Skip to main content

Allowable Travel Expenses

About this Policy

Allowable Travel Expenses

Policy Number: 22603

Effective Date:

Last Updated:

Responsible Office:
UM System Controller's Office

Responsible Administrator:
UM System Controller

Policy Contact:

Campus Accounting


  • Finance

Request additional information



This policy is for university employees and Non-Employees seeking payment of travel expenses.

Reason for Policy

The policy outlines allowing payment on behalf of or reimbursement to employees for authorized business expenses.  It defines expenses that fall under the accountable plan and those that are not reimbursed along with other applicable plan rules.

Policy Statement

Employees and others who incur travel expenses while conducting official University business may have reasonable and necessary travel expenses paid on behalf of or reimbursed in accordance with university policies.  Every reasonable effort should be made to use appropriate University payment methods for travel expenses to minimize personal liability. 

Itemized receipts for reimbursement for all expenditures $75 or more and for all hotel expenditures regardless of amount are required.  Travel expenditures incurred on a One Card require a receipt regardless of dollar amount.

All divisions or departments must adhere to the travel reimbursement policies contained herein and may not establish lower limits, additional requirements, or more restrictive policies unless required by an outside entity.

Documentation of the business purpose of travel expenses paid directly by the University is the responsibility of the traveler and the traveler's home department and is required whether the payment is made by voucher or the University OneCard.  To comply with accountable plan rules, documentation should include the amount, date, place and business purpose.

Reimbursement of Travel Expenses Prior to Travel
Reimbursement of travel expenses paid by the traveler in advance of the travel dates may be made when adequate documentation is provided. The traveler is responsible for providing appropriate documentation showing the expense has been personally incurred.  The traveler's department is responsible for verifying that the travel takes place and for obtaining a refund of the reimbursement from the traveler, if necessary.

Travel lodging that best meets the needs of the traveler and the University should be selected by the traveler.  Travelers are responsible for selecting the most cost-effective lodging.  A receipted, itemized statement is required for all lodging expenses. Summary statements provided by credit card companies will not be accepted as justification for reimbursement.

When two or more individuals share the same room, the total claimed for reimbursement must not exceed the total paid for the room.

Meals will be reimbursed on a per diem basis according to CONUS rates published by the General Services Administration for the travel destination and as follows:

  • In-State: for overnight travel within the State of Missouri, meals will be reimbursed on a per diem basis according to the Standard rate established by CONUS,
  • Out-of-State: domestic trips within the United States (other than Missouri) and the District of Columbia are based on the CONUS rate for the travel destination
  • Foreign: For travel outside the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, reimbursement is allowed at a per diem rate prescribed by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Meals on first and last days of overnight trip: The daily per diem amount to be reimbursed on trips with overnight travel will be determined by the number of hours in travel status for the day, as follows:

Hours in Travel Status

Eligible Amount

Less than 8 hours

not eligible

At least 8 hours but less than 12 hours

50% of applicable per diem

12 hours or more

100% of applicable per diem


Excluded Meal Allowances
If meals are included in conference and hotel registrations, covered by other University payments, or paid by others, the traveler is responsible for making appropriate deductions to the per diem amount when submitting their reimbursement request.

Note: Individual meals that are reimbursable on Per Diem basis should not be charged on the OneCard. 

Extended Work Day
An employee may qualify for an occasional meal allowance when traveling without an overnight stay, as a non-taxable de minimis fringe benefit, if the travel enables overtime work in excess of their normal work schedule. If this occurs, the employee may be eligible for a single meal allowance equal to one-half of the Standard CONUS rate published by the General Services Administration at the discretion of their department. 

Other Expenses
Reimbursements will be made for other expenses incurred for official business and necessary to carry out the purpose of the trip:

  • Telephone/internet connection
  • Miscellaneous Transportation & Related Expenses
  • Registration or Other Meeting Expenses

Only expenses essential to the transaction of University business are reimbursable. Examples of expenses that are not reimbursable in most cases include hotel gyms, room service, mini-bars, movies, laundry, and vehicle fines.

Expenses Charged to Sponsored Gifts, Grants or Contracts
Reimbursement of expenses to be charged to sponsored gifts, grants or contracts made to the University for research, instruction, or other purposes must be in full compliance with the specific terms and instructions of the gift, grant or contract as well as this policy. In the event a gift, grant or contract specifically provides for special arrangements for accountability of travel expenses, this fact must be noted on the expense report.   

Travel Allowances
It is permissible for departments and units to provide travel allowances that limit total reimbursement on a trip to a total maximum amount determined prior to travel. In these cases, the traveler should account for the individual travel components (e.g. lodging, per diem, mileage) in accordance with University policies, and reduce the overall reimbursement to the trip maximum by entering a single line "Expense Adjustment".


Non-Employees - individuals who are not employees of the University but they have an academic or contractual relationship. (i.e. suppliers, consultants, speakers, lecturers, visiting professors, and visiting students).


Traveler or Delegate: 

  • Attests to accuracy and appropriateness of expenses in accordance with University travel policies.
  • Reimburse any overpayment received
  • Submit itemized receipts for reimbursement for all expenditures $75 or more and for all hotel expenditures regardless of amount. Travel expenditures incurred on a One Card require a receipt regardless of dollar amount.

Fiscal Approver: 

  • Review and approve the reimbursement request and all attached supporting documentation to verify that the expenses submitted for reimbursement adhere to University travel policies.

Additional Details



Related Information

Policy 22310 on Expense Reimbursements
Policy 22312 on Business Meals
Policy 22605 on Guest Travel
One Card Policy


Formerly Business Policy Manual 505 – Allowable Expenses (revised 9/20/2016)


APSS Travel
One Card Procedure
GSA Per Diem Rates

Reviewed 2022-10-20