Policies and Procedures
Policy 1310 – Transportation Expenses
September 1, 2005
April 2, 2015
June 24, 2013
Director of Systems and Operations
Systems and Operations
University faculty, staff and students may be reimbursed for transportation expenses incurred while traveling on University business. Excess costs, indirect routes, and services unnecessary, unjustified, or for the convenience or personal preference of the employee in the performance of official University business are prohibited. Official University business occurs when the employee or other person is traveling to attend approved job-related training, work on behalf of, officially represent, or provide a service upon the University’s request. Travel that would not directly benefit the University will not be reimbursed.
Transportation by private vehicle
Actual mileage is reimbursable. Mileage is measured from the closer of either the duty station or point of departure to destination (and return). The business standard mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service (57.5 cents per mile effective Jan. 1, 2015) will be paid. Parking fees, tolls, and storage fees are reimbursable when the required receipts are obtained. A University employee may be reimbursed the business standard mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service when using their personal vehicles for University business when the round trip does not exceed 100 miles or when a state-owned vehicle is not available. However, if a University employee chooses to use a personal vehicle when a state-owned vehicle is available, reimbursement will be at the motor fleet rate for mileage of 30 cents per mile (effective July 1, 2011). At the employee's destination, a State car may be used prudently for travel to obtain meals, but may not be used for private purposes or for entertainment while off-duty. No common carrier or public transportation fares are reimbursable on a trip on which an employee uses a State car, unless it is shown that such transportation was more economical in a particular situation.
Rental vehicles may be used; however, rental vehicles are not to be used at University expense solely for the convenience or personal preference of the employee. A receipt is necessary for reimbursement. Travelers are encouraged to use one of the agencies on State contract when acquiring a rental car.
Transportation by air
Travelers on University business are encouraged to use commercial air transportation if possible. Travel in “coach” is recommended. First class or business class airfare is allowed in the following circumstances:
1) Domestic travel by business or first class is permitted if the traveler is accompanying a major donor or dignitary who is traveling by business or first class and if the funding source of the travel is an allowable funding source.
2) International travel by business class is allowable if the length of a non-stop segment is at least 8 hours in duration.
3) Other international travel by business class is allowable if the facts and circumstances of the travel warrant it.
4) The first class or business class airfare for senior University administrators must be approved in advance by the appropriate individual as described in Policy 1303 and by the department head for other University employees and substantiated by written documentation.
Reimbursement for travel between the employee's duty station and the nearest airline terminal and for appropriate parking may be made by using either a car service (one round-trip fare), a taxi (one round-trip fare), or by private car (two round trips each at the statutory rate with no parking charge, or one round trip with parking charges). Reimbursement for travel to and from the airline terminal at the employee's destination may be made for car service, bus, commuter train, subway or taxi with appropriate receipts.
Employees traveling by common carrier to conduct official University business, who travel to their destination earlier than necessary and/or delay their return to avail the University of reduced transportation rates, may be reimbursed subsistence if, in the opinion of the department head, the amount saved in transportation costs due to the early and/or delayed travel is greater than the amount expended in salary and additional subsistence. Prior written approval of the department head is required.
Requests for travel on non-commercial aircraft may be proposed for approval based on the circumstances of the trip. Non-commercial aircraft includes the following forms of travel:
1) Travel by a senior University administrator or other University employee on a Medical Air Operations plane is permitted, but is subject to the Medical Air Operations Use Policy, related NC AHEC policies and this policy. In addition travel on a Medical Air Operations plane should not be used in any instance that would involve “deadhead” miles. Approval is required in the same manner as transportation by other means.
2) Travel by a senior University administrator or other University employee on a donor-owned plane does not require pre-approval under these policies; however, such travel shall be reported for information only to the individual responsible for approving the senior University administrator’s or other University employee’s travel.
3) Travel by a senior university administrator or other University employee by private charter is strongly discouraged but may be proposed for prior approval in unusual circumstances. At a minimum, documentation shall include confirmation that a commercial flight is not available or not appropriate for the size of the party traveling or the destination airport, the use of a charter flight is more economical than a commercial flight, and the use of a charter flight is necessary because of unusual travel circumstances. Approval by the Chancellor or the person designated to do so by the Chancellor is required.
Transportation by other means
University business travelers may be reimbursed for traveling by train at the “coach” fare. The actual cost of Pullman fare is reimbursable when overnight travel is required. The individual must provide justification showing the travel by train was the least expensive method of transportation.
The actual cost of taxi and car service fares is reimbursable when required for travel on University business. Receipts are required when one-way trips exceed $20.00.
Requests for reimbursement of taxi fares should identify each trip by point of origin, destination, and purpose. Taxi fares are not reimbursable for intra-city transportation, except in emergencies when no less expensive mode of transportation is available within a reasonable period.
No common carrier or public transportation fares are reimbursable on a trip on which an employee uses a state-owned vehicle, unless it is shown that such transportation was more economical in a particular situation.
Reason for Policy
This policy is to ensure compliance with State travel regulations.
Reimbursement may not be made for commuting between an employee's point of departure and his duty station.
Penalties and charges resulting from the cancellation of airline reservations (or other travel reservations) shall 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 of and for the convenience of the department. If the 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 critical circumstance beyond the control of the employee, the department will be obligated to pay the penalties and charges.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I am attending a conference in Wilmington and wish to take my family. I prefer to drive my personal car since my wife cannot drive the state vehicle. May I be reimbursed at the higher mileage rate?
A: No. Driving your personal car is a personal choice for your convenience so you will be reimbursed only 30 cents per mile.
Q: I have a medical condition that causes me extreme discomfort when I sit for long periods. May I be reimbursed for “first class” air fare?
A: Yes, if you provide a doctor’s note to your dean, director or department head for approval prior to booking your airfare.
Q: I prefer to get a rental car at the airport to drive to my hotel which is also the conference site. Having the rental car will allow me to get out at night and take meals away from the hotel. Will I be reimbursed for the rental car expense?
A: A reimbursement for rental car expenses will be not made to anyone whose lodging receipt indicates the person roomed at the same hotel in which the conference was being held. A reimbursement will not be made without written justification to explain the benefit the University derived from the rental of a car.
Q: I rented a car for my business trip and the agency added insurance. Why is this not reimbursable?
A: As a University employee you are covered by the State’s master policy. Additional insurance costs are strictly prohibited by state regulation.
State of North Carolina Budget Manual, Section 5
Policy 1402 - Insurance for Rental Vehicles
NC Department of Administration Term Contracts for Rental Car
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April 2, 2015: Clarified point of departure in Travel by Personal Vehicle and Special Situations section.
January 8, 2014: Updated mileage reimbursement rate.
January 9, 2014: Updated mileage reimbursement rate.
May 1, 2013: Added information to Transportation by Air section and Special Situations for senior University officials.
January 4, 2013: Updated allowed mileage rate.
July 1, 2011: Rate change.
June 6, 2011