TRAVEL ADVANCE POLICY FOR UMBC 02-08-05



 
 

Purpose

To support the needs of faculty and staff who are required to travel for a continuous extended period of time or for numerous shorter periods of time within a consecutive 30 day period and to minimize the financial hardship incurred by employees in this situation.

Also, to support the needs of students who travel on behalf of UMBC or a UMBC sponsored student group and to minimize the financial hardship incurred by those students.

Policy

Faculty and staff of UMBC who travel for business purposes are expected to arrange for prepayment of expenses wherever possible, using the procurement card, a purchase order, or a confirming requisition. Those expenses that cannot be prepaid by one of these methods should be paid from the employee’s personal funds during the period of travel. Approved expenses will be reimbursed to the employee within two pay periods following submission of a complete and correct Expense Statement to the Department of Financial Services. Advances are not issued to employees for routine business travel.

Employees who are required to travel, for business purposes, for a continuous extended period of time are eligible to apply for a travel advance. Continuous extended travel is defined as continuous absence from home, for business purposes, lasting at least 10 days. Business travel during at least 20 days of any consecutive 30 day period also qualifies the employee for an advance. Note that advances are ordinarily not granted to employees who are not on the current UMBC bi-weekly payroll.

Students who are traveling on behalf of UMBC or a UMBC sponsored student group, with proper written approvals, are eligible for a travel advance if the period of absence from home will last at least 3 days. Note that the advance will normally be made in the name of the staff member who is responsible for the student on the trip. This staff member will be responsible for control of the advanced funds and for settlement of the advance. The staff member(s) may also be eligible for a travel advance. This determination will be made on a case by case basis. Note that students may be required to execute a promissory note for the amount of the advance if funds are issued in their own name.

Eligibility and request for a travel advance does not guarantee approval. All travel advances are issued on a first come, first served basis and are subject to denial if the current balance in the UMBC Working Fund is insufficient to permit the advance. Therefore, the traveler is advised to request the advance at least 4 weeks prior to the date the disbursement of funds is requested. This time interval permits the manager of the Working Fund to request, and receive, additional funding from the State of Maryland if required.
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 

Eligible Expenses

The following categories of expense are eligible for a cash advance:

  1. Per diem at the currently approved level (must be listed by date, with a dollar estimate for each day and must show the total per diem requested).
  2. Lodging (cost of room plus applicable taxes only): Note that lodging fees will only be advanced in special circumstances where the hotel will not accept the Procurement Card and will not invoice against a UMBC Purchase Order. Traveler will be required to provide documentation from the vendor to this effect.
  3. Ground transportation.
  4. Incidental Expenses (approved on a case by case basis, such as group study trips). These must be listed in detail with estimated totals for each item.
Note that receipts will be required to settle the advance for all items except per diem.

Excluded Expenses

The following types of expenses are excluded from cash advances:

  1. Phone calls, including business calls. Business calls should be submitted on a separate Expense Statement form and reimbursed to the traveler after the fact, through the normal process.
  2. In-room expenses. These are not reimbursable to the traveler at all.
  3. Pre-trip expenses, such as passport and travel visa fees, cost of innoculations, etc. These should be paid from the traveler’s own funds and then submitted to Accounts Payable using the Universal Voucher form. These expenses will be considered on a case by case basis outlined in the grant information which must be provided with the reimbursement request.  The traveler will receive a State of Maryland check within 2 weeks.
  4. Cost of personal trip insurance. This cost may not be reimbursed at all since university policy states that the university will bear the cost of airline tickets, train tickets, etc. if the trip is canceled.
Expenses not listed above will be considered on a case by case basis. Generally, any expense incurred by the traveler prior to the departure date, or after the return date will not be eligible for an advance.

Disbursement

If an advance is approved, funds will be disbursed to the traveler three business days prior to the departure date. Special circumstances that would require an earlier disbursement date must be documented and submitted to the Working Fund at the time of application.
 
 

Method of Application

The traveler should submit the following forms and documentation to the Working Fund custodian at least 4 weeks prior to the requested disbursement date of the travel advance.

  1. Travel Advance Application Form.
  2. A copy of the approved E-Travel form
  3. Travel advance recovery form.
  4. If the advance is based on 20+ days of business travel during a consecutive 30 day period, submit copies of registration forms, etc. that document the dates of business travel during the 30 day period. Days added for personal convenience cannot be included.
The forms must be hand carried to the Working Fund, located on the 3rd Floor of the Administration Building, between the hours of 9:00 AM and Noon, or 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The fund will not be responsible for any applications sent through the inter-office mail or left in other locations.
 
 
 
 

Settlement of the Advance

If a travel advance is issued, the traveler is responsible to present the following items in settlement of the advance, no later than the due date specified on the Advance Recovery Form:

  1. Unused funds (preferably in a check payable to the UMBC WORKING FUND).
  2. Original receipts for all items except per diem. If the receipt is in a foreign currency, the traveler is responsible to calculate and show the US dollar conversion in effect on the date of the transaction.
  3. An approved Expense Statement Form, showing the per diem claimed, as well as the other expenses involved in the settlement of the advance.
These items must be hand carried to the Working Fund, located on the 3rd Floor of the Administration Building, , between the hours of 9:00 AM and Noon, or 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The fund will not be responsible for any money or receipts sent through the inter-office mail or left in other locations.

If the traveler’s eligible expenses exceed the amount of the advance, a check for the balance due the traveler will be issued within 10 business days.
 
 

Delinquent Travel Advances

Since the Working Fund strives to meet the needs of the entire campus community with a limited funding supply, it is imperative that all travel advances be settled on time. Employees or students with delinquent advances will be subject to immediate payroll recovery or other collection methods as allowable by law. Employees or students with past delinquent advances may be denied future advances.

It is the responsibility of the traveler to advise the manager of the Working Fund of any circumstances that will prevent timely settlement of the advance. Extension of the due date may be granted, at the sole discretion of the fund manager.