Travel and Reimbursements
COLA Centralized Business Services (CBS) Website - All forms and the most up-to-date information can be found here.
Account Number and Balance Lookup - Faculty can check their individual account number(s) and balance(s) here. (VPN is required for off-campus access.)
1. Travel Arrangements
2. Travel Authorization Request
3. Travel to Restricted Regions
4. Faculty Travel Grant
5. Travel Reimbursements
6. Cash Advances
7. Entertainment Expense Reimbursements
8. General Reimbursements
9. Payment for Professional Services
- A Travel Authorization Request (TAR) must be completed prior to booking. See Section 2 below.
- Faculty, staff and students may use any online travel reservation system for travel arrangements in addition to the University's online tool, Concur. If using an online reservation tool other than Concur, the purchase receipt and form submitted for reimbursement (see Section 5 below) must include the traveler's statement: "Online selection is best value as consistent with institutional priorities."
- Anyone traveling abroad on University business or programs must be enrolled in the International SOS system. The International Office has automated registration for faculty and staff who purchase travel through a UT-contracted travel agency. International reservations made through other sources must be entered into the ISOS database manually by the traveler prior to departure. Failure to register travel with International SOS may result in program suspension or the International Oversight Committee (IOC) decision to withdraw approval. See also Travel to Restricted Regions below.
- Agent-assisted reservations should continue to be made through the University's contracted travel agencies, Anthony Travel or Corporate Travel Planners. An RTA/TAR number is still necessary for booking business-related air travel through Concur, Anthony Travel, or Corporate Travel Planners. If using Concur, travelers must register for an account and confirm the registration within 24 hours (remember to save the password).
- Exceptions to the agent-assisted reservation rule include: study abroad, group travel reservations, students who receive a travel scholarship award, and travelers mixing business with personal trip where included personal destination is a different city from the business destination (must include a copy of a cost comparison for the business round-trip airfare in reimbursement request - see Travel Management guidelines).
- State of Texas contract airfares remain available only through Concur or one of the contract travel agencies.
- Please refer to the University's Travel Management website and guidelines for more details.
- All business-related car rentals must be reserved through any of five contracted companies: Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz or National.
- Travelers may book rentals through one of the travel agencies and, for a fee, through the online booking tool. No reservation fee will be assessed when booking directly with their chosen rental car company.
- Exceptions: None of the vendors noted above are able to provide the vehicle type necessary at the location and date required, or traveler obtained a rental rate lower than that offered by any of the five contracted vendors, including collision and liability coverage.
An electronic Travel Authorization Request (TAR) must be submitted by faculty at least two weeks prior to travel. This includes personal travel as well as business travel. To request a travel authorization, please complete the University's TAR form. In recognition of this policy, if authorization has not been requested prior to travel, the faculty member will be asked to complete a signed memo acknowledging that s/he did not previously know that a TAR was necessary and submit this with any reimbursement request. Three exceptions at most will be allowed per fiscal year per faculty; the fourth request will be denied.
- The application process requires an EID.
- TARs are required for all travel-related absences from campus for periods of half a day or more during the normal working period, whether or not there is a cost to the University.
- Faculty who will miss a class must specify on the form the professor who will be handling their class while they are away. TAs are not authorized to cover classes.
- For travel during the first and last week of classes and finals periods, prior approval from the Chair is required. Chairs must review travel dates, missed classes, name of faculty member who will oversee missed classes, final exam dates and how exams will be administered, a plan for on-time grade submission, and a method of contact for student queries. The TAR document notes must confirm the Chair's approval.
- Completing the form:
- After completing all required (*) fields, click "Create Request." Please note this merely creates a document of the request and does not route it for approval.
- At this point users may choose to save their progress and route the form at a later date by clicking "Save," or if they are sure all information is accurate they may route the form by clicking "Save and Assign." (Do NOT click "Save and Finalize.")
- On the next page under Choose Assignment Type, choose "Profiled UT EID or Group," and "COLA Centralized Business Services - Group 1 (00001)" should be selected.
- In the Assignment Note section, please indicate again which of your account(s) to use. If funded by or expecting funding by a Faculty Travel Grant, please indicate again here as well, and list a back-up account to use. Faculty must apply for Faculty Travel Grants separately. See Section 4 below.
- Finally, click "Assign." This completes the request and routes it to COLA for processing. Users will receive an RTA/TAR number once processing is complete. An RTA/TAR number is necessary for booking business-related air travel.
A TAR is not required if the person is:
- Traveling for personal reasons while they are on leave.
- Traveling for personal reasons if travel occurs during the summer and they are not teaching.
- Traveling during the fall or spring sessions for personal or business purposes, but travel only takes place on the weekend or after the final exam period or during the intersession.
If the faculty member is teaching, but traveling for personal reasons during the days/times they teach, a TAR is required by COLA. Please include the name of the faculty member who will teach the classes or supervise the TA. Include the days and times the classes are in session. The University does not require TARs for personal travel, but COLA requires them if classes are in session or impacted. If traveler expects to conduct research while on personal travel, the specific work dates have to be indicated prior to travel in the notes of the TAR.
For further information, consult the Travel Policies in the Handbook of Business Procedures.
Traveler cannot be reimbursed for travel to a Restricted Region unless they have received advance approval from the International Oversight Committee (IOC) in the International Office for such travel. Policy and procedural information related to Travel to Restricted Regions is available on the IOC website: world.utexas.edu/risk/travelpolicy. For category 1 and 2 travel, after obtaining the chair's signature on the Request to Travel to Restricted Regions form, send the form to Mirakol Smith in the College of Liberal Arts (email@example.com, mailcode G6000).
- Requests for Travel to Restricted Regions must be completed and approved in advance of the begin date of travel (see the IOC website for specific deadlines). This policy applies to all Restricted Regions travel, regardless of funding. The only exception is travel that is 100% personal vacation.
- In compliance with IOC policy, the College of Liberal Arts cannot accept late requests for travel to Restricted Regions. Corresponding requests for travel reimbursements will not be accepted.
- Anyone traveling abroad on University business or programs must be enrolled in the International SOS system. The International Office has automated registration for faculty and staff who purchase travel through a UT-contracted travel agency. International reservations made through other sources must be entered into the ISOS database manually by the traveler prior to departure. Failure to register travel with International SOS may result in program suspension or the IOC decision to withdraw approval.
Faculty may request $1,200 annually in travel funds through the University's Faculty Travel Grant application program.
- A TAR form must be completed as well before applying. Please refer to Section 2 above.
- The FTG application must be submitted at least two weeks prior to travel (RTA admin/departmental signer is Amy McMillan, EID: ejmi).
- See the graduate school's website for travel grants for details.
- The purpose of the travel grant is to support presentation of the applicant's original research or creative effort. Attending a meeting or chairing a session does not qualify, nor does accepting an invitation to present a seminar or giving a colloquium at another university.
- Before beginning the application, be sure to gather the following:
- An abstract (not exceeding one page in length) of the paper or presentation to be given;
- Either a copy of the meeting program showing applicant's name, paper, or presentation topic, and date or a letter from the meeting organizer accepting the paper or presentation and confirming their part in the program.
To process travel reimbursements, faculty must complete the COLA Travel Reimbursement Request form, put the form and receipts in a green CBS envelope (available in the cabinet above the outgoing mail trays), and place the envelope in the CBS pickup tray at the front desk. Alternatively, they may submit the form and receipts directly online (assign to Group 00001). These items will be processed by COLA.
- Travel reimbursement requests must be submitted no later than 60 days after the last approved travel date. An approved TAR prior to travel must be on file. In recognition of this policy, if authorization has not been requested prior to travel, the faculty member will be asked to complete a signed memo acknowledging that s/he did not previously know that a TAR was necessary and submit this with any reimbursement request. Three exceptions at most will be allowed per fiscal year per faculty; the fourth request will be denied.
- Personal travel cannot be reimbursed. If traveler expects to conduct research while on personal travel, the specific work dates have to be indicated prior to travel in the notes of the TAR.
- The travel itinerary must be included with the request.
- A list of items for which receipts are required is available here.
- All University employees are EXEMPT from Texas State hotel occupancy taxes when traveling for University business. The University cannot reimburse any Texas State occupancy taxes unless the hotel refuses to honor the exemption certificate. The daily allowable amount for lodging is currently $83 per day on state funds. On local funds, the combined actual lodging and meal expenses cannot exceed $220 ($41 for meals) per day.
- Meals are normally paid by meal allowance (per diem), currently $36 on state funds and $41 on local funds. Meal receipts are not required to receive meal allowance. Please see the Dean's Office memo for a specific breakdown.
- The University cannot reimburse a split bill (such as hotel) that does not have the UT Austin payee's name, and will not accept private invoices for split bills - it is up to individual travelers to reconcile any private agreement.
Expenses that can be reimbursed include, but are not limited to:
- Airfare - original receipt clearly showing that payment was made. (If using an online reservation tool other than Concur, the purchase receipt and form submitted for reimbursement must include the traveler's statement: "Online selection is best value as consistent with institutional priorities.")
- Lodging - original hotel bills are required showing itemized room rate and taxes, and showing a zero balance. Non-commercial lodging cannot be reimbursed without prior authorization.
- Meals - at current per diem. If traveler will be out of town for more than 30 days and wishes to be paid for a meal allowance beyond the 30 days, approval is needed from the department.
- Registration fees
- Parking fees
- Cab/Bus/Train fares - receipts are not required, but recommended, if travel within the city, receipts are required for travel between cities.
- University business telephone calls and internet service - reimbursed via the hotel bill.
- Hotel occupancy taxes - reimbursed via the hotel bill.
- Gasoline for personal car - if not claiming mileage reimbursement.
Faculty who will be paying for additional research needs are strongly encouraged to request a cash advance before travel. If a trip will include group travel and/or research payments, please ask about the possibility of a cash advance. Please contact Greg Halverstadt at CBS with questions about cash advances.
Travel cash advances provide the convenience of receiving funds before travel begins.
Study cash advances are also available for payments made to study participants.
Travel involving payments made to workers, non-commercial lodging, group travel, entertainment, and program expenses can be made via a travel cash advance with prior authorization.
With a cash advance, traveler is able to pay third-party consultants or pay for group travel. Please remember that without a cash advance faculty cannot be reimbursed directly for these payments. For example, faculty cannot be reimbursed for paying for travel expenses for others, but can pay expenses for other researchers on their team with a cash advance.
Cash advance requests should be submitted within 2 to 4 weeks before the date funds are needed, and receipts are due 14 days after travel has been completed.
Please contact Greg Halverstadt at CBS with questions about cash advances.
For entertainment expense reimbursements, faculty must complete the COLA online Official Occasion Expense Form/OOEF. Fill out the required fields, attach the receipts, certify, and click "Submit." The form will be routed for further processing. (Faculty may put the receipts in a green CBS envelope, available in the cabinet above the outgoing mail trays, and place the envelope in the CBS pickup tray at the front desk instead, but they must still complete the online form and select "Itemized receipt will be submitted separately." Do not staple or highlight anything.)
- Entertainment expenses are limited to $75/person for an event/meeting (including tax and gratuity). Texas sales tax is not reimbursable unless for dining at an establishment. The Tax Exemption Certificate is available here. Present the certificate to the vendor for University related expenses to claim the exemption.
- Expenses for alcohol may not be the primary expenditure, that is, greater than the total food expense.
- Tips/gratuity should be limited to no more than 20% before tax.
- Faculty must submit itemized receipts and a receipt showing proof of payment (if this does not already appear on the itemized receipt).
- If there are 10 or fewer people in attendance, please provide the name, title, and affiliation of each person.
- If an itemized receipt or proof of payment is not available, the payee must sign a memo explaining why such is not available and the document creator should include it with the voucher paperwork. This should be mentioned in the document notes.
- Reimbursements must be processed within 60 days of the official occasion.
- Procards cannot be used at restaurants.
For general reimbursements, faculty must complete the COLA General Reimbursement form, put the form and receipts in a green CBS envelope (available in the cabinet above the outgoing mail trays), and place the envelope in the CBS pickup tray at the front desk. These items will be processed by COLA.
- General reimbursements include books and other materials that are not related to entertainment or travel.
- Reimbursements must be processed within 60 days of the event/purchase.
- Please ask Kevin Hsu to order office supplies from UT Market. See office supplies for more information. Furniture and equipment must be purchased with the Procard. Please see Julie Kniseley for the Procard.
- Due to ownership, warranty, and licensing issues, all computer hardware and software purchases must receive prior approval and be acquired through a purchase order (see Kevin Hsu or Julie Kniseley) or, in certain cases, with the Procard. Please see Julie Kniseley for the Procard. Turn in receipts with a completed Procard Charge form to Julie Kniseley. See the Adminstrative and Academic Resources page for more information.
- University employees are exempt from Texas sales tax if a purchase is made for University purposes. Faculty and staff are highly encouraged to utilize this status as sales tax is not reimbursable. The Tax Exemption Certificate is available here. Present the certificate to the vendor for University related expenses to claim the exemption. No reimbursements will be given for any Texas State sales tax for approved purchases on department funding. Procard purchases must be made with the Tax Exemption Certificate.
If acquiring a professional service (eg, book indexing, speaking engagement, etc), prior to the rendering of service, faculty must submit:
- The COLA online Professional Services Payment Questionnaire/PSPQ (to Group 1), and
- If using the party for the first time through UT Austin, have the party performing the service complete the Payee Information Form/PIF (designating him/herself as an individual), and submit it along with a clear scan or copy of his/her photo ID to CBS at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be processed by COLA.
Please contact COLA CBS at email@example.com or see Kevin Hsu with any questions.