Partners for Education at Berea College

Travel Policy: GEAR UP Academic Specialists

Scope: Berea College GEAR UP Academic Specialists only

Effective Date: November 1, 2012

Purpose: To provide guidance for travel procedures and allowable reimbursements for GEAR UP Academic Specialists working with Berea College Externally Sponsored Programs.

GEAR UP Academic Specialist may submit reimbursement requests to their direct employer (the School District) for normal and reasonable travel and travel-related expenses incurred for a grant-related business purpose. The college will reimburse the direct employer for the lesser of either the direct employer’s travel policy or the Externally Sponsored Programs Policy described herein.

For example, if the direct employer sets a travel meal limit of $12 per breakfast, our office will only reimburse the direct employer for $12, although our maximum allowed limit is $18 for breakfast.  Conversely, if the direct employer allows up to $20 for breakfast charges, our office will only reimburse up to $18, our maximum allowed limit. All GEAR UP Academic Specialists should review the following policies and the policies from their direct employers to determine their allowable travel expenses.

For the purposes of this policy, there are two types of travel:  National Travel and Local Travel.

National Travel

For the purposes of this policy, national travel is defined as any travel where an overnight stay is necessary.  This includes overnight instate travel.  Prior to making travel arrangements, national travel costs such as conference fees, lodging and transportation should be coordinated with the GEAR UP Project Director.

Any out-of-pocket expenses for meals or transportation costs to and from approved events will be reimbursed to the direct employer of the person traveling unless prior arrangements are made.

Transportation during National Travel

GEAR UP Academic Specialists are eligible for transportation costs to and from the hotel or to and from the conference site when lodging is not in the conference hotel.  Necessary transportation costs for taxis, rental vehicles or public transportation to obtain meals when there are not affordable restaurants in or near the hotel are also eligible for reimbursement.  Shared transportation is preferred and grant staff should indicate the persons traveling, the reason the transportation was necessary and the destination on all transportation receipts.    One piece of luggage per employee is approved as checked baggage.  Checked bags in excess of one (1) must be paid by the employee.

Lodging during National Travel

In the interest of sound stewardship of the College’s travel funds, when staff of the same gender are traveling together, shared lodging is expected.  Exceptions to the shared lodging policy will be granted by the Director in cases where a person requires privacy.  Requests for single lodging should be made well in advance of the travel commitment.  Travelers with flights leaving before 8 a.m. or travelers who live more than 50 miles from the airport are eligible for overnight accommodations the evening prior to the flight.

Meals during National Travel

Direct reimbursement for meals purchased during national travel is eligible for reimbursement if:

  • A meal was not provided through the conference.  A conference agenda should be attached to the travel expense report when meals are claimed.  If the conference registration includes meals, employees will not be reimbursed for food costs.
  • An original itemized receipt is obtained and submitted with the travel report.
  • The cost of the meal is below the Externally Sponsored Programs maximum cost standard discussed below:
    • Breakfast should not exceed $18 per person including all non-exempt taxes and gratuities.
    • Lunch should not exceed $25 per person including all non-exempt taxes and gratuities.
    • Dinner should not exceed $42 per person including all non-exempt taxes and gratuities.

Maximum meal cost standards are not meant to encourage staff to order a higher priced meal.  Staff are asked to be good stewards of funds and to make prudent choices regarding meals.   Costs for room service should be limited and must include an explanation as to why room service was the most economical choice or how room service was for the convenience of the college.  Cost standards are based on the average meal prices for typical conference locations such as San Francisco, New York and Washington DC.

**If your School District policy does not require receipts and instead reimburses on a per diem basis, then individual receipts are not required.

National Travel with Family/Companion

Members of the GEAR UP Academic Specialist’s family may accompany them during national travel at the discretion of the Director.  Considerations for approval include the type of training, the course agenda, whether shared lodging is necessary, and the role and responsibilities of the employee during the conference. Requests for traveling with family/companion should be made well in advance of the travel.

Although lodging is paid for the Academic Specialist, payment from grant funds for other expenses associated with the spouse/companion travel is prohibited.  All travel costs for the spouse/companion must be separated from the Academic Specialist’s cost.  If the Academic Specialist chooses to travel by car for his/her own convenience, the mileage reimbursement cannot exceed the cost of coach round-trip airfare.  An airfare quote obtained by Externally Sponsored Programs Travel Coordinator, Rachael Anglin, must accompany the travel report and should be requested at least 3 weeks prior to the trip.

Local Travel

Local travel includes any travel where an overnight stay is not required.   For the purposes of this policy, local travel is further delineated by “service area”.  The service area for Academic Specialists includes the county or counties where the employee‘s office is located.   Grant personnel will not be reimbursed for travel within the service area. Grant employees may request reimbursement for travel outside the service area.

Mileage Reimbursements for Local Travel

When more than one employee is traveling to an event, employees working in the same county should carpool.  Mileage reimbursements will not be paid to more than one employee in the same service area traveling to the same event unless prior approval has been given by the Director.  Personnel must determine in advance who will receive reimbursement. In cases where a person has two possible starting points such as home or work locations, personnel must use the lesser of the two.

Meals for Local Travel

Meals for local travel will not be reimbursed except in cases where the employee is away from the primary work location past 8 p.m. or where prior approval has been given by the Director.  In no case will breakfast expenses be reimbursed for local travel.  When the Director has given approval for other meals, the per person cost should not exceed the maximum cost standards outlined in national travel section.

Tipping Policies

Externally Sponsored Programs will reimburse reasonable gratuities.  The following are suggested guidelines:

Airport porters: $1/bag

Hotel bellhop: $1/bag

Chambermaids: $1/night and $1 for special services (extra towels, hangers, etc.)

Restaurant waitstaff: 18%

Taxi drivers: 15%

Tax Exemption

Employees who are traveling are responsible for requesting tax exemption in states where a tax exemption agreement is in place.  Tax exemption certificates for several states are available online at


Alcohol is not a reimbursable expense and should not be listed on any travel reports or receipts.

Travel Policy: GEAR UP Academic Specialists (Word)

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