405 Travel

Introduction to Travel

PSU's travel guidelines are derived from travel rules established and authorized by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (OSBHE). Travel rules are found in the Financial Administrative Standard Operating Manual (FASOM).

It is PSU policy to pay for or reimburse employees and authorized non-employees traveling on official university business. Such payment or reimbursement is subject to all applicable statutes, regulations, bargaining agreements, contracts, policies, and budget availability. Questions about this set of travel policies should be directed to PSU's Travel Office at travel@pdx.edu or through instant messaging at http://www.pdx.edu/financial-services/travel

Basic Principles of Travel Policy

The university has several fundamental travel guidelines:

  1. University travel shall be allowed only when the travel is essential to the normal discharge of official duties.
  2. Travel is to be conducted in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, resulting in the best value to the university.
  3. Each department is charged with the responsibility for determining the necessity and justification for travel, including the selected method of travel. The justification of travel or business purpose must be explained when completing a Travel Authorization or Travel Reimbursement. See next section on Business Purpose.
  4. Departments shall make every effort possible to minimize personal time spent on out-of-state travel.
  5. Departments and university personnel must comply with all provisions of this travel policy. Traveler will only be reimbursed according to policy. If policy is not followed, any additional charges the traveler incurred that fall outside of the travel policy will not be reimbursed.

Business Purpose

All Travel Authorizations and Travel Reimbursements submitted must include a business purpose. The business purpose serves as justification for travel. The nature of the business needs to be described in detail for each destination. IRS defines business purpose as “the expense or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained.” Descriptions should give enough information to determine the benefit.

Individuals who travel where no formal agenda is provided (i.e. conference and or workshop) must attach a daily itinerary to document a business purpose for all days. The itinerary should include dates, name of the organization involved (no acronyms please), names and positions of individuals, places, monuments or institutions visited; or other descriptions as appropriate and a description of the activity itself. The description of the activity should be specific and mention, for example, research topic, paper title etc.

Inadequate descriptions:

  • I need to attend a conference
  • I need to research some stuff for my grant
  • I need to recruit students
  • I need to go visit another college
  • I need to be a speaker at a function

Adequate description:

  • I need to attend the Oregon Women in Higher Education conference in order to learn new coaching techniques for my department
  • I need to map the Redwood Forest for my xxx grant focused on this area
  • I need to go to Portland Community College and Mt. Hood Community College to recruit potential students for PSU
  • I need to visit Oregon State University’s travel department in order to gain insight on how they conduct web travel.
  • I need to attend the Environmental Sciences conference to give a presentation on the Willamette River project in order to have PSU recognized as one of the leaders in the industry.

Definitions of Common Travel Terms

These terms are used throughout this policy:

In-State Travel - Travel between locations in Oregon and Vancouver surrounding suburbs and any travel to Oregon.

Out-of-State Travel - Travel from Oregon to a destination within the continental U.S. This may include travel between points outside of Oregon, where the trip does not originate from or return to Oregon.

Foreign Travel - Travel to or in foreign countries.

Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS) Travel - OCONUS travel comprises travel in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. Possessions.

Commercial Travel - Travel requiring overnight stay from employee's office location with expenses arising from the use of commercial lodging.

Non-traditional Travel - Overnight travel using non-commercial lodging, e.g., camping in a park, using an RV, or a private home.

Office Location - The city, town or other location to which an employee is assigned.

Per Diem - Reimbursement amounts for lodging, meal and incidental expenses for a 24-hour period. When claiming per diem, receipts are not required. Per diem for the first and last day of travel will be 75%.

Incidental Expenses - These expenses are combined with meal per diems and are not reimbursable outside of the per diem amount. Incidental expenses include, but are not limited to: tips and gratuities. Incidental expenses do not apply to taxis, airport shuttles, telephone or fax calls; these are to be itemized and reimbursed at cost, with explanation of business purpose.

Unrestricted Air Travel - Air travel for which no advance purchase or stay restrictions are placed on the ticket purchase. The state's City-Pair airline contracts are examples of unrestricted air travel.

Persons Eligible for Travel Expense Reimbursement

The following may be reimbursed for official travel expenses:

  • Employees - Employees of PSU, including faculty, staff, and students whose duties include official travel.
  • PSU Board Members and Unpaid Members of Advisory Committees - OSBHE members or members of advisory committees may be approved for official travel.
  • Recruitment for Employment - Candidates for positions may, with prior approval, travel to PSU or another site for interview in the course of recruitment.
  • Athletic Recruits - Athletics may pay for the cost of travel for prospective athletes (recruits) to visit PSU.
  • Students - Non-employee students may travel as part of an educational program, including athletics.
  • Employees of Other State Agencies - These employees may travel on behalf of PSU.
  • Non-Employees and Volunteer Workers - These include consultants, official guests, speakers, and volunteers. However, family members must pay their own way. Volunteers must be officially sanctioned through the Human Resources Center
  • Personal Services Contract - No expense or reimbursement may be paid separately unless it is clearly stated in the PSC.

Approvals - Travel Authorization and Expense Reimbursement

Travel expenses will be reimbursed provided the Travel Authorization (except for in-state, no airfare required) is approved in advance by the departmental approver (authorized university personnel), usually the Financial Manager/Proxy. Grants and contract projects may need to obtain current budget approval from Research and Strategic Partnerships before travel commences. ALL TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS MUST BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE OF TRAVEL.

Methods of Payment for Travel Services

Authorized travel expenses may be paid in several ways:

  • Directly reimbursed to the authorized claimant via Travel Reimbursement, approved by authorized department approver, and check or ACH generated through Banner.
  • Directly reimbursed to the authorized claimant prior to the trip via travel/operating advance. Submitting Travel Reimbursement after trip reconciles advance. If money is owed PSU, check is deposited by traveler at Cashiers.
  • Directly paid in advance or after-the-fact to the travel vendor through FIS via PSU contract;
  • Direct payment to the travel vendor through any of PSU's contracted travel agencies.
  • PSU Group Travel Cards (e.g. Athletic Team Travel, Geology Field Trips, Student Activities and Leadership Programs) may be used to charge travel services. The Cards for these areas are associated with team and group travel, therefore, authorized to charge travel-related costs.
  • Other departmental Procurement Cards may be used for conference registrations. Departments are not to use their Procurement Cards for other travel-related services.

Payment of Personal Expenses Prohibited

Payment of all personal travel expenses is strictly prohibited. Reimbursement of personal expenses is not authorized. Examples of personal expenses include travel to places of entertainment or personal gain using University funds.

Travel Authorization

In-State that requires Airfare, Out-of-State, and Foreign Travel Approvals

Authorizations for travel must be submitted in writing, subject to the policy of the department. Employees whose duties require frequent or continuous instate or regional travel, are considered to have advance approval when the required travel is within the usual limits of their duties.

The Travel Authorization must include a valid, approved business purpose and a daily itinerary attached, which specifically identifies personal days from business days.

The Travel Authorization must be completed and approved PRIOR to booking any travel arrangements made on behalf of PSU.

Travel on Grants

Travel Authorizations with sponsored project funding will be routed to RSP/DRA for approval to confirm funding is available and allowed. The DRA/RSP must approve the Travel Authorization for all travel proposed on their sponsored project.

In PRACTICE: Jane Smith’s travel is taking place in New York. She is not attending a conference where a formal agenda is already provided; she is conducting research for her grant. A Travel Authorization was submitted for Jane with detailed daily itinerary attached indicating what she does for the four days of her trip. Prior to booking travel, Travel Authorization must be approved by her DRA/RSP.

Introduction to Common Expenses

There are several common expenses related to University travel. These include the following:

  • Meals and incidentals
  • Lodging
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Transportation
  • Airfare

All of these expenses are utilized within each method of travel:

  • In State
  • Out of State
  • Foreign
  • OCONUS (Out of Continental US)

Meal and Incidental Expense Reimbursement

Meal and incidental expenses are reimbursed at a per diem rate without the necessity for actual receipts. These expenses may be reimbursed only if the traveler qualifies for lodging expense reimbursement, except as noted. If receipts are attached, reimbursement will only be given for the amounts specified on the receipt if at per diem rate or lower. No reimbursement will be given above per diem rates, even with proof of receipt.

Meals on One-Day (non-overnight) Trips - When a traveler departs and returns the same day, meal expenses are usually not reimbursed except in the following examples:

  • When traveling as a PSU board member or unpaid member of an advisory committee.
  • When a meal at a convention, conference, or meeting is part of the agenda. Usually, the meal is paid for as part of the workshop fee.
  • When directed or required to attend mealtime business meetings, including community or public relations meetings.
  • Trips by athletic teams and student groups; in-state rate;
  • When employees leave their official station two or more hours before their regular work shift, they may claim the breakfast allowance only (in state rate - taxable per IRS).
    When employees return to their official station two or more hours after their regular work shift, they may claim the dinner allowance only (in-state rate; taxable per IRS).
  • Proration of Meals for Partial Days on Overnight Trips:
    For the initial day of travel (leave) and final day of travel (return), traveler will be reimbursed 75% of the per diem rate.

Applicable meal and incidental expense per diem may not be claimed if a meal is provided at a hosted function, e.g., when a registration fee includes a meal or if a hotel provides continental breakfast. Per diem is broken out in the following way:

  • Breakfast 25%
  • Lunch 25%
  • Dinner 50%

Actual Meal-Expense Reimbursement - Hosting

  • Hosting official guests and groups (hosting rates: reference high city rate, broken out 25%: breakfast, 25%: lunch and 50%: dinner. All prices include tips and gratuities up to 20%.) Hosting while on travel status requires the claimant to be reimbursed at hosting rates.
  • Athletic team and student group meal expenses (actual, but per person rate is to be within per diem limits).
  • PSU board members and unpaid members of advisory committees.

These hosting reimbursements require original itemized receipts. In addition, the claim must separate meal cost and gratuity paid. When a single reimbursement is submitted for multiple employees, all employees and guests names should be identified on the reimbursement and a business purpose and or agenda attached. Note: expenses for alcohol are not reimbursed. When calculating tip, any alcohol purchases must be deducted prior to the tip (up to 20%) calculation.


Lodging expenses are normally reimbursed when authorized campus personnel determine that the traveler would not reasonably be expected to return to his or her residence between work shifts. Generally, lodging is paid at per diem rates. These flat rates do not require lodging receipts. Conferences and workshops fall under the exceptions to the per diem rate. In this instance, the traveler stays at the conference site hotel which may be higher than per diem rates. In the case of a conference-site exception, lodging is reimbursed at actual and reasonable rates with conference brochure and lodging receipts uploaded with Travel Reimbursement. Exceptions other than conferences should be rare. Campus policy applies regarding pre-approvals.

  1. Hotel Reservations - Departments may make hotel reservations for their travelers and use the VISA Procurement Card to HOLD the room. The procurement card cannot be charged and instead, the traveler must pay on their own and seek reimbursement when they return.
  2. The preferred way to hold reservations is for the traveler to book using their own personal credit card.
  3. Lodging Receipt Requirements - In the instance, usually for lodging at a “conference site”, where lodging receipts are required to reimburse claimants’ actual lodging expenses, the receipts attached must show:
    • traveler's name
    • date(s) of lodging
    • room number
    • number of guests
    • single room rate (if not printed, traveler may enter this and sign receipt)
    • actual amount paid
    • method of payment
  4. Lodging Taxes - Taxes on lodging are not included in the per diem rate, UNLESS FOREIGN TRAVEL. If actual costs are reimbursed, the amount itemized for lodging should be the total lodging expense including taxes i.e.: actual night stay is $130/night and taxes are $20/night;  the total itemized receipt should reflect $150/night.

IN PRACTICE: Jane Smith is attending a conference in Pocatello, Idaho. The conference has identified the Holiday Inn as a conference hotel. The hotel rate is $230/night. Since it clearly states this is a conference site hotel, Jane can stay at the hotel and will be reimbursed at the $230/night although it is above the per diem. Jane just needs to attach the conference agenda showing it is a conference site hotel and her original itemized folio to the Travel Reimbursement.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Necessary business-related expenses are normally reimbursed. Personal expenses are not reimbursed. Miscellaneous expenses must be itemized for reimbursement.

Necessary miscellaneous business-related expenses are not reimbursed using a per diem; rather, if the travel has incurred a miscellaneous business expense as outlined below, that expense is reimbursable at the actual cost.

Checked Baggage (receipts required if over $30 per item):

  • Up to 2 standard-weight bags each way (standard weight as defined by the airline used).
  • Additional baggage (more than 2 bags) or overweight baggage may be reimbursed only when a business purpose is provided and approved by authorized institution personnel; receipts are to be attached to reimbursement.

Examples of Expenses Normally Reimbursed - These items of expense need to be itemized; no receipt is needed unless a single transaction exceeds $25.

  • ATM cash advance transaction fee, up to 2% as charged by US Bank for the Corporate VISA Card.
  • Business-related telephone, internet and facsimile charges.
  • Postage or express charges.
  • One long-distance call to a family member on the first day of travel and alternating days thereafter. Cost and time limits: $8.00 or 15 minutes per personal call. Cost must be shown on the traveler’s hotel bill.
  • The cost of buying traveler's checks.
  • An emergency purchase of materials and supplies.
  • Visa and passport expenses.
  • Bridge and toll fares
  • Miscellaneous transportation costs such as bridge and turnpike tolls, ferry fares, and parking charges. At Portland airport, traveler will only be reimbursed at the economy parking rate of $12/per day.

Expenses Not Reimbursed - Expenses for these items are not reimbursed unless specifically justified and approved by department and CAS. These include:

  • Home to office travel.
  • Deviation from the most direct and usually traveled route.
  • Expenses incurred because traveler is accompanied by a spouse or family member.
  • Personal expenses
  • Parking at PSU if work location is PSU campus.
  • Traffic and parking tickets
  • GPS for rental vehicles
  • Upgrades for transportation and lodging
  • Meals when provided as a part of lodging and or conference agenda
  • Personal travel insurance

IN PRACTICE: While Jane is at a conference that she will be training attendees, she realizes that she forgot to make copies of the presentation materials for the group. She drives over to the nearest copy center and pays $40 for the copies. On her way she also gets stopped for a traffic violation and gets a ticket. Jane can claim the $40 on her reimbursement for the materials. She clearly states what the business purpose is and attaches the original receipt since it is over $25. She cannot claim the traffic ticket.

In-State Meals & Incidental Expenses and Lodging

1. Meals & Incidental Expenses

Meals and incidental expenses will be reimbursed at the rates provided on the PSU Summary of Travel Reimbursement Rates and Travel References. No receipts are required for meals if following per diem rates. However, meals that are part of the conference registration package (see Lodging Exceptions) must be deducted from the meal per diem.

Lodging Expenses will be reimbursed at the rates provided on the PSU Summary of Travel Reimbursement Rates and Travel References.

When claiming at or below per diem, no receipts are required. Taxes for lodging are reimbursed as a part of lodging expenses and are coded using travel account codes.

  • Exceptions: The primary lodging exception is for stay at a Conference Site Hotel. This allows lodging to be reimbursed at "actual and reasonable" cost. Upgrades within the hotel are not allowed and will not be reimbursed such as ocean view or presidential suites. Lodging receipts are required to be uploaded with the travel reimbursement when the conference site exception is used. The hotel used must be specified on the conference brochure as a “conference site hotel." Other exceptions are reviewed on a case by case basis.
  • Lodging will be reimbursed according to the “high” “low” lodging rates at per diem rates and or at the actual rates when there is a conference site exception. Any additional charges the traveler incurs for lodging above these rates, will not be reimbursed.

2. Portland Lodging Rate

All guests, candidates, recruits, consultants, etc. where the university is paying for lodging in Portland can use either University Place Hotel or The Hotel Zags. For 2020, Portland is considered high city for partial year. Please see PSU Summary of Travel Reimbursement Rates and Travel References.

Account Codes - In-State account codes.

  • 39415 – Employee (Program) In-State Travel
  • 39445 – Non-Employee In-State Travel

3. Non-Commercial Lodging

The intent of the non-commercial lodging per diem is to reimburse travelers using non-commercial facilities (e.g., travel trailer, motor home, or staying with friends or family members) and should result in an economic benefit for the university. Non-Commercial lodging is reimbursed to the traveler at $25/night.

IN PRACTICE: Jane attends a two day workshop in Salem, Oregon. Her sister lives in Salem and therefore, Jane decides to stay with her sister for the night to save PSU money. She leaves Portland to drive to Salem at 6:00 am to make her workshop which starts at 8:00 am. She returns back to Portland the next day at 8:00 pm. Jane can claim $25 non-traditional lodging and 75% of the per diem rate each of her meals for both days.

Out-of-State Meals & Incidental Expenses and Lodging

1. Meals Per Diems (including incidental expenses) are determined by IRS rules involving "High" and "Low" rates by location (city/county). A list of the high cost locations in the continental U.S. is available on the UFS’s web site along with the current rates. Receipts are not needed when claiming per diem.

2. Exceptions: The primary exception is to stay at the Conference Site Hotel. The traveler can receive reimbursement of actual and reasonable costs. Attach original lodging receipts showing occupant’s name, room number, dates of stay, number of persons occupying the room, room rate, lodging taxes, the actual amount paid, and payment method. A brochure listing conference hotels is also required to be attached for reimbursement. Regardless of the city, if the conference site exception is used, lodging is reimbursed at actual and reasonable costs.

Meals that are part of the conference registration package must be deducted from the meal per diem on a pro-rated basis. For example, if a banquet is part of the registration package, a dinner amount (50% of the per diem rate) is deducted for that day.

3. Account Codes - Use Out-of-State account codes

  • 39515 – Employee (Program) Out-of-State Travel
  • 39545 – Non-Employee Out-of-State Travel

IN PRACTICE: Jane attends a conference. The conference registration fee that she paid includes lunch on all three days. In addition, Jane’s hotel provides a free continental breakfast each morning. Because these meals are provided as a part of the cost of the hotel and the conference registration, Jane will only get reimbursed for dinner for each of the three days of the conference.

Foreign Rates for Meals & Incidental Expenses and Lodging

Foreign travel is when an employee travels on behalf of the University to countries outside of the United States. Rates for reimbursement follow per diem rates specified by the federal government by country and city. If a city within a country is not indicated, travel per diem rates will be reimbursed at “other” rate. There are no blanket rates; the rates vary by country and city. Travelers who spend more than per diem on meals will only be reimbursed at per diem rates. When claiming per diem for meals and lodging, no receipts are required unless a conference site exception is claimed. If a receipt is submitted and the rate is below per diem, traveler will only be reimbursed at actual rates reflected on the receipt.

1. Foreign Meals and Incidental Expenses - The per diem rates are determined using the Federal Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas see: https://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp. To view the per diem rates, specify the country and month of travel. Per diem rates are broken into three columns. The first column shows maximum Lodging; the second column shows maximum Meals and Incidental Expenses (e.g., dry cleaning); and the third column shows the total of the first two or the maximum per diem for that location.

2. Foreign Lodging Rates - The lodging rates by country and city are from the same table used for meals, see above. All rates include tax. If using the per diem rates, no receipts are needed. Conference site hotels are authorized exceptions where receipts and brochures listing conference hotels are required to complete reimbursement.

3. Account Codes - Use Foreign account codes 39615 or 39645.

  • 39615 – Employee (Program) Foreign Travel
  • 39645 – Non Employee Foreign Travel

4. Currency Conversion: When traveling to foreign countries, currency conversion is necessary if US dollars are not used. The official currency conversion site that is used by PSU is: http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic. Currency conversion can be determined in two ways:

1) go to the Oanda site and lookup the currency conversion rate
2) attach a copy of a bankcard statement reflecting the true conversion rates

IN PRACTICE: Jane travels to a conference in Tirana, Albania in August, 2016. The conference covers lunch for each of the four days. Jane looks up what her per diem would be for this specific country on https://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp.

OCONUS - Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions

Travel to these parts of the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions is handled similarly to foreign countries - a table is used to derive the meal and lodging rates by location.

Meals and Incidental Expenses - Per diem meal rates are found by location in the Federal Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions (FASOM 11.06. See the Department of Defense web site for Non-Foreign Rates at (http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm). No receipts are needed. Travelers who spend more than per diem on meals will only be reimbursed at per diem rates. If a receipt is attached to the travel document and the rate is below per diem, traveler will only be reimbursed at actual rates reflected on the receipt.

  1. Lodging Rates - Lodging rates follow the same tables used for meals, see above. The rates include tax and no receipts are required if claiming per diem unless the traveler uses a conference site hotel exemption to claim higher lodging rates. If claiming an exception, provide a receipt and a brochure showing conference hotels.
  2. Account Codes for Alaska and Hawaii - Use Out-of-State account codes, 39515 or 39545.
  3. Account Codes for Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions - Use Foreign account codes,39615, or 39645.

IN PRACTICE: Jane goes to Honolulu, Hawaii in September for 3 days to conduct some research for her grant. Jane goes to http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm to look up the per diem amount for September.


Transportation expenses incurred while traveling on official business is allowable, and may be reimbursed. However, personal expenses, such as repairs, maintenance, or collision damage to private vehicles, may not be reimbursed. Policy clarifies that the state does not pay for physical damage to private cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, etc. used for state business. The following transportation expenses may be reimbursed to the traveler or paid directly to a service provider:

  • Private vehicle mileage allowance at 57.5 cents per mile. Common carrier fares i.e.: airfare, train
  • Necessary fees for taxis, airport shuttles, and rental vehicles.
  • Parking and garage fees
  • Bridge tolls and other similar charges

The method of transportation must be authorized within the department by completing a Travel Authorization. Normally the method of transportation that is the least costly determines the choice. Other factors may enter the decision, including available time of personnel, productive time lost, cost of personnel, possible overtime, cost of extra lodging and meals, public image, etc.

Transportation is classified by type of transportation: private vehicles, mileage allowance and insurance; state-owned vehicles; rental vehicles and insurance; loaned vehicles; and common carriers.

Private Vehicles

Use of a private vehicle is allowable when it is more practical because of cost, efficiency, or work requirements than the choice of a common carrier or using a state vehicle. The drivers of the private vehicles must be in compliance with all State of Oregon Motor Vehicle laws. The policies and procedures specified in the Internal Management Directive for Vehicular
Safety, Operation and Maintenance apply to all drivers, including volunteers, of vehicles used for university business.

  • Passengers in Private Vehicles - Employees driving vehicles must complete a certification form. Drivers must receive certification before passengers may be carried. Reimbursement is for the use of the vehicle regardless of the number of passengers carried. The master file for PSU driver’s registration is maintained at the Travel Desk (travel@pdx.edu).
  • Highway and Local Mileage Reimbursement - Mileage using standard mileage guides or the most direct route is used for reimbursement. Substantial deviations from standard distances or usual routes and actual odometer reading should be explained. Travel by indirect routes will be reimbursed using the common or direct route. When a trip starts at the employee's residence, use the shorter of the residence-to-destination or office
    location-to-destination distances. Local travel for official purposes while at overnight destination is allowable, including travel between lodging and restaurants for a traveler's sustenance and health comfort. Travel for personal purposes or entertainment is not reimbursable.
  • Private Auto Mileage (personal vehicle only) – must include address of destination for determination of miles traveled. Miles being claimed that do not match the OUS mileage chart will need either a printout of Mapquest or Google maps mileage or a Supplemental mileage log sheet completed. Effective Jan 1, 2020, mileage rate is 57.5 cents per mile.
  • Insurance on Private Vehicles - Employees or others authorized to use their private vehicle on official business must maintain a current valid automobile insurance policy covering the vehicle driven and driver. This insurance with limits conforming to Oregon law is considered primary. The driver's insurance pays first if there's an accident that causes damage or injury to a third party. Under state insurance rules, the state will cover liability claims above the limits of the driver's policy to the limits of state coverage in ORS 30.260-30.300. The state does not provide coverage for physical (collision) damage to the private vehicle nor for uninsured motorist and personal injury protection. Drivers of private vehicles used for official business should verify their automobile insurance coverage with their insurance carrier or agent.

State-Owned Vehicles

State Motor Pool vehicles may be checked out for official business trips. However, the State Motor Pool has closed all locations except for the Salem Motor Pool (1100 Airport Road SE, Salem, OR), making it less viable as an option for most trips originating in Portland. To use a Motor Pool vehicle, the department must apply for a Motor Pool Check Out card. State vehicles including university owned vehicles may be used only for official business - personal use is not allowed. Use of state vehicles is not authorized when costs are charged to Agency Funds, except for use of Student Organizations or for other legitimate state business as approved by the university's Controller. Motor Pool charges are billed back to the department by the Travel Department. Damage due to accident, misuse, neglect, or negligence to a Motor Pool vehicle is chargeable to the department of the driver.

  • Private Use Prohibited - Using a state-owned vehicle for personal or private use or allowing another person to do so is against state law (ORS 283.385) and punishable upon conviction by fine (ORS 283.990). State vehicles may be driven only by university employees, students, or volunteers with a good driving record and with a valid driver's license. Employee spouses and other persons whose travel is directly related to the required business travel may be carried as passengers, not as drivers. No other family members are permitted in the vehicle. No children are permitted except as wards of the state. No hitchhikers or pets are allowed in the vehicle.
  • Overnight Parking at Employee's Residence - A state vehicle may be kept overnight at a driver's residence when doing so is approved in advance by the driver's department head. Remember: the public is always curious about who's using a state vehicle and why it is being used.
  • Driver Safety - Drivers of state vehicles must obey all road and traffic laws and stay with in the posted speed limits. Vehicles are to be driven in a manner conducive to safety, economy, and good public relations. Members of the general public are prone to report speeding and unsafe state vehicles. These reports can form the basis of reprimand or discipline against an errant driver.

Rented Vehicles

Rental costs of vehicles (cars, trucks, boats or aircraft) may be reimbursed or direct billed. Rental should be considered only when regular means of transportation are unavailable or inappropriate for the particular use intended. Rental cars may be used in conjunction with travel by common carrier when use is reasonable and authorized in advance. Example: Flying to a city and renting a car to visit recruits and their families would be allowable. Renting a vehicle when staying at a conference site hotel is not permitted as these hotels often offer free or nominal charge for transportation to and from the conference.

  • Size of Vehicles - Rental cars should be economy or compact size. Larger vehicles are justified for groups of three or more. In accordance with PSU's Safe Driving Guidelines, the rental of 15-passenger vans is prohibited. The need for a larger vehicle that does not fall under this exception must be justified and approved in advance. The cost of upgrades to large or luxury vehicles or to accommodate family members is a personal expense, not reimbursable from PSU funds. Athletics, because of the size of personnel and recruits, is allowed to rent mid-size cars as their nominal vehicle.
  • PSU Contracted Rental Car Companies - Rental rates vary between rental car companies and by city. Call several to obtain the best rates for the particular destination. PSU has a contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car /National Car Rental, ZipCar and Hertz, which is centrally billed through PSU using your index number. These contracts covers CDW coverage; therefore, when renting through Enterprise or Hertz, do not buy extra insurance. In accordance with PSU's Safe Driving Guidelines, the rental of 15-passenger vans is prohibited. Please provide the corporate account number, index number(authorization code for Hertz) and contact information when making reservations if rental is approved and with a valid business purpose. If the traveler uses his or her Corporate VISA Card for payment of the rental contract, liability or collision damage will be covered through VISA. Only employees, who have been authorized to rent vehicles, are allowed to drive; family members are not permitted due to liability reasons. For detailed instructions to book through rental agencies, go to Direct Billing Instructions.
  • Insurance on Non-Contracted Rental Car Companies - If rented for official business and renting a vehicle that is not one of PSU’s contracted companies mentioned above, you are encouraged to purchase the Limited Damage Waiver (LDW) or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). If the LDW or CDW is available and not purchased by the agency at the time of rental, the department’s current deductible amount will be doubled in the event of a loss. 

    When renting from a non-contracted company, travelers should rent vehicles using their US Bank Corporate VISA cards because the CDW is primary when renting with this card. The traveler whose rental car is involved in an accident must report the accident (this is potential liability to the state) to the Risk Management Office, 5- 5340, immediately; and if you are using your US Bank Corporate Visa Card, the accident report must be filed with US Bank within 20 days.
  • Fuel - The cost of fuel for rental vehicles is reimbursed at the actual cost. Original itemized receipt of fuel cost is required, in addition to proof of car rental. No additional personal items purchased at fuel station will be reimbursed.

IN PRACTICE: Jane is attending a conference in Washington and then goes to Idaho for a research project for three days. At the conference the hotel provides free shuttle service to the conference location. Jane would not be able to claim car rental in Washington. She would pay for a taxi or shuttle from the airport to the hotel and back and seek reimbursement for those costs.
Jane can rent a car for the three days of her research project in Idaho as she needs to drive to different locations to do her research. She could contact Enterprise or Hertz and provide them with her index so that it would be direct billed.

Loaned Vehicles

Use of loaned vehicles may be authorized when it benefits the university. Loaned vehicles must have a safety check before being used - this is especially important with use by student groups. The state provides liability and collision coverage on the loaned vehicle only if the university has agreed in writing to accept responsibility for liability and damage to the vehicle. The loaned vehicle must be used for official business. For additional information, contact the Risk Coordinator 5-5340. If any use of the vehicle is personal (day care, grocery store), the driver's personal auto insurance becomes primary. Drivers should check first with their own auto insurance before driving a loaned vehicle.

Common Carriers

Transportation by means of common carrier is the usual choice when it is more appropriate and economical than travel using state or private vehicles. Common carriers are usually preferred for out-of-state travel. Actual cost is paid or reimbursed for rail, bus, or airline fares.

  • Trains – PSU will reimburse the cost of trains for essential University travel. PSU will reimburse the traveler for regular fares only. Upgrades will not be reimbursed. A roomette is allowed when an overnight Pullman accommodation is needed. A bedroom is allowed if no roomette is available or if special accommodations are approved because of the trip's nature or the traveler's health requires it. Receipts are needed.
  • Buses – Scheduled or charter buses may be used; this is often times direct billed and requires a contract. Receipts are required unless under $25.
  • Taxis and Airport Shuttles – All may be used. The cost for each must be itemized for reimbursement. Receipts are not required unless the fare is over $75 for one-way transportation outside of the Portland Metro Area. Maximum reimbursable amount within Portland Metro Area is $40, no receipt required. The table below lists one-way cab fares from Portland State University to Portland International Airport. When transportation is being claimed for reimbursement, the ‘to and from’ location needs to be noted. 
Cab CompanyTelephone No.Rate from the University to PDX (one way)Additional Fees (added to the fare)
Radio Cab Company503.227.1212$40$1 each addition person
Broadway Cab Company503.227.1234$40$1 each addition person
Green Cab503.252.4422$40$1 each addition person
New Rose City Cab Company503.282.7707$40$1 each addition person
Portland Taxi Company503.256.5400$40$1 each addition person


Airline travelers are expected to choose the lowest cost flight and airline (including all cost factors) that meet the schedule needs of the traveler.

  • Payment in lieu of Air Travel - A traveler may choose, with advance approval, to drive to the business destination rather than fly. PSU will only reimburse up to the cheaper of the two options.
  • Split Billings - The cost of travel, usually airfare, can be split by the amount paid by PSU and the remaining share paid by the traveler. Often, departments have limited travel budgets and can provide only partial support of the trip's cost. The travel agents used by PSU can assist the traveler in arranging a split payment. The traveler has to deliver a personal check to the travel agent or use his or her personal credit card when the ticket is booked. This also applies when the traveler is accompanied by a spouse or companion; the spouse or companion’s ticket must be paid for personally - never charged to the department.

Contracted Travel Agencies for Airfare

PSU has contracted with three travel agencies to provide travel services to our travelers. PSU offers three so departments can choose which of the three they prefer. All are contracted to provide a full range of services. When booking air travel online or with an agent, provide your approved Index Code and Account Code. Once this has been done, the authorized personnel in your department will approve and your travel will be ticketed. Please note: travel will not be finalized and ticketed until it has been approved by your departmental approver. Each department should have an updated Department Authorized Airfare Approval on file at the Travel Desk.

The travel agencies are Azumano, Journeys/Peak Travel, and Uniglobe Spectrum. These contracts are administered through Contracting and Procurement Services; call 5-3733, or e-mail travel@pdx.edu if you encounter any problems or questions in using these agencies. All travelers, including candidates and reimbursable contractors, should utilize any of the contract travel agencies.

Contract Travel AgencyPhoneToll freeAfter hourFees
Journeys Travel503-375-8811800-999-2608800-999-2608
Client Access Code A1AU9
$32 Domestic 
$45 International
Uniglobe Spectrum503-620-0620800-544-2575800-787-3997$25

Buying Airfare

Call any of the contracted agencies with a proposed itinerary or view various flight options online. The agent/website should offer you several choices of routes, airlines, departure and arrival times, and prices. Travelers are expected to travel by the most economical method. This usually means accepting the lowest available airfare. Travelers are not allowed to prefer one airline over another unless the separate fares are equal or the routing saves time. Obviously, if one airline offers a direct flight at the same fare that a second airline charges for a two-segment route with a stop to change planes, the first airline would be preferred. First Class fares are not allowed and will not be reimbursed.

  • Competitive Fares - Use any of our three agencies to provide fare quotes. Don't hesitate to call a second agency to see if you can obtain a better quote. Warning: Airfares change without warning. It isn't uncommon to have fares change from the time the quote was obtained to when the ticket is booked. Therefore, one agent may give a different fare quote than another. Be sure to ask for a quote based on the same specifications - the day and approximate time of departure and the needed arrival time being the most important. There are two ways to compare fares: First, compare only with "apples to apples" where the same specific times and same airline are compared between the travel agents. Second, you may find comparing the cost of using a different airline and routing through different hubs to give still better pricing. This compares "apples with oranges."
  • Booking Airfare Outside of Contracted Travel Agency - Travelers are encouraged to use one of the University’s contracted travel agencies: Uniglobe, Azumano, or Journeys. By booking through a contracted agency the traveler may have tickets refunded or credited to department if trip is canceled. If for some reason, the traveler does not find that booking through the contracted agency for a particular trip is ideal, he or she may choose to book airfare through other means. In doing so, however, the travel booked outside the contracted agency should be less costly, and consistent with the itinerary and the business requirements of the trip. All employees should be responsible stewards of the University’s resources. It is the responsibility of the Department Chair, Supervisor, Dean or Financial Manager to make this determination. Any cancellation fees or fees resulting in changing the itinerary due to personal reasons will not be covered by PSU. Employees should not use their credit miles to book flights and expect reimbursement from PSU.
  • Booking Airfare - Once you have determined the best route, itinerary, and price, and a travel authorization is approved, commit to the purchase by booking the flight with the travel agent or outside vendor. If booking through our contracted agency, the ticket is paid for by telling the agent or entering your Index Code and FIS Account Code online. Reservation will be booked upon email approval of the authorized personnel in the department. Traveler should verify all bookings have been approved prior to travel. Once travel has been booked and approved, the department will be charged the airfare and service fee.
  • Airfare Reimbursements if not booked using Index and Account Code – Airfare will be reimbursed upon completion of trip along with other expenses if it were paid for through personal funds. Reimbursements to the traveler require documentation showing the traveler paid the airfare (i.e. a credit card statement with the charge highlighted).

Air Travel when Travel is on a Grant

Fly America Act:
When federal funds are used, provisions of the Fly America Act are applicable and foreign travel is restricted to a U.S. air carrier unless extenuating circumstances apply and are approved in advance by Research and Strategic Partnerships (RSP Office). Additional information on the Fly America Act is available at http://www.tvlon.com/resources/FlyAct.html. If there are any questions relating to air travel when travel is on a grant, please contact RSP directly.

Forms of Payment for Travel

Travel can be paid for through a number of methods:

  • Personal Funds
  • Direct Bill
  • Corporate Card
  • Group Travel Card
  • Travel Advances
  • Operating Advances
  • Outside Source
  • Another Employee

Personal Funds

An employee can pay for travel through the use of their personal funds. In this instance the traveler would pay for various travel expenses using their personal funds i.e. checking, savings, credit card. Once the travel is completed, the employee would complete a Travel Reimbursement and upload all needed receipts/documentation and/or claim per diem. Once the Travel Reimbursement has been approved, a check or direct deposit will be generated for the Claimant.

Direct Bill

The preferred method of payment is to utilize Direct Billing as much as possible. Direct Bill is done through one of PSU’s contracted agencies. Airfare contracted agencies include Azumano, Uniglobe, Anthony’s Travel, and Journeys; Car rental contracted agencies include Hertz, Enterprise, Motorpool and Zipcar. In this case, the employee would provide the agency with their index number. The agency would then bill PSU for the expenses. Campus Accounting Services would generate a payment to the agency and input a Journal Voucher in the system to redistribute the expenses to the appropriate indexes. In this case the employee does not need to come up with the funds for airfare or car rental up front and seek reimbursement later, but instead, the charges would come directly out of their department funds.

Corporate Card

US Bank Corporate VISA Card - Employees are expected to apply through Campus Accounting office for a US Bank Corporate VISA Card which is used to charge travel or business related expenses. This card is available to any .5 FTE or greater employee who may have reimbursable expenses. The card is issued in the name of the employee who is solely liable for charges made to the card. The full amount on the US Bank monthly statement is due upon receipt. A travel reimbursement must be completed and submitted for approval. Once reimbursement is given to claimant, it is their responsibility to make full payment to US Bank. US Bank assesses late charges in accordance with the charge card agreement. US Bank cards are valid only while cardholders are employees; a card becomes invalid on termination or retirement (unless the retired faculty member anticipates further business travel). Corporate Cards cannot be used for any personal charges. P-Card department will check and monitor all non-business expenses and the cardholder will be subject to audit for non-compliance.

  • Revoking PSU Issued Credit Cards - PSU encourages the use of P-Cards and Corporate cards to facilitate purchasing and employee travel. As a reminder, use of P-Cards and Corporate cards is strictly limited to payments for University business. Personal charges of any kind are not allowed. Each designated employee is responsible for the proper use and management of PSU issued credit cards as described in the policy and procedures guide. PSU reserves the right to revoke card privileges for repeat offenses or abuse of the card guidelines.
  • Cash Advances Using Corporate VISA Card - Employees' Corporate VISA Cards may be used to obtain cash advances before or during the trip through a world-wide network of ATMs or by going to any bank and making a cash withdrawal.
  • Corporate VISA cash advance service charge fees are equal to 2% of the cash advanced. This is an allowable travel expense to be itemized on the travel reimbursement
  • Cash advance limits are presently up to 20% of your monthly limit. For example: if your card limit is $3,500 per month, you would be allowed to withdraw up to $700 in cash per month. Please contact the P-Card Coordinator at 5-3734 or email pcard@pdx.edu if you have individual questions or concerns regarding the cash advance limits.

Group Travel Card

A PSU department that conducts group or team travel could be eligible for a Group Travel Card; Group Travel Cards are issued to a department that regularly has group or team travel. The Group Travel card can be used to cover travel expenses for the group such as lodging and meals. These expenses flow through the p-card module and the Card Custodian would distribute the charges to appropriate account codes. In this case, none of the expenses placed on the card would need to be claimed on a Travel Reimbursement form. For questions regarding the Group Travel Card, please email pcard@pdx.edu.

Travel Advances

Travel Advances can be requested within Viking Travel via the online Travel Authorization form.

Travel Advance Processing – Travel advances are to be requested at least 2 weeks prior to the trip and done as a part of the Travel Authorization request. In most cases, only one advance can be outstanding at a time. A new advance request cannot be submitted until the outstanding advance has been cleared. Travel advance requests will be paid to employees no longer than 2 weeks prior to the trip. Faculty/Staff and Non-Employee advances can be paid up to 100% of trip costs. If the trip is funded by Athletics, the Athletics Compliance Officer will need to approve the request prior to it routing to Campus Accounting Services. If the trip is grant funded, the DRA/RSP will need to approve the request prior to it routing to CAS.

Clearing Travel Advances – To clear a Travel Advance, claimant must submit a Travel Reimbursement along with attaching all relevant documentation. Reimbursements must be completed within 60 days from last date of travel. If travel costs are less than the advance, the difference must be paid back to PSU by completing a Miscellaneous Deposit Form and bringing it, along with cash or check, to the Cashier’s Office.

If travel costs are more than the advance, the difference will be paid to the traveler once the Travel Reimbursement is entered and approved.

Travel Paid by Outside Source

Outside Entities may reimburse a campus department, pay a service provider directly, or reimburse an employee for travel expenses related to PSU business. If the service provider is paid directly, or if reimbursement is made to an employee, PSU rules require that documentation of the arrangement should be maintained in campus travel records. To do this, the traveler submits a Travel Authorization that outlines the trip, its purpose, and shows no cost to the university. If the outside party reimburses the department, it should be accounted for as a reduction of expense (not revenue) using the same account code(s) as the original charge. This should be done by completing a Miscellaneous Deposit Form and given to the Cashiers Office to record. All travel being paid by an outside source, must still follow PSU travel policy and procedures.

IN PRACTICE: Jane has been working with University of Oregon on a research project that is in partnership with some work she does at PSU. U of O agreed to pay for her travel expenses to a conference in Florida to present her findings from the research project. Although U of O will be paying for all travel expenses, Jane still completes a Travel Authorization and gets it approved prior to making any travel arrangements.

Travel paid for by another Employee

If an employee is paying for travel on behalf of another employee, a memo must be submitted from the employee not claiming travel stating who paid for their travel, how much was paid, and that they will not be seeking reimbursement. This memo must be uploaded to the claimant’s Travel Reimbursement. In addition, when employees travel together, it may be expedient for one employee to pay and claim reimbursement for certain expenses of other employees.

IN PRACTICE: Jane and her co-worker, Sally need to drive to Salem for a two day workshop. Sally decided that she would pay for both of their lodging for the night and seek reimbursement. Jane writes a brief memo stating that her co-worker, Sally, paid for the lodging which totaled
$300 and that she would not seek reimbursement. When they return from the trip, Sally completes a Travel Reimbursement and claims $300 for lodging. She uploads the memo from Jane and is reimbursed for the $300.

Travel Reimbursements

Following each trip, the traveler should complete a Travel Reimbursement entering the allowable expenses by item. The reimbursement must be turned in within 60 days (or sooner at fiscal
year-end, or at the end of a grant) after completion of the trip. After 60 days, the reimbursement is considered late.

How to seek Reimbursement

Travelers can seek reimbursement by completing an online Travel Reimbursement form found on our Viking Travel website.

CAS will audit the reimbursements and the traveler will be paid via check or ACH through Banner. A paper form is still used for all Non-PSU individuals. This paper form is also found on Viking Travel link above. If an individual is not a PSU employee and or student and they do not have a vendor number, a W9 must be completed and submitted to Campus Accounting Services before reimbursement can be processed.


Questions about travel policy, rules, rates, and interpretation call ext. 5-3733, or email travel@pdx.edu.