Chapter Five:  Fiscal Affairs

Procedure Title:  Travel Reimbursement
Based on:  Board Policies Nos. 3 and 7
Procedure Number:  5.04a
Date Adopted/Revised:  June 25, 2001; November 21, 2006; May 15, 2007; March 31, 2014; September 24, 2015

  1. The Department of Finance and Administration establishes the daily allowances for travel reimbursement for lodging and meals and the rate of reimbursement for mileage for the use of a private vehicle.

      1. The daily maximum allowable rates for both in-state and out-of-state travel is published by DF&A on the Federal Travel Directory at www.gsa.gov.

      2. The mileage reimbursement is set at a rate mandated by DF&A which is published on SouthArk’s website at www.southark.edu. It is updated as revisions are announced by DF&A.

  2. To be eligible for a full-day travel allowance, the employee must leave prior to 6:00 a.m. and be away from the College for a minimum of 24 hours.

  3. No reimbursement will be made for meals when overnight lodging is not required.

  4. Employees must submit receipts for:

      1. Lodging
      2. Registration Fees
      3. Gas
      4. Emergency repairs
      5. Tolls
      6. Car rentals
      7. Any common carrier
      8. Expenses for Non-State employees
  5. A traveler may not request reimbursement for:

      1. Personal entertainment
      2. Valet Service
      3. Flowers
      4. Laundry
      5. Cleaning
      6. Alcoholic Beverages
  6. Reimbursement may only be claimed for actual expenses for meals and lodging as mandated by DF&A.

      1. The maximum reimbursement may be claimed only if actual expenditures for meals and lodging exceed the daily maximum allowed.

      2. Sales tax may be claimed with meals and lodging actual expenditures, not to exceed daily maximum allowed.

  7. State travel regulations allow the head of an institution to waive the maximum reimbursement limit by writing a justification to support each exception.

      1. The President must approve the individual’s Travel Authorization to allow him/her to exceed the maximum allowed for lodging reimbursement.

          1. The full cost of lodging will be allowed if the traveler stays in the hotel or recommended overflow hotel where the meeting or convention is being held and requests the least expensive room available.
          2. Copies of requests for housing should be kept and submitted with requests for reimbursement.
          3. If a hotel is not designated as a convention hotel, the traveler should seek a hotel in a cost efficient manner.
          4. If the lodging exceeds the daily maximum, the President must approve the lodging cost before the trip is taken.
      2. The guidelines below will be followed in determining the amount of expenditures allowed for lodging when a waiver is granted.

  8. The maximum that an employee may request in reimbursement for meals taken within the state and in border cities will be set by the state and may be claimed only if the expense of meals has actually been incurred.

      1. The maximum daily allowable for meals and lodging is published by DF&A in the Federal Travel Directory at www.gsa.gov under the Per Diem tab. The Federal Travel Directory includes an incidental expense which is not allowed by the state.

      2. The Business Office Travel Supervisor can provide travelers with meal and lodging allowances for both in-state and out of state travel.  Travelers can locate the rates at gsa.gov on the federal per diem website.

  9. The state travel regulations require that request for reimbursement for meals when all three meals are not taken during a travel day are “reasonable and proportionate.”

      1. The College will allow some flexibility by defining “reasonable and proportionate” as not exceeding 35 percent of the total daily allowance for breakfast, 35 percent for lunch, and 60 percent for dinner.

      2. The Department of Finance and Administration does not allow the President to write waivers that allow travelers to exceed the daily meal allowance amounts.

  10. Usually, the individual may only claim travel reimbursement for himself or herself.

      1. Persons traveling with students or other guest of the State should discuss travel plans with the Chief Fiscal Officer prior to travel in order to assure reimbursement.

      2. Travel regulations do not allow reimbursement for family members who travel with an employee, therefore a single rate should be secured from the hotel when family members accompany the traveler.

      3. All motel receipts must be in the traveler’s name.

      4. Employees may share a room and divide the lodging costs to reduce travel expenses.

  11. The preferred manner of ground transportation is utilizing a SouthArk fleet vehicle, which requires no personal reimbursement. College employees, not using a College fleet vehicle, may either use their own vehicle or a rental vehicle thru a rental agency. As soon as a trip is planned, a trip optimizer should be utilized to determine the most economical mode of travel (for the College) between renting a vehicle or using a personal vehicle. Travelers not using the State contracted agency will be reimbursed at the State contract rates. The amount of reimbursement for the use of a personal vehicle will be determined by the shortest major highway route as shown by an official Arkansas highway map for Arkansas travel or other maps for out-of-state travel. An official Trip Optimizer form must be completed and submitted with the reimbursement form if requesting a personal reimbursement. The employee using their own vehicle will only be reimbursed the lesser of the cost of the rental vehicle or the personal vehicle reimbursement amount as determined by the trip optimizer.

      1. Vicinity mileage may be claimed, but it must be listed separately on the TR-1 form.

      2. The College will not be responsible for the following items when private vehicles are used:

          1. Fines
          2. Parking Tickets
          3. Other costs involved in any law violations
      3. Travelers using private vehicles are responsible for:

          1. Gasoline Purchases
          2. Repairs
          3. Maintenance
  12. The Office of Risk Management requires that all traffic violations while on College business be reported to the President.

  13. When airline travel is required, the traveler must utilize coach accommodations and should attempt to utilize discount air fares.

      1. The individual will make travel arrangements and purchase tickets. If he/she wishes that these charges be billed directly to the College or charged to the College’s credit card, he/she must enter a purchase order through the DPS program for the charges being made.

      2. Individuals may make their travel arrangements only after having their travel approved.

      3. To be reimbursed for travel, the traveler must complete a TR-1 form supported by receipts and submit it to the Business Office Travel Supervisor.

      4. The Official Station for any traveler who lives in El Dorado will be El Dorado.

      5. Travelers who live outside El Dorado should contact the Business Office to determine the Official Station to be listed since special travel regulations apply.

  14. All reimbursements for a fiscal year should be submitted no later than June 15.  Any travel between June 15 and June 30 should be submitted within 48 hours after return to work.  No reimbursement of travel will be processed after July 5 of the New Year for the previous fiscal year.

  15. Each traveler, regardless of whether they are requesting reimbursement or traveling with another employee, should have their own individual travel authorization submitted and approved prior to departure.
  16. Between campuses, in town, local vicinity travel or clinical travel should have an approved travel authorization in order to claim reimbursement.  If this is done on a routine basis, a blanket travel request by month, semester or year can be considered.

  17. A travel authorization is required prior to travel to be considered for reimbursement.  In no case, should a traveler leave their workplace without an official approval by the travel administrator before departure.  Entry of a requisition does not constitute approval.