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Reimbursement of Travel ExpendituresFIN-TRV-2.0


All travelers seeking reimbursement for travel expenses from Indiana University.

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Policy Statement

The cost of travel authorized for official university business may be reimbursed to the university traveler:

  • subject to departmental approval;
  • within the Accountable Plan Policy; and
  • within the prescribed limits as indicated below.

Official university rates pertaining to various types of expense reimbursements will be published by Travel Management Services on the Travel Management Services website at

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Reason for Policy

To provide guidance regarding the type of travel related expenses that may be reimbursed from university funds.

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Traveler Certification: By submitting reimbursement and or supplement documents through the IU travel system the traveler agrees to the following:

The reimbursement documentation included in the travel system documents are true and just in all respects;

  • that payment of the amounts claimed has not and will not be reimbursed to the traveler from any other sources;
  • that travel performed for which reimbursement is claimed was performed by the traveler on university business and that no claims are included for expense of a personal or political nature or for any other expense not authorized by Indiana University;
  • And that the traveler actually incurred or paid the operating expenses of the motor vehicles for which reimbursement is claimed.

Travel Dates: Business travelers are allowed a maximum of two full days of paid travel time to and from their official business location - one day before and one day after – regardless of the method of travel. International travelers may be allowed a second day of paid travel time at the beginning and ending of the trip if the destination cannot be reached in a single day via a direct route.

Lodging: May be reimbursed to locations beyond a fifty (50) mile radius of the employee's official workstation or residence, whichever is less. Lodging claims may not exceed the single occupancy lodging rate.

Per Diem: First and last days of travel will be paid at 75% of the daily per diem allowance. Proof of lodging is required for per diem allowance unless the reservation was prepaid through the travel system’s online booking tool. If the traveler stays with an individual rather than in a hotel the dates of stay, name, and address of the individual who provided the lodging must be provided on the reimbursement document for substantiation purposes in compliance with IRS requirements. Trips lasting less than 12 hours are not eligible for per diem. Trips lasting more than 12 hours, but not overnight are eligible for 75% of the daily per diem allowance. Reimbursement for non-overnight per diem is taxable.

Air Transportation:

  • Commercial Airfare: Reimbursement is limited to the cost of economy coach class round trip airfare. The flight must originate from the closest airport to the traveler’s official IU workstation, unless travel from a different airport is more economical. In these instances, price quotes must be obtained at the time the airfare is reserved that demonstrate that travel from an airport other than the closest one to the traveler’s workstation is more economical. The price quotes must include airfare and ground transportation costs to and from both the airport closest to the traveler’s workstation and the alternative airport and must accompany the supporting documentation of the reimbursement document. Any upgrades from economy coach must be paid for using IU Foundation funds (unless allowed for certain international travel or by medical exception as specified below).

    If personal travel is included with the business travel and the flight contains a personal segment(s), a price quote must be obtained at the time the airfare is reserved showing only the round trip cost of the business portion of the travel. The traveler will be reimbursed for the round trip quote to and from the business destination unless the travel that includes the personal segment is more economical.

  • International Travel: Business Class travel may be allowable for international flights where a single segment of the trip in each direction exceeds eight (8) hours of continuous flight time to a destination outside of the contiguous United States. Federal Grants or other external grants may not allow business class travel as they may require the most restrictive class of travel. If traveling on Federal Funding, it is the traveler’s responsibility to determine if Business Class Travel is allowed in advance of booking the flight.

  • Privately Owned Aircraft: Travel on a privately owned aircraft will be limited to the reimbursement cost of a 30-day advance purchase round trip economy class airfare ticket and may be subject to additional restrictions as disseminated by Travel Management Services and Office of Insurance, Loss Control, & Claims (INLOCC).

  • Charter Aircraft: Is subject to the following:
    • Charter travel by the President is governed by Board of Trustee process
    • Senior administrators who wish to use a charter flight because of emergency, time or scheduling conflicts, or fiscal responsibility (lower cost than alternatives) must obtain written approval from the Office of the President prior to using a charter flight.
    • The Athletic Director or his delegate shall approve, in writing, all charter flights paid by the University for Athletic Teams and coaches.

  • Exceptions to Requirements for Economy Coach Air Travel; Exceptions may be allowed for a documented medical reason or International Business Travel as qualified above. Either exception, whether Medical or International Business Class Travel, require a written approval for exception to the standard business requirement to use economy coach travel and must be approved by the Organization Leader (definition below). This approval must be included with the supporting documentation on the reimbursement document.

  • Air Travel Reimbursement when supported by Federal Grant Funding;
    • Travel to international destinations using federal funding must comply with the Fly America Act and the Open Skies Act when that travel is supported by federal funds. These Acts restrict the selection of carriers to US carriers or those based in countries with which the US has an applicable agreement.
    • Commercial Air Travel: Airfare costs in excess of the basic least expensive unrestricted accommodations class offered by commercial airlines (economy class) are unallowable except when such travel would;
      • Require circuitous or excessively prolonged travel;
      • Is not reasonably adequate for the traveler’s medical needs. In this case, the traveler must justify and document the conditions on a case-by-case basis in order for the use of first-class or business-class airfare to be allowable.

Ground Transportation –

  • Rental Vehicles: Reimbursement is limited to the cost of an economy size vehicle unless there is a business or medical need for a larger vehicle. Justification for a larger vehicle must be included on the reimbursement document. Insurance on the rental vehicle will not be reimbursed for domestic rentals.

  • Taxi/Shuttle: Reimbursement is allowed for transportation between airport and the site(s) of official university business including the lodging site if different from other official business locations. Taxi to the closest airport may be reimbursed from the traveler’s official workstation (not their home) unless their home is closer to the airport. Reimbursement will be subject to prescribed limits as noted on the Travel website.

  • Limo: Reimbursement is limited to the shared ride cost. The additional costs associated with a private limousine service is not reimbursed by IU.

  • Personal Vehicles: Reimbursement will be based on official state highway maps showing the shortest, most widely used travel route from the traveler’s official workstation to their business destination unless travel from their home is closer. Reimbursement for mileage costs is limited to the cost of a comparable 30-day advance purchase round trip economy class airfare ticket if the airfare is more economical than reimbursing mileage. Mileage costs up to 500 miles is reimbursed at the full rate and mileage between 501 and 3,000 miles is reimbursed at fifty percent of the full rate. Mileage cost reimbursement is capped at 3,000 miles.

  • Train: Reimbursement is limited to the coach fare rate and will not exceed the cost of a comparable 30-day advance purchase round trip airfare ticket.

  • Airport Parking: Reimbursement is limited to long-term parking rates.

Exceptions to the above may be approved subject to documentation procedures and requirements established by Travel Management Services and with departmental approval.

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Organization Leader: The director or vice president for an administrative unit, the dean of an academic unit, or the Vice-Chancellor of administrative services of the campus, or their delegate.

Segment of the trip: non-stop in flight continuous travel from one point to another point.

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Failure to comply could result in lower reimbursement rates to the traveler.

Falsification of travel expenses submitted may subject travelers to disciplinary procedures according to university policies

Business Class Travel on International Trips where a single segment of the trip is over eight (8) hours, may not be allowable on federally funded or other external grants. If a traveler books a business class trip when not allowed, the departmental account will be required to reimburse the grant funding.

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Additional Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Email
Travel Management Services Travel Staff 812-855-2873 
Office of Research Administration for Federal or other external funding questions Bloomington Office of Research Administration 812-855-0516 
Office of Research Administration for Federal or other external funding questions Indianapolis Office of Research Administration 317-278-3473 
Office of Insurance, Loss Control and Claims Larry Stephens 812-855-0104 
Office of Insurance, Loss Control and Claims Kutina England 812-855-0837 
University Tax Services Tax Staff 812-855-0142 

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This policy was updated June 1, 2016.

This policy was established on October 1, 1990.

Previous Versions:

Tracked Changes:

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