Policy - Travel
Request to Travel
The following travel policy, which includes most of the provisions of the State Travel Regulations, are applicable to all members of the University of Arkansas staff, students, and official guests.
A Travel Authorization MUST be created in BASIS before an electronic Travel Claim may be submitted for reimbursement
Prior to traveling, a Travel Authorization should be entered in BASIS and approved by required cost center managers, with the Travel Office being the final approver. In those instances where prior approval was not received, a justification explaining why prior approval was not received should be included with the Travel Authorization when submitted.
Travel Card - TCard
Travel Cards (TCards) are for business use only!
Travel Cards issued by US Bank are special VISA credit cards. They work similarly to your personal credit cards, except the charges are billed directly to the University and paid by the University Business Office. The U of A supports two types of cards:
- Administrative Travel Card
- Traveler Travel Card
See TCard site for more information.
Claims for travel reimbursement will be allowed only for actual expenses incurred within the limits and restrictions of these regulations. Reimbursements are NOT at per diem. Except as otherwise noted herein, all claims for travel reimbursement must be made by the traveler, and payment will be approved only upon the basis of personal reimbursement, unless otherwise approved by the Travel Office. Travel reimbursements will be processed online via BASIS utilizing the TC function. For further information go to travel website and click on the link that says “Guide to Processing a Travel Claim”.
Travel Administrators & Travel Supervisors
As required by the State Travel Regulations, the following DESKS have been designated as Travel Administrators for the University of Arkansas, with the exception of the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI), who has been given authority to process their own travel, and who has their own travel administrator designated by CJI. The employees who occupy these desks in the BASIS system will sign and/or approve travel requests and claims for the University of Arkansas. The individuals who occupy these ‘desks’ are employed within the Travel Office at the University of Arkansas.
Travel Administrator responsibilities include:
- Examination and approval of a traveler’s request to travel.
- Examination of a traveler’s Statement of Traveling Expenses after the trip.
- Authorizing Special Travel situations.
- Cognizant of University Travel Policies.
- Examination and approval of a traveler’s request to travel
- Examination of a traveler’s Travel Claim after the trip
- Authorizing Special Travel situations
- Cognizant of University and State Travel Policies and Requlations
For the purpose of these regulations, the travel day commences at 6:30 am, and includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a full day of travel. Although the Travel Office does not require meal receipts, your department may still require them to be attached to the Travel Claim.
When traveling by either privately owned automobile or a state owned vehicle, reimbursement for meals and lodging while en route to and from your destination shall be limited to actual expenditures. Total reimbursement for both travel and room and board shall always be based on the most economical means of travel.
Meals with an Overnight Stay
The maximum full day meal allowance will be the Federal-per-Diem rate. The Federal per-Diem rate includes tax and up to 15% tip). The traveler is only eligible for 75% of the daily allowance for meals on the first and last day of travel. The breakdown for breakfast, lunch and dinner shall be calculated at a 25% breakfast, 25% lunch, and 50% dinner. Tips are allowable on meals not to exceed 15% unless a student group event, in which case the maximum tip is 20%. The Federal-per-Diem rates are located on the TDMM table in BASIS or by accessing the Federal-per-Diem site. When travel is overnight, reimbursement of meals en route and from the employee's original station will be subject to the following rules:
- Breakfast may be claimed if the employee leaves their official station prior to 6:30 am.
- Lunch may be claimed if the employee leaves their official station prior to 11:30 am, and when returning to home station if he/she arrives by 12:30 pm.
- Dinner may be claimed if the employee leaves their official station prior to 5:00 pm; and when returning, they arrive by 6:30 pm. Claims shall not exceed the maximum daily allowance plus applicable sales tax. Reimbursement is to be claimed for actual expenses incurred. MAXIMUM MUST NOT BE CLAIMED unless expenditures were actually made.
- Note: regardless of time in transit only 75% of the daily allowance may be claimed for meals on the first and last day of travel.
Meals without an Overnight Stay
Reimbursement for meals is not normally allowed while in travel status WITHOUT overnight stay, whether instate or out of state. Under a ‘special authorization’ meals may be reimbursed if clear justification is provided showing economic benefit to the State (e.g. a long travel day where traveler returns home for the night rather than incurring overnight lodging expenses). Written justification must be included with the Travel Claim either by attaching a written justification (see forms), or by entering text in the text field of the TC function.
The following conditions must exist
- One must travel to a destination of at least 200 miles from his/her official station and be in a travel status for at least ten hours to qualify. (mileage is roundtrip)
- Claims shall not exceed the maximum daily allowance plus applicable sales tax. Reimbursement is limited to a maximum of 75% of the daily allowance and may be less depending upon the time in transit. Reimbursement is to be claimed for actual expenses incurred. MAXIMUM MUST NOT BE CLAIMED unless expenditures were actually made.
- The time of actual travel status must fall within these parameters:
- Breakfast may be claimed if the traveler must leave official station prior to 6:30am
- Lunch may be claimed if the traveler must leave official station prior to 11:30 am, and when returning to official station after 12:30 pm
- Dinner may be claimed if the traveler must leave official station prior to 5:00 pm, and when returning to official station after 6:30 pm
Guide to Reimbursing Tips
Effective August 1, 2007 the State of Arkansas will begin allowing reimbursement of tips on meals. This revised regulation is for meals when traveling and will also include meals that fall under the ‘Official Function’ Policy. Please note that any events that took place prior to August 1 will be reimbursed using the old regulation. The following guidelines must be adhered to when claiming reimbursement:
Reimbursement for Meals While on Travel Status:
- The revised regulation is very specific in that the tip for meals may not exceed 15%.
- You are still limited to the Federal Per Diem Rate allowable. This amount is to include your meals and the tip. For example: A full day of meals in Dallas, TX is $59.00 plus applicable sales tax. This will still be the maximum allowable, but now you can legitimately include your tip as part of the expense.
- If you are processing a ‘group’ trip where you are providing itemized meal receipts for the entire group (this will be mainly student functions such as athletic team events or other student oriented trips) you will not be limited to a 15% tip as tips have already been addressed within the Travel Regulations as an acceptable reimbursement without the 15% constraint.
- Although the state does not require meal receipts to be submitted when traveling, unless group meals, if your department requires receipts you are to adhere to that policy.
Reimbursement for Meals that fall under the Official Function Policy (Not on Travel Status):
This is in reference to meals being reimbursed primarily through the Purchasing Office unless you are an employee who has a Traveler TCard through the Travel Office.
- When asking for reimbursement for meals that fall under the Official Function Policy of the U of A, an itemized meal receipt is always required. Any gratuity, regardless of description, shall not exceed 20% of the total bill without authorization and approval by the Agency Procurement Officer, Business Manager, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs, or Travel Manager. An explanation of why the increased amount should be allowed must be included for consideration of an exception.
Reimbursement for lodging is limited to the single room rate, plus applicable taxes. If a safe is in the room, the cost of the safe, if applicable, may be included with the hotel amount.
If more than one person occupies a room, the single room rate must be noted on the receipt. If the room rate is the same regardless of number of people in room, then this to must be noted.
The maximum allowance, without Special Authorization will be limited to the Federal-per-Diem rate depending on the location for the entire trip.
Travel may be achieved by plane, train, bus, taxi, private vehicle/aircraft, rented or state-owned automobile; whichever method serves the requirements of the University most economically and advantageously.
If choosing to drive rather than fly, the University of Arkansas will reimburse at the lower rate, of flying verses driving. Each situation must be analyzed separately due to other issues; including, but not limited to, parking, car rental, additional hotel stay, etc.
Travel by commercial air shall utilize coach class non-refundable accommodations. Tickets should be purchased at least 14 days in advance when possible. Airline tickets purchased less than 14 days in advance require additional justification on the travel claim and are subject to approval by the designated approver in the Travel Office. No business or first class tickets may be purchased unless an approved exception is on file with the Travel Office. The purchased of travel insurance is not allowed unless documented exception is on file with the Travel Office.
When purchasing an airline ticket you have the following options for purchase:
• Personal Funds
If using a TCard, the traveler has the option of purchasing an airline ticket from any travel agency or reputable online booking agency such as Expedia, QualityAgent, Travelocity, etc.
If purchasing ticket with personal funds you have the same purchasing options as the TCard, but you will not receive reimbursement until after you return from the trip.
Individuals whose travel is supported by federal funds should follow the guidance provided in the Fly America Act, in regards to using American flag carrier airlines.
Reimbursement of bag fees is limited to one bag per trip unless documentation is made regarding the necessity of additional bags.
The cost of preferred seating should not be selected by travelers unless no other seating is available, and must be justified in writing with the reimbursement request.
Privately Owned Aircraft
When a privately owned aircraft is used for travel on University business, the rate of reimbursement will be the rate as established by the Chief Fiscal Officer of the State. This rate is currently .52 cents per nautical mile. Please see Fayetteville Policy and Procedure 332.1 for mandatory requirements for approval of privately owned airfcraft.
When it is necessary for employees to charter a plane, the total cost is reimbursable. If, however, the plane was chartered only for the personal convenience of employees, reimbursement shall be limited to the cost of airfare for a "scheduled" airline flight to the same location.
If a private vehicle is used, mileage shall be reimbursed and computed using map mileage. Mileage shall be computed from the traveler’s official station or residence; whichever is less, to the destination. Reimbursement will be the rate as established by the Chief Fiscal Officer of the State. This rate is currently .42 cents per mile.
There are several tools available for use in determining official miles. If traveling from Fayetteville you may access the TDMM table in BASIS. You may also use http://www.mapquest.com/ for mapping trips from Fayetteville and other areas.
The University will reimburse for official miles driven only. The University assumes no responsibility for any maintenance, insurance, operational costs, accidents, or fines incurred by the owner of the vehicle while on official business for the University.
Individuals driving their own private vehicles on University business are entitled to vicinity mileage reimbursement. This amount must be listed separately from ‘official’ mileage. If traveling from Fayetteville to Northwest Regional Airport (XNA) a traveler is entitled to 35 miles each direction, for a total of 70 miles to be reimbursed. Individuals driving from Little Rock to the Little Rock Airport are allowed 10 miles each direction, for a total of 20 miles to be reimbursed.
When renting vehicles within the State of Arkansas and where available within the United States, the mandatory Enterprise rental car contract must be utilized unless a documented exception is noted. Acceptable exceptions include the type/size of vehicle not available or an Enterprise location or not available at destination for rental.
If renting a vehicle within the State of Arkansas, the adminsitrative t-card, traveler t-card or University purchase order may be used. If renting a vehicle while out of state, then the traveler is to rent vehicle with either personal funds and claim reimbursement on Travel Claim upon return of trip or use the traveler t-card if available.
For car rental use within the United States of America, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, and Canada, the optional collision Damage Waiver (Loss Damage Waiver) offered by car rental companies should be declined since the University’s Business Auto Insurance provides this coverage. The University will not reimburse an employee for the cost of CDW or any other optional insurance offered by the car rental company UNLESS the car will be operated in a foreign country. The Enterprise rental car contract also provides insurance coverage, see the car rental section for details.
When renting a vehicle, you should take a copy of the U of A insurance carrier information with you. Renting Vehicles for University Business
IMPORTANT: When renting a vehicle, always pay special attention to the ‘walk around’ prior to renting the vehicle, which will identify any dents, etc. that may already be on the vehicle. If renting an SUV, van, or other large vehicle, make sure you inspect the top of the vehicle prior to renting in order to identify any imperfections.
Fuel cards (gasoline credit cards) are available for use when using either a rental or University vehicle. Fuel cards should NEVER be used in a private vehicle. Benefits of using the Fuel card is ease of use, no out of pocket expenses, lower gasoline prices, and the Federal excise tax is removed automatically. If your deptartment. does not currently have a Fuel card you may contact the Office of Business Affairs at 575-2551 for further information on requesting a card.
The University of Arkansas has contracts with several travel agencies and requires the use of one of those agencies if a university purchase order is going to be used. When purchasing tickets from a contracted agency, a purchase order number is required before the ticket is issued. In other words, the flight can be booked, but the ticket will not be issue or guaranteed at a particular price until the purchase order number is received.
All departments should be utilizing the Administrative Travel Card whenever possible. When the TCard is used, you have the option of using any reputable travel agency or online booking tool. Complete information regarding the TCard program may be found at The T Card page
If the traveler uses personal funds, tickets may be purchased from any travel agency or online booking tool. Reimbursement will be made to the traveler once the trip has been taken.
Miscellaneous Travel Expenses
All miscellaneous expenses incurred in connection with travel reimbursement requests must be clearly identified and explained in detail on the travel expense statement.
Storage, Handling and Transporting Baggage, and Business Articles
Charges incurred in storing, handling, and transporting items used in connection with an employee's official travel and standard charges for handling baggage other than "personal" may be reimbursed. Reimbursement of bag fees is limited to one bag per trip unless documentation is made regarding the necessity of additional bags. Exception is approved by the Travel Office.
Cost of registration at conventions and meetings is an allowable item of expense when supported by a receipt, canceled check, or organization notice of meetings, which states the amount. When a registration fee payment includes the cost of such items as meals and lodging, the traveler must not claim the same items separately.
Registration fees should be paid on a University Purchase Order or Administrative TCard. A copy of the Registration form MUST be submitted to the Travel Office before the Purchase Order will be sent to the vendor. When the TCard is used for the purchase, a copy of the registration form must be sent to the Travel Office once the charge has been approved in BASIS.
The cost of preferred seating for airline tickets should not be selected by travelers unless no other seating is available, and must be justified in writing with the reimbursement request.
Parking Fees and Toll Charges
Parking fees and toll charges for private, rental, or University owned vehicles are reimbursable and may be claimed on the Statement of Travel Expense, with appropriate receipts attached.
Taxi charges may be claimed on the Statement of Travel Expense. Receipts are required for taxi charges over $25.00.
Expenses of Non-University Employees & Official Guests
When a Non-University employee, official guest or job applicant travels on behalf of the University, he shall be allowed reimbursement for "actual expense" for meals, lodging, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses when submitted on a Statement of Travel Expense Form.
It is the responsibility of each department to ensure these individuals are not being reimbursed from any other source for their travel expenses. Federal employees who travel for the University shall be regarded as a University employee and shall be reimbursed as such. The Statement of Travel Claim should show that this employee is on the payroll of the Federal Government and assigned to the University. Alcoholic beverages are NOT allowed.
If your department utilizes the services of volunteer workers who perform duties similar to University employees, they are subject to the same rules and regulations governing University employees. Unless specifically related to employment recruitment, or being part of the University of Arkansas official party at an event, reimbursement for spouse’s expenses will not be allowable.
Receipts are required for the following items when requesting reimbursement:
- Lodging (itemized receipt). A credit card receipt is not acceptable.
- Commercial Airfare (include a copy of complete itinerary showing passenger name along with ticket stub.)
- Registration Fee
- Car Rental
- Taxi (when cost exceeds $25)
- Misc. items purchased while on travel status. (Example: film, ice, hardware, etc. Also detailed explanation of why these misc. items had to be purchased.)
- Communication expenses
Expenses Not Allowed & Other Restrictions
- No reimbursement will be allowed to any traveler for personal entertainment, valet services, tips, flowers, alcoholic beverages, personal telephone calls, traveler's check service charges, laundry or cleaning, printing items, or any other items not considered to be official business expenses unless specifically authorized by the Travel Office and documented.
- No expenses for meals or lodging will be allowed within the city or town of the employee's "Official Station"(unless specifically authoried by Travel Office and Department).
- All claims for travel by employee must be made out by the traveler and payment will be made only to the traveler. One employee may not include in his travel expense statement the expenses of another employee traveling in his company.
- Payment will not be approved for claims made out in the name of a hotel or any claimant other than the traveling University employee.
- No expenses will be allowed for rental of space, entertainment, or other arrangements in connection with banquets held solely for the benefit of employees.
- Reimbursement may not be claimed for meals if the U of A paid an additional amount for a meal (s) on the registration. When meals are included as part of the registration (at no additional cost), if any of those meals are eaten, then that meal should not be claimed on the Travel Claim.
- In cases where a traveler travels to a destination where the intended activities require extensive travel, a car may be rented. Trips involving the need for transportation to and from the airport and/or to and from place of lodging do not justify "car rental." “It is the responsibility of each department to authorize the mode of transportation most economical before travel occurs. If alternatives such as "taxi" are more economical due to the limited number of miles to be traveled, then that should be authorized.
Procedures for Entering a Travel Authorization see the Travel Quick Reference
Special Travel Authorization for Lodging
If an employee or student has not originally requested a ‘Special’ on the Travel Authorization for lodging, and they exceeded the Federal-per-Diem Rate, for the entire trip, a ‘Special Code’ may be selected when processing the Travel Claim.
- Please refer to Academic Policy 1835. All faculty and staff traveling outside of the United States on a U of A related activity are required to register their travel at http://studyabroad.uark.edu/employeetravel/ before they initiate a request for travel authorization. All students must be approved through the Office of Study Abroad for any university related travel outside of the U.S. and no university funding may be committed prior to that approval. http://studyabroad.uark.edu/independentstudenttravel/
- Individuals whose travel is supported by federal funds should follow the guidance provided in the Fly America Act, in regards to using American flag carrier airlines.
Please see the Division of Student Affairs Office of Student Activities site for required information for Student travel. Click here to view important requirements.
See Below for Policy Information:
Travel advances are initiated through the on-line BASIS Travel Authorization system. See the Travel Quick Reference for additional information on use of the BASIS Travel System.
- Travel Advances are allowed for the following:
- Anticipated meals and lodging costs of the authorized traveler within the limits allowed by State Regulations. Travel advance for lodging will be limited to those employees who do not have access to the Traveler T-card. A Traveler T-card should be used for lodging unless it is impractical to issue a card.
- Anticipated mileage expense when an individual is required to use their personal vehicle for official travel at the rate provided by law.
- Anticipated taxi fares.
- Travel Advances for employees traveling instate or out-of-state are limited to 50% of allowable estimated reimbursables.
- Travel Advances for employees on foreign travel status are limited to 75% of allowable estimated reimbursables.
- Travel Advances for students are limited to 90% of allowable estimated reimbursables. Student travel must comply with University Travel regulations.
- Travel Advances for ‘group’ trips may be advanced up to 100% of the allowable anticipated reimbursables.
When time allows, Travel Advance payments – checks will be mailed to the traveler's campus address – will be generated:
- 7 days prior to the day of departure (as indicated on the TA) for regular travel,
- 14 days prior to the day of departure (as indicated on the TA) for foreign travel, and
- 21 days prior to the day of departure (as indicated on the TA) for foreign group travel.
If the day of departure (as indicated on the TA) is less than 7 days, the Travel Advance check must be picked up in the Treasurer’s Office. The system creates the AP record with a handling code of H (Hold for pick up).
It is necessary for each traveler to complete and sign a travel advance promissory note at the time of securing their first travel advance from the BASIS system, requiring that the first advance be picked up from the Treasurer's Office.
To comply with Governor's Policy Directive No. 6, all advances must be settled within thirty (30) days of return from the trip. University policy is that a Travel Claim should be submitted within five (5) working days after return. The advance will be netted out against expenses with any balance immediately paid to, or due from the traveler. Failure to settle a travel advance balance due within 30 days will result in a payroll deduction. Settlement by payroll deduction is considered collection of last resort and will result in loss of travel advance privileges.
Employee Travel Accident Insurance
The University provides a group accident insurance policy to cover all active employees and directors of the University while on the business of the University during a bona fide trip. This policy provides coverage of $100,000 for Loss of Life and up to $100,000 for Loss of Limb, Sight, Hearing or Speech. The policy will pay double if loss was incurred while wearing a seat belt or lap and shoulder restraint while operating or riding as a passenger in any private passenger motor vehicle designed for use primarily on public roads.
At age 70, the amount of the benefit is reduced based on age at Date of Loss.
This insurance coverage is in addition to the Travel Accident Insurance provided by the University's "contracted" travel agency when purchasing an airline ticket through this agency.
Business Auto Insurance
The University's Business Auto Insurance Policy provides up to a combined single limit coverage for Bodily Injury and Property Damage liability losses of $1,000,000 for any automobile; medical payments of $5,000 per person; and comprehensive and collision coverage for specified fleet autos and for hired autos. The comprehensive and collision deductible is $500 per occurrence for specific University vehicles. The comprehensive deductible for hired (rental) autos is $100 and the collision deductible is $500. The rental coverage only applies to autos rented for official business use. The University of Arkansas should be shown as the renter in addition to the employee, if possible. Employees keeping a rented car for personal use after the business portion of a trip is completed are responsible for the vehicle and their liability for the personal use portion. They should arrange or verify their own insurance coverage for such use accordingly.
The University's Business Auto Insurance covers accidents or losses, which occur in the United States of America, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico and Canada. Should you rent or operate a car in a country not covered by the University's insurance, an employee should purchase whatever insurance is needed to adequately cover damages or liability. The cost of such coverage will be reimbursed if the cost is within the maximum limits of an employee's travel authorization.
Employees using their personally owned vehicle for University business travel must carry at least the minimum limit of auto liability insurance as is required by law.
For car rental use within the United States of America, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico and Canada, the optional Collision Damage Waiver (Loss Damage Waiver) offered by car rental companies should be declined by employees, since the University's Business Auto Insurance provides this coverage. The University will not reimburse an employee for the cost of CDW or any other optional insurance offered by the car rental company unless the car will be operated in a foreign country.
Student Travel Accident Insurance Policy
Risk Management provides an insurance policy for University departments to use (at their option) in providing travel accident insurance for students traveling on University sponsored/supervised trips. Departments wishing to insure students traveling under this policy should send or fax a memorandum showing the dates of the trip, the number of students traveling (preferably the name of each student) and a cost center to charge for the premium. This information should be sent no later than immediately after the trip begins (preferably before).
Insurance provides up to $2,500.00 for Medical/Dental expenses with a deductible of $25.00 and a $10,000.00 maximum amount for Loss of Life, Limb or Sight for each insured. The Aggregate Limit per any one accident is $500,000.00. Coverage begins at the actual start of the trip from the original point of departure and will end when the insured arrives at the return destination point. The policy is with Trustmark Insurance Company (a member company of the National Accident Insurance Group).
Accidents and Insurance Questions
Reports of any travel related accident and any questions regarding insurance coverage should be directed to
the Department of Risk Management & Insurance, ADMN 321, Phone 575-5314, Fax 575-3128.
All accidents must be reported without delay so that claims can be handled as promptly as possible.
Processing the Travel Claim upon Return
In order for an individual to obtain reimbursement of authorized travel expenses, a Travel Claim must be entered in the BASIS system and submitted for approval. A complete How To guide for processing Travel Claims may be found at Travel website , click on the link that says “Guide when traveling for the U of A”.