Out-of-State Travel Policy

POLICY TITLE: OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL POLICY

POLICY NUMBER: 7.14.2

POLICY SECTION: 7.14 Travel

REVISED: July 19, 2018


 

A. BACKGROUND:

The Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) follows State of Rhode Island guidelines for out-of-state travel for business purposes. These guidelines are published in Rl Department of Administration Procedure A-22 and adapted to higher education in accordance with A-22 3.A.5.a.

 

B. POLICY STATEMENT:

  • Travel costs are necessary expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence (meals), and related items incurred by CCRI employees and other, properly authorized, individuals, traveling on official college business.
  • All travelers are expected to exercise prudent responsibility when committing CCRI funds. Travel on business should be conducted at minimum cost for achieving the success of the mission. The traveler is expected to exercise the same care in incurring travel expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling at his/her own expense.
  • Travelers must follow prescribed procedures for the authorization, documentation, and reimbursement of travel expenses. Unauthorized travel expenses will not be reimbursed.

 

C. PROCEDURES:

      1. General - All out-of-state travel arrangements will be made utilizing the most economical means. State guidelines require all travelers to use the authorized statewide travel agency to arrange all requirements for air travel, surface transportation, and lodging. However, in some circumstances, the traveler may be able to make their travel arrangements using another method other than through the statewide travel agency. The traveler must show that the statewide travel agency could not meet the lower price. When the travel agency imposes its administrative fees, the traveler shall consider this portion part of the comparable quote. CCRI will only reimburse the traveler when proof of a less expensive travel arrangement has been made. The traveler must attach a copy of the approved travel agency's proposal of the travel (cost) with an explanation on how the traveler made arrangements using a less expensive way of travel for the same itinerary. Exception: For conferences that offer discounted group or block room rates, the statewide travel agency cannot be used.  In such cases, comparative quotes are not required for the hotel room.
      2. Out-of-State Travel Request Form - Prior to making any travel arrangements the Travel Request Form, with supporting estimates of travel costs (estimates may be obtained from the statewide travel agency), must be approved by all appropriate supervisors, by the responsible Vice President or designee, Faculty Travel Committee (Faculty only), and the Business Office. A completed Travel Request Form should be sent to the Controller's Office as far in advance as possible to take advantage of the best prices available. The form must arrive in the Controller's Office no later than forty-five (45) days prior to the date of travel, except in emergencies. The Controller's Office will review the document before sending the document to the Business Office for final approval. The Controller's Office will contact the traveler when the request to travel has been approved.
      3. Procedure for booking air/rail/bus and hotel arrangements - Once the traveler has final approval, the Controller's Office will contact the individual and provide a travel approval number to be used when contacting the statewide travel agency to make arrangements. To facilitate the process a “ghost” credit card has been issued to the statewide travel agent that will be used to pay all travel fares and hotel accommodations. As it relates to the hotel charges, this card will only cover accommodations plus related taxes. Before departure, it is recommended that the traveler come to the Controller’s Office at the Knight campus to sign out a college hotel credit card.  The college hotel credit card is to be used to charge all room and room tax charges. No charges for food, including room service or on-site restaurants, are allowed on the college hotel credit card. The traveler will need to pay all ancillary costs, including food, or any costs associated with any changes to the original arrangements, subject to later reimbursement.
      4. Fees/Charges Incurred to Change Booked Travel - Once travel arrangements have been made, changes should only be made in emergency situations. The college is charged significant additional fees, often $100.00 or more, for any changes that are made to existing travel arrangements. See allowable expenses under definitions below. Unauthorized travel will not be reimbursed by the college.

        • The college will pay fees/charges assessed by carriers or the designated travel agent for a change in travel arrangements if the reason for the change is business-related.
        • The college will pay fees/charges assessed by airline carriers or the designated travel agent for cancelation and re-issuance of an airline ticket if the reason for cancellation and re-issuance of the ticket is business related.
        • All changes, cancellations and re-issuances must be processed via the designated travel agent. Any fees/charges incurred by a traveler for changing, canceling or rebooking directly with a common carrier will not be reimbursed.
      5. Airline fees will be paid by the college as follows:

        • All taxes and fees included in the purchased fare
        • Agent fees incurred at original purchase and incurred for any changes/re-bookings allowed per section C.4. above
        • Mandatory fees charged by an airline at the time of booking
        • The college will not pay or reimburse for any optional convenience fees or upgrade fees, including early check-in fees or seat upgrade fees.
      6. Personally-owned automobiles may be used for travel in lieu of common carriers when it is economically advantageous to the college. Example: when two (2) or more travelers are traveling to the same destination or when common carrier service is not available.

        • A detailed analysis is required showing the cost benefit of using a personally owned automobile.
        • Documentation must include the lowest available common carrier fare obtained from the designated travel agent.
        • Reimbursement will be made based on miles traveled at the current mileage reimbursement rate (available on the Controller’s Office website).
      7. Shuttle services and other means of public transportation should be used whenever available and is prudent.

        • Lyft, Uber and taxi cabs should only be used when no other ground transportation is available and it is economically advantageous to the college.
        • Reimbursement for any of these means of transportation, if allowed, will be processed when supported by original detailed receipts.
      8. Car rentals should only be approved when no other ground transportation is available, it is economically advantageous to the college, or it is necessary to accomplish the travel mission.

        • A memo from the traveler must be attached to the Out-of-State Travel Request Form explaining why the rental car is necessary or economical.
        • Whenever possible, one of the preferred car rental companies must be chosen to ensure that the college has the necessary liability and collision coverages. If a preferred car rental company is not chosen, it is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure they have the proper coverages in place as to limit the college from liability.
      9. The following are obligations of the traveler when renting a vehicle to conduct college business:

        • Possess a proper license to operate the vehicle being rented.
        • Wear seat belts in accordance with all state laws.
        • Obey all traffic laws.
        • Transporting hitchhikers is prohibited.
        • Consuming drugs or alcohol before or while operating the vehicle is prohibited.
        • Complete a report of any vehicle damage and advise the college immediately.
        • Fill the fuel tank prior to returning the rental vehicle to the rental car company.
        • Obtain a receipt for any gasoline purchased to request reimbursement.
        • The college will not pay or reimburse any costs, fine penalties, or assessments incurred by a traveler that resulted from violation of any federal or state law or local ordinances while operating a vehicle on official state business.
      10. Toll expenses incurred while traveling will be reimbursed as follows:

        • Dated original receipts are required for all toll expenses.
        • Receipt dates and locations must correspond with the traveler’s itinerary.
        • For any toll bill received after the traveler has returned home (either from a rental car company or directly from a state, turnpike or bridge authority), the traveler must pay directly and seek reimbursement.
        • Toll bill late fees will be the sole responsibility of the traveler.
      11. Travelers who use their personally-owned vehicles to travel to/from a common carrier terminal will be reimbursed as follows:

        • Mileage reimbursement will be equal to the mileage from their work station to/from the terminal when they travel from their work station to and from the terminal.
        • Mileage reimbursement will be equal to the mileage from their home to/from the terminal less the employee’s normal commute when they travel from their home to/from the terminal.
        • Mileage reimbursement will be made based on the current mileage reimbursement rate (available on the Controller’s Office website).
        • Travelers are only allowed reimbursement for miles driven while they are in the vehicle. For example, if a spouse or family member drives the traveler’s vehicle to/from the terminal to drop off/pick up the traveler, they are not entitled to mileage for two (2) round trips.
      12. Travelers who park at a common carrier terminal will be reimbursed as follows:

        • Dated original receipts are required for all parking expenses.
        • Receipt dates must correspond with the departure and arrival dates on the traveler’s itinerary.
        • Reimbursement will be based on the most economical parking rates available on-site. At PVD airport, Garage C and Lot E are the allowed parking sites. If a traveler chooses a garage or lot that exceeds the rate in the allowed parking sites, only the maximum rate allowed for the period charged will be reimbursed.  An exception will be made if the traveler has a medical problem that requires parking closer to the airport. Documentation may be required for the exception. 
      13. Meal Allowance - Meal reimbursement will be based on a flat rate. The rate is based on departure and arrival times. No meal reimbursement is allowed unless the travel involves an overnight stay. Meal reimbursement is not affected by any meals provided by common carriers, seminars, etc. The meal allowance covers meals and incidental expenses, such as tips and gratuities.

        • Departure before noon: traveler will receive $50 for the first day
        • Departure at noon or later: traveler will receive $25 for the first day
        • Day of return: Traveler will receive $25 if arrival time is before noon
        • Day of return: Traveler will receive $50 if arrival time is noon or later
        • All other days the traveler will receive $50
      14. Combination of Personal Travel with Business Travel - Occasionally an employee may take a trip that that includes both personal and business travel.  When this occurs, the traveler must provide a written quote/comparison prior to travel.  Only lodging, meal allowance and ground transportation directly related to the business purpose will be reimbursed.

        • If the stay at a business location is extended 1 day or more either prior to or after the business mission, the traveler is required to document the cost comparison of air travel for just the business trip vs. cost of the actual travel with the extended time. If there is no additional cost, the entire ticket will be reimbursed.
        • If any other destination is included on the ticket that does not pertain to the business purpose or an extended layover for personal trip (other than normal connecting airports to get to the business destination), the amount reimbursed will be the fare directly related to the point(s) of business based on the economy/coach fare.


The detailed instructions to request travel are available on the college website including the contact information for the statewide travel agent.

  1. Reimbursement - A travel expense voucher must be completed as soon as the traveler returns, but no later than the end of the following month.

    Reimbursable Travel Expenses

    • Conference/registration fees, if payment was not made by the college
    • Meal Allowances
    • Baggage Policy: Fee for first bag checked only, each way. An exception will be made if the traveler has to carry other items for the trip or has a medical problem that will require more than one bag. Prior approval is required for the exception.  Original detailed receipts are required.
    • Miscellaneous expenses: Bus, taxi, airport shuttle service, rental car gas refill, parking expenses, toll expenses, necessary business telephone calls, fax transmission, internet connection (receipts are required)
    • Air/Bus/Rail and Lodging, if payment was not made by the college and supporting documentation provides approvals and backup as indicated in section C Procedures above

    Documentation that must be attached to the reimbursement request (receipts required)

    • Airline ticket or Boarding Pass
    • Hotel Detail Bill
    • Car rental form (if applicable)
    • Shuttle, taxi fare, parking fees, toll charges
    • Itinerary from Travel Agent
    • Copy of Conference Agenda
    • Other supporting receipts

    NOTE: Non-compliance with the above may cause future travel approval to be jeopardized.

  2. Direct Deposit of Travel Reimbursements - The Controller's Office recommends that travelers sign up for direct deposit for their travel reimbursement. This process facilitates the reimbursement process and travelers are notified by a remit advice that is emailed to their CCRI email address.

Upon review and verification of travel costs, the Controller's Office will process the reimbursement payment to the employee.

 

D. DEFINITIONS:

Allowable Travel Expenses - Allowable transportation accommodations will include coach fares, utilizing the most economical fares possible. Most economical fares consist of the travel agency utilizing ALL available travel discounts including Saturday night stay-over where beneficial to the college. If the traveler utilizes the cost savings of a Saturday night stay-over, the traveler must submit written documentation as to the cost savings (i.e., the cost of a round trip ticket to destination without the Saturday night stay over, the cost of the hotel for an extra night and the cost of food for the extra day and the net savings to the college).

Lodging - Overnight accommodations will NOT be allowed within a 55 mile radius of PROVIDENCE. Distance from home cannot be used in calculating the 55 mile radius.  NOTE: The 55 mile limitation includes the City of Boston. While the college will not pay for overnight accommodations within the 55 mile radius, if the traveler chooses to stay overnight, they can be reimbursed for food, parking/tolls, and mileage or train fare.

Lodging will be provided on a single room basis, or the lowest rate available, if a single room is not available. Documentation must be included explaining why the single room rate was not charged.

In the case of a non-employee sharing a room, reimbursement will be at the rate of three quarters (3/4) the double occupancy room rate. If the rates are the same for a single or double occupancy, reimbursement will be in full. If the room is shared with a college employee attending the same conference, documentation must include the name of the college employee sharing the room.

Traveler Responsibility -The traveler is responsible for the cancellation of room reservations if a trip is cancelled. CCRI is not responsible for any charges or penalties resulting from the traveler's failure to give proper notice of cancellation. Travelers should remember that cancellation deadlines are based on local time at the destination hotel. Travelers should request and record a cancellation number in case of a billing dispute. CCRI will pay for costs resulting from cancellations due to circumstances beyond the control of the traveler.

 

E. POLICY APPLIES TO:

  1. All CCRI full -time employees. For grant employees, in case of conflict, grant terms will prevail over this policy.
  2. Contractors submitting travel expenses for reimbursement unless other contractual arrangements have been agreed upon.
  3. Other non-employees, as designated by the President, engaged in authorized college business, e.g., job applicants on interview visits.

 

F. EXCEPTIONS:

All exceptions to this policy must be approved, in writing, by the responsible functional vice-president.

 

G. RESPONSIBLE DEPARTMENT:

The Office of the Controller is responsible for maintaining this policy and the associated operating procedures.    

 

H. RELATED PROCEDURES:

CCRI Policy #7.14.1 - In-State Travel

This page developed and maintained by The Controller's Office. Send comments and suggestions to dalavoie@ccri.edu .


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Last Updated: 7/9/18