriate approving authority. A claim for reimbursement involving only occasional local mileage and/or parking within Shelby County may be processed without a written authorization. In these cases, write "none" for the travel purchase order on the claim form.

Out-of-State Travel - All employees must obtain prior authorization for out-of-state travel, which must be approved by the employee's appropriate approving authority.

Alaska, Hawaii, and Out-of-Country Travel - Authorization for travel by an employee to Alaska, Hawaii, and out-of-country will be subject to approval by the President. Authorizations should be routed to the President by the appropriate vice president/provost. The Request for Overseas Travel Form is available from the Accounting Office or at  Requests for authorization should reach the President's Office fourteen (14) days before the date approval is needed. Refer to University procedure UM1409 for information regarding international travel for students and/or faculty (i.e., study abroad programs). 

Travel Purchase Orders - Travel Purchase Orders should be submitted on-line by accessing the Banner Finance Self Service module using the Spectrum portal.  Travel Purchase Orders are submitted by the traveler's department, approved by the appropriate officials and forwarded to the Accounting Office for final processing electronically.  Travel Purchase Orders prepared by Financial Managers and Designees have implicit approval and are automatically forwarded to the Accounting Office.  If the department is unable to access the Banner Self Service System, Request for Travel Authorization forms are available on the web.
The PO must show the purpose of the trip, destinations, date of departure and return, mode of transportation, and estimated expenses. Claims for reimbursement for travel expenses which exceed the amount approved on the original PO will not be paid unless supplemental funds are approved in the space provided on the travel claim form.

Group Travel Purchase Orders - Purchase Orders will usually be granted on an individual basis. One authorization may be granted when a group is traveling together or when more than one person may undertake travel at different dates for the same purpose. This provision will usually apply to student groups, field travel for research projects, and similar situations. In these cases the PO should contain the name and University identification number of one primary person and clearly identify by footnote the group which will be involved in the travel or the names of all individuals for whom travel claims will be submitted under the purchase order. Special arrangements for group travel should be initiated through the University Procurement Services before entering into any agreements.


Blanket Travel Purchase Orders - Blanket travel purchase orders can be obtained for employees required to make frequent trips for the same purpose. The purchase order must show the name of the person traveling, purpose of the trips, destinations, dates of departure and return, mode of transportation, estimated expenses, and availability of funds.



General- All travel must be by the most direct route possible, and any employee who travels by an indirect route must bear any extra expense. When work is performed by an employee en route to or from the official station, reimbursable mileage is computed by deducting the employee's normal commuting mileage from the actual mileage driven in performing the work en route to or from the official station. For example, if an employee normally commutes 10 miles (20 miles round trip), and performs work on the way home from the official station which results in 12 miles driven, the mileage reimbursement will be for 2 miles only, as that is the amount of mileage in excess of the employee's normal commute.

Authorized travel does not include transportation to and from the employee's official work station. The official work station of an employee will be designated by the approving authority. It is normally expected that the official work station is that location at which the employee spends the major portion of their working time. For an employee required to be on call (as determined by their job description), either overnight or on weekends, the official work station of the employee while on call becomes their residence, or the location at which the employee receives the call. Reimbursable mileage begins at the location at which the employee receives the call.

Common Carrier Travel - When travel is by common carrier, the fare must not exceed the regular tourist fare charged the general public, and advantage must be taken of round trip rates when available. The employee's copy of the ticket (passenger receipt) or other acceptable receipt must be submitted for reimbursement of common carrier expenses.  The University's Authorized Travel Agency is available to assist you in making your reservations.  Air travel may be directly billed to the University when provided a valid Purchase Order number by the traveler. 

Chartered Aircraft - Generally, faculty and staff (including group travel and athletics) whose duties require travel will use commercial ground and air carriers or a university vehicle.  However, a chartered aircraft may be used if time and/or distance preclude ground travel or if a commercial air service is either unavailable or does not meet the needs of the traveler or travelers.  The Tennessee Board of Regents provides specific guidelines at 

Use of State Aircraft - Specific guidelines on the Use of State Aircraft can be found at

Limousine and Taxi Service - The employee will be reimbursed for one of the following expenses in traveling to and from the common carrier:

  1. Reasonable cost of one round trip taxi fare
  2. Parking of the employee's personal car at the location of the common carrier plus mileage of one round trip
  3. Mileage of two round trips in the employee's personal car (subject to a 200-mile maximum for two round trips)

The total amount of reimbursement for mileage, parking, and/or taxi fares for all travel to and from the airport should not exceed the maximum amount allowed for taxi fares.

After arrival at a destination, necessary taxi fares for traveling between a hotel or lodging and meeting or conference will be allowed.

Automobile Travel - When travel by automobile is appropriate, employees may be reimbursed a mileage allowance for the use of personally-owned automobiles:

  1. Personally-Owned Automobiles - Mileage reimbursement rates are provided on the Travel Rate Schedule. The authorized mileage allowance includes all operating expenses such as gas, oil, and repairs precluding any separate claim for such items.
  2. Travel Claim - The Claim for Traveling Expenses form must detail the employee's travel agenda and must show the official business mileage. Business mileage as indicated by the official State map, and calculated by Mapquest for out-of-state routes, will be regarded as official. Vicinity mileage must be reported on a separate line and not included with point-to-point mileage. Only mileage on official business may be claimed.  A mileage chart detailing miles between Memphis and many other cities is available in the Travel Rate Schedule. For local travel the mileage for each trip must be listed separately.
  3. Hotel Parking - Necessary charges for hotel parking will be allowed. When hotel parking is not listed on the hotel bill, receipts must be furnished.
  4. Unnecessary Meals and Lodging Expenses - Unnecessary meals and lodging expenses which are incurred by the use of an automobile for reasons of the employee's personal convenience, or which are due to travel by an indirect route will not be reimbursed.


Car Rentals at Destination - Charges for automobile rental will be allowed whenever it is more economical than alternative methods of transportation or whenever it is the only practical means of transportation and when supported by original receipts. Related fuel charges are reimbursable with a receipt.  Whenever possible, employees should refuel before returning vehicles. In accordance with State regulations, charges for insurance for rented automobiles are not reimbursable. If the Corporate Credit Card is used to rent the automobile, auto rental insurance is included.  Additional information is available at

Toll and Ferry Fees - Reasonable tolls and ferry fees will be allowed when necessary. A receipt is not required for reimbursement.

Parking Fees - Parking fees for employees at their regular work site will not be reimbursed. However, if an employee is required to leave their office on University business and later returns, the actual additional charge required to park will be reimbursed up to the maximum in the Travel Rate Schedule.

Those employees required to use commercial parking facilities in the daily performance of duties will be allowed reimbursement for actual costs so long as a receipt is submitted. If no receipt is submitted, the employee may claim reimbursement up to the maximum indicated in the Travel Rate Schedule.



General - Lodging expenses will be reimbursable to the maximum in the Travel Rate Schedule when supported by original receipts detailing daily room rates. Higher rates for lodging at the location of a convention will be allowed up to the amount shown in the convention brochure or conference hotel reservation form, if the brochure is submitted with the claim form. If more than one rate is shown, the lowest rate is the amount which will be reimbursed.  The employee should attempt to receive a government rate for lodging.

In-State Lodging - Lodging expenses incurred within the state while on authorized travel will be reimbursable to the maximum in the Travel Rate Schedule.

Out-of-State Lodging - Lodging expenses incurred out of the state while on authorized travel will be reimbursable to the maximum in the Travel Rate Schedule. The maximum reimbursement rates for out-of-state travel are the same as those maintained by the U.S. General Services Administration for federal employees within the continental United States (CONUS). The CONUS list contains a standard reimbursement rate for lodging and meals and incidentals, and several pages of exceptions. Most destinations for out-of-state travel fall within the list of exceptions. En route lodging will be allowed for only one day each way on trips of long duration.

Hotel-Related Taxes - Taxes on lodging costs will be reimbursable.

Additional Lodging Expense - To request a lodging rate exception, the traveler should include a brief explanation in the comments section of the travel claim if:

  1. The lowest single rate shown in the convention brochure is unavailable. Otherwise, reimbursement will be limited to the applicable lodging rate.
  2. The convention brochure does not provide a rate.
  3. Government rates are not honored.

Shared Lodging - When employees share a hotel room, each employee should claim a proportionate share of the room cost, and include an explanation with their travel claim detailing dates and other employees with whom the room was shared.


Meals and Incidental Expenses

In-State and Out-of-State Meals - Meals while on authorized overnight travel will be reimbursed, subject to the meal allowance provided on the Travel Rate Schedule.  The maximum per diem rates include a fixed allowance for meals and for incidental expenses (M&I).  The M&I rate, or fraction thereof, is payable to the traveler without itemization of expenses or receipts.  Incidentals are intended to include miscellaneous costs associated with travel such as tips for baggage handling, phone call home, etc.

The M&I rates for out-of-state travel are the same as those for federal employees, and are available on the General Services Administration's CONUS web site. As with lodging, there is a standard rate for the continental United States (CONUS), and a list of exceptions.  Reimbursement for meals and incidentals for the day of departure shall be three-fourths of the appropriate M&I rate (either for the in-state rate or CONUS rate for out-of-state travel) at the rate prescribed for the lodging location. Reimbursement for the M&I for the day of return shall be three-fourths of the M&I rate applicable to the preceding calendar day. To assist in this calculation, a table listing partial per diem rates for meals and incidentals for in-state and out-of-state travel can be found in the Travel Rate Schedule.

Same Day Travel - Generally, there will be no reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses when travel begins and ends on the same day.  Exceptional cases can be petitioned in writing to the Manager of Accounting.

Official Banquets - When the expenses for an official banquet of a meeting or conference are in excess of the maximum rates, the excess will be allowed provided a receipt or proper explanation of the charge is submitted.


Miscellaneous Expenses

Personal Expenses - Expenses for entertainment (employee or others), laundry, valet service, tips and gratuities, etc., are personal expenses and will not be reimbursed in excess of the incidental portion of the Meals and Incidentals Rate.

Telephone, Internet Access and Fax Expenses - Charges for long distance telephone calls, Internet access and/or fax on official business will be allowed provided a statement is furnished showing the date, the name and location called, and the purpose of the call. Charges for necessary local calls on official business will be allowed.

Registration Fees - Registration fees for approved conferences, conventions, seminars, meetings, etc., will be allowed including cost of official banquets and/or luncheons, provided receipts are submitted with the travel claim.

If an advance registration fee is needed, submit a Form 10:  Special Remittance and Order Form to the Accounting Office; the related travel authorization must have been approved and be referenced on the Form. Registration fees must be included as part of the travel authorization amount.

Handling Fees - Fees for the handling of equipment or promotional materials will be allowed subject to the amount on the Travel Rate Schedule.

Passports - Reimbursement for cost incurred in obtaining or renewing a passport may be made to an employee who, in the regular course of their duties, is required to travel overseas in the furtherance of official University business. Passport expenses are reported on the same claim submitted for the employee's trip.



Claim Form - The Claim for Traveling Expenses form will be used for reimbursement of expenses. The form must show movement and detail of expenses on a daily basis. Receipts for appropriate expenses must be attached to the form. Expenses for books, supplies, postage, and other items that do not constitute actual traveling expenses should be claimed on a Request for Cash Reimbursement form. Claims for reimbursement for travel expenses should be submitted to the Accounting Office no later than thirty (30) days after completion of the travel.  The claim for any trip which ends on the last day of the fiscal year must be in the Accounting Office on the first work day of the new fiscal year.

Separate claim for each claimant - A separate claim for reimbursement of expenses must be filed by each claimant. The University makes all payments for travel expenses on a reimbursement basis. No employee is authorized to have expenses billed to the University.

In situations where the traveler has an approved travel authorization number and the University's authorized travel agency is used, airline tickets may be charged to the University. The University has an arrangement with the authorized travel agency to bill airline tickets directly to the University.

Claims for reimbursement (mileage) of multiple local trips may include an attachment which lists each trip.

Required signatures - The claim must be signed in ink by the employee, and be approved by the appropriate approving authority prior to reimbursement. All signatures on travel claims must be original. The approving authority is usually the department or activity head; all claims must be signed by a higher authority than the claimant. Approving officials are responsible for the reasonableness of the claim. Signatures of the claimant and approving authority must be made by the individuals' actual signatures - no other person may sign a claim for someone else.

Travel begins in one fiscal year and ends in another fiscal year - Travel which begins in one fiscal year and ends in another fiscal year will be considered an expense of the year in which the travel ends. The travel authorization for such trips should be clearly noted as applicable to the appropriate fiscal year.

Eligible and ineligble expenses - You are eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses if your trip was entirely business related.  If your trip was primarily for business and, while at your business destination, you extended your stay, made a personal side trip, or had other personal activities, you can obtain reimbursement for only your business related travel expenses.  These expenses include the travel costs of getting to and from your business destination but do not include additional lodging, parking, and per diem for the days not required for the business travel.  Additional days are not considered business related unless they are necessary to provide rest or sleep required for you to properly perform your duties.

Travel Advances

General - Normally, travel expenses should be paid when incurred by an employee, with reimbursement made to the employee for actual expenses upon proper submission of a claim for travel expenses. Advances to employees for anticipated travel expenses may be made under the circumstances described below. All travel advances must be approved by the President or President's designees. The Accounting Office has been designated by the President to approve travel advances.

Airline Tickets - The University has an arrangement with the Authorized Travel Agency to bill airline tickets directly to the University if the employee has an approved travel authorization number.  Travelers booking their airlines tickets directly cannot receive an advance to pay the cost of the ticket prior to the trip being made.

Eligibility - Advances will only be approved in the following circumstances:

An employee is not eligible for a corporate credit card. An amount equal to 80% of the estimated expenditures, excluding airfare if the ticket is purchased through the authorized travel agency, will be allowed as an advance. An advance will not be made for an amount less than $100.

Students traveling under individual authorizations or an employee traveling with a student or students who is responsible for disbursing all funds for the trip may be advanced 100% of the amount of the authorization  (excluding airfare if the ticket is purchased through the Authorized Travel Agency).

Substantial expenses will be incurred where the Corporate Credit Card cannot be used. The expenses must exceed the larger of $100 or 20% of the total estimated expenses for the trip. An advance equal to 80% of estimated expenses, excluding airfare if the ticket is purchased through the authorized travel agency, may be made in such instances.

Request for Advance Form - The request for a temporary advance is made with the Request for Travel Advance form. This request should be received by the Accounting Office not less than five working days prior to departure. The advance check will be prepared by the Accounting Office and must be picked up by the requester before the travel begins. If an advance is needed earlier than three (3) working days before the trip is to begin, attach an explanation of why the advance is needed earlier and the date needed.

Payroll Deduction Authorization - Each employee receiving a temporary travel advance must sign a payroll deduction authorization form which will allow the University to recover the advance from any salary owed the employee in case of termination of employment or failure to submit a travel claim. (The deduction authorization is on the Request for Advance form.)

Expense Claim - Upon return, the employee should submit a Claim for Traveling Expenses detailing their actual expenditures. This claim should show the total expenses incurred. The advanced amount should be subtracted from this total. If the travel advance should exceed actual expenses, the expense claim should be forwarded to the Accounting Office showing that the difference has been repaid. Repayment of all or part of an advance must be made to a cashier at the Bursar's Office and the receipt provided to the Accounting Office. If an advance is received and the travel is canceled, the advance must be returned within one (1) working day.


Visitor Travel

General - All terms and conditions of University travel regulations apply to official University visitors, except where specified below. Reimbursement rates apply to visitors. Lodging rates will be based on the in-state or out-of-state location where the lodging occurs. Meals will be presumed to be in-state if travel is to Memphis, unless a satisfactory explanation is provided.

Travel Authorization - All visitor travel must be authorized in advance with a Travel Purchase Order submitted on-line by accessing the Banner Finance Self Service module.  Visitor travel authorizations should be approved by the appropriate approving authority.  If the department is unable to access the Banner Self Service System, Request for Travel Authorization forms are available on the web.

If the airline ticket will be billed directly to the University, the department's travel coordinator will order the airline ticket from the University's Authorized Travel Agency and reserve the hotel room. The lodging cost (room and taxes) of the hotel will be billed directly to the University. Meals and other incidentals must be paid directly by the visitor.

Notification of Travel Regulations - Authorized visitors should be given a copy of the current University travel regulations prior to the trip.

Claims for Traveling Expenses - Claims for reimbursement should be submitted on the Claim for Traveling Expenses form. If a standard form is not used, the claim must be presented in the same detail of day-to-day expenses. A separate claim for expenses must be filed by each claimant and original receipts must be attached.

The travel claim should include the airline ticket and the lodging as expenses but the amounts should be deducted from the total expenses if paid directly by the University.

Visitors may pay their own airline tickets or lodging expenses and claim reimbursement.

No Travel Advances - Travel advances cannot be authorized for visitors.


University's Authorized Travel Agency

The University has entered into an agreement with a travel agency to provide professional travel services for University reimbursed travel.  The services offered by the travel agency are also available for personal travel not funded by the University.  An office is located on campus to assist in making travel arrangements.

When University-reimbursed air travel by faculty and staff is booked through the authorized travel agency, the fare is directly billed to the university.  The traveler must provide the agency with a valid Travel Purchase Order number when booking the ticket.

If travel arrangements booked through the authorized travel agency must change after a trip has started, it is recommended that the agency be called, even from an airport. Travel changes made directly with airlines after a trip has started will be reimbursed.

The authorized travel agency guarantees the University the lowest available fare at the time airline tickets are booked. Usually the earlier travel is booked, the more likely lower fares will be available. When travel plans permit, advise the agency service representative that you might be able to alter your schedule if a better fare is available. The University will reimburse only the lowest fare available that results in a travel time schedule reasonable to the circumstances.

Hotels, car rentals, and other travel services may be arranged through the authorized travel agency. Travelers are encouraged to contact the agency to determine if a lower rate is available; if not, the traveler may use the arrangements otherwise available. In some cases the authorized travel agency can secure services when they are "sold out" to the general public.



When using websites (such as,,, etc.) to make travel arrangements using package deals, documentation is required for each specific item included in the package such as airfare, hotel, and rental car. Documentation should be provided to substantiate the conformance with set rates as established in CONUS and in the general travel policy. If such documentation cannot be obtained from the website or vendors, the employee is responsible for comparing the package price to the separate coach airfare rates, hotel rates (as allowed by CONUS/conference rate) and vehicle rental rates and providing documentation to reflect that the package price is less expensive than fares allowed individually. When the website documentation is not sufficiently detailed, a signed statement by the employee (along with documentation from separate coach airfare rates, hotel rates, etc.) referencing the comparison above is to be attached to the travel claim to certify that a reasonable effort was made to procure the best price for the University. The employee is responsible for abiding by rates as approved by University.



Unless specifically authorized in this procedure or in the Tennessee Board of Regents travel policy, exceptions will not be approved. Requests for exceptions or interpretations must be made in writing and forwarded to the Controller, who will secure approval/disapproval.   

Related Forms

Request for Travel Purchase Order

Travel Purchase Orders should be submitted on-line by accessing the Banner Finance Self Service module at

Request for Travel Authorization Form


Claim for Traveling Expenses

Request for Travel Advance

Special Remittance and Order Form (Form 10)


Request for Overseas Travel

Request for Cash Reimbursement



Whom do I contact with further questions?

 A list of General Accounting employees, their phone number and work distribution is available at: 

Questions can also be emailed to

Contact information on the University's travel agency is available at:



TBR General Travel Policy


International Travel Policy for Student Groups/Classes

University's Travel Agent

Reimbursement Rates


Banner Finance Self Service

Accounting Website with link to General Accounting Contact List


Revision Dates

 UM1309 - Issued: May 17, 2011

Subject Areas:

AcademicFinanceGeneralHuman ResourcesInformation TechnologyStudent Affairs