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Travel Regulations
Procedure No. 4-30
Issued 5/2002

Travel Regulations
The following travel regulations are the established uniform procedures governing the reimbursement of employees for official travel. These regulations, issued in conformance with the official Travel Regulations approved and issued by the Travel Regulation Council, apply to all employee travel regardless of source of university funds.

  1. Designation of Official Headquarters

  2. The official headquarters of a Regency System employee is the designated primary post of duty or official station in a specified location, the limits of which are no broader than the corporate limits of the city or town in which the employee is stationed.

    The President or the Chancellor shall designate official headquarters for each employee. Generally, the official headquarters of an employee is the place where official duties will require the largest part of the individual's working time to be spent during the coming fiscal year. For most employees, the city of DeKalb is their official headquarters. In those instances in which the employee's official headquarters is designated as a location other than that at which official duties require the largest part of the individual's working time to be spent, Form TA-2 will be completed and filed with the Legislative Audit Commission by January 15 and July 15 each year. In the case of an employee who is required to travel almost every working day, the official headquarters may be the place of residence, certified and submitted on Form TA-2. A request for official headquarters at another location should be completed on Form TA-2 and forwarded to the Provost's office. The TA-2 forms can be obtained from the Provost’s Office.

  3. Authority to Travel

  4. The University is responsible for maintaining a system of controls over travel expenditures to prevent the obligation of funds in excess of budget limitations and to hold travel to the minimum required for the efficient and economical conduct of its business. Authority to travel is established by the Department Head for members of a given department. Travel by Department Heads is approved by a Dean or Division Head. Travel by a Dean or Division Head is approved by the appropriate Vice President. Travel by a Grant or Local Fund Advisor requires the approval of an appropriate upper level staff member.

    Although not a University requirement, departments are encouraged to require their employees to prepare a "Request for Authorization to Travel" form prior to being placed on travel status. This is particularly recommended where out-of-state travel is concerned.

  5. Direct Billing to N.I.U.

    1. General Ruling--Direct billing to the University by motels, restaurants, travel agencies, etc. for expenses incurred by faculty and staff is not allowed because individuals traveling for the University are not authorized to obligate the University. All travelers should pay their own expenses and submit a reimbursement request on a travel voucher. N.I.U. personnel may request a group travel advance for expected cash expenses in situations involving group travel. See Procedure 4-34 for the minimum requirements as well as the conditions that must be met to be granted a group travel advance.
    2. Reservation Deposits for Accommodations--A traveler should pay motels and hotels for deposits required to reserve accommodations.
    3. Group or Team Travel--An exception to the general rule will be allowed for group or team travel, where an individual cost may be billed direct if the cost exceeds $300.00. A Purchase Requisition must be submitted whenever the cost to any one vendor will equal or exceed $2,500.00. The Illinois Purchasing Act specifies that such items are subject to competitive bid procedures. In these cases, a purchase order will be issued to the successful bidder as authorization for the vendor to bill the University direct. This policy statement does not preclude the issuance of purchase orders for obligations under $2,500.00 if the department and/or vendor request a purchase order. Procurement Services will be available for pricing and other help which may be desired for orders under $2,500.00.

      Direct billings to N.I.U. for group or team travel will be charged to the appropriate line item, but cannot be reported for reimbursement on a travel voucher. They should be reported as memo items for information only on the travel voucher. Payment should be authorized by submitting a Purchase Requisition form to the Accounting Office with vendor invoices attached.

  6. Reimbursement Limitations

  7. The following sections V. and VI. of these regulations establish two distinct categories of allowable expenses: Transportation Expense and Living Expense. Subject to availability of funds, travel shall be reimbursed in accordance with the provisions contained in sections V. and VI. of these regulations. It is likely that resource limitations will permit the reimbursement of only a predetermined part of travel expenses. The university should, of course, administer such reimbursement as equitably as possible.

  8. Allowable Transportation Expenses

    1. Definition

      1. Modes of transportation authorized for official travel include automobiles, railroads, airlines, buses, taxicabs and other usual means of conveyance. The use of employee-piloted aircraft on University business is not authorized. Transportation may include fares and such expenses incidental to transportation as baggage transfer, official telephone messages in connection with items classed as transportation, and reasonable gratuities.
      2. Reimbursement for taxicab fares incurred in the efficient and economical pursuit of the University’s business will be allowed. When transportation by airport limousine is available and convenient, it shall be used in lieu of a taxi. All fares in excess of $10.00 shall be accompanied by a receipt indicating the amount paid.
      3. Where the nature and location of the work at a temporary duty station are such that suitable meals cannot be procured there, the expenses of daily travel required to procure meals at the nearest available place shall be considered necessary transportation. A statement of the necessity for such daily travel shall accompany the travel voucher.
      4. Transportation between place of lodging and place of business at a temporary duty station shall be allowed as a transportation expense.
      5. Expenses associated with commuting between an employee’s residence and headquarters are not reimbursable. An employee whose travel does not include a stop at headquarters shall be reimbursed for all mileage.

    2. Routing of Travel--All travel shall be by the most direct route. Travel by other routes may be allowed when the official necessity therefore is satisfactorily established. In case an individual travels by an indirect route or interrupts travel by direct route only because it is more convenient the extra expense shall be borne by the traveler. Reimbursement for expenses shall be based only on such charges as would have been incurred by the most direct and economical route.
    3. Mode of Travel--All travel shall be by the most economical mode of transportation available considering travel time, costs, and work requirements.
    4. Airplane Accommodations
      1. Travel on airplanes shall ordinarily be coach class.

      2. Reimbursement for first-class or business class accommodations on commercial air carriers shall be explained on the travel voucher and shall be permitted only when:

        • regularly scheduled flights between authorized origin and destination points provide only first-class or business class accommodations,

        • space is not available in coach accommodations in time to carry out the purpose of the travel, or

        • the president or the president’s designee authorizes or approves the use of other than coach accommodations as necessary for the conduct of the mission or for reasons of the traveler’s health.

    5. Train Accommodations

      1. Sleeping car accommodations: one standard roomette when night travel is involved.

      2. Parlor car and coach accommodations: one seat in a sleeping or parlor car will be allowed unless the travel order or other administrative determination specifies that coach accommodations be used. Where adequate coach accommodations are available, officials authorizing travel will assure that coach accommodations are used to the maximum extent possible on the basis of advantage to the agency, suitability and convenience to the traveler, and nature of the business involved.

    6. Use of Privately Owned Vehicles

      1. Employee use of privately owned vehicles in the conduct of University business is not encouraged except when such use is necessary or desirable due to a lack of other convenient means of transportation or is otherwise advantageous to the University. Accordingly, when the use of a privately owned vehicle is necessary or desirable and considered advantageous to the University, reimbursement shall be at the maximum rate per mile as set by the state annually. To qualify for the mileage reimbursement the employee must be a licensed driver and have vehicle liability, bodily injury, and property insurance coverage set by law.
      2. When the use of public transportation is a reasonable alternative, the mileage payment to an employee shall not exceed the cost of its use. A reasonable alternative exists when the cost of travel, taking into account transportation, time, and per diem expenses, would be less if public transportation were used.
      3. Mileage will be payable to only one of two or more individuals traveling in the same vehicle. The names of all travelers and their employing agencies shall be stated on the travel voucher.
      4. Reimbursement for the cost of automobile parking fees and bridge, road and tunnel tolls shall be allowed. The fee for parking an automobile at a common carrier terminal, or other parking area while the traveler is away from his official headquarters shall be allowed only to the extent that the fee, plus the allowable mileage reimbursement to and from the terminal or other parking area does not exceed the estimated cost for use of a limousine or taxicab to and from the terminal. Receipts are required for any such charge in excess of $10.00; cost centers may require additional receipts.
      5. When transportation by privately owned vehicles is authorized or approved, distances between points traveled will be as shown in official highway mileage guides or an official State of Illinois map. Any substantial deviations from distances shown in the standard highway mileage guides shall be explained. When no guides or maps are available, odometer readings may be used. Travel within and in the near vicinity of a city may be reported as mileage in and around such city.

    7. Use of Rented Vehicles¾The use of rented automobiles, boats, or other such conveyance will be kept at an absolute minimum, and then rented only in an emergency or when it can be demonstrated to be more economical in terms of total travel costs as indicated in the "Mode of Travel" paragraph. Every effort shall be made to obtain other suitable transportation rather than to use rented vehicles. Where rented vehicles are utilized, the most economical vehicle available and suitable for the conduct of the University's business shall be obtained. In these circumstances, the actual cost may be charged and a full explanation for use of a rented vehicle will be provided with the travel voucher. The collision damage waiver and personal accident insurance on rental vehicles are not reimbursable. (NOTE: Charges for rented vehicles away from a designated headquarters and in connection with other travel shall be charged to Travel and reimbursed by travel voucher. Charges for vehicle rental not involving official travel shall be charged to Contractual Services.)

  9. Allowable Living Expenses
  10. Personal living expenses for all employees shall be reimbursed on the basis of either "expense incurred" or a per diem allowance.

    1. Living Expense Incurred--When travel does not qualify for the per diem allowance as defined in B. below, living expenses shall be allowed on the basis of living expenses incurred. Maximum amounts per meal, including gratuities, which can be allowed to an individual traveling on the basis of living expenses incurred are as follows:


      Within the State of Illinois

      Outside the State of Illinois


      $ 5.50

      $ 6.50




      For employees to receive the breakfast allowance, they must leave their official headquarters or homes (if reporting directly to a destination other than their official headquarters) at or prior to 6 a.m. To receive the dinner allowance, employees must leave their official headquarters or homes (if traveling directly from a destination other than their official headquarters) before 6:30 p.m. and return on or after 7 p.m. An employee on travel status may not claim reimbursement for lunch unless the travel involves an overnight stay.

      Employees on travel status may pay the meal expense of a guest, including lunch, in reasonable and proper amounts, so long as the expense is incurred in connection with official state business and the guest is not a state employee. For purposes of reimbursement, reasonable and proper shall mean a guest meal costing up to 50% in excess of the maximum per meal allowance as provided in the travel regulations (i.e., lunch $5.50 plus $2.75 = $8.25 total).

      It is not necessary for employees to submit receipts with their travel vouchers to support their own meal allowances. They must, however, submit receipts to support expenditures in excess of $10.00 for meals purchased for guests. The name and affiliation of each guest must be included on the travel voucher. Employees may not submit receipts for meals for other state employees.

    3. Per Diem Allowance¾The per diem allowance is allowed only when the travel period includes overnight lodging or is 18 hours or more. The per diem allowances provided in these regulations represents the maximum amounts allowable and is given in lieu of the expenses allowed on the basis of "living expenses incurred."

      The per diem allowance for travel on official business consists of the following elements and may be authorized and approved within the following maximums:

      1. Within the State of Illinois, $28.00; Outside the State of Illinois, $32.00 to cover the following:
        • The cost of meals
        • Gratuities related to food
        • Room service and other hotel meal/refreshment services.

        Receipts need not be submitted to support this allowance.

        In computing the per diem for continuous travel of 18 hours or more or when a night’s lodging is required, a day is defined as a unit of time from midnight through 11:59 p.m.

        For fractional parts of a day at the start or end of travel which qualifies for per diem, one fourth of the daily allowance will be allowed for each period of 6 hours or a fraction thereof. Such 6-hour periods commence at midnight, 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. A chart of the per diem allowance for departure and return times during these 6-hour periods is shown below. The travel period commences with the departure from headquarters or the traveler’s home and ends with the return to headquarters or the traveler’s home.

        Day of Departure

        Depart Between Hours of

        Per Diem Allowance (within Illinois)

        Per Diem Allowance (outside Illinois)

        Midnight-5:59 a.m.


        6:00 a.m.-11:59 a.m.


        Noon-5:59 p.m.


        6:00 p.m.-11:59 p.m.

        $ 7.00
        $ 8.00

        Day of Return

        Return Between Hours of

        Per Diem Allowance (within Illinois)

        Per Diem Allowance (outside Illinois)

        Midnight-5:59 a.m.

        $ 7.00
        $ 8.00

        6:00 a.m.-11:59 a.m.


        Noon-5:59 p.m.


        6:00 p.m.-11:59 p.m.


      2. The actual cost of accommodations not to exceed:

        1. $60.00 per day plus tax in all other downstate counties in Illinois.

        2. $130.00 County of Cook

        3. $80.00 per day plus tax in the Chicago area (the Chicago area is defined as the counties of Will, DuPage, Kane, McHenry and Lake)

        4. $90.00 per day plus tax when traveling out of state, excluding Washington, D.C. and New York City, or a reasonable amount for travel out of the country

        5. $150.00 per day plus tax in Washington, D.C. (also includes the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax and the counties of Arlington, Loudon, and Fairfax in Virginia: and the counties of Montgomery and Prince Georges in Maryland

        6. $110.00 per day plus tax in New York City (includes the boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, queens, and Staten Island: Nassau and Suffolk counties)

        7. $70.00 Downstate IL (includes counties of Champaign, Kankakee, LaSalle, McLean, Macon, Madison, Peoria, Rock Island, St. Clair, Sangamon, Tazewell, and Winnebago)

        Receipts with a daily listing of room and tax charges are to be submitted with travel vouchers to support accommodation expenses claimed.

      3. Reimbursements for “special expenses” as provided in paragraph VI.D.

    4. Time of Departure and Return

      1. If meal expense reimbursement is being requested, the date and hour of departure and the date and hour of return shall be shown on the travel voucher. Other points visited shall be shown on the voucher.

      2. Where, for the traveler’s personal convenience or through the taking of leave, there is interruption of travel or deviation from the direct route, any allowance allowed shall not exceed that which would have been incurred on uninterrupted travel by a usually travel route. (See Paragraph V.B.)

    5. Special Expenses
      1. The cost of other expenses shall be allowed if reasonable. Expenses for which reimbursement may or may not be allowed are shown in the following table.

      2. Reimbursable Not Reimbursable

        Stenographic and typing services

        Alcoholic beverages

        Storage and handling of baggage

        Entertainment/social functions

        Hire of room for official business

        Items covered by the per diem allowance

        Telephone calls on official business-includes safe arrival call; must be designated as “safe” or “business”

        Coat check

        Cost of meals for other persons incurred in connection with official state business up to the maximum per meal allowance provided in these regulations (however, meals for other State employees or officers are not reimbursable)

        Late check-out and room guarantee charges Collision damage waiver and personal accident insurance for rental cars Collision damage waiver and personal accident insurance for rental cars

        Laundry and dry cleaning if on travel status for at least seven (7) consecutive days

        Meals for other State employees Parking or other traffic tickets Transportation to procure meals except as provided in Procedure 4-30, section V 1-3.

        All special expenses shall be itemized on the travel voucher if separately claimed. Original receipts are required in support of any single special expenses in excess of $10.00. Reimbursement claimed for meals purchased, while away from official headquarters, for other persons in connection with official agency business must be supported by a detailed statement on the travel voucher stating why and for whom the expense was incurred. The actual cost of such meals shall be allowed up to the maximum per meal allowance provided in these regulations.

      3. Meals at Headquarters (Procedure 4-37)

      4. Membership in Private Clubs (Procedure 4-37)

      5. Expense incurred by Non-State Employees (Procedure 4-37)

      6. Entertainment and Promotion (Procedure 4-37)

      7. Liquor--Any expense incurred for liquor is not reimbursable from University funds.

    6. Conference and Conference Hotel Expenses

    7. When the cost of meals for approved seminars or official meetings is an integral part of the registration fee or when such meals are provided free of charge, the per diem traveler shall deduct the following amounts from the daily allowance and the traveler on "living expenses incurred" shall deduct the following amounts from the per meal allowance:

      Deduct (within Illinois)
      Deduct (outside of Illinois)
      If breakfast is included in the registration fee
      $ 5.50
      $ 6.50
      If lunch is included in the registration fee
      $ 5.50
      $ 6.50
      If dinner is included in the registration fee

      NOTE: Registration fees exceeding $50.00 are to be paid from Contractual Services. Registration fees of $50.00 or less may be paid from Travel. A receipt is needed for fees in excess of $10.00.

      When an employee attends a recognized conference in the conduct of official agency business and obtains overnight accommodations at the hotel or motel where the conference is being held, or at a hotel or motel where conference officials arrange for accommodations, the traveler may be reimbursed for room cost in an amount greater than the maximum room allowance provided for in these regulations if the room rate is the lowest available in that hotel or motel or at a hotel or motel in the immediate vicinity of where the conference is being held irrespective of whether conference officials made arrangements. However, travelers must assert in writing that they did stay at the hotel where the conference was being held or where conference officials arranged for their accommodations or at a hotel or motel in the immediate vicinity of where the conference was held and rates (including transportation) did not exceed rates for the lowest available conference-arranged accommodations. This statement must accompany the voucher when it is submitted for payment.

    8. Special Lodging Expenses
    9. If an employee attending an official meeting of any board, commission, or system covered by travel regulations issued by the Travel Regulation Council obtains lodging at the hotel or motel where the meeting is being held or at a hotel or motel where officials of the Agency calling the meeting arrange for accommodations, reimbursement for the room cost may be in an amount greater than the maximum room allowance provided for in these regulations, if the room rate is the lowest available at that hotel or motel. However, it must be asserted in writing on the travel voucher that the traveler stayed at the hotel or motel where the meeting was held or where Agency officials arranged for accommodations.

    10. No allowance at Official Headquarters. No travel expense shall be allowed an employee either at offical headquarters or at the place of abode from which the employee commutes daily to official headquarters.

  11. Exceptions to Travel Regulations
    Each properly approved travel voucher involving an exception to these travel regulations, together with an adequate explanation and justification of the exception, shall be submitted to the University Controller. When appropriate, the Controller will forward the requests to the Higher Education Travel Control Board. Such exceptions to these rules stated herein may be approved by the Higher Education Travel Control Board when necessary to meet special circumstances or are deemed to be in the best interests of the Agency. Exceptions shall generally apply to situations of a non-recurring nature. Amounts disbursed for travel reimbursement claims that are disapproved by the Higher Education Travel Control Board shall be refunded to the University and deposited in the fund from which payment was made.