The purpose of this policy is to outline appropriate travel-related expenses.  Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations state that ordinary and necessary business expenses are reimbursable.

  • The United States General Services Administration (GSA) provides guidance on reasonable meals and lodging rates:
  • The GSA does not address international travel, but reasonable discretion is expected of College employees.

In order to avoid additional payroll taxes, employees must:

  • Document expenses by cost, date, and description
  • Describe the business purpose and list attendees
  • Return to the College, on a timely basis, any amount advanced in excess of the substantiated expenses
  • Submit to the College requests for reimbursement within 60 days of purchase or event

Transportation Employees should seek and engage the least expensive transportation methods that reasonably accommodate their travel needs. Additional consideration should also be given to direct flights and train travel, as these aid in Macalester’s goal of carbon neutrality.

Personal vehicle — Reimbursement is based on the current IRS Standard Mileage Rate.

  • Gasoline purchased for a personal vehicle is not an allowable travel expense.
  • When using a personal vehicle for College business, the employee’s personal auto insurance provides coverage.  It is the obligation of the employee to carry adequate insurance.  In the event of an accident, the employee is responsible for the auto insurance deductible.
  • Faculty/staff are prohibited from transporting students in their personal vehicles.  For more information on this policy, contact Dave Berglund (x6234).

Airfare — Carbon offsets for airline travel and conferences are considered allowable reimbursements.

  • Staying an additional night — Lowering airfare costs by staying an additional night should be compared against the cost of additional lodging charges and considered as a cost-saving measure.
  • First Class and Comfort Plus – Upgrades are at the employee’s expense, whether that be in dollars or reward program points, and will not be reimbursed.
  • Travel Insurance — Travel insurance is recommended only when traveling outside of the United States under the following circumstances:
  1. Traveling to under-developed nations
  2. Traveling for an extended period of time (one month of more)
  3. Multiple flights outside of the United States during extended travel          

Transportation to and from an airport — Public transportation and shuttles use the least greenhouse gas emissions.  Driving a personal vehicle and being reimbursed for mileage and airport parking should be weighed against taxi or public transportation to determine the lowest cost.

Parking and Tolls Receipts are necessary for reimbursement.

Rental cars Employees should seek the least expensive rental car option that reasonably accommodates their travel needs.

  • Renting cars within the United States — All additional or optional insurance should be waived as Macalester’s insurance policy provides this coverage already.
  • Renting cars outside of the United States — Based on the employee’s understanding and discretion, insurance options should be purchased.
  • Do not purchase prepaid tank fill coverage on the rental.  Whenever feasible, fill the tank yourself before returning a rental car. It is considerably more expensive to return the car with a less-than-full tank.

Lodging — Employees should seek the least expensive lodging option that reasonably accommodates their travel needs.

  • Free accommodations — There is no reimbursement or cash payment if and employee chooses to stay in free accommodations, such as staying with friends or relatives.

Meals — Employees should seek and engage the least expensive meals that reasonably accommodate their travel needs.

  • The College reimburses for actual expenses incurred.  Per diems are not allowed.
  • Meals per day — Up to three meals per day are allowable.
  • Prepaid meals — When a meal is prepaid as part of the cost of lodging or conference registration, and the employee chooses to dine elsewhere, the meal cost is not reimbursable.

Telephone/Internet — The College does not provide reimbursement for cell phone coverage or internet connectivity, with the exception of in-flight wi-fi when there is a substantiated business need.

Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses
Lawn care Laundry
Movies ATM Fees
Newspapers Dry Cleaning
Magazines Parking Tickets
Books Moving Violations Tickets
Health club Per diems for food or lodging
Fitness centers Gasoline for personal vehicle
Massages Fair market value on personal frequent flyer miles
Entertainment Rental car insurance option in U.S.
Personal phone calls Snow removal
Personal hygiene products Meals in addition to prepaid meals
Personal Internet connections More than three meals per day
Personal medical supplies Child and/or pet care
Gifts/meals for/with friends/relatives in exchange for free lodging

Federal grant restrictions in addition to the above:

  • Federal or state grant funds may never be used to purchase alcohol.
  • Federal grant funds may not be used to purchase local food/meals.