Community College of Rhode Island

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Out-of-State Travel Policy

POLICY TITLE: OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL POLICY

POLICY NUMBER: 7.14.2

POLICY SECTION: 7.14 Travel

REVISED: March 18, 2015

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 RI Department of Administration Procedure A-22 and adapted to higher education in accordance with A-22 1.8.

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.
  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. 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. Once travel arrangements have been made, changes should only 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.
  4. Automobile Rental/Travel - Travelers will avail themselves of shuttle buses and all other means of public transportation to the extent practical. The use of an automobile rental will be allowed when economically feasible and/or necessary to accomplish the travel mission. A memo from the traveler must be attached to the Travel Request Form indicating justification for a vehicle rental. Travelers pre-approved for automobile rentals will make their own reservation and submit for reimbursement when travel is complete.
    1. Personally owned automobiles may be used for out-of-state travel when it is economical to CCRI. Reimbursement will be made on the basis of miles traveled at the current mileage rate or the common carrier fare, whichever is lower. When reimbursement for auto mileage is requested in lieu of common carrier fares, the travel request should contain documentation as to the lower cost. The cost of the lowest common carrier fare should be obtained from the designated statewide travel agent. Additional costs of lodging and meals during the period of travel in excess of reasonable equivalent air transport will not be reimbursed.
    2. Obligations of the traveler when renting a vehicle:
      • Possess a proper license to operate the vehicle being rented
      • Wear seat belts, unless expressly excused in writing for medical reasons by a physician
      • Obey all laws
      • Transporting hitchhikers is prohibited
      • Consuming drugs or alcohol before or while operating vehicle is prohibited
      • Complete a report of any vehicle damage and advise agency immediately
      • The traveler is required to obtain the necessary insurance coverage so as to limit the College's liability. The College will not reimburse the traveler if the traveler chooses not to purchase car rental collision or personal injury insurance.
      • Travelers should fill the fuel tank of the rental car prior to returning to the rental company.
    3. Obligations of the traveler when using their own vehicle:
      • When a traveler uses their own vehicle for travel the traveler must provide the expiration date of their automobile insurance policy.
  5. 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.
    1. Departure before noon: traveler will receive $30.00 for the first day
    2. Departure at noon or later: traveler will receive $15.00 for the first day
    3. Day of return: traveler will receive $15.00 if arrival time is before noon
    4. Day of return: traveler will receive $30.00 if arrival time is noon or later
    5. All other days the traveler will receive $30.00
  6. Combination of Personal Travel with Business Travel - Occasionally an employee may take a trip 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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  7. Reimbursement - A travel expense voucher must be completed as soon as the traveler returns, but no later than the end of the following month.
    1. Reimbursable Travel Expenses:
      • Conference/registration fees, if payment was not made by the College
      • Meal allowances
      • Baggage Policy: Fee for first bag checked only. 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.
      • 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.
    2. 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
    3. An allowance of $5.00 (per diem on the form) per travel day will be provided to the traveler for gratuities, if requested.

      NOTE: Non-compliance with the above may cause future travel approval to be jeopardized.
  8. 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.

POLICY APPLIES TO:

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

EXCEPTIONS:

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

RESPONSIBLE DEPARTMENT:

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

RELATED POLICIES: CCRI Policy #7.14.1 - In-State Travel

APPROVED: RAY M. DIPASQUALE, PRESIDENT

MARCH 18, 2015

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Last Updated: 6/10/15