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College Policy 5.06.04

Local Student Travel

Part 1. Purpose

To reimburse students who travel for Minneapolis Community and Technical Colleges benefit (state), to manage those travel costs and provide clear direction of allowable costs and procedures.

Part 2. Scope and Responsibility

This procedure applies to all students, authorized to travel and be reimbursed for allowable expenses in conducting authorized MnSCU business. MnSCU students authorized to travel are responsible for complying with this procedure and for the accurate completion of all required forms, including the Employee Expense Report. Students shall be compensated in accordance with local student travel rates which follow the AFSCME plan. Students must provide receipts for all expenses. To process payment the use of a CLR fund is required.

Part 3. Prior Approval

All in-state travel requires verbal prior approval from the CLR fund department authorizing payment for said travel and all out-of-state travel requires written prior approval by an employee who has delegated authority to approve out-of-state travel prior to any travel and the actual incurrence of expenses. Written authorizations are retained locally for audit purposes.

Authorized travel is when it can be reasonably determined that:

  • the travel is primarily for the benefit of MnSCU and is related to the effective conduct of business, including the promotion of interstate cooperation;
  • the cost of the travel and absence from work will be offset by benefits accruing to MnSCU.
  • the travel relates to activities which do not have as their purpose the advancement of a political party, a political candidate, or a religious denomination.

Part 4. Exceptions to Pre-Travel Authorization Requirements

Travel without prior authorization is allowed in the following circumstances:

  • emergency travel
  • travel originating outside the United States

Part 5. Maximum Use of Financial Resources

Travel costs should take into consideration any financial decisions made such as:

  • Students authorized to travel leaving a day early to take advantage of a lower airfare.
  • Students authorized to travel staying over a weekend at his/her expense, in order to obtain lower airfare. Additional expenses may be paid related to the reduced airfare providing they do not exceed the amount saved on the lower airfare.
  • Other unusual situations which increase or decrease the trip costs.
  • Travel is being paid for by an outside organization and is in compliance with ethics requirements in accordance with Minn. Stat. Section 43A.38, Code of Ethics for Employees in the Executive Branch, and Minn. Stat. Section 10A.071, Certain Gifts by Lobbyists and Principals Prohibited. If an employee or any other individual authorized to travel including students is reimbursed by a MnSCU institution for this travel and is also reimbursed for the same travel expense by an outside organization, the employee or any other individual authorized to travel including students must endorse the reimbursement check over to the MnSCU institution. An employee or any other individual authorized to travel including students may be reimbursed by an outside organization for travel or meals expenses, not to exceed actual expenses incurred, which are not reimbursed by the state and which have been approved in advance by the appointing authority as part of the work assignment.
  • Employees or any other individuals authorized to travel including students elect to drive a personal vehicle rather than fly. Reimbursement for personal vehicle use in lieu of airfare is at the lower reimbursement rate and shall not exceed the lowest round trip coach airfare.

Part 6. Travel Arrangements

Travel arrangements may be made through any travel agency. Use of the State's preferred vendors or targeted group and economically disadvantaged vendors is encouraged.

Subpart A. Fares

Lowest Fare
Inquiries on fares and reservations should be made early enough to take advantage of advance purchase discounts.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage purchased by students is not a reimbursable expense.

Upgrades
Upgrades at the expense of MnSCU are not permitted. Upgrades are allowed at the student's personal expense.

Free service upgrades for all domestic air travel are permissible with the lowest available rates. Students authorized to travel shall not use their positions to seek or accept an unwarranted privilege of substantial value which is not regularly available to similarly situated individuals.

Use of Personal Aircraft
Travel in personal aircraft may be authorized by the Board Chair for Board Trustees, by the Chancellor for Office of the Chancellor staff, and by the President at the colleges and universities when it is deemed in the best interest of MnSCU. Mileage reimbursement in such cases shall be at the rate identified in the applicable collective bargaining agreement or compensation plan. Proof of adequate liability insurance is required and the pilot and aircraft must be in compliance with all Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

Lost Baggage
Personal items lost while traveling on authorized business are not a reimbursable expense.

Excess Baggage
Students authorized to travel will be reimbursed for excess baggage charges only when the student(s) authorized to travel are required to have on hand equipment, books, reports, etc. which cause him/her to exceed the normal weight limitations.

Subpart B. Lodging

The lowest, government rate available should be secured at a reasonably priced licensed lodging facility. Staying at the private residence of a relative or friend is not a reimbursable expense.

Room charge and tax may be directly billed to the college, university, or office of the chancellor. Other miscellaneous charges such as meals, dry cleaning, telephone calls, etc. must be paid by the student to the lodging facility at the time of check-out. Business related expenses will be reimbursed through the Employee Expense Report process.

Subpart C. State-owned Vehicles

State owned vehicles are no longer available.

Subpart D. Personal Vehicle Usage

Employees and any other individuals authorized to travel including students may use their personal vehicle for business purposes when in compliance with state policy outlined in the Department of Finance's SEMA4 Operating Policy and Procedure Manual, Employee Travel Expenses Chapter.

Mileage reimbursements for the use of personal vehicles will be at the allowable levels and in conformance with expense reimbursement requirements defined in the AFSCME bargaining agreement and state policy as outlined in the Department of Finance's SEMA4 Operating Policy and Procedure Manual.

Subpart E. Rental Vehicle

Rental of a vehicle by students authorized to travel is authorized only when the type of trip or location of meetings is such that use of local transportation (taxis, airport limousines and airport shuttles, buses) is not practical or is expected to be more expensive.

Rental vehicles shall be reserved and rented at the lowest applicable discounted rate possible or available.

The use of compact or mid-size/intermediate rental vehicle categories is recommended except in cases where:

  • the number of passengers is three or more
  • excess baggage for official business requires a large vehicle, e.g. booth displays, slide presentations, sales items
  • a larger size vehicle is provided at no extra charge above compact or midsize rate

When rental vehicles are used for travel within the United States, employees and any other individuals authorized to travel, including students, are expected to decline rental vehicle insurance because the state has provisions for insuring rental vehicles against damage through the Risk Management Division. Travelers will not be reimbursed for the cost of rental vehicle insurance for domestic travel. For international travel students authorized to travel should accept all insurance coverage when renting vehicles in a foreign country. Insurance coverage purchased in foreign countries is reimbursable.

Subpart F. Airline Frequent Flyer Program

Minnesota Statute 15.435, Airline Travel Credit, requires any credits or other benefits issued by an airline to a student authorized to travel who uses public funds to pay for airline travel to accrue to the benefit of the public body providing the funding. Students authorized to travel who frequently fly and have airline frequent flyer programs for their personal travel shall obtain a separate airline frequent flyer program number to record and report receipt of credits or other benefits when using state funds.

Part 7. Travel Advances

The use of state credit cards for authorized business expenses is strongly encouraged. An employee and any other individual authorized to travel including students may be issued a travel advance subject to minimum amounts determined by his/her bargaining agreement or compensation plan. The amount of the advance should not include any expense that will be directly billed. Advances should be requested using the Employee Expense Report a minimum of 14 days before departure. An employee or any other individuals authorized to travel including students may not have more than one outstanding travel advance due to failure to settle the advance for a trip that has been completed. The advance must be submitted with an Employee Expense Report with appropriate receipts and documentation within five (5) days of returning from the trip. Advances not settled within 28 days of return date will be deducted in their entirety from the employee's pay check.

Part 8. Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

Subpart A. Reimbursement Form

Students authorized within applicable policies and collective bargaining agreements or compensation plans will be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses while traveling on authorized business. Request for reimbursement of travel expenses shall be submitted on an Employee Expense Report form using the student’s college tech ID number for the Employee number.

Subpart B. Receipts

Original itemized receipts are required for all expenses except, taxi services, baggage handling, and parking meters or as required in collective bargaining agreements or compensation plans. All forms of canceled checks and copies of credit card bills do not substitute for original receipts. An employee may be allowed to file an affidavit in lieu of a receipt if the original receipt is lost or a receipt is not obtained.

Subpart C. Direct Billing/Credit Cards

Air travel costs may be paid using a direct or central billing account, state charge/corporate credit card, or personal charge/credit card.

Subpart D. Miscellaneous Expenses

The following miscellaneous expenses may be reimbursed:

  • Personal telephone calls - if allowed by collective bargaining agreements or compensation plans, documented personal telephone calls are reimbursable.
  • Laundry and dry cleaning - students authorized to be in travel status in excess of one week without returning home shall be allowed actual cost not to exceed applicable collective bargaining agreements or compensation plans for laundry and dry cleaning for each week after first week.

Subpart E. Non-Reimbursable Expenses

Following are examples of miscellaneous expenses that employees will NOT normally be reimbursed for:

  • Under no circumstances will students authorized to travel be reimbursed for alcoholic beverages
  • annual fees or interest for personal credit cards
  • late payment fees or interest on state-issued corporate credit card
  • expenses of traveling companions or family members
  • expenses related to vacation or personal days while on a trip
  • loss or theft of personal cash or property
  • entertainment or amusement costs, movies, "no-show" charges, optional travel or baggage insurance, and parking or traffic tickets
  • incorrect or incomplete expense reports
  • Parking if an employee who normally does not drive to work drives a personal vehicle because he/she will use the vehicle for official business during the day; the employee is NOT entitled to parking reimbursement at the work station.

Date effective: 12/27/2005
Date last amended: 12/27/2005

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