TUC Sponsored Programs


Reimbursment Rates

Please note that the following maximum meal reimbursement rates will be effective April 1, 2011; standard business mileage reimbursement rate will be effective April 1, 2013:

Meal Allowance RatesIncidentalsMileage
Breakfast: $10.00
Lunch: $20.00
Dinner: $25.00
Total: $55.00
$7.00 for each 24-hour period$.565 per mile


Type of Expenditure:

Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

Applies To:

Travel expenses of faculty and staff working on a Sponsored Program (Note: Does not apply to Independent Contractors)

Request Form:

Travel Expense Claim

Responsible to Initiate:

Employee (Faculty or Staff)

Required Signatures:

Principal Investigator (or authorized signer)

Time Of Submission:

  • At least 4 days before mailing of check
  • At least 3 days before pick-up of check at TUC

Submit To:

The University Corporation


Fully Reimbursable (if not excessive or unreasonable)


Per-Diem rates, or actual expenses if explained and supported by receipts (refer to section 8, Meals) (click here for current meal reimbursement rates)


Daily fixed amount for tips laundry, dry cleaning (click here for current incidental reimbursement rate)

Air Travel:

Economy or coach; US carriers on all federal grants; no reimbursement of use of private frequent flyer miles;

Rental Car:

Reimbursable, including loss damage waiver insurance; ensure that sufficient insurance coverage is in place, either private car insurance or purchase from rental agency.

Private Car:

Reimbursement based on mileage rate (click here for current mileage reimbursement rate)


Reimbursable: Tolls, Parking, Conference Fees Attendance Fees, Telephone Fax or Business Center Charges

Non Reimbursable:

First and business class airfare, alcoholic beverages, valet service, traffic fines, personal insurance, motorcycle transportation, movies and other entertainment costs


Faculty and staff in a sponsored project can be reimbursed for travel expenses using the form 'Travel Expense Claim'. No additional Check Request is necessary.

Please note that Independent Contractors cannot be reimbursed for travel expenses via this procedure. Independent Contractors must provide a detailed list of travel expenses with individual receipts attached and forward them to the Principle Investigator (PI). The Principle Investigator then submits a check request and original receipts with the information provided by the Independent Contractor to The University Corporation.


The claimant submits a 'Travel Expense Claim' form with supporting documentation to the Principal Investigator. The document must indicate the name and address of the traveler, the date and time of the travel, the destination, the purpose of the trip and the costs relating to the travel. Any advances received for the trip must be deducted. The claimant must sign the form. The Principal Investigator reviews the claim for correctness and appropriateness, and approves the expenditure via his signature. The form is then forwarded to The University Corporation for processing and payment.

Supporting Documentation

With the exception of claims on a per diem basis and incidentals, original invoices and receipts must support all expenses. For air travel, please include the traveler's flight coupon or formal receipt, and the boarding passes. For a detailed listing of appropriate supporting documentation, please refer to section 1.5

Coding of the Accounting String

The 'Travel Expense Claim' form must be coded with an 'Accounting String' to ensure the proper allocation of the expenses to the correct project and the correct account.

Since the "Travel Expense Claim" form does not provide for a separate area for the coding, please enter the accounting string in section "(11) Purpose of the Trip".

Account#Fund#Department IDProject ID
630100 - Travel
630110 - In State Travel
630200 - Out of State Travel
630300 - Out of Country Travel
630400 - Seminar/Conference Fee
Please refer to the account number for travel in your budget
S400024200 (Non-Observatory)
24300 (Observatory)

Example: 630100/S4000/24200/40019999

Allowable Travel Expenses/Rates

The California State Board of Control determines the allowable amounts and rates for the reimbursement of travel expenses. The rates are frequently updated in order to account for inflation and cost of living increases. Please refer to the latest 'Travel Guidelines' memo issued by The University Corporation or contact Judy Dickinson at extension 4695 or Teresa Loren at extension 2981.


Lodging may be reimbursed for the full amount paid, provided the cost is neither excessive nor unreasonable.

Telephone charges are allowable on hotel bills. However, next to each telephone call on the hotel bill must be a clear indication of whether it was "business" or "personal". Business calls are eligible for reimbursement; personal calls are not eligible for reimbursement.

Movies cannot be reimbursed.


Per-Diem Rates
Meals during travel are usually reimbursed based on per-diem rates. No receipts or invoices are necessary.
International Per-Diem Rates
For international travel, these per-diem rates may be exceeded, with prior written approval by the Chancellor's Office, only.
Reimbursement of actual expenses for meals
Actual expenses for meals that are in excess of the above per diem rates can be reimbursed in exceptional circumstances above and beyond regular travel activities and/or beyond the control of the traveler.
Examples of exceptional circumstances can be:
- As part of the business/sponsored program activity, it is appropriate for the traveler to invite another person to a meal (interview, job-interview, etc.).
- The traveler participates in a business/sponsored program group activity, where the venue for the meal was selected by the group.
A higher price level at a U.S. destination is not a sufficient reason to claim a meal reimbursement in excess of the per-diem rates. Please note that under no circumstances alcohol can be reimbursed as part of a government funded sponsored program.
In order to request a meal reimbursement in excess of the per-diem rates the traveler needs to complete a detailed written explanation on the exceptional circumstance and submit itemized receipts.
Meal reimbursement if traveling for less than 24 hours:
  • If travel begins before 7:00 am, breakfast may be claimed
  • Lunch may not be claimed
  • Dinner may be claimed if travel extends past 6:00 pm
Meal reimbursement if traveling for more than 24 hours:
If you are traveling for more 24 hours, the following meals can be claimed during the last day of travel:
  • Breakfast may be claimed if travel extends past 9:00 am
  • Lunch may be claimed if travel extends past 2:00 pm
  • Dinner may be claimed if travel extends past 6:00 pm


An additional incidental allowance may be claimed for each 24-hour period. Incidental allowance includes expenses such as laundry, pressing, dry cleaning, and tips for services such as waiters and baggage handlers. It does not cover cab fares, telegrams, telephone calls, and other business expenses. These expenses can be claimed separately.

Air Travel

Economy/Coach Class, Only

All air travel must be economy or coach class, and special, low-cost rates should be used when possible.

Fly American Act

Travelers on federally sponsored trips must travel on U.S. flag carriers, unless that option is not available. U.S. air carrier service is considered available even though:

  • Comparable service can be provided at less cost by a foreign air carrier.
  • Foreign air carrier is preferred or is more convenient

The exceptions where use of a non-US carrier is permissible in this are as follows:

  • Travel to and from the US. Use of a non-US carrier is permissible if:
    • The airport abroad is the origin or destination airport, and use of a US carrier would extend the total travel time 24 hours or more than would travel by non-US carrier; or
    • The airport abroad is an interchange point, and use of a US Carrier would require the traveller to wait six (6) hours or more to make connection or would extend the total travel time six (6) hours or more than would travel by non-US carrier.
  • Travel Between Points outside the US. Use of a non-US carrier is permissible if:
    • Travel by non-US carrier would eliminate two (2) or more aircraft changes en route; or
    • Travel by US carrier would extend the total travel time six (6) hours or more than would travel by non-US carrier.
    • Short Distance Travel. For all short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, use of a non-US carrier is permissible if the elapsed travel time on a scheduled flight from origin to destination airport by non-US carrier is three (3) hours or less and service by US carrier would double the travel time.

U.S. flag air carrier service available at point of origin should be used to destination or, in the absence of direct or through service, to the furthest interchange point on a usually traveled route;

This requirement is applicable to all federally funded award including flow-down subawards. A U.S. flag carrier is on holding a certificate der Section 401 of the Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C. 1371 (1970).

Frequent Flyer Benefits (Mileage)

The use of frequent flyer benefits (mileage) to acquire an airline tickets for business use, cannot be reimbursed with the cost of a comparable ticket.

Automobile Rental

When renting an automobile, the traveler must ensure that sufficient insurance coverage is in place. Coverage is usually provided through the travelers private car insurance. Coverage can also be obtained through the purchase of a Loss Damage Waiver (or equivalent) from the rental agency. Insurance costs are generally reimbursable.


As member of the CSU Auxiliary Organizations Risk Management Alliance, The University Corporation participates in a preferred customer program with Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. When reserving or booking a vehicle, please specify our corporate account number NACA053.

The negotiated rates are available nationwide at any Enterprise location, with the exception of New York. A valid credit card and driver's license must be presented at the time of rental.

Please note: The above is not an endorsement of Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. The decision of choosing a car rental agency should be based on safety concerns, practicality and price-worthiness. For insurance reasons, this program can only be used while conducting official business of The University Corporation; private use of this program is not permitted.

Use of Private Car

The use of a private car for traveling on a sponsored project will be reimbursed with the current mileage rate. (click here for current mileage reimbursement rate)

Other Expenses

All other expenses incurred while traveling on a sponsored project are reimbursed based on their relevance to the project, reasonableness, allowability, and available budget. Proper supporting documentation is required. Other expenses may include:

  • Tolls
  • Parking Fees
  • Conference Fees
  • Attendance Fees
  • Telephone, Fax or Business Center Charges

Non-Reimbursable Expenses

The following costs cannot be reimbursed:

  • First and business class airfare
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Valet services
  • Traffic fines
  • Personal insurance charges
  • Motorcycle transportation costs
  • Tips (covered under the Incidental expense allowance)
  • Movies and other entertainment costs
  • Personal phone calls

International Travel

Foreign Travel Insurance

(From the Office of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs)

All persons traveling INTERNATIONALLY, regardless of who is covering the travel expenses, must:
1) Obtain Foreign Travel Insurance
2) Prepare an Approval of Travel and obtain all necessary signatures (Traveler, Department Chair, College Dean, and Provost).

Faculty whose international travel expenses are paid for in part or entirely by the university:
1)Failure to obtain Foreign Travel Insurance and an Approval of Travel prior to the trip will result in denial of the Travel Expense Claim by the Provost's Office.

Foreign Travel Insurance Program Process

1. Chancellor's Office memo (RM 2011-03) dated 3/7/11 requires all CSU employees traveling internationally on university business to obtain Foreign Travel Insurance through CSU's recognized carrier.  The insurance is obtained through CSUN's Risk Management office.

2. Provosts Office emailed Deans defining requirement and process on 11/3/11.

3. In order to reduce some of the process, Admin and Finance made a decision to pick up the insurance cost for international travel insurance premiums.
a. Most destination premium costs are:
i. $60 for travel up to 15 days
ii. $75 for travel from 16 – 30 days
iii. Costs subject to change every July.
b. Note – there are very limited exceptions where a PI may need to pick their own cost for insurance and fund for that.

4. Traveler should understand risks of destination and have an early awareness as to the destinations status – is it a high hazard destination or not.   The following resources can aid in such awareness.
a. US State Department's website for the high hazard warning list at www.travel.state.gov
b. Website for system wide risk management and public safety has resource links available at www.calstate.edu/risk_management/rm
c. Contact university Risk Management, Cyndi Paull x6830, to assist.

5. For basic travel, the process is as follows:
a. Complete Foreign Travel Insurance Request Form located at:  http://www-admn.csun.edu/risk/riskweb_08/travel/foreign-travel-insurance-request-form.pdf
b. Email or fax completed form and travel itinerary to Cyndi Paull at cyndi.paull@csun.edu  or fax to x5853
c. Allow for at least 10 business days to process insurance request.
d. The traveler will receive an email that coverage is bound, please attach the confirmation that coverage is bound to Request for Approval of Travel Form.
e. Begin your College/Departments approval/signature process for travel, which should end with the form and confirmation of insurance coverage being sent to Provost's office for review.
f. If travel is cancelled, the traveler must notify Cyndi Paull at x6830 or cyndi.paull@csun.edu as soon as possible to cancel coverage and avoid unnecessary premium costs.

6. Plan for extra time when traveling to a high hazard destination – a minimum of 30 days should be expected to process the approvals and premium quote.
a. President's approval is required prior to a request for insurance.
b. Chancellor's Office approval is also required
i. Once President's office has approved travel, forward approval to Risk Management to assist in obtaining Chancellor's Office approval
ii.     Request made to the Chancellor's Office with less than five business days notice will not be considered.

Please direct all insurance questions to Cyndi Paull in Risk Management at x6830 or cyndi.paull@csun.edu. If you would like to contact the Provost's Office, please direct questions to Marlene Gale at x2957 or marlene.gale@csun.edu.

Health Care Cost

The University Corporation does not provide for any additional coverage of health care costs during international travel. Before going on an international trip, please check with your health care provider if you will be covered in the country(ies) of your destination.

The University Corporation requires faculty and staff conducting international travel under a sponsored program to purchase additional coverage!

Additional coverage can be purchased through CSUN Risk Management at (818) 677-2079 from AIG/Driver Alliant.

  • Workers Compensation for Non-TUC Staff (e.g. Students, Volunteers)
  • General Liability
  • Accidental Death or Dismemberment (ADD)
  • Repatriation
  • Automobile Liability in excess of the coverage of the local carrier

In addition you will be entitled to receive concierge services abroad, such as help with lost and stolen passports and luggage, as well as legal support. Coverage will not include travel via air and other carriers and will start at the moment of arrival in the foreign country. The average cost for a 10 day trip will be about $30-$60. You will need to have to purchase of coverage completed before you start travelling. Please contact The University Corporation to receive a quote.

International Travel Guidelines

(California State University - Executive Order 715)

  • Every trip should require attendance at one orientation meeting (minimum) where the following information should be covered:
  • Arrangements for any out-of-country visas, immunizations, etc.
  • Discuss travel and packing tips, medical and health concerns, modes of transportation, hours of departure and return.
  • Review background information pertaining to upcoming cultural differences that a student may experience while visiting foreign countries.
  • Obtain waivers and health forms. Participants should file a waiver for?medical treatment and a health questionnaire explaining any special medical problems or needs to the trip leader.
  • Remind participants to carry sufficient personal medication supplies and physician documentation for medication to last the length of travel or to replace medication lost during the trip.
  • Review emergency preparedness processes and the crisis response plan.
  • Provide current health and safety information to participants (i.e. prophylactic precautions, viral infections carried by insects and how to protect themselves against known infectious disease breakouts - check with the World Health Organization). Provide information about emergency medical assistance, emergency evacuation, and repatriation procedures. Review options for medical insurance coverage for foreign travel.
  • Identify health and safety products or services that may not be available at overseas locations.
  • Conduct orientation briefings once the destination is reached which include information on health and safety, legal, environmental, political, cultural and religious conditions in the host country.
  • Communicate codes of conduct for staff and students, addressing such issues as fraternizing, consuming alcohol, controlling activities, and conduct during "free time". Advise partmipants of the consequences of non-compliance and take appropriate action when aware that participants are in violation.
  • Review International Programs Policies and Procedures.

Travel to High Hazard Countries on the U.S. Department of State Warning Sites

All international travel to high hazard countries listed on the US State Department travel warning sites must be approved by the Chancellor's Office and by the President of CSUN.

  • Make every effort to give the Chancellor's Office and the CSUN President 30-days' notice (prior to travel) with the travel request – for any trip to high hazard or State Department travel warning sites.
  • Requests made to the Chancellor's Office with less than five business days' notice will not be considered
  • Look at U.S. State Departments website for the high hazard / warning list: http://www.travel.state.gov/
  • The web-site for Systemwide Risk Management & Public Safety has resource links available: http://www.calstate.edu/risk_management/rm/
  • Send the request via email with all documentation to Charlene Minnick, AVC Risk Mgt. & Public Safety, cminnick@calstate.edu and copy Sandra George, Chief of Staff, sgeorge@calstate.edu and Tony Mesa, Executive Secretary, tmesa@calstate.edu  

Also, enclosed is a memorandum from Vice Chancellor Quillian to the presidents dated March 7, 2011 regarding foreign travel insurance program – here is link as well:

Executive Order 1041 – Student Travel

Should you have questions regarding the travel / insurance, please email Charlene Minnick, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Risk Management – cminnick@calstate.edu or by call at (562) 951-4580.