Travel Procedures

Finance & Operations Disbursements & Travel Services
Travel Procedure

SHSU travel must be planned to achieve maximum savings and efficiency. The travel expenses should be the lowest possible considering all relevant circumstances.

SHSU has contracted with Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) to book travel arrangements for airfare, hotel and car rentals related to business travel. CTP offers an online booking tool through Concur http://shsutravel-ctp.com and full service agents to help complete your travel itinerary.

A traveler may be reimbursed for meals, lodging, transportation and other expenses while traveling on official business, as determined by SHSU. Travel policies and procedures will default to the state policies if SHSU does not have a local policy or procedure for a specific situation.

Prior approval for all business travel outside of the traveler's designated headquarters is required for absences during the normal working period, whether or not there is a cost to SHSU.

The traveler must complete a Travel Requisition in Banner and the Requisition must be approved via the approval queues and route to the appropriate channels based on the location of travel. The requisition must be approved prior to the travel dates to be eligible for reimbursement.

Each SHSU staff/faculty can only be reimbursed for their own expenses. Expenses for another person cannot be submitted as your own.

  • Types of Travel Funding

    Travel can be submitted on different types of funding sources, either state or institutional funds. Specific guidelines apply to state funds.  The traveler must be aware of the funding type before traveling to determine the policy and guidelines related to the source of funding.              

    State funded travel is the use of appropriated funding by the State Treasury and accounted by Sam Houston State University on funds starting with 11 or 12.  All State funded travel will follow the Texas State Comptroller’s Travel Policy.

    Institutional funded travel is the use of funding generated by Sam Houston State University through designated tuition, fees, and other revenue. Institutional funded travel will default to the Texas State Comptroller’s Travel policy, if no specific travel policy exists.

  • Definition of Terms

    Conservation of funds - It is expected that all university travel is planned and conducted to achieve maximum cost efficiency. All expenses must be reasonable, necessary, appropriately documented/explained and properly approved.

    Designated Headquarters - Defined as the boundaries of the city in which the employee’s place of employment is located.

    Coordination of travel arrangements - When two or more employees from the same department are traveling to the same destination, it is recommended that the transportation arrangements be coordinated as a method of conservation of funds.

  • Classification of Travelers

    SHSU Employee - Travel by an employed member of the institution who is traveling on behalf of SHSU for business purposes can be reimbursed for travel expense.

    Prospective Employee - Travel for a non-employed member of the institution who is traveling to SHSU for interview(s) for an open position. Reimbursements for travel expenses are allowed and must follow the normal approval process as current employees. If unable to obtain prior approval, due to scheduling issues, an explanation for delay is recommended when submitting requisition.

    Employee Spousal/Family - Travel for an employed member of the institution when a spouse or family member accompanies the employee for official SHSU business and their presence benefits the university. An employee’s family member is allowed to travel with proper approval from the President (Spouse Travel Policy FO-TR-42). The spouse or family member’s expenses will be reported to the Payroll Office to determine taxability.

    Student Travel - A currently enrolled student traveling on university related business. Students are eligible to receive reimbursements for travel expense if approved by department or a SHSU sponsored organization. A departmental secretary or coordinator (employee of SHSU) will be responsible for submitting travel requisitions on behalf of the student to ensure that funds are encumbered and travel has proper approval. 

    Team/Group Travel - Defined as travel involving at least one student and one employee of SHSU. When a travel advance is requested or the travel card is used to pay for expenses, the employee (lead staff or faculty member) will be designated as the custodian of the funds and is assigned financial responsibility and required to obtain all travel documentation.

    Guest Traveler - A non-employee member, traveling to SHSU or on behalf of SHSU for university related business or services. Guest travelers can be reimbursed for travel expenses.

  • Travel Requisition

    A Travel Requisition is used to authorize all travel for the SHSU employee, prospective employee, and student traveler. The requisition must be completed and approved prior to travel regardless of the cost to the university, even if no expenses will be claimed by the traveler. If travel takes place without an approved requisition prior to the departure date, the travel is considered unauthorized and treated as an exception. Exceptions require an appropriate approval dependent on location of travel. (See Travel Requisition Approval Section)

    How to create a requisition? Click here for Requisition Training

    Travel requisition must include the following:

    • Traveler's Name and Banner ID;
    • Current Address;
    • Travel Dates;
    • Destination;
    • Travel Itinerary, Purpose and Benefit to SHSU;
    • Estimated total cost of travel;
    • FOAP to budget/charge expenses.


    Blanket travel requisitions are only applicable for instate travel if a traveler frequents the same location for the same business purpose or same business purpose in different locations through-out the month, semester, or fiscal year.

    Examples of blanket travel:

    • Travel to meetings at the Woodlands Center/University Park
    • Travel to Austin on a monthly basis for mandatory meetings
    • Recruiters - Academic and Athletic
  • Request for Changes/Adjustments on Travel Requisitions/Expense Report
    • Changes required after a travel requisition has been approved, prior to the departure date: a departmental change request should be submitted to the travel office, via email to travel office at the following email address: travel@shsu.edu
    • Change in dollar amount on a blanket travel requisition can be submitted to the travel office for an initial request to increase the funds on the order. All additional changes will require a new requisition to be created if travel is not complete.
    • Changes required after the traveler has returned to headquarters will require additional documentation dependent on the request. If actual expenses exceed 10% of the original approved requisition amount, a second signature is required on the expense report.
  • Request to Close a Travel Requisition

    Contact the travel office via email at the following address: travel@shsu.edu to close a travel requisition that never occurred so that funds will be released back to the departmental FOAP.

  • Allowable Travel Expenses
    • Meals and allowable incidental expenses (M&IE)
    • Lodging
    • Registration fees: includes conference, seminar, workshop or training course
    • Transportation: includes mass transit, parking/tolls, airfare (coach/economy seat), car rental cost and related fuel charges
    • Student Athletics Team/Group Travel
    • Other Expenses (See Below)

    Other Expenses:

    Travelers may be reimbursed for other expenses associated with official business travel. (*) Explanation is required to be submitted with expense report.

    Some examples of other expenses include, but not limited to:

    • Baggage fees – limited to 1 bag per traveler, unless extra baggage is necessary for business supplies/materials (*)
    • Fees associated with placing or receiving official business related telephone calls (*)
    • Internet usage fee
    • Shipping charges for materials used for official business (e.g.- FedEx, UPS) (*)
    • Business supplies/materials necessary for official business (*)
    • Transportation for premium seating related to medical needs (*)
    • Transportation change fees (*)


    As required by the Texas State Comptroller for Public Accounts, SHSU adheres to the GSA per diem reimbursement rates as the method for determining meal and lodging rates for all business travel.

  • Reimbursement Rates

    GSA Per Diem Rates Website: www.gsa.gov

    Domestic Travel

    • Select Travel Tab, Plan & Book – Per Diem Rates
    • Search by city, state or zip
    • If the destination city/state or county is not listed, use the rates located in the Standard Rates column.
    • If travel occurs in multiple cities, use the city where you lay your head at night to determine the rate for a specific day.

    Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories Possessions

    • Ensure the correct month and fiscal year are selected from the Published drop-down menu.
    • If the destination location does not appear in the Post Name column, use the rates that appear in the Other post name row.

    International (Foreign) Travel

    U.S. Department of State Website provides Foreign Per Diem Rates in US Dollars.

    https://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp

    • Ensure the correct month and fiscal year is selected for the specific country traveled from the Previous Rates option on a drop-down menu found on the Foreign Per Diem rates in U.S. Dollars found on page related to the website listed above.
    • If destination location does not appear in the Post Name column, use the rates that appear in the Other post name row.
    • Note:  Departments are required to add comments on the Travel Expense Report to notify the Travel Office of Departmental Reduced Rate for Meal and Lodging.


    Each SHSU staff/faculty can only be reimbursed for their own expenses. Expenses for another person cannot be submitted as your own.

  • Meals

    SHSU does not reimburse for meal expenses associated with non-overnight individual travel. The only exception for non-overnight meals is travel with student groups lead by SHSU faculty or staff or the meal meets the requirements of a business meal (see FO-19 policy).

    Employees are not required to submit meal receipts to the Travel Office for overnight meals on business travel.

    Reimbursement rates for overnight travel related to meals expenses are dependent on the travel destination per diem. Meal rate is reduced the first and last calendar day of the overnight travel to 75% of the per diem rate.

    Meal tips and service fees related to food delivery are reimbursable and are to be included in the total cost of the meal as part of the per diem rates for travel location of official SHSU business.

    Alcohol is not an allowable expense.

  • Business Meal within Travel Status

    Only institutional funds may be used to reimburse business meals.  Reimbursement of business meals is appropriate if the main focus of the activity is to support the business and educational mission of the university. The consumption of food is incidental to the purpose of the meeting in accordance with Finance & Operations FO-19 policy – Purchase of Food, Beverage, Flowers, Promotional Items, and Gifts.  http://www.shsu.edu/intranet/policies/finop/index.html

    If a meal meets the business requirements the traveler will need to provide the following:

    1. List of attendees at the business meal;
    2. Copy of itemized receipt;
    3. An approved FO-19 form.


    Business meals within Headquarters are not considered travel expenses. A Purchase Order or the departmental Pcard should be used for payment of meals within Headquarters. Departments must provide the approved FO-19 form when submitting the Purchase Order Requisition or PCard Expense Report.

    Business meals are not included within the GSA per diem calculation for reimbursements.

  • Lodging

    Travelers using institutional funding (“local funds”) are entitled to be reimbursed for actual lodging expenses, limited to not exceed over 50% of the per diem rate for the travel destination when traveling on official business for SHSU.

    EXAMPLE: If per diem rate is $85/night and the traveler is unable to obtain a room at the per diem rate, and the secured lodging obtained is $120.00/night, then the traveler can be reimbursed the full $120.00 because the max lodging rate of up to 50% over per diem is $127.50/night.

    1. As required by the Texas State Comptroller for Public Accounts, SHSU adheres to the GSA per diem reimbursement rates as the method for determining the maximum meal and lodging rates for all business travel.
    2. Before a hotel reservation is acquired, consult the per diem rates on gsa.gov for the travel destination.
    3. Documentation must be provided from the GSA website in the expense report to verify the lodging per diem rate.
    4. If the lodging rate is above GSA, over 50%, the traveler must provide justification for not obtaining the allowed rate. Lodging must be reasonable for the locale and time period.  Approval through the Divisional Vice President for a higher rate must accompany travel expense report.


    Lodging expenses incurred the night before official business has started and the night after official business has ended are reimbursable/allowable expenses.

    Conference Hotel – if a discounted conference hotel rate is given to attendees, the confirmation of the rate must be attached to the expense report.

    1. The best practice to obtain the verification of the conference room rate is to screen shot or print the page from the registration website that documents the hotels and rates for the conference.
    2. In the event the traveler is unable to secure the conference rate, the traveler may obtain approval of a higher rate from Dean or Vice President. Approval of the higher rate must accompany travel expense report.
    3. Conference room rate is allowable only on institutional funds. State funded travel is restricted to the GSA rates.


    If the conference hotel rate is sold out and a different hotel is selected that is over the GSA for the per diem in business location, but equivalent to the conference rate, then reimbursement can be acquired, provided the documentation for proof of conference room rate.

    The traveler must provide a receipt from commercial establishment to be eligible for reimbursement. The receipt must include the following:

    • The name and address of the commercial lodging establishment;
    • The name of the employee or prospective employee;
    • The single room rate;
    • A daily itemization of the lodging charges;
    • Proof of payment.
  • Shared Lodging

    When at least two travelers share and pay the lodging expenses, each traveler will be reimbursed for their share of the expense, up to the maximum daily lodging reimbursement rate.

    1. Each traveler needs to provide the lodging receipt when submitting reimbursements and must reference with whom the expenses were shared.
    2. If one person (employee A) paid the total expense of the room shared, then the non-payee (employee B) must reimburse the employee A for his/her portion and request a copy of the hotel bill from either the hotel or make a copy of hotel bill. Employee B must receive a receipt of payment from Employee A to show proof of payment.
    3. Each SHSU staff/faculty can only be reimbursed for their own expenses. Expenses for another person cannot be submitted as your own.
  • Hotel Taxes

    SHSU travelers are exempt from paying the state hotel occupancy tax when traveling in Texas; however, they are not exempt from paying county, municipal, or other tax collected by a commercial lodging establishment unless an exception applies. To qualify for the exemption, the employee must present a completed Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certification upon check-in.

    1. If the traveler fails to provide the completed certification to the commercial lodging establishment, they may not be reimbursed for the state tax.
    2. If the lodging expense is greater than maximum GSA lodging rate and the additional cost is not approved, the other lodging taxes will be reduced based on the percentage of the approved nightly room rate.
    3. All required taxes/fees are reimbursable with the exception of Texas Hotel State tax, this state tax only applies to Texas. Other state hotel taxes will be reimbursed.
  • Registration Fee

    Travelers are eligible for reimbursement of registration fees and will need to provide documentation of rate with proof of payment. Membership fees are not an allowable travel expense.

    Payment method for registration fees can be processed on a P-card, Travel Card, or personal expense with request for reimbursement.

    If P-card is used do not include on travel expense report. Expense is applied to departmental FOAP with other monthly P-card transactions.

  • Transportation

    Travelers are eligible for reimbursement for the actual cost of transportation by air, bus, taxi, subway, train or other commercial transportation company.  Travelers must submit original receipt to be eligible for reimbursement.

    If receipt is not available, the expenses must be itemized.

    • Include the date of service;
    • To and from destinations;
    • Dollar amount.
  • Commercial Airline

    CTP and the Concur booking tool should be used when booking airfare for staff, faculty, and graduate students. Travelers may be reimbursed for the actual cost of the commercial air transportation incurred to conduct SHSU business. 

    The preferred airport is George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), due to the proximity from Headquarters, unless another airport is closer to departure address or it is more cost effective to leave from another airport. Mileage is limited to the distance from headquarters. Travelers are required to book the lowest available fare (coach/economy seat) to travel to a specific destination for official SHSU business. 

     If Business or First Class airfare is purchased or any additional upgrades, then approval of the appropriated Vice President is required in order to receive reimbursement. Change fees are only reimbursable for business or weather related situations and an explanation must be provided on the travel expense report. If the change fees are incurred on institutional funds (local) due to other circumstances then an exception must be approved by the responsible budget representative (Dean/Director/VP). 

    Regardless of funding sources the traveler is required to submit a receipt/e-receipt to be eligible for reimbursement. The receipt must include:

    • Name of the employee
    • Name of Commercial Airline Company
    • Ticket Number
    • Class of transportation/fare basis code, if applicable
    • Travel dates
    • Fare total
    • Origin and Destination of Each Flight (City Pairs)
    • Method of payment
  • Rental Car

    Travelers may be reimbursed for the cost of renting a vehicle if necessary to conduct official SHSU business. Car rental reservations can be made through the Concur booking tool. Preferred state contracted vendors are Enterprise/National and Avis/Budget. The rental rates include insurance coverage.

    Economy or intermediate size vehicle is preferred. Justification for business purpose and approval from direct supervisor is required if vehicle type deviates from the preferred size. 

    The traveler must submit a receipt/e-receipt to be eligible for reimbursement. 

    The receipt must include:

    • Name of the Rental Car Company;
    • Name of the Employee renting the vehicle:  If the employee is not listed as the renter, the employee will be required to submit proof of payment;
    • Starting and Ending Dates for Rental;
    • An Itemization of Expenses;
    • Proof of payment.

    Reimbursable Expense may include:

    • Gas fill-up service.
    • Insurance charges (for non-State contracted rentals only):  SHSU will reimburse for Collision Damage Waivers (CDW) or Loss Damage Waivers (LDW) when using a non-State contracted rental agency.
    • Additional driver charges:  The additional driver must also be a SHSU employee/student and the reason for charge must be business related.  Justification is required to be attached to the travel expense voucher noting the business reason.
    • GPS Navigation System.

    Non Reimbursable Expenses for Rental Vehicles:

    • Expenses incurred for the personal use of the rental vehicle, including fuel.
    • Additional driver cost, if the driver is not a SHSU employee/student and not business related.
    • Personal accident, liability, effects insurance (any insurance other than CDW or LDW).
  • Mileage

    The mileage for distance seeking reimbursement must be in excess of the round trip mileage of normal daily commute to Headquarters. A state employee will not be reimbursed for mileage incurred when traveling between the employee’s residence and Headquarters, regardless of funding source. All “To/From” destinations must be detailed and specified on the travel expense report.

    Example of official travel duty point: The Woodlands Campus – Business meeting

    Traveler lives in Conroe and their daily commute (round trip) to Headquarters (Huntsville) is 54.0 miles. The traveler has an official SHSU business meeting to attend and the total mileage incurred that day is 74.70 miles. The traveler can only claim 20.7 miles as reimbursable miles.

    Home in Conroe to SHSU = 27.0 miles
    SHSU to The Woodlands Campus = 38.1 miles
    The Woodlands Campus to Home = 9.6 miles
    Total Daily Mileage = 74.70 miles
    Less Daily Commute Mileage = (54.0) miles
    Reimbursable Mileage = 20.7 miles

    Commute mileage is only deducted for non-overnight travel. Mileage incurred for overnight travel or travel on a non-workday to an event, regardless of origination point or destination will be reimbursed. Mileage reimbursement may not exceed the distance from Headquarters to specific destination. A non-working day is defined as any day the university is closed (i.e. holidays, weekends, emergency closings, and energy conservation days).

  • Official Mileage Calculation Method

    The mileage calculation must be documented and submitted with each travel expense report.

    Options for methods are as follows:

    1. State funded travel is required to use MapQuest: mapquest.com
    2. Institutional funded travel can choose any online mapping tool is not limited to MapQuest.
    3. Point to Point Odometer Readings Log
    4. SHSU Mileage Record Form
  • Mileage Rate
  • Driving vs Airfare to Out of State Destination

    Airfare is the recommended travel source for all out of state locations. The time and cost is typically the most cost effective means of travel.

    Mileage will be reduced to the amount of the airfare if the cost comparison proves that flying is more cost effective than driving. Cost Comparison Form

  • Coordination of Travel Arrangements

    Recommended when two or more employees from the same department are traveling to the same destination, as a method of conservation of funds. Headquarters should be the meeting point when applicable.

    If an employee has been driven to the airport in lieu of parking expenses, a cost comparison should be provided with the expense report to prove that it was more cost effective to claim two (2) round trip mileage calculations rather that one (1) round trip and a parking expense.

  • Personal Travel Included in with Business Travel

    Personal travel included in with business travel is permitted; however, additional documentation is required to verify conservation of funds. Expenses on personal days will not be reimbursed. Complete the Cost Comparison Form and submit with expense report to the Travel Office.

    Example: A traveler purchases an airfare ticket to attend a conference and the conference dates are the 10th-14th and the traveler decides to stay until the 17th on personal time. A cost comparison for the cost of the airfare must be provided showing the actual cost of the ticket including the additional days (9th-17th) and then a cost for a ticket if the traveler were to have returned the day after the conference (9th-15th). The lesser of the two options will be the amount reimbursed to the traveler.

    Best practice is to capture (screen shot or print out) the price of the airline ticket without personal days at the same time as booking the actual flight. Other option is to contact a CTP full service agent to determine if the additional days cause an increase in price so that the overage can be charged to the traveler’s personal credit card and the business expense for the airfare can be charged to the SHSU (ghost card/departmental card.)

    Travel card should not be used if personal time is included with business travel to avoid a strike on the card if the cost is more to extend the travel.

  • Guest Traveler

    Guest of SHSU – Travel Procedure – Travel Expenses Only

    Guest travelers are identified as individuals not currently employed with SHSU.

    Guest travelers can be reimbursed for out of pocket travel expenses or the travel card can be used. A Banner Travel Requisition will need to be processed for the traveler.
    Depending on how the travel expenses are incurred, determines the vendor name selection on the travel requisition.

    If a department has agreed for a guest to present, interview, or meet with individuals at SHSU and ALL the travel expense will be paid by SHSU using the Travel Card (T-card), then a Banner requisition can be created using the specific vendor – SHSU Guest Traveler – SAM ID: 000663142.

    • Traveler’s Name will need to be identified on the Banner Requisition in the following fields:
      • Description field along with travel dates;
        Example: Guest Speaker-Joe Smith at SHSU 4/1 – 4/3/16
      • Document Text


    If the guest will be reimbursed for their out of pocket travel expenses, then a requisition will need to be created in the traveler’s name.  Banner vendor set up may be required through Disbursements if the traveler has not been paid by SHSU in the past.

    A BearKat Buy requisition must be created for the guest if a service/speaking fee is charged to SHSU.

    Requisition Approvals
    The Departmental Org of the FOAP will route to the appropriate personnel for requisition approval.

    Guest Travel Expense Agreement
    A form for guest travelers has been created to obtain information required to make travel arrangements within the Concur Booking Tool for a SHSU guest when expenses are paid by SHSU travel cards. To view the Guest Travel Expense Agreement, visit www.shsu.edu/dept/procurement/disbursements-and-travel-services/documents/Guest+Speaker+Travel+Expense+Agreement+Form.pdf.

    Concur Booking Tool - Booking for a Guest
    Access to book for a guest must be obtained through the Travel Office. Approval for the ability to book for a guest will be added to administrative staff’s Concur profile only. The staff’s profile must be complete before travel arrangements can be processed.

    Select Book for a Guest on the Concur Booking tool
    Booking for a guest

    Select the flight/hotel/car rental to make arrangements as required for SHSU travel. The administrative staff will be asked to enter the travelers information as follows:

    • Travel name as it appears on government ID,
    • Gender
    • Date of birth.
    • Phone and email address so traveler can be notified of changes/updates.

    Enter Travel Information

    Email notification will be sent to the traveler with an overview itinerary including the airfare confirmation and ticket number, hotel, and car rental information.

    A prospective employee would need to be booked as a guest within Concur only if the university is paying for the travel expenses with the Travel Card. A Banner Requisition should be created in the name of the prospective employee. 

    Expense Report for Guest:
    Expense report will be created in the actual traveler’s name, which will be cross referenced in doc text and description field on the Banner Requisition.
    Specific account codes related to the traveler type should be used on the expense report as listed below:

    Types of Travelers
    Guest Speaker – 725202 (T-card)
    Delegate – 725202 (T-card)
    Accreditation Team Member –724001
    Consultant Travel - 724001
    Contract Services Travel – 729901
    Prospective Employee – 713101 (instate) 713102 (out of state)

     

  • Travel Requisition Approval

    Academic Departmental Travel – requires requisition approval through the Departmental Chair and College Dean when traveling in state. Out of state travel also requires the approval of the Departmental Chair, College Dean, and Vice President for Academic Affairs. International Travel requires the same approval as out of state and additional approval through International Program, Risk Management, and President.

    Administrative Staff Travel – requires requisition approval through the Director when traveling in state. Out of state travel also requires the approval of the Director and Divisional Vice President. International Travel requires the same approval as out of state and additional approval through International Program, Risk Management, and President.

    Grant funded travel – requires the same approvals as the academic or administrative staff with the additional approval of the PI and Office of Research Administration to verify the travel is within the limits of the grant contract agreement.

  • Travel Expense Report Approval

    The traveler must sign and certify that the expenses are true and accurate for travel related to each approved requisition.

    The traveler’s signature is sufficient if the expenses are less than the approved travel requisition.

    If the expenses are greater than 10% of the approved dollar amount originally encumbered on the requisition, then the expense report must be signed by the traveler’s direct supervisor.

    All travel on Grant funds (22xxxx-29xxxx) require approval though the Office of Research Administration to verify actual expenses are valid per the grant contract agreement.

  • State Funded Travel

    Meal & Lodging Per Diem

    State Funds (Funds beginning with 11xxxx or 12xxxx) – Travelers are limited to the GSA per diem rate and must not exceed the rate specified for destination.

    1. State contracted list of commercial lodging establishments provided by the Texas State Comptroller. https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/purchasing/programs/travel-management/hotel/
    2. Itemized hotel bill must be in the name of the traveler, SHSU employee’s name.
    3. If a rate is not listed for the specific location, the instate lodging reimbursement rates is $85.00. The max out-of-state per diem rate for not-listed locations is $89.00.
    4. If a traveler has unused meal per diem, that amount can be applied to the lodging rate for maximum reimbursement; however, the reimbursement is limited to the combined total for meal and lodging.


    Example: Per Diem rate for meals is $56.00 and lodging is $95.00 with a combined total amount of $151.00. The hotel nightly rate is $110.00, and the total actual meals for the day is $35.00, then the unused meal amount of $21.00 can be applied to cover the overage of the hotel. The combined total expense is $145.00 which is less than the combined GSA rate of $151.00.

    Conference room rate is allowable only on institutional funds. State funded travel is restricted to the GSA rates.

    Commercial Airfare

    Travelers on State funds (11 or 12) are required to purchase a state contract airfare, unless the traveler can obtain a lower published fare or there is not a contract between city pairs.  The list of state contract airfare is a one-way rate, be mindful to double rate shown on website. https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/purchasing/programs/travel-management/airline.php  

    Change fees are only reimbursable for business or weather related situations and an explanation must be provided on the travel expense report.

    If state contract airfare is not utilized, the traveler is required to note a specific state approved exception to the travel voucher.

    Exceptions: See the Travel Audits & Exceptions  on the State Contract webpage.

    https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/purchasing/programs/travel-management/audits-exceptions.

    • Lower Cost to the State
    • Unavailability of Contract Travel Services
    • Special Needs
    • In Travel Status
    • Group Program

    Rental Car

    Travelers on State funds (11 or 12) are required to utilize a contract car rental, unless the traveler can meet an approved exception.  The State of Texas contracted car rental agencies are Avis Rent-A-Car System, Inc. and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

    https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/purchasing/programs/travel-management/rental/

  • Travel Card

    The Travel Card allows employees the ability to make travel arrangements for necessary business purposes, away from Headquarters, and reduces the need for travel advances or use of personal funds for SHSU business. Travel Cards can be issued to individual employees defined as a frequent traveler. A frequent traveler is an employee with three (3) or more overnight business trips within a fiscal year.  Departmental travel cards can also be issued to departments for employee travel. University Travel Cards can only be used when traveling on institutional (local) funds.

    Card Usage

    The University Travel card may be used for Airfare, Hotel and Car Rental along with Restaurants, Parking and Shuttles/Taxi. An approved travel requisition is required prior to making travel arrangements.

    CTP and the Concur booking tool offers the availability to use a defaulted virtual card “ghost card” to purchase airfare. The SHSU virtual card will be booked to the departmental FOAP assigned to the airfare purchase within 10 days from the billing cycle close date. If adjustments need to be made to the FOAP, the department will need to contact the Controller’s Office/General Accounting Department, as only one FOAP is allowed within the booking tool.

    Travel Expense reports utilizing the virtual card, should reference CTP in the airfare field to specify the expense has already been booked to the departmental FOAP. 

    If the traveler enters their individual SHSU travel card or the departmental card into the Concur booking tool, then expense will be booked to the departmental FOAP after audit of the travel expense report/transaction envelope.

    Cardholder Responsibilities

    • Sign travel card agreement and abide by travel policies and procedures.
    • Protect the card and card number at all times to prevent unauthorized use.
    • Departments may opt to maintain the cards in a secure location to be distributed at time of travel.
    • At end of travel departments may require the card be returned to a central location.
    • Only business related travel expenses are allowed. No personal charges may be charged to the travel card.


    Reconcilers will report unallowable/personal charges to the Travel Office immediately. The purpose of the departmental travel card is for approved distribution (card sharing). Furthermore, when the card is shared the administrative staff responsible for reconciliation will agree to document by using a Check Out/In Log.

    Reconcilers will review the use of the departmental travel card and look for opportunities to issue individual travel cards if applicable.

    Cardholders (travelers and administrators) are responsible for ensuring all charges comply with Sam Houston State University Travel Policies and Procedures. The expenses need to be properly itemized, supported by a business purpose, and submitted to the Travel Office within a timely manner.

    Eligibility and Application

    Travel Card eligibility is based on a departmental-determined business need, and is contingent upon:

    • Approval from the prospective cardholder’s direct supervisor;
    • Execution of cardholder agreement;
    • Assignment of person responsible for validating transactions and originating expense reports;
    • Completion of required training.


    Assigned Transaction Validator/Expense Report Originator

    Each Travel Card issued must have a designated individual assigned responsibility for validating transactions in a timely manner and originating expense reports to properly allocate expenditures. The reconciler must attend training to obtain the required access and instructions on how to prepare the travel documentation. The individual may be the cardholder or another departmental administrative staff.

    Reconciliation of Travel Card Expenses

    The travel card must be reconciled by the traveler or responsible administrative departmental staff within thirty (30) working days after the return date of travel. All expenditures on the travel card must be identified and tied to the departmental FOAP within the card website. Travel card expense report need to be included in the Travel Expense Report package that is submitted to the Travel Office.

    If after sixty (60) days from the return date of travel, documentation has not been reconciled, then the outstanding travel expenditures will be considered past-due and will be applied to the employee’s MySam account, unless extraordinary circumstances arise and prior approval is obtained from appropriate Vice President. The travel card will be suspended until the transactions have been submitted and approved.

    If the travel end date is older than 120 days, the expenses become tax reportable income to the employee.

    Misuse of University Travel Card

    Three Strike Rule – If the traveler or department has been delinquent in reporting expense or has three (3) unauthorized travel expenses, then the Travel Card will be suspended for one year with notification of card suspension sent to traveler, department head, assistant dean and Dean/VP via email from the Travel Office.

    All unauthorized expenditures will be added to the employee’s MySam account, unless a reimbursable item such as mileage can be netted against the expense. 

    If a traveler receives three (3) strikes for charges of unauthorized expenses, then the individual Travel Card will be suspended for a year. If charges are made on a departmental card, then the traveler will no longer have the opportunity to use the card and will be financially responsible for all travel arrangements and request reimbursement after the travel is complete. The penalties for misuse are valid for one year per the Travel Office; however, departments can enforce a more restrictive internal policy.

    The cardholder is personally responsible for repaying Sam Houston State University for all non-reimbursable/unallowable Travel Card charges. Payment is due upon receipt. If an SHSU account reaches the limited amount of $200.00 for unauthorized expenses, then future travel will be denied, until paid in full. Cardholders who do not comply with Sam Houston State University Travel Policies and Procedures may have their cardholder privileges revoked.  Misuse of the Travel Card may result in disciplinary action. 

    The Travel Card is a University-liability corporate card; the University has the responsibility for paying Travel Card charges directly to the bank. 

    • Departments should dispute charges when having problems with vendors for non-receipt of services or products within 30 days of the statement date in which the transaction appears. Contact the Travel Office to receive the required documentation to formally dispute a charge.

    • FRAUD - Charges considered fraudulent should be reported to WEX immediately by calling the number on the back of the card or contacting the Travel Office. WEX will send an Affidavit of Unauthorized Use form to the Travel Office and then the cardholder will receive an email with documentation required.  If transactions actually post to the card the Affidavit must be returned to WEX within 30 days of the statement date in which the transaction appears.


    Card Cancellation by Sam Houston State University

    The Travel Card is valid only while the cardholder is on active payroll status and while the cardholder is using the Travel Card in accordance with the University policies.  The Travel Card will be canceled and deactivated by Sam Houston State University Travel Office on the date the employee separates from the University or upon misuse. 

    Replacement Card Request

    If a Travel Card needs to be replaced and the card needs to be shipped FedEx, then the department will be charged a $25.00 for a processing fee.

  • Foreign Travel

    To travel on a sanctioned university trip to a foreign country the traveler(s) must receive approval from the President prior to the dates of travel.

    International Programs Office and Risk Management will review all foreign travel and advise if the foreign location is a safe environment. Information will be forward to the President to determine if approval is granted. Travel to a location with travel warning alerts will be denied.

    If a country is under a travel warning, there is a possibility that a waiver can be accepted for faculty or staff.  It is not an automatic approval; traveler will need to contact Risk Management for more information.  The University will not approve any student travel to a country that has a Travel Warning.  No waiver is acceptable for student travel to a country with a travel warning.

    Travel Alerts and Warnings - http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html

    Requirements

    Complete and submit a travel requisition in Banner at least forty-five (45) days prior to departure, to provide ample time for approvals prior to beginning date of trip.

    Documents required to be completed for each traveler and attached to the requisition:

    • Affirmation, Waiver and Liability Release
    • Emergency Medical Treatment
    • Itinerary while in the foreign country
    • List of students (roster) if applicable.


    If any changes are made to the original itinerary or emergency contact information, notify International Programs immediately.

    International Programs - http://www.shsu.edu/dept/international-programs/

    Other Requirements

    Lodging and Meal rates are to be determined by the www.gsa.gov rates for the specific country and will be reimbursed in accordance to the meal and lodging policies.

    Foreign travel must be for the benefit of the State of Texas and any personal benefit thereby occurred must be solely incidental to the official purpose of the travel.  It is the obligation of the individual employee who is traveling, supervisors, and executive leadership (dean/divisional vice president) to ensure that all foreign travel conforms to this requirement.

    All travel request will be reviewed by the Office of Risk Management. The travel will be approved or denied depending on any travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State of warnings against or restrictions for travel by United States citizens.

    Foreign Currency Conversion Rates

    The traveler must convert all expenses to U.S. dollars.  The exchange rate and conversion must be attached to the expense report.  Travelers may utilize the following options:

    • On-site Exchange Rate:  If the traveler converts U.S. dollars to a foreign currency while overseas, the traveler should receive a receipt showing the actual exchange rate. This single rate may be used only for the individual transaction and may not be used for other transactions during the trip. Additional fees charged by the foreign currency exchange vendor may be reimbursed, if included on the receipt, itemized, and explained.
    • Credit Card Rate:  If the traveler charges expenses to a credit or debit card, the card issuer will perform the currency exchange. The rate will be detailed on the card statement, which may be used as documentation of the exchange rate. Additional fees charged by the card issuer for foreign currency transactions may be reimbursed, if itemized and explained on the statement.
    • On-line Rate:  The traveler may use OANDA.com to obtain a standard conversion rate using the historical currency exchange. The OANDA website provides an average exchange rate that can be customized to the exact dates of travel.  
  • Expense Reports and Settlements

    Submission of an Expense Report is due within 30 days from the travel end date.

    • Applies to out of pocket expenses, travel card transactions, and travel advances if applicable.
    • Must have additional approval from the traveler’s direct supervisor and Divisional Vice President if submitted after 60 days from the travel end date.


    All expenses must be adequately accounted for within 120 days or the expenses will be reported as taxable income to the employee and may result in the travel card suspension. Sam Houston State University defines “reasonable period of time” to be 120 days from the end date of travel.

    IRS Accountable Plan - Expenses that fall within the IRS accountable plan are not reported as taxable income to the employee and must meet all listed criteria like below.

    1. Expenses must have a business connection.
    2. Must adequately account for these expenses within a reasonable period of time.
    3. Must return any excess reimbursement or allowance within a reasonable period of time.


    It is recommended that departmental administrative staff run reports in COGNOS - Open Requisitions to verify that all travel documentation has been obtained and submitted in a timely manner. Requisitions will be closed if the travel end date is older than 120 days and the encumbrance will be released back to the departmental FOAP.

    Limited Reimbursement

    Departments can limit the amount of reimbursement to the traveler, if the travel expenses are greater than the estimated cost or more than the approved travel requisition. Expense reports submitted to the Travel Office must note that the reimbursement is limited.

  • Exceptions

    An Exception Request form has been created for the common errors as seen by the travel office.

    After the Fact Travel – requires an explanation for the delayed travel requisition submission and must be approved by the traveler’s direct supervisor and others depending on the location related to the travel. The exemption form needs to be approved by the same approver who would have approved the document if submitted in a timely manner.

    A requisition will be required to be submitted with the attached after the fact approval. The requisition needs to reflect that travel is after the fact in the COMMENTS field.

    Change in Travel Dates – requires an explanation for the change in travel dates if the original requisition approved different dates of travel and must be approved by the traveler’s direct supervisor.

    Any exceptions to these policies and procedures must be approved through the appropriate Division Vice President.