Ticketing and Reimbursement
You may make your travel arrangements any time after your application has received approval. If you wish to have your airline ticket directly billed to the Faculty Travel Grant account, your travel arrangements must be made through one of the agencies under contract to the university. Current contract information and service fees are listed on Travel Management's web site at http://www.utexas.edu/travel/contact.php.
After your application has been approved, contact one of these agencies and let them know you are traveling on the Faculty Travel Grant account. If the airfare and service fee exceed the amount available for the trip from travel grant funds and you can obtain a lower fare from another agency or from an airline, you may use your own funds to purchase the cheaper ticket, and be reimbursed after your return. You should submit your receipts to your department for preparation of a travel voucher (VP5), which will be sent to our office for approval.
When your airfare exceeds your allowable balance for the trip from the travel grant account, you may still direct bill your airfare through a university contracted agency, but you will need to pay the additional amount from another university account. This account must be included on your RTA/VE5. When purchasing your ticket, please keep in mind that Faculty Travel Grant reimbursement is made for direct costs to and from your meeting. The special charge account established to pay for your airfare is based on this premise. Any additional travel costs for side-trips will be borne by the traveler. Each travel agency charges a ticket fee that will be paid by the travel grant if the combined airfare and ticket fee do not exceed the amount allowed on the Faculty Travel Grant account. If your ticket is changed, additional fees may be incurred that are not covered by the travel grant account.
The state of Texas has negotiated discount "contract" airfares with selected airlines to and from various cities. Employees of The University of Texas at Austin are eligible to use these contract airfares when conducting official university or state business, but the conditions surrounding the use of these airfares require the use of the official contract airline. You can access the current list of state rates at http://www.window.state.tx.us/procurement/prog/stmp/stmp-airline-contract/.
The travel agencies under contract to the university have been instructed to offer the contract airlines and airfares whenever possible. Special rates have been negotiated for certain international destinations. Check the state's web site above for these international rates, as well as rates for departures from cities other than Austin. Amendments to the Texas Civil Statutes affect the amount of reimbursement or payment for air travel expenses when state funds are used, if state agency or university employees fail to use the official contract airlines and airfares. A travel voucher that is prepared for reimbursement or payment of airline transportation or rental car expenses from companies that are not under official contract to the state of Texas will not be approved for an amount that is more than the official contract rate, unless a business-related explanation is given on the voucher for not using the official contract company or rates.
If traveling outside the United States additional approvals may be required. You should check the UT International Office Restricted Regions List which is continually updated to reflect travel conditions to foreign countries, including special requirements for entering certain countries.
An applicant who must remain at his or her destination over a Saturday night to qualify for a discount airfare may be reimbursed for additional meals and lodging (based on allowances maintained by the Office of Accounting) when the combined cost of the additional expenses and the discount airfare is less than or equal to the "average airfare" between Austin and the destination. Airfare and per diem may not exceed the balance allowed. When you file a travel voucher to claim these expenses, you must show a comparison of ticket prices with and without the Saturday stay over.
When traveling to or from your destination by an indirect route, e.g., traveling from Austin to New York (your meeting site) to Washington, D.C. (for other business) to Austin, you will be reimbursed for twice the Austin to New York portion of the airline ticket up to the balance allowed on the Faculty Travel Grant account. You will be expected to pay the difference in cost associated with the side trip.
Out-of-state auto travel is reimbursed at no more than the "average air fare," as quoted by one of the university contracted travel agencies, or actual car mileage times the current state mileage, whichever is less. When traveling out-of-state by auto, your travel voucher must reflect a quote from one of these travel agencies giving the average air fare cost versus actual car mileage at the current state mileage. In-state automobile travel mileage between cities can be calculated using a mapping web site, such as Google Maps. More information on state travel rules can be obtained from the Travel Management Office.
The university has an agreement with Citicorp Diners Club offering a corporate credit card to facilitate travel purchases. For more information about the Corporate Diners Club Card, please contact the Travel Management Services office at 471-6641.
For further information, please contact Lisa Jaskolka at 471-4511 or 232-3608. The mailing address is Faculty Travel Grants, Graduate School, Main Building 101, G0400.