Chapter 3359-31 Travel and Related Expenses

3359-31-05 Travel on behalf of the university.

(A) Introduction to and description of travel on behalf of the university.

(1) This rule is established pursuant to the authority of the board of trustees of the university of Akron and supersedes any similar rules and regulations adopted previously. Notwithstanding any other provisions, the application of these rules shall apply to all colleges and departments, unless otherwise provided for in this policy or by external regulations. As a public institution, the university must ensure resources are used judiciously and appropriately in support of university business. All individuals who travel on university business shall adhere to the travel policies and procedures adopted by the university and the state of Ohio.

(2) All employees must follow the university of Akron rules. For the purposes of this rule, the term employee refers to university of Akron faculty, staff and contract professionals. The university's travel rules apply to anyone who travels on university business, including students.

(3) The intent of this policy is to encourage the most efficient and economical means of travel for accomplishing the purpose of the trip and to standardize the reporting and documentation of expenses.

University employees are permitted to use personal credit cards in connection with business travel on behalf of the university and seek reimbursement in accord with university rules. However, university employees shall not select services (e.g.. hotels, rental cars, etc.) to secure or accrue personal benefits (e.g.. rewards, points, or other affinity program benefits) from the use of a personal credit card in connection with business travel, if doing so results in a higher cost to the university. If a higher cost results from such use of a personal credit card, the employee's reimbursement from the university will be reduced by the amount of such increased cost.

Consistent with advisory opinion 91-010 of the Ohio ethics commission, regardless of whether airline tickets are purchased by the university or through the use of a personal credit card for reimbursement by the university, university employees may not accept, accrue, or use "frequent flyer" benefits for personal use if those benefits resulted from the purchase or reimbursement of an airline ticket by the university for business travel. [See appendix A of this rule.]

(4) Travel expenses include all ordinary and necessary expenses incurred by the employees of the university of Akron while away from home and on an assignment consistent with the mission of the university. Some examples of university travel assignments are:

(a) Attendance at professional meetings, presentation of papers, or assignments which result in academic advancement.

(b) Field trips.

(c) Promotion of financial assistance, such as contracts, gifts, and grants.

(d) Field work in support of the development of off-campus programs.

(e) Personnel recruitment.

(f) Student recruitment.

(g) Attendance at meetings of state or regional higher education/industry organizations.

(h) Local mileage incurred as a result of university business.

(5) The employee will be reimbursed for travel expenses in full or in part, according to the authorization given prior to the trip. Expenses will qualify for reimbursement, however, only if they are ordinary and necessary. A premium paid for lavish or extravagant accommodations will not be honored, but will be considered a personal expense. The final determination of ordinary and necessary shall be within the reasonable discretion of the associate vice president/controller.

(6) This policy establishes certain minimum rules that must be followed. Department heads and budget managers must take full responsibility for expenses incurred by their units in order to assure maximum utilization of resources. One-time exceptions to this policy may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer under extraordinary circumstances and in no case constitute precedent.

(7) International travel.

(a) If traveling on business internationally, university employees must register on the office of international programs website and provide an itinerary of the travel and how the traveler can be contacted in case of an emergency. This will serve as a common location to access information regarding employees on international travel. Travelers who are U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to register through the U.S. state department website with the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country/countries they are visiting. This is a free service that makes your presence and whereabouts known, in case it is necessary for a consular officer to contact you in an emergency. Further information can be found on the U.S. department of state's website.

(b) Travel to countries under state department advisory.

The U.S. state department maintains a list of countries for which travel advisories have been issued. The U.S. state department's web page states: "Travel warnings are issued when the state department decides, based on all relevant information, to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Countries where avoidance of travel is recommended will have travel warnings as well as consular information sheets." University travelers are advised to check the U.S. state department's website for these advisories and exercise caution when traveling overseas. Employees are prohibited from traveling to and leading student delegations to locations where a U.S. state department warning is in effect.

(c) International currency exchange.

The U.S. dollar equivalent should be included on receipts for purchases in international currencies. The traveler may use an exchange rate based on a receipt of exchange from a bank or an airport exchange location. The traveler may also use a currency converter to determine the correct exchange rate. If a copy of the traveler's credit card statement is included with receipts, reimbursement will be for the amount shown for the item on the credit card statement.

(d) International per diem rates.

The university's international travel per diem rates are based on the U.S. department of state's website. Links are available through the office of the associate vice president/controller's website.

(e) International travel using sponsored funds.

(i) This rule applies to all sponsored programs. However, if specific agency rules for a sponsored program are more restrictive than university policy, the agency rules apply. Principal investigators and others traveling on grant funds must be familiar with the allowable cost provisions of their sponsored program. In no case will an amount larger than that allowed under the university's policies be reimbursed. Many funding agencies require prior written approval before unbudgeted travel, international travel, or domestic and international travel exceeding the budgeted amount by twenty-five percent may be undertaken. Your grant accountant in the office of the associate vice president/controller or your grants coordinator in the office of research services and sponsored programs should be consulted for more information.

(ii) If using sponsored funds for air travel, the federal requirement (i.e., The Fly America Act) states that domestic grantees must use U.S. flag carriers to the maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the means of travel between the United States and an international country or between international countries. Cost and/or personal convenience are not included in the exception criteria used to determine the non-availability of a U.S. flag air carrier.

(8) Student travel.

(a) University business.

(i) Student travel is intended to support or enhance the educational mission of the university. The university's travel rules apply to anyone who travels on university business, including students. "University business" may include the representation of the university at a conference, workshop, or competition; work being conducted on a grant; or recruitment activities. University business does not include extracurricular activity fund ("EAF") funded travel.

(b) Academic field trips and field classes.

(i) This section does not pertain to international travel or to the athletic department. Employees leading students on international travel should contact the office of international programs for further information. Additionally, these guidelines do not apply to "EAF"-funded travel; guidelines for "EAF"-funded travel are located on the department of student life's website.

(ii) An academic field trip is typically defined as a single instance of travel off site, related to an academic course. An academic field class may be defined as a class that is scheduled to meet or travel off site as part of the regular academic course curriculum. For all such learning, all participants must sign a release liability form, which must be maintained in the department with a complete list of the participants. A person shall not attend the academic field trip or field class unless they have signed the release liability form. Additionally, a schedule of the activity, including locations and times, must be maintained in the department. Students may be reimbursed for this travel, according to the department guidelines.

(c) Internships and co-ops.

Nursing, student teaching, internships, and co-ops are categorized as education outside of the classroom. Students travel on their own accountability and will not be reimbursed for related travel. The university will not assume liability.

(d) Education abroad and international student travel.

Any student involved in university-related international travel should contact the office of international programs for further information.

(e) Student athlete and team travel.

Student athletes, cheerleaders, student managers, student trainers, student coaches, and student staff may be required to travel as representatives of the university to participate in athletic events, make promotional and/or community outreach appearances, or attend meetings. As previously stated, this rule applies to anyone who travels on university business, including students. Any exceptions to the general travel rules for student athlete/team travel are detailed in this section.

(i) Prior approval of student athlete and team travel.

All athletic department student travel must receive prior approval by the sport administrator.

(ii) Policies specific to student athlete and team travel.

(a) The athletic department request for professional leave and travel authorization form, and athletic department team travel form shall be completed in advance. The travel shall be issued in the coach's or a staff member's name and a list of student travelers will be attached using only one travel form for the entire group.

(b) The coach or staff member heading the group travel may request an advance for anticipated costs of the travel.

(c) All "NCAA" rules shall be followed in addition to the established university rules for reimbursement.

(d) The director of athletics may impose lower reimbursement levels than those provided in the rules for university travel.

(e) All other approval and reimbursement procedures detailed in this rule apply to athletic department individual and team travel.

(f) Other university-related student travel.

Additional policies and procedures implemented by the department of student life regarding other university-related student travel shall be followed. These policies and procedures are located online at the department of student life's website.

(9) Other group travel.

The purchasing department shall be contacted for assistance in making travel arrangements for group travel.

(B) Transportation.

(1) Introduction.

Travelers shall compare all the costs associated with transportation and select the most cost effective, to the extent practical. While traveling on university business in any vehicle (i.e., personally-owned, rented, leased, or university-owned), the driver and passengers shall comply with all applicable laws.

(2) Personal vehicles.

(a) Travel in privately owned automobiles will be reimbursed up to the current "IRS" standard rate when traveling on official business. Reimbursement for privately owned motorcycles is authorized up to the state of Ohio motorcycle mileage rate. The stated mileage rate is a full and complete reimbursement for all fixed and variable expenses of operating a vehicle, including maintenance and repairs, tires, gasoline (including all taxes thereon), oil, insurance, and license and registration fees. In the event of a lower allowable mileage reimbursement on a sponsored research grant, the overage may be charged to the department originating the request if approved by the supervisor. If two or more individuals are traveling in the same vehicle, mileage reimbursement is payable to only one traveler, and the names of all persons traveling must be listed on the travel expense report in the comments section.

(b) A university employee driving a privately owned vehicle is not covered by university vehicle liability insurance. The university is not responsible for damages to privately owned vehicles. No employee may be reimbursed for expenses on the mileage basis unless motor vehicle liability insurance is carried in the minimum amount required by the state of Ohio. The traveler must certify on the request for professional leave and travel authorization form that the traveler is covered by personal vehicle liability insurance in the minimum amount required by the state of Ohio.

(c) Miles traveled must be detailed by using the start/finish location as the university or the actual point of departure, whichever results in fewer miles traveled. If the travel expense report does not provide sufficient space, the detail may be attached as a supplementary schedule, listing miles driven by date and destination. An attached list showing detailed mileage is especially appropriate for those persons who regularly drive in and around the city and state on university business.

(3) Rented vehicles

(a) Travelers may be reimbursed for a rented vehicle and for any gasoline purchased for that rented vehicle when said rental vehicle is for official university business and prior approval is obtained from the traveler's supervisor. University rules do not provide for reimbursement for premium/luxury vehicles. When a premium/luxury vehicle is rented, the traveler shall pay the difference to upgrade from the standard rental.

(b) Travelers using commercial transportation (e.g., air, train, or bus) may also be reimbursed (or use a university credit card with travel authorization) for a rented vehicle and associated expenses (gasoline, parking, tolls, etc.) while on official university business. A rental vehicle can be obtained personally, on the internet, or by contacting the department of purchasing for assistance. Original detailed and itemized rental and associated expense receipts are required for reimbursement.

(c) Rental vehicles shall only to be obtained when the total expense for the vehicle is less than other estimated means of transportation. Rental vehicles shall not to be obtained solely for the convenience of the traveler. Any personal use of the rental vehicle shall be pro-rated and deducted from the requested reimbursement.

(4) Fuel card

The voyager fleet fuel card (voyager card) is available for university vehicles (owned/leased) that will be off campus and unable to obtain fuel at the university fueling station. The voyager card is provided through the Ohio department of administrative services to be used by state of Ohio agencies. The voyager card automatically exempts the university from all fuel/gasoline taxes that are incurred when a personal or university credit card is used. The voyager card is accepted at fueling stations that accept mastercard and visa cards. Please contact the department of purchasing to obtain a voyager card for all university vehicle fuel purchases.

(5) Airfare.

(a) Travelers shall seek the lowest airfare available (consideration may be given to the number of stops or connections and/or the day/time of the flights) for both in-state and out-of-state travel and are encouraged to take advantage of advance reservation discounts. Travelers should not be unreasonably inconvenienced in their travel plans; this will be reviewed on a case by case basis, as necessary. The following methods may be used to pay for approved university travel: reimbursement; the university credit card with travel authorization; or purchased in advance by creating a requisition within the university's purchasing system.

(b) Separately purchased travel insurance is not an allowable expense. This restriction does not include carrier provided insurance or insurance provided by a credit card issuer. Cancellation insurance at a reasonable rate may be allowed with justification.

(c) If a cancellation or change is made for the personal benefit of the employee, it shall be the employee's obligation to pay the penalties and charges. However, in the event of accidents, serious illness or death within the employee's immediate family, or other emergent circumstances beyond the control of the employee, the department will be obligated to pay the penalties and charges. Penalties and charges resulting from the cancellation of airline reservations (or other travel reservations) will be the department's obligation, if the employee's travel has been approved in advance and the cancellation or change is made at the direction and convenience of the department.

(d) Travelers shall not be reimbursed for:

(i) Airline tickets that are acquired with frequent flyer certificates;

(ii) Costs associated with a change in the reservation for personal reasons unless they are beyond the control of the traveler;

(iii) Charges assessed by the airline for failure to cancel the reservation within a specified time limit; or

(iv) Overweight luggage fee unless this expense is related to university business.

The employee shall be personally responsible for the incremental cost for travel class upgrades.

(6) Ground transportation to/from airports.

(a) A traveler using a personal vehicle may be reimbursed for the mileage to/from the air terminal, but the reimbursement shall not exceed the mileage using the workplace as the point of departure/return. Airport parking charges are reimbursable when the original parking receipt/ticket is provided. If the traveler is not able to leave his/her vehicle at the airport, mileage for two round-trips will be reimbursed for the traveler's drop-off and pick-up, along with reasonable short-term parking charges. For short-term parking reimbursement, the original parking receipt/ticket is required.

(b) The traveler may be reimbursed for the use of shuttle/car/taxi service if the fare is reasonable when compared to similar transportation expenses in that location. An original receipt shall be provided for all fares (one way) greater than twenty-five dollars.

(7) Passenger vans (eight seats and larger).

These rules pertain to any leased, owned, or rented passenger vans that seat eight and larger when used in conjunction with university-sponsored events such as field trips, athletic events, and educational-related travel, etc.

(a) Occupancy is limited to the number of seatbelts available. The driver and occupants are required to wear seatbelts at all times.

(b) No passengers not authorized by the coordinator of the event are to be transported in the vehicle. A list of travelers shall be available and maintained in the responsible department.

(c) The driver shall be an employee, student, or have the responsible party's permission to drive; hold a valid driver's license; and have supervisor approval to drive.

(d) No driver shall operate the vehicle for more than eight hours in a twenty-four hour period. It is recommended that a ten-minute break be taken for every three hours of driving. Travel between the hours of midnight and six a.m. is discouraged.

(e) All cargo must be secured inside of the van. Items may not be placed on the roof of twelve- to fifteen-passenger vans. The hauling of trailers or external cargo is permitted if it is essential to fulfillment of the academic mission. All safety regulations shall be followed.

(f) The vehicle shall be turned off, locked, and the keys removed any time it is left unattended.

(8) Other transportation expenses.

For travel between business locations, travelers are encouraged to choose the most cost effective means of ground transportation available and will be reimbursed for shuttles, taxis, and local mass transit based on comparable modes of transportation and the provision of original receipts. Other reimbursable transportation expenses include parking, bridge, and highway and tunnel tolls. Such transportation expenses exceeding ten dollars per expenditure require detailed and itemized receipts, except for tolls paid into an automatic coin drop.

(C) Allowable travel expenses.

(1) Non-reimbursable meals.

When business travel does not include an overnight stay and a traveler's meal does not qualify as a business meal as defined by rule 3359-31-06 of the Administrative code the meal is defined by the "IRS" as "personal." Personal meals do not qualify for reimbursement.

(2) Reimbursable meals.

(a) Meals incurred while traveling on university business will be reimbursed to the traveler on a per diem basis only when overnight travel takes place using the current federal standard meal allowance ("FSMA") schedule located on the U.S. general services administration's ("GSA") website. Per diem rates include the costs for both meals and incidental expenses. Incidental expenses include fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships, and hotel servants in foreign countries.

(b) The total per diem will not be granted when a meal is included in the travel. For example, meals are often included in conference registration fees. In such cases, reimbursement for meals will be prorated for those meals not already provided for in the travel costs.

(c) When travel is to a location designated by the "IRS" as a high-cost area, the traveler may be reimbursed at the higher per diem rate. If the destination is not a high-cost area, then the meal reimbursement will be limited to the lowest "FSMA" rate.

(d) If travel includes multiple locations in one day, the per diem rate used for reimbursement purposes will be the location where the traveler has dined. To claim reimbursement for meals, the traveler must be on university business within the following time frames for the meals noted:

(i) Breakfast - one minute after twelve a.m. to eight a.m.

(ii) Lunch - one minute after eight a.m. to six p.m.

(iii) Dinner - one minute after six p.m. to twelve a.m.

(3) Lodging.

(a) Travelers will be reimbursed at the actual standard single room rate including applicable taxes for university business, providing this amount does not exceed twice the general services administration's lodging per diem for the designated location. The "GSA" lodging per diems are located on the office of the associate vice president/controller's website. If the traveler is attending a conference, it is appropriate to stay at the hotel that is hosting the conference, even if it falls outside the approved "GSA" lodging per diem. In all cases, the traveler must make every effort to obtain applicable discounts, including discounts available to government/public entities and associations/military personnel.

(b) Under extraordinary circumstances, a lodging amount that exceeds twice the "GSA" lodging rates may be approved. Under such circumstances, which will be approved on a case-by-case basis, the anticipated lodging rate must be documented and approved by the appropriate supervisor prior to incurring the expense. The appropriate supervisor is ultimately responsible for determining the reasonableness of lodging rates.

(c) In all cases, if the hotel requires prior financial commitment (e.g., prepayment for one night or credit card guarantee), the traveler is responsible for notifying the hotel of a cancellation and will not be reimbursed for the penalty if he/she fails to make the cancellation notification. The traveler's supervisor may approve an exception if the failure to notify the hotel of the cancellation is due to extenuating circumstances beyond the traveler's control.

(d) Reimbursement for lodging in noncommercial, private dwellings is authorized at a rate not to exceed more than thirty-five dollars per night. The name and address of the lodging location must be documented in the comments section of the travel expense report.

(e) Travelers shall not be reimbursed for free accommodations awarded in connection with hotel frequent guest programs.

(f) The university is a tax-exempt organization. It is always exempt from state of Ohio sales tax and has been granted state sales tax exemption in several other states; other taxes generally apply. The Ohio tax exemption form and tax exemption certificates for other states are on the department of purchasing's website. To help ensure tax-exempt treatment, the following steps should be followed:

(i) Review the department of purchasing's website to determine if the university is tax-exempt in the state in which you will be lodging.

(ii) When the reservation is made, advise the hotel representative that the university is a tax-exempt organization, and inquire as to the appropriate process to follow.

(iii) Print the lodging state's tax exemption certificate. Present it at time of registration and payment.

(iv) Any questions on the payment of sales tax should be directed to the department of purchasing.

(4) Tipping.

Per diem rates include the costs for incidental expenses, which include fees and tips for meals and fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships, and hotel servants in international countries. Therefore, fees and tips of these types will not be reimbursed.

Tips for shuttle/car/taxi will be reimbursed at a rate not to exceed twenty percent with a receipt documenting all expenses greater than twenty-five dollars.

(5) Other reimbursable expenses.

Travelers may also be reimbursed for actual reasonable business telephone, fax, copying, computer connection, and other business costs. Registration business costs, included but not limited to. fees necessary to attend a conference or meeting are also reimbursable. If the traveler is away from home for more than five consecutive overnights, he/she may also be reimbursed for the actual expenses for laundry services.

(6) New employee moving expenses and non-employee reimbursement.

(a) Newly hired employees may request reimbursement for moving expenses using the travel expense report or direct payment form. In either case, the detail of all expenses must be provided with the following information: date, vendor, expense amount, expense type, etc. Additionally, original, itemized receipts must be attached to the travel expense report or direct payment form when submitted to accounts payable for reimbursement. The reimbursement of moving-related expenses is further addressed in rule 3359-20-04.3 of the Administrative code.

(b) Candidates for employment must be reimbursed on the honorarium and expense authorization form, following the honorarium and expense authorization policies and procedures. The honorarium and expense authorization form and instructions for completion are provided on the associate vice president/controller's website.

(c) Individuals who are not employed by the university but are invited to the university for business/education purposes pay their travel expenses directly and then request reimbursement on the honorarium and expense authorization form, following the honorarium and expense authorization policies and procedures. The honorarium and expense authorization form and instructions for completion are provided on the associate vice president/controller's website.

(d) All other non-employee travel reimbursements (e.g., performers, speakers) must be processed using the appropriate university service agreement.

(D) Travel payment, reporting, and documentation.

(1) Prepayments and cash advancements.

The traveler may request prepayment for:

(a) Conference/registration fees,

(b) Airline tickets,

(c) Lodging, and

(d) Other pre-approved expenses.

Cash advances are primarily used by the athletic department and are otherwise only approved under special circumstances. The athletic department requires cash advances to comply with "NCAA" rules and regulations. Cash advances are limited to the estimated cost less any prepayments. If a cash advance is required and approved, the traveler should review the petty cash and advances policy located on the office of associate vice president/controller's website.

(2) Visa purchasing program.

(a) Travel and travel-related purchases may be charged on university-issued credit cards if proper authorization is provided by the cardholder's supervisor. Once authorized, cardholders will be allowed to purchase or reserve travel items such as airfare, hotel rooms, vehicle rentals, meals, registrations, and memberships. In all cases, the travel and/or hospitality expenses shall be pre-approved by the cardholder's supervisor and the amounts must be in line with this rule.

(b) If meals are charged to a university-issued credit card, the cardholder shall not exceed the per-meal allowance established by this rule. In addition, if the cardholder uses the reimbursement based upon the daily per diem limits, any unused per diem amount shall not be reimbursed.

(c) The university is a tax-exempt organization. The university tax ID number is printed on the university-issued credit card. The university is always exempt from state of Ohio sales tax, has been granted state sales tax exemption in several other states, and is not subject to many federal taxes. Cardholders shall remind all vendors of our tax-exempt status and be sure that Ohio sales tax is not added to the invoice. If needed, the Ohio tax exemption form and tax exemption certificates for other states can be found on the department of purchasing's website. Any questions on the payment of sales tax should be directed to the department of purchasing.

(3) Request for professional leave and travel authorization.

(a) The request for professional leave and travel authorization form must be completed prior to all out-of-state and overnight university travel, including such business travel during the summer months by nine-month faculty and such travel for which expense reimbursement is not required. The request for professional leave and travel authorization form must be completed and approved prior to any travel-related purchases.

(b) The purpose of the request for professional leave and travel authorization form is to establish that the travel is for university business, provide for authorized professional leave, and to provide the budget authority/supervisor with an estimated amount of travel expenses. However, direct supervisors should be aware of all university travel, including in-state day trips and routine transportation.

(c) Professional leave must be requested and approved for all out-of-state and overnight university business. Examples of university business include business meetings: training: and professional organization and development conferences, seminars, and workshops. Rule 3359-11-04 of the Administrative code provides specific guidelines for faculty improvement leave ("FIL").

(d) In the event of an insurance claim or other litigation, the completed and authorized request for professional leave and travel authorization form, even when no reimbursement will be requested, provides evidence the traveler is on authorized university business. The request for professional leave and travel authorization form shall include the estimated expenses, request for pre-payment(s), account number(s), and the signatures (including date signed) of the traveler and the signature authority for the account(s) to be charged. If the traveler and the signature authority are the same person, the traveler's supervisor is required to approve the request for professional leave and travel authorization form. Those reviewing and approving by signature shall verify:

(i) The purpose of the travel is directly related to official university business;

(ii) The estimated cost is reasonable and funding is available; and

(iii) The appropriate account(s) are identified for charges.

(e) Signed request for professional leave and travel authorization forms shall be filed and retained in the authorizing supervisor's unit(s).

(f) Blanket authorizations.

For frequent and routine travel, blanket authorizations may be utilized for extended periods of time not to exceed one fiscal year. A blanket authorization would be appropriate for persons who travel on a regular basis for the same purpose (e.g., recruiting), or for instances when the same traveler makes several trips during a specific period of time (e.g., recurring professional meetings). In those cases where a blanket authorization is appropriate, the anticipated travel dates and total expenditures must be noted on the request for professional leave and travel authorization form. The blanket travel request box shall also be marked yes. The traveler shall periodically submit the completed travel expense reports to accounts payable in the appropriate time period. Grant-funded and university-funded travel expenses shall be submitted within ninety days from the return travel date, to assist with accountability and auditing procedures.

(4) Travel expense report.

(a) The university of Akron travel expense report has been designed to meet internal revenue service reporting requirements and the rules of the university board of trustees. The traveler shall complete the university's standard travel expense report to request reimbursement for travel-related expenses.

(b) The travel expense report shall reflect all expenses related to the travel, including reimbursable expenses, prepaid expenses, any cash advances, and expenses paid for with a university credit card, etc. The amounts for prepayments, any cash advances, and expenses paid for with a university credit card shall be subtracted from the total expenses for purposes of reimbursement. See the instructions for completion of the travel expense report, available through the office of the associate vice president/controller's website, for further explanation of the documentation.

(c) The completed travel expense report shall be reviewed, approved, and signed by the signature authority for the account being charged or the traveler's supervisor. The completed and signed travel expense report shall then be submitted to accounts payable within ninety days of the return travel date for grant-funded and university-funded travel, to assist with accountability and auditing procedures.

(d) Essential information which must be reported on the travel expense report for each trip is listed as follows:

(i) The daily cost of each separate expenditure for traveling, such as transportation, lodging, and meals.

(ii) The dates and times of departure and return home for each trip.

(iii) The destination or locality of travel.

(iv) The business reason or business benefit expected to be derived.

(5) The following documentation is required to substantiate expenses for reimbursement:

(a) Air/rail - Original passenger receipt, confirmation, or e-ticket printout and proof of payment.

(b) Lodging - Original detailed and itemized hotel bill or folio, including telephone calls, providing proof of payment.

(c) Car rental - Original rental agreement providing proof of payment.

(d) Business meals and business-related expenses - See rule 3359-31-06 of the Administrative code.

(e) Travel meals (per diem) - No receipts required.

(f) Conference/registration fee (if not prepaid) - Conference brochure and original receipt showing proof of payment.

(g) Travel expenses exceeding ten dollars per expenditure require original detailed and itemized receipts, except for tolls paid into an automatic coin drop, unless otherwise prescribed in this policy.

Claims for reimbursement not covered by these rules or exceptions will be returned to the traveler.

(6) Non-reimbursable items while on travel status include, but are not limited to:

(a) Personal entertainment expenses, including airline headsets, movies, tours, and sporting events.

(b) Traffic fines and infringements, parking tickets, and court costs.

(c) Lost and overweight baggage.

(d) Personal auto repairs, personal credit card annual fees, and personal telephone charges.

(e) Insurance for rental vehicles.

(f) Medical expenses.

(g) Additional life insurance.

Replaces: 3359-31-05

Effective: 1/31/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 3345.31
Rule Amplifies: 3359.01
Prior Effective Dates: 06/25/90, 11/20/96, 11/24/01, 01/17/03, 09/07/06, 06/25/07, 08/30/09 (3359-31-01), 08/30/09 (3359-31-02), 08/30/09 (3359-31-03), 08/30/09 (3359-31-04), 08/30/09 (3359-31-05)

3359-31-06 Business-related expenses.

(A) Overview.

(1) This rule is intended to provide direction to employees with regard to the manner and extent to which the university may expend resources for the purposes of business meals and hospitality. For the purposes of this rule, the term employee refers to university of Akron faculty, staff and contract professionals. This rule also applies to anyone conducting university business, including students. All employees shall adhere to this rule and shall submit for reimbursement only those expenses eligible for reimbursement under this rule. Proper documentation shall accompany the reimbursement submissions and be maintained in accordance with university rules and policies.

(2) Business-related expenses are defined as food, beverages, and incidental costs associated with the conduct of university business. As a public institution, the university must ensure that resources are used judiciously and appropriately in support of university business; due diligence must be given in reviewing expenditures. Additionally, the department of purchasing's policies and procedures shall be followed.

(3) In cases of sponsored programs or restricted discretionary funds, the terms of the grant, contract, or donor's limitations may be more restrictive than the university's policy, and those terms shall be followed. In cases where these limitations are less restrictive, the university's guidelines shall apply.

(4) One-time exceptions to this policy may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer under extraordinary circumstances and in no case constitute precedent.

(B) Business expenses.

(1) Business expenses will generally be deemed acceptable and appropriate for payment by the university provided that:

(a) They were incurred as part of ordinary and necessary university business and have a clear business purpose, with substantial business discussion during, directly before, or directly after the meal or event;

(b) They were properly authorized, reviewed, and approved;

(c) They are properly documented;

(d) They are not personal in nature; and

(e) For business meals only, that they were not more than three times that meal's cost allowance, including tip [according to the current federal standard meal allowance schedule located on the U.S. general services administration's website].

Additionally, business meals almost always need to include non-university personnel to be considered business-related. Non-university personnel include individuals that are not employed by the university, such as:

(i) Candidates for employment;

(ii) Colleagues from other higher education organizations; and

(iii) The president's or other administrators' spouses in support of official university responsibilities, including attendance at employee recognition events, participation in recruiting, fundraising, and promotion of the university, and hospitality for university guests.

(2) Business-related expenditures in excess of one hundred dollars per person (including alcohol, but excluding tips) require documented pre-approval by the responsible dean or vice president.

(C) Additional guidelines.

(1) Food may be provided on an occasional and irregular basis during working meetings, when personal time is given up for a formal business discussion, with documented pre-approval from the responsible dean or vice president. Examples of pre-approval include signature or direct e-mail.

(2) The provision of food to employees on a regular or similar ongoing basis is generally not appropriate. The provision of food in appropriate instances shall be paid for with funds from a designated presidential discretionary business expense account. The detailed information regulating designated presidential discretionary business expense account(s) is provided in paragraph (G) of this rule.

(3) As a general rule, meal and hospitality expenses for spouses and guests of university employees shall not be charged to university funds. In exceptional cases, expenditures for spouses and guests of university employees require written documentation of business purpose and are subject to pre-approval by the responsible dean or vice president. Exceptional cases may include:

(a) Attendance at employee recognition events.

(b) Participation in recruiting, fundraising, and promotion of the university, and hospitality for guests of the university, where appropriate.

(c) Attendance at athletic events as a member of the university's "designated group."

(D) Allowable expenditures.

(1) This rule grants authority to the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer to adopt, administer, and implement a chart for allowable university business related expenses that outlines business-related expenses and whether or not they may be deemed acceptable charges based on the account used: standard university accounts, president's discretionary business expense accounts, and the university of Akron foundation accounts.

(2) University employees shall carefully read and follow the details regarding each account type when expending the account's funds and shall expend the funds in accordance with the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer's chart for allowable university business-related expenses. Funds included in standard university accounts are provided and described in paragraph (F) of this rule. The designated president's discretionary business expense accounts and the university of Akron foundation accounts must also follow the rules provided in the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer's chart for allowable university business-related expenses.

(E) Unallowable funds for business-related expenses.

The following funds shall not be used for business-related expenses:

(1) Specialized 2xxxxx speedtypes - These funds shall not be used for business-related expenses. These funds are allocated for a specific purpose within the general fund. Expenditures from these funds are restricted to the purpose of the account. This includes, but is not limited to, fees (course fees or technology fees), faculty research grant accounts, start up accounts, and departmental cost sharing.

(2) Plant funds - These resources shall not be used for any type of business-related expenses. This includes all 7xxxxx speedtypes.

(F) Accounts.

(1) Standard university accounts.

(a) Standard university accounts are described in this paragraph. These accounts shall follow the standard university accounts rules in the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer's chart for allowable university business-related expenses. The description for each account should be carefully read and the details regarding each account type shall be followed when expending the account's funds.

(i) General operating accounts. These resources are provided to the university primarily through student tuition and the state share of instruction (i.e., funded by the taxpayers of the state of Ohio). This includes most 2xxxxx speedtypes.

(ii) Sales and services funds and auxiliary funds. These resources are for activities conducted primarily to provide goods, facilities, and services to, and generate revenue from, students, employees, and the general public. This includes all 3xxxxx speedtypes.

(iii) Indirect cost ("IDC") speedtypes. These resources are generated from indirect cost recoveries from sponsored programs and grants.

(iv) Other agency funds. These resources are received by the university as custodian or fiscal agent for an organization and are held and disbursed on behalf of the organization. This includes all 994xxx speedtypes.

(2) Standard university accounts requiring additional approval or scrutiny.

The funds described in this paragraph follow the standard university accounts rules in the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer's chart for allowable university business-related expenses, but require additional approval(s) or scrutiny of additional documentation, as noted below.

(a) University support for student activities ("EAF" accounts). These resources shall follow the standard university accounts rules in the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer's chart for allowable university business-related expenses as a guideline, but all expenditures require approval through student affairs. This includes the 990xxx speedtypes.

(b) Research and sponsored program funds. These funds are provided to the university by federal, state, or local governments; foundations; or other private entities for very specific purposes. Restrictions vary on use of these resources but are typically more restrictive than this rule and the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer's chart for allowable university business related expenses. Allowable costs which differ from university policies must be specifically written in the awarding documents. This includes all 5xxxxx speedtypes.

(c) Restricted discretionary funds and student agency funds.

(i) Restricted discretionary funds. Resources provided to the university through gifts and contributions where restrictions for use may vary. It is the responsibility of the signature authority to ensure the donor's restrictions are followed. This includes all 4xxxxx and 6xxxxx speedtypes that are not specifically earmarked for scholarships, fellowships, or endowed chairs.

(ii) Student agency funds. These are resources earned by student activities ("SAF" accounts). All expenditures require approval through student affairs. This includes the 996xxx speedtypes.

(3) The university of Akron foundation accounts.

(a) The university of Akron foundation accounts shall follow the university of Akron foundation policies and procedures, which are available on the university treasurer's office website. Guidelines for the purchase of business expenses with the university of Akron foundation accounts are provided in the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer's chart for allowable university business related expenses. Questions should be directed to university treasury services. Business expenses from the university of Akron foundation accounts shall be documented on the travel expense report. The travel expense report shall:

(i) Include the date of the meal/event/activity, the name of the person(s) who hosted the meal/event/activity and location of the meal/event/activity, the business purpose of the meal/event/activity, names and affiliations of attendees, and the cost of the meal/event/activity;

(ii) Be properly authorized by the responsible university official (usually the immediate supervisor of the person making the request); and

(iii) Be accompanied by original itemized receipts.

(b) When a university visa card is used for payment, the employee's completed travel expense report and original itemized receipts shall be attached to the employee's monthly transmittal log for university visa card purchases.

(4) Designated president's discretionary business expense account(s).

The president is assigned a discretionary business expense account that he and his designees may use for business expenses. These expenditures shall follow the regulations for designated presidential discretionary business expense account(s) provided in paragraph (H) of this rule. Guidelines for the purchase of business expenses with the designated president's discretionary business expense accounts are provided in the vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer's chart for allowable university business related expenses.

(G) Reporting.

(1) In all instances, regardless of payment type, business expenses shall be documented on the university's travel expense report. The travel expense report shall:

(a) Include the date of the meal/event/activity, name of the person(s) who hosted the meal/event/activity and location of the meal/event/activity, the business purpose of the meal/event/activity, names and affiliations of attendees, and cost of the meal/event/activity;

(b) Be properly authorized by the responsible university official (usually the immediate supervisor of the person making the request); and

(c) Be accompanied by original itemized receipts.

(2) When a university visa card is used for payment, the employee's completed travel expense report and original itemized receipts shall be attached to the employee's monthly transmittal log for university visa card purchases.

(H) Regulations for discretionary business expenses for the president and for university officials designated by the president.

(1) Overview.

(a) As an accommodation to and for the convenience of the university in having the functions of the office of the president most efficiently discharged, the president shall be assigned a discretionary business expense account budgeted annually by the president and vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer for reimbursement or for direct charging of expenses associated with administrative responsibilities, including but not limited to any use in advancing the mission of the university by fostering support and goodwill from a wide range of sources. For example, expenditures may be made to host individuals or groups such as representatives of local, state, and federal governments; members of the corporate community; members of the non-profit community; students; faculty; staff; contract professionals; the university of Akron alumni; prospective donors; and friends of the university. This includes expenditures in support of official university responsibilities of the president's spouse.

(b) In addition, the president shall have the authority to assign discretionary business expense accounts for other university officials in accord with this rule.

(c) University officials designated by the president may be assigned a discretionary business expense account budgeted annually by the president and vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer for reimbursement or for direct charging of expenses specifically associated with administrative responsibilities. As with the president, these accounts are for use in advancing the mission of the university by fostering support and goodwill from a wide range of sources. The accounts may be used to host individuals or groups such as representatives of local, state, and federal governments; members of the corporate community; members of the non-profit community; students; faculty; staff; contract professionals; the university of Akron alumni; prospective donors; and friends of the university.

(d) As a public institution, the university of Akron is held to a high level of public scrutiny and accountability. University officials who have discretionary business accounts receive a high level of latitude for the uses, but remain responsible for ensuring these accounts are used in a responsible and appropriate manner. As such, these accounts are intended to provide for flexibility beyond that reflected within the university's standard travel and expense rules.

(2) Expenditures.

Reimbursement will be provided only for expenditures that are reasonable, necessary, prudent and appropriate for the occasion, as well as being consistent with the university's educational mission, in the following categories:

(a) Business-related and hospitality expenses including food, beverages, admission charges and fees, flowers, mementos, charges imposed by vendors, related taxes, reasonable gratuities, related miscellaneous expenses, etc., for guests of the university.

(b) Employee recognition and relations including food, beverages, admission charges and fees, mementos, service charges imposed by vendors, related taxes, reasonable gratuities, related miscellaneous expenses, etc.

(c) Receptions and banquets

(d) Fundraising and promotion of the university, including travel and hospitality. When travel is included, it is subject to the same conditions as all other university approved travel.

(3) Expense documentation.

(a) Claims for reimbursement must be detailed on the university's standard travel expense report and must be accompanied by original receipts with appropriate itemization attached to any requests for reimbursement and must be properly authorized by the responsible university official (usually the immediate supervisor of the person making the request). The itemization shall include the date of the event or the activity, the person(s) who hosted the activity and the location of the activity, the reason for the activity, a list of the activity's attendees, and the cost. All requests for payment under this policy shall be signed by the university official, and shall be subject to review and approval by the university official's immediate superior. The review and approval structure for the president, senior vice president, and vice presidents follow.

(i) The president's initial approver is the vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer and secondary approver is the vice president and general counsel.

(ii) The vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer's initial approver is the president and secondary approver is the vice president and general counsel.

(iii) The vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer is the initial approver for and the president is the secondary approver for the following positions: senior vice president, provost, and chief operating officer; vice president and chief of staff; vice president for research and dean of the graduate school; and vice president, general counsel, and board secretary.

(iv) The senior vice president, provost, and chief operating officer is the initial approver for and the president is the secondary approver for the following positions: vice president for information technology/chief information officer, and vice president for student affairs.

(b) Expenses charged directly to the account via a university credit card, purchase requisition, or other means must be subject to the same level of documentation and supervisory review. No expenditures will be reimbursed without appropriate receipts. No expenditures for political donations, for solely personal use, or any other purpose contrary to state or federal law are allowed. All reimbursements for expenditures pursuant to this rule may be reviewed and audited by the university's internal auditor and the audit committee of the board of trustees.

(4) Alcohol.

(a) When alcohol is involved with any event, such event should be managed with common sense and due care. As a general rule, alcohol cannot be charged against any university fund. However, in certain circumstances, alcohol purchases for business-related purposes (i.e., business meals or university events) may be justified.

(b) These alcohol purchases must be charged to discretionary funds and must have documented approval (i.e., signature or direct e-mail) of the president, vice president, or dean. Discretionary funds are funds held by the university of Akron foundation and/or the university of Akron research foundation with only a broad restriction that they be used to benefit the university of Akron or that particular area within the university. The supervisor's approval certifies that the fund being used has been designated a discretionary fund by the donor.

(c) Amounts expended from discretionary funds for the purchase of alcohol must be reasonable. For purposes of this rule, "reasonable" is defined as no more than twenty-five dollars per person, excluding taxes and tip.

(d) Alcohol purchased for resale by areas with liquor permits or for medical or other research use is not subject to this rule. Reimbursement or payment for the costs of alcoholic beverages on sponsored projects is prohibited.

Replaces: 3359-31-06

Effective: 1/31/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 3345.31
Rule Amplifies: 3359.01
Prior Effective Dates: 08/30/09