Travel under Externally Sponsored Agreements

  1. Introduction
  2. Authorization
  3. Business Travel Expenses: Allowable, Non-Allowable
  4. Reimbursement Procedure
  5. Charge Options
  6. Sponsor-Specific Requirements
     

a. Introduction

Travel funded under sponsored project agreements such as contracts, fellowships, grants, and other external funding awards must, like all University-related travel, comply with University travel regulations, as described within the UI Guidelines and Information for Traveling in the US and Abroad. Portions of the Guidelines are described in the following sections.

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b. Author​ization

Individuals traveling on University business, whether in-state or out, must secure advance approval from their departments. The appropriate University officials must ensure that the travel is approved and that funds are available to reimburse the travel. Each department is responsible for establishing internal approval processes -- defining departmental signature authority and informing travelers of department-specific travel processes and regulations.  

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c. Business Travel Expenses: Allowable, Non-Allowable

Under University guidelines, the various categories of travel expenses may or may not be eligible for reimbursement. Some of the major expense categories are outlined below.

Allowable Expenses

  • Transportation, including airfare; personal vehicle (mileage); taxi or shuttle; rental car; and train.
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Business Phone Calls
  •  Tips in relation to Baggage/Housekeeping
  • Meeting Registration

Non-Allowable Expenses

  • Personal Phone Calls
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Movie Charges
  • Entertainment
  • Expenses beyond Maximum Allowances
  • Memberships to Airline Executive Clubs

For complete information on University travel allowances and procedures, please consult the University of Iowa Travel Guidelines.

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d. Reimbursement Procedure

Travel expenses must be itemized on an official travel expense voucher for reimbursement. By approving the voucher, the traveler signifies that the listed expenses are correct and complete and will not be claimed for reimbursement from any other source or claimed as a tax deduction. Departmental approvals indicate that all expenses have been reviewed and are approved by the department. However, the department may not approve expenditures that are outside the established University travel regulations. In special circumstances, where exception to policy is deemed essential, a written request with explanation must be submitted to the Travel Office and approval secured prior to the expense being incurred. For additional Information regarding the UI travel reimbursement system, please visit the ProTrav website. 

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e. Charge Options

For complete information on the options for charging University travel-related expenses, please refer to Purchasing Department's Procurement Card website.

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f. Sponsor-Specific Requirements

In addition to the University guidelines outlined above, sponsored-project funding is often subject to additional regulations set forth by the sponsoring organization. In most instances, federal and non-federal sponsors outline travel restrictions within the award notification or agreement, restricting the use of funds for certain types of travel or requiring the sponsor's prior approval for travel. While some agencies allow considerable leniency in the travel-approval process, others are quite strict.

Travel under Federal Agreements

Travel under federally sponsored agreements generally follows the cost principles set out in the Uniform Guidance (200:474 - Travel Costs), as the federal government requires its funding agencies to incorporate those principles into their individual policy guidelines. The Fly America Act (U.S. Code Title 49 of the United States Code, Subtitle VII, Part A, subpart I, Chapter 401, 40118) outlines some key aspects of the federal requirements, generally requiring those traveling under federal agreements to use U.S. carriers for international air transportation.

Over the years, Fly America has been amended by a number of Open Skies Agreements established between the United States and various countries, allowing use of foreign carriers under specific circumstances. The most recent Open Skies amendment involves an air transport agreement between the United States and European Union. Like those before it, this latest amendment appears at first glance to allow the use of our foreign-partner carriers, but there is a major, often determining consideration: Open Skies Agreements are nullified if there is a relevant city-pair agreement in effect. The U.S. General Services Agency indicates there are approximately 5,000 city-pair agreements currently in effect, leaving it highly likely that a U.S. flag air carrier will still be required in any given case. 

Proposal-stage questions about travel regulations can be directed to the Division of Sponsored Programs. Post-award questions pertaining to externally sponsored travel should be directed to the Grant Accounting Office.

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