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Travel Policies and Procedures

This page provides you with a high level overview of the travel policies and procedures at UNC.  For more detailed information regarding travel questions, please contact your Accounting Specialist, Purchasing, or refer to Chapter 5 of the University's Fiscal Rules.

Since travel is a sensitive area of expenditure that is often scrutinized by the public, all UNC travel should be made with the highest level of integrity and all expenditures - whether state appropriated, grant, auxiliary or other funds for which UNC is accountable - should be made in compliance with the spirit and letter of UNC's policies and procedures.

  • Travel Authorization (Required before any travel expenses are incurred)

    A Travel Authorization ("TA") form must be completed for all UNC travel, regardless of whether UNC funds will be expended for the trip. If UNC funds will be expended, the TA must be completed before any expenses are incurred. This form requires that you identify the purpose of the trip, the expenses to be paid for by UNC, and that you obtain the necessary approvals for travel. See the Travel Authorization Guide for help completing or approving the TA.

    The required approvals for a TA will vary depending on the location of travel and your college or department on campus. Below is a general guideline of what approvals are required, but please check with your Accounting Specialist regarding any special approvals or process that are required for your college or department. 

     Employee Travelers

    • Same Day In-State Travel:
        • No TA Required.
    • In-State Overnight Travel or any Out-of-State Travel (regardless of overnight stay):
        • College Faculty and Staff Travelers: FOAP Approver, Dean, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.  
        • Athletics: Complete all paperwork through the Athletics' Business Office, Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
        • All Other Staff Travelers: FOAP Approver, Associate/Assistant Vice President or Vice President, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
        • Dean/AVP: FOAP Approver, Vice President, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
        • VP Travelers:  FOAP Approver, President, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
    • International Travel: 
        • College Faculty and Staff Travelers: FOAP Approver (Accounting Specialist), Dean, OGE, Provost, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
        • Athletics: Complete all paperwork through the Athletics' Business Office. In addition to the normal process, the TA must also be approved by OGE, the Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
        • All Other Staff Travelers: FOAP Approver (Accounting Specialist), OGE, Associate/Assistant Vice President or Vice President, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
        • Dean/AVP: FOAP Approver, Vice President, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
        • VP Travelers: FOAP Approver, President, and Grant/Foundation Approver(s) as needed.
      • All international travelers must comply with the additional policies and practices of OGE.
      • University sponsored travel to countries designated by the State Department as Level 3 or Level 4 is not allowed. Please visit the State Department website to determine if any restrictions are in place.
    • Travel paid for by the Provost Office or the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs ("ORSP"):
      • If a traveler has been awarded travel funds from the Provost's Office or ORSP, a copy of the travel award letter needs to be attached to signify the fund approval. Since the letter is attached to the TA, a Fund Approver's approval is not needed (but all other approvals are still required).

    Non-UNC Employee Travelers

    Non-UNC employee travelers are generally students or other individuals who are not UNC employees and are not being paid as independent contractors. Travel-related expenses for independent contractors must be added to the total lump-sum payment to the individual and separate travel reimbursements are not paid out to individuals in this category.

    The same travel policies and procedures for UNC employees must be followed for non-UNC employee travelers. In addition to completing a travel authorization form, non-UNC employee travelers must complete and submit a W-9 form and a direct-deposit authorization form so that they can be set up in the financial system to receive reimbursement for their travel expenses.

  • Allowable Travel Expenses

    A person traveling on behalf of UNC may only charge expenses to UNC which are allowable under UNC’s Fiscal Rule and that have been approved by the appropriate FOAP Approver(s).  Allowable travel expenses include, but may not be limited to:

    • Airfare
      • Air travel must be completed using the most economical means available which satisfactorily accomplishes the University’s business.
      • Upgrades are not allowed unless prior approval has been obtained by the traveler for things such as security, health or a disability/special need.
      • Chartered flights require prior approval by the Purchasing & Contracts Office.
      • Baggage fees for one bag are allowable.  Charges for a second bag require pre-approval by the FOAP Approver.
    • Lodging
    • Meals and Incidental Expenses (see the Per Diem section for additional information)
    • Ground Transportation - this includes taxi, shuttle, Uber/Lyft, subway, train, tolls, and parking
    • Rental Cars
    • Mileage for use of personal vehicles
    • Parking
      • DIA parking rates are limited to $18 per day
      • Garage/lot parking may be paid/reimbursed at the rate charged to the traveler
  • Non-Allowable Travel Expenses

    The following expenses may not be charged to a UNC VISA card and will not be reimbursed to a traveler:

    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Entertainment Expenses
    • Personal expenses above the incidental expense allowed by the Per Diem Rate
    • Travel expenses incurred for political activities
    • Traffic fines and parking tickets
    • Meals for one day travel
    • Travel insurance for domestic travel (unless pre-approved by the Dean/Director and Risk Management)
    • Rental Car Insurance except a policy for Loss of Use (see the Ground Transportation section for additional information)
  • Per Diem

    The University provides travelers with a per diem to cover meal and incidental expenses. A college or department may establish a lower per diem rate, so please check with your Chair/Director or Accounting Specialist if you have questions regarding the correct per diem rate.

    • Domestic Travel - within the contiguous 48 states, District of Colombia, and US Territories
      • Per diem is paid at the rate outlined on the GSA website.
    • International Travel - outside the contiguous 48 states, District of Colombia, and US Territories

    For the first and last day of travel, per diem is paid at 75% of the per diem rate. Additionally, per diem will be reduced to reflect any meals provided to the traveler by the conference or host entity.

    Per diem will be deposited in the traveler's personal bank account approximately 5 business days prior to the scheduled departure date. Please be aware that per diem is paid based upon the information provided on the TA, so per diem will not be paid in advance if the TA has not been submitted far enough in advance.

  • Rental Cars

    If it is determined that a rental car is needed, a traveler should rent a car from Hertz, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise as UNC receives discounts from these agencies based on contracts negotiated by the State of Colorado.

    The UNC Visa card should be used on all rental cars as it provides primary collision damage insurance on all vehicles except trucks, SUV's, and 15-passenger vans. As secondary insurance, UNC provides coverage for liability and physical damage. In addition to the insurance provided by the UNC VISA card and UNC's insurance policy, Enterprise and Hertz also provide damage waiver insurance at no cost as part of the discounted rate. The traveler may consider purchasing Loss of Use insurance as UNC's insurance policy covers Loss of Use for $100 per day up to a maximum of $1,000 or coverage for ten (10) days. Check with your private auto insurance to see if Loss of Use for rental vehicles is covered under your personal policy and would pick up any additional costs beyond UNC's limits.

    Please be aware that these insurance policies will only apply to the listed driver, so if more than one UNC employee will be driving a rental vehicle, all driving individuals need to be listed.

    In order to receive the discount and insurance benefits, you must use the contract codes at the time of rental. The discount codes are:

    • Avis: A514100
    • Budget: T143828
    • Enterprise Rental Car: XZ12450
    • Hertz: 65579

    Please note that these same discounts and benefits are available to UNC employees for personal use by using the discount codes provided above.

  • Mileage Advance/Reimbursement

    As of January 1, 2023, the IRS is increasing the mileage reimbursement rate. UNC will reimburse mileage at a rate of $0.59 per mile for travel completed after 1/1/23.

    Mileage reimbursements for travel completed prior to 1/1/23 will be reimbursed at the previous 2022 rate of $0.56 per mile.

    • Mileage Advance - Round-trip airport to home
      • Under revised IRS regulations, mileage between home and airport can now be advanced with any claimed per diem. This can be claimed at the time the TA is submitted in OnBase.

    • Mileage Reimbursement - All other mileage
      • All other mileage in personal vehicles can only be claimed as a reimbursement after the trip is completed. A travel reimbursement form, along with a copy of the approved TA for overnight/out-of-state travel, should be submitted to Accounts Payable within 60 days of the completion of the trip. Please work with your Accounting Specialist to submit this form.
      • Mileage reimbursements for same day travel can be submitted without attaching a TA.
  • Lodging Discounts
    • Doubletree by Hilton in Greeley at Lincoln Park - Established Rates for UNC
      • The UNC Business Rate, based on room occupancy, is available for stays paid for with a UNC Visa.
        • $114.00 per night, single or double occupancy
        • $124.00 per night, triple occupancy
        • $134.00 per night, quadruple occupancy
      • The UNC Friends and Family Rate offers a 15% discount on published rates and is available for anyone associated with UNC such as  those individuals visiting UNC booking their own lodging, UNC Alumni members, UNC Student Family visits, and UNC faculty and staff staying for personal use.
      • To get the UNC rates, guests paying by credit card MUST book their reservation directly with the Greeley hotel at 1-800-222-TREE (8733) and not through any websites.  The Doubletree website doesn’t offer the UNC rate as it is hosted by the Hilton corporation.  Guests must ask for the UNC rate at the time the reservation is made.
  • Parking Discounts

    WallyPark offers a State of Colorado employee discount for business and personal travel.  The flat rate is $7.50 per day for self-parking and $10.00 per day for valet.  These prices include all taxes and fees.  In order to make a reservation and take advantage of this discount, you must use the State of Colorado reservation site.  Regular rates will apply if you use their regular website.

    If you do not make a reservation, you can still show your UNC business card or employee ID to the cashier upon exit to receive your discount.

  • Definitions
    • FOAP Approver: The person or persons that have authority to approve an expenditure of UNC funds from a specified account string.
    • International Travel: Travel outside of the contiguous 48 states, the District of Colombia,  Alaska, and Hawaii.
    • IRS Accountable Plan: IRS guidelines for what is and is not a taxable reimbursement to a traveler. In order for a reimbursement to be non-taxable, the travel must be for business purposes, the reimbursement must be completed within 60 days from the date the traveler returns from his/her trip, and any excess reimbursements or advances must be returned to UNC within 60 days from the date the traveler returns from his/her trip. If these guidelines are not met, then the reimbursement will be considered taxable income and will be reported to the IRS as such. The determination of what is taxable and non-taxable is guided by IRS Regulation CFR 31.3121(a)-3(c), IRS Sections 62(a)(2) and 62(c), IRS Revenue Ruling 2006-56, and the IRS Employee Reimbursement Plan guidelines.
    • Out-of-State Travel: Travel outside of the state of Colorado.
    • Same-day Travel: Travel not requiring an overnight stay necessitating a TA.