Grants Management Travel

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The Research Foundation of State University of New York Travel Policy governs the expenditure of travel funds from grant and contract awards. These policies are designed to ensure compliance with sponsor guidelines and the fulfillment of The Research Foundation's (RF) obligation under its contract with SUNY, and apply to all travel by RF employees or SUNY employees who are to be paid from any RF-administered award.

The Grants Management Office (GMO) must review all travel before committing. When GMO is not certain that a travel request from an externally sponsored program meets guidelines, it will be the responsibility of the director/principal investigator of the program to email the sponsor’s Program Officer for prior written approval. 

 

Travel

PRE-TRAVEL

Before traveling, forward to the Grants Management Office (GMO) via e-mail:


-Reference the The Research Foundation's Travel Handbook for more detail

-Lodging and meals are based on federal per diem rates

-A travel agent is available. Stovroff & Taylor Travel (STT) can assist with airfare bookings, train travel, lodging, and car rental. Contact GMO at ext. 5060 for information. All air travel must be on a U.S. Flag carrier - Fly America Act

-Car rental: Contract pricing is available. Prior approval and written justification are required. 

-Tax Exemption is available for RF business in the States of Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York,  Massachusetts, and Tennessee. Tax exemption forms are available by contacting GMO at ext. 5060. 

- Following is a list of common reimbursable expenses:  

  • car rental
  • airfare and/or train
  • airport parking   
  • lodging (per diem rate)
  • conference registration
  • luggage fees
  • public transportation (Uber, taxi, shuttle, etc.)
  • to/from airport personal mileage
  • toll

-Transportation expenses over $25 require receipts (except meals)

Travel reimbursement is based on the most cost-effective means: direct route, by common carrier, and with the best interest of the project in mind. For example, car rental vs. personal vehicle.

POST-TRAVEL

Expenses associated with the travel must be reconciled and substantiated within two weeks of the return date. The following documentation must be sent to GMO:

  • Completing the RF’s travel reconciliation worksheet
  • Scanning receipts and other supporting documentation into one pdf file (i.e., boarding passes, luggage receipts, Uber/taxi receipts, etc.) Meal receipts are not required for meal reimbursements.

At the discretion of the GMO, reasonable expenses may be reimbursed without receipts (e.g., in situations when a receipt could not be obtained or a receipt was lost). In such cases, the traveler must provide a signed, written explanation that includes the amount requested for reimbursement, type of expense, date, and reason why a receipt is not being presented.

Travel reimbursement is based on the most cost-effective means: direct route, by common carrier, and with the best interest of the project in mind. For example, car rental vs. personal vehicle.

TRAVEL ADVANCE

Travelers may request an advance for expenses they will incur on their Research Foundation-funded trip to minimize financial hardship. The travel advance can be requested by completing sections 1 and 2 on the Travel Payment Request Form.

 

Advances are calculated based upon:

 

  • 100% of anticipated common carrier expenses (airfare, bus, train). Contact GMO to utilize a contracted travel agent and car rental options.
  • 100% of pre-paid conference registration (attach receipt/invoice)
  • Up to 80% of other anticipated travel expenses (at the discretion of SUNY Geneseo’s Research Foundation Operations Manager)

Travel advances can be provided to Research Foundation or SUNY employees, and SUNY Geneseo students only. Consultants and independent contractors cannot receive travel advances.

 

The advance payment will be processed via the Research Foundation’s accounts payable system. Requests for a travel advance should be submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to departure.

 

Expenses associated with the travel must be reconciled and substantiated within two weeks of the return date by:

 

  • Completing the RF’s travel reconciliation worksheet; and 
  • Scanning receipts and other supporting documentation into one pdf file (i.e., boarding passes, luggage receipts, Uber/taxi receipts, etc.). 

The traveler must repay The Research Foundation for any advances in excess of the approved reimbursable expenses.

 

OFFICE TRAVEL STATUS

To be reimbursed for meals and lodging, a traveler must be in official travel status, i.e., at a distance greater than 35 miles from both the traveler's official station and place of residence. Travelers may be reimbursed for lodging and meals on weekends and holidays while in travel status.


Meal Eligibility

RECEIPTED LODGING (HOTELS, ETC.)

RECEIPTED LODGING

To be eligible for a full per diem, these two criteria must be met:

  • the traveler must be eligible for both a breakfast and dinner to receive the full per diem, and
  • the traveler must be in overnight travel status with a receipted hotel lodging receipt.

A per diem is not allowed when overnight lodging is at an official residence of the traveler.


For each day the traveler is in overnight status, 

-The traveler is eligible for reimbursement for lodging up to a maximum lodging per diem and a per diem for meals

-The meal per diem is for dinner the first night and breakfast the following day 

-Itemized receipts are required for lodging, but not for meals

-Allowance and reimbursement rates are determined by the city/county to which the traveler travels to accomplish the purpose of the trip

-No reimbursements are made for lunch

-The meal per diem is determined by the time of departure from the traveler’s official station or home and the time of return to the traveler's official station or home.  

-An overnight traveler is eligible for an additional per diem breakfast if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time the first day, and/or dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time on the last day of travel.  In these cases, breakfast and/or dinner will be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of the meal per diem allowance specified for the particular lodging area.

-Maximum lodging rates exclude taxes. For travel within New York State, travelers must provide a New York State Tax Exemption Certificate (ST-119) to the hotel.  For travel outside New York State, state and local taxes are NOT included in the maximum lodging rate and will be reimbursed in addition to the per diem amount. 

-When adjustments need to be made to the meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) portion of the per diem, they are made by using the New York State Policy of 20% for breakfast and 80% for dinner.

NON- RECEIPTED LODGING 

For non-receipted lodging, the traveler will receive a flat rate allowance for meals, lodging, and incidental expenses regardless of where lodging is obtained, including lodging with relatives and friends. 

Rates are established based on the city/county where lodging is obtained or the location to which the employee is traveling (whichever is less), and such location must be indicated on the reconciliation worksheet. No receipts are required when using this method.  Current rates are as follows:

Location

  Per Diem

New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and         
Westchester Counties

   $50

Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester,         
Syracuse and their respective surrounding 
metropolitan Areas

   $40

All other locations in New York State

   $35

Out of State (this includes any out-of-state tax)

   $50

Travelers using this method may also be eligible for an additional $5.00 for breakfast on the day of departure, if they leave at least one hour before their normal work start time. They may also be eligible for an additional $12.00 for dinner on the day of return if they return at least two hours later than their normal working time. 

DAY TRIPS

For non-overnight travel (day trips), an employee may claim the unreceipted meal allowance, (the rate in effect is $5.00 for breakfast and $12.00 for dinner) or actual expenses up to the federal maximum meal allowances with a receipt. Under most circumstances, the Internal Revenue Service considers this reimbursement taxable income. When claiming a meal allowance payment or reimbursement for nonovernight travel, use the Taxable Meal Payment Request and Authorization Form.


Transportation

CAR RENTAL vs. PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE
Car Rental

The Research Foundation has established agreements with National and Enterprise Rental Car companies. Rentals will be directly billed to GMO when and ONLY when the billing number is provided (please contact (585) 245-5060 for this information). Note that the Enterprise agreement incorporates Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) coverage, which is required for out-of-state travel.

The rental documents should clearly show that the vehicle is rented on behalf of the Research Foundation. This will eliminate any confusion regarding liability for coverage in the event of an insurance claim. 

Prior approval and written justification are required.

 

Personal Automobile

Personally-owned automobiles may be used for The Research Foundation (RF) business. However, it is the responsibility of the Grants Management Office to ensure that additional expense is not incurred by using personally owned automobiles when other transportation methods (e.g., train, plane, rental car, etc.) are appropriate and available.

Mileage, toll charges, and parking fees must be recorded on the Travel Reconciliation Worksheet

The IRS Standard Mileage Rate is $.67 effective January 1, 2024. 

Reference the RF's Travel Handbook, Personal Vehicles section, for further information on personal vehicles usage.

AIRFARE

Travelers are expected to use the lowest-priced available, appropriate, coach-class airfare. First class or other premium airfare may be used when no reasonable alternative is available.

  • In compliance with the Fly America Act, all travel on federally funded projects must be on a U.S. flag air carrier.
  • The cost of airplane tickets (including taxes) is reimbursable.
  • The cost of tolls, parking, and mileage related to airplane travel (e.g., travel to and from and parking at the airport) is reimbursable.
  • Luggage fees are reimbursable.
  • Nonrefundable airline tickets should not be charged to a sponsored program account if a trip is canceled. (According to federal regulations a cost can be charged to a project if there is a direct benefit to the project. If the trip is canceled, there is no benefit to the project, and the cost should be absorbed by the campus.
  • If in the future the project director wants to pay the airline transfer fee and use the ticket for another purpose benefiting the project, then the cost of the ticket plus the transfer fee can be charged to the sponsored project.

Airline Reservation Options:

Option 1:    A travel agent is available to assist with airfare bookings, train travel, lodging, and car rental. All air travel must be on a U.S. Flag carrier - Fly America Act. Contact GMO for details.

Option 2:  A traveler may purchase airline tickets via Expedia/Orbitz-type websites using a personal credit card, and receive reimbursement from the grant funds. Documentation of purchase must be provided. This would include a copy of the invoice and the traveler's bank or credit card statement reflecting the payment.

OTHER TRANSPORTATION

Public Transportation

Travelers may want to use public transportation for travel between their residence or official station. The official station as defined by The Research Foundation (RF) states, “The official station of an employee is the address of the office to which the employee is assigned.”

  • between their residence or official station and the local transportation terminal
  • from one transportation terminal to another transportation terminal
  • between the transportation terminal and lodging
  • between transportation terminal and work site (at destination)
  • between lodging and work site (at destination)

Travelers should use the most economical means of transportation whenever possible.

The cost of necessary taxi, shuttle, bus, or subway trips is reimbursable. 

Transportation Expense

Travel by train or bus should be by coach if the one-way distance is 200 miles or less. Rail travel over 200 miles one way may be first class. For first class, chair accommodations must be used during the day, and roomette accommodations may be used for overnight travel. Roomettes are economy accommodations that include a bunk and a sink.

  • The cost of the train or bus ticket is reimbursable.
  • The cost of tolls, parking, and mileage related to train or bus travel (e.g., travel to and from and parking at the station) is reimbursable.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Reference RF's Travel Handbook on International Travel, pages 30-32.

 

TAX EXEMPTION

RF expenses related to travel within New York State are exempt from state and local sales and use tax. Contact GMO for a copy of the RF's Tax Exempt Certification, Form ST-119.1. 

Reference: RF's Tax Exemption Status Policy

 

Contact Information

Office Location: Room 221, Erwin Hall
Office Hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

E-mail: rfgmo@geneseo.edu
Telephone: 585-245-5060