Allowable Travel Expenses
Allowable expenses depend on the funding source used to pay for your trip. We encourage you to review allowable expenses before booking a trip with university or state funding.
On this page
Event registration (conference) fees are allowable when event is outside of Headquarters.
Excludes. Membership fees.
Payment Options. Use Travel Card without need for reimbursement. Or, use personal debit/credit card with request for reimbursement.
Expense Report. Regardless of payment method, traveler must provide documentation of rate with proof of payment.
Lodging expenses are allowable travel expenses and determined by GSA per diem rates. Nights before and after official business are also considered allowable expenses.
Booking with State Funds. Use Hotel Engine for hotel booking. State funded lodging is limited to GSA per diem rate. Email email@example.com for access.
Booking with Institutional Funds. Use the Concur Booking Tool, unless conference hotel is booked through registration page. Lodging expenses may be up to 50% of the per diem rate. The maximum rate can be determine by multiplying the per diem rate by 1.5. Expenses over 50% of the per diem rate require additional approval by the Vice President with an explanation.
Booking Conference Hotel. Only available for institutional funded travel, unless the rate is within the GSA per diem rate. If the conference hotel rates is given to attendees, the traveler must obtain verification of the conference room rate by screenshot or printing of the conference website. If the traveler is unable to secure conference discounted rate, the Dean or Vice President may approve a higher rate.
Internet. If the hotel does not offer free wifi, hotel internet fees are also an allowable expenses.
Required Texas Tax Form. In Texas, travelers must present a completed Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certification upon check-in. This certificate will exempt travelers from paying taxes. If traveler fails to provide form, the traveler is responsible for paying taxes. All taxes & fees outside of Texas are reimbursable up to the GSA per diem rate maximum.
Shared Lodging. When multiple travelers share lodging, each traveler will be reimbursed for their portion, up to the maximum per diem rate.
Expense Report. Attach proof of any conference discount rate and/or additional approvals from Dean or Vice President. Expense reports must include names of the travelers that shared lodging. For reimbursements of shared lodging, the expense report must include the Pre-Approval ID or Expense Report ID of the other traveler via comment in Chrome River. Expenses can be split by FOAP, if necessary.
Commercial air transportation incurred to conduct university business is an allowable expense for the actual cost.
Booking with Institutional Funds. Use the Concur Booking Tool. When using the Ghost Card in Concur, airfare should not be included in the Pre-Approval or Travel Expense Report. Ghost Card payments are booked to the departmental FOAP.
Booking with State Funds. Traveler must book with state contracted airfare, unless a lower rate can be obtained. Other exceptions include unavailability of city pairs, special needs, in travel status, and group program. The state site only shows one-way rates, the traveler must double the rate.
Fees. Change fees are only reimbursable for business or weather-related situations and an explanation should be provided on the travel expense report, within the business purpose. For institutional funded travel, change fees incurred due to other circumstances require approval by a Dean, Director, or Vice President that governs the budget.
Upgrades. Upgrades must be approved by the Vice President, such as Extra Leg Room, Business or First Class seating (premium seating).
Baggage. Travelers are allowed one bag. Additional baggage fees require additional explanation in the Expense Report.
Expense Report Attach a receipt that includes:
- Name of Traveler
- Ticket Number
- Class of transportation/basis code, if applicable
- Travel Dates
- Fare Total
- Origin and Destination of each flight (City Pairs)
- Method of Payment
Ground transportation expenses are allowable for rental cars, buses, taxis, subway rides, train rides, and other commercial transportation companies, including ride share and bike share companies.
Rental Car. Economy or intermediate size vehicles are preferred. Upgrades require business justification and approval from direct supervisor. Fuel and GPS navigation systems are also allowable. An additional driver, who is a SHSU employee or student with a business purpose, may also be allowable with business justification. Collision damage waivers (CDW) and loss damage waivers (LDW) are also allowable when using a non-state preferred vendor. Preferred state vendors rental rates include insurance coverage. Toll and parking fees are also allowable expenses.
Rent with State Funds. Travelers must use a preferred state contracted vendor, which are Enterprise/National, Avis/Budget, and Hertz.
Rent with Institutional Funds. Use the Concur Booking Tool.
Rental Car Excludes.
- Personal use of the rental vehicle, including fuel
- Drivers that are not university employees or students and/or have no business purpose
- Personal accident, liability, and effects insurance
Expense Report Traveler must provide the original receipt. Rental car receipts must include:
- Name of Traveler
- Rental Car Company
- Rental pickup and return dates
- Itemization of expenses
- Proof of Payment
Mileage incurred for overnight travel or travel on a non-workday to a business related event is an allowable expense, regardless of origination point or destination. Tolls and parking fees are also allowable expenses.
Excludes. Commute mileage is not allowable, regardless of funding source, on workdays and non-overnight travel. Commute mileage is incurred when traveling between the employee’s residence and headquarters.
Non-Working Day. Defined as any day the university is closed, such as holidays, weekends, emergency closings, and energy conservation days.
Parking. Use Travel Card for parking fees without reimbursement or personal credit card with request for reimbursement.
Fuel. The travel card should not be used for fuel purchased for a personal vehicle. Fuel must not exceed the cost of mileage in order to claim fuel expense as allowable. Cost comparison for mileage vs fuel expense should be provided to prove fuel expense as cost effective option. Fuel for rental vehicles and state vehicles can be purchased on SHSU Travel Card.
Mileage & Tolls. Mileage and tolls require request for reimbursement. Mileage reimbursement is not permissible between SHSU properties or when the one-way distance is 15 miles or less for routine business deliveries/pick up during normal working hours. If mileage exceeds the minimum distance, then full mileage can be claimed.
Expense Report. All “To/From” destinations must be detailed and specified on the travel expense report. In Chrome River, travelers are encouraged to add their commute miles to their profile. When creating the expense report, the traveler should use the mileage tile to change deductions section default to none by clicking the word none. Then, the traveler will select distance and the commute miles will auto populate based on the information in the profile settings.GSA Mileage Rate
Meals are an allowable expense for overnight travel and student groups lead by a university employee. Expense allowances are determined by the GSA per diem rates.
GSA per diem. Meal expenses are dependent on the travel destination. The first and last calendar day of the overnight travel is reduced to 75%.
Tool. Use the Meal Per Diem Wizard, in Chrome River, to calculate the reduction of the first and last day of travel to obtain allowable meal rate or visit the GSA website.
Fees & Tips. Meal tips and food delivery fees are also allowable expenses and are included in the total cost of the meal.
Excludes. Alcohol and meals incurred during non-overnight travel are not an allowable expenses.
Pay. Use Travel Card without reimbursement or personal credit with request for reimbursement.
Business Meals within Travel Status. Meals that support the business and educational mission of the university. The consumption of food is incidental to the purpose of the meeting. If a meal meets the business requirements, the traveler must provide a list of attendees, itemized receipt, and approved FO-19 form. GSA per diem calculations do not apply for business meals. Business meals consumed within headquarters are not travel expenses and should follow the procurement process.
Additional expenses will require an explanation to be submitted with expense report, such as:
Business Call Fees
Extra Transportation Fees
The cost comparison form ensures travelers are coordinating travel with cost efficiency in mind. Cost comparison should be completed when driving out of state, extending your stay for personal initiatives, or when two or more employees are traveling to the same destination.
Driving vs. Flying
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. Screenshot of airfare should be provided as proof of estimated cost. Travelers can also use the cost comparison form for additional expenses typically associated with airfare cost.
Personal Travel Included 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. SHSU 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.
Complete the Cost Comparison Form and supporting documentation (screenshot of airfare for business days only) as attachment submitted with expense report. See example below.
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.)
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.
Coordination of Travel Arrangements
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.