Employee Travel Policy


College  personnel in the performance of their job duties may be required to travel for work from time-to-time depending on the nature and requirements of their job. This policy sets forth the expectations, guidelines and procedures for costs associated with travel undertaken for the College.


This policy applies to all employees of the College, including, but not limited to, faculty, administrators, staff, and athletics. These guidelines also apply as appropriate, for travel coordinated on behalf of and/or paid for, with College funds, but where the traveler is not an employee of the College. Collectively, this group is referred to as “employee(s)” for purposes of this policy.


Employees should conduct travel with an awareness that College funds are being utilized, and therefore keep the best interests of the College in mind when arranging and booking travel. Therefore, it is each employee’s responsibility to be attentive to the reasonable and effective use of College resources and money.  As a general matter the quality of travel, accommodations and related expenses should be governed by what is reasonable, appropriate and customary to the business and travel purpose involved. The College will pay for normal, reasonable, and prudent business related travel expenses that are incurred by employees traveling on official College business.  Employees are expected to be conservative in their spending and managers are expected to be diligent and timely in their review and approval of such expenditures.

The term “reimbursable” is used within this policy and refers to expenses that are either paid via the College’s expense reporting system (Concur) to the corporate College card issuer (American Express), or reimbursed to the employee via direct deposit.

General Guidelines

Employees are required to submit a Travel Request in order to obtain an approval to proceed with business related travel that will contain either a hotel, airfare or both.  Employees can find the Travel Request form on the Columbia College Purchasing Webpage.

Employees should use the booking tool in Concur to book all air, hotel, and car reservations (conference hotels may be booked directly with the hotel). If the employee does not wish to book in Concur, they may call the College’s travel specialist within the Purchasing Department to book on their behalf.

Adjunct faculty are not required to use Concur, and may request reimbursement via check request submitted to Columbia College Global.

All expenditures are expected to be supported by proper receipts and/or documentation.

Expenditures of $20 or less and charged on the employees College American Express corporate card do not require a receipt in order to be reimbursed.

Expenditures of $5 or less on out-of-pocket expenses do not require a receipt in order to be reimbursed.

If any part of a trip is considered personal, the personal portion of the trip and any related expenses are not reimbursable by the College.  Any personal expenses incurred while on a College related trip (i.e. personal care products, medications, personal entertainment, family care, etc.) are to be paid by the employee (see Corporate Card section). If an expense could be considered personal, but was required to facilitate the business purpose of the trip, the expense may be reimbursable upon supervisory approval.

If a College employee is traveling on College business, and a companion, not traveling on College business, accompanies them, all expenses incurred for the non-employee are not reimbursable.

If a College employee is traveling on College business, and another College employee is traveling with them as a part of the business purpose, the expenses incurred due to the conducting of business are reimbursable.

If the College pays for travel in any manner, and a refund is later issued, the refund is the property of the College.  If the refund is issued directly to the employee, the employee must remit the refund to the College, to the extent it was paid for by the College.

Personal travel rewards and frequent flier miles, earned while traveling on College business, remain the property of the employee.

Passports and immunizations required for travel are not generally reimbursable.

Fees charged by airlines, hotels, and other travel providers for changes made to travel arrangements (date changes, time changes, name changes, etc.) are reimbursable if the changes made were because of work related reasons. Changes made to travel arrangements for personal reasons are not reimbursable.

Expenses incurred due to special needs of the traveler are reimbursable upon review and approval of College administration.

Travel insurance is not reimbursable. If travel is purchased using the College's corporate credit card, insurance is provided for the employee during travel.

Corporate Credit Card

The College offers a corporate credit card through American Express that should be used for travel purposes.  Any regular employee who believes they require a corporate credit card for travel may make a request to the Purchasing Department.  The Purchasing Department will forward the approval request to the Finance Department and notify the employee if they are eligible for a corporate card.

Only expenses that are eligible for reimbursement from the College may be charged to the corporate credit card. In the event non-eligible or personal expenses are charged to the corporate credit card, those amounts are the responsibility of the card holder to pay directly to American Express. However, in an expense report where an employee has both a personal reimbursement due and also has personal charges on their corporate credit card, the College will automatically pay the personal amounts due, up to the amount that otherwise would have been paid directly to the employee.

All College related expenses on the corporate credit card are automatically paid to American Express by the College upon proper submission and approval of the expense report.

All expenses charged to an employee’s corporate credit card are to be submitted via the College’s expense reporting system, Concur, on a monthly basis. All charges incurred in a given month are to be submitted no later than the 10th of the following month, along with any charges made on the first or second of the following month (i.e. a report submitted for the June 10th deadline needs to include all charges made in May, and the charges made on June first and second).

Employees completing expense reports should make all attempts to consolidate monthly expenses on a single report.  If this is not possible, the employee should try to minimize the amount of expense reports that are submitted on a monthly basis.

American Express charges that are not submitted by the due date may be assessed a late fee by American Express. The late fee is the responsibility of the employee unless the submission of charges was late due to a College, Concur, or American Express delay or other issue.

Reimbursable out-of-pocket expenses that an employee incurs should be submitted via Concur in a timely manner. These charges do not need to be submitted according to the expense report due date, but should be submitted within 60 days of the date of the expense.

Air Travel Guidelines

Employees should book travel as soon as reasonable, once travel dates are determined. All airfare must be booked via Concur or by contacting the College’s travel specialist within the Purchasing Department, or if needed, contacting Shorts Travel Management.

Employees should depart from the closest or most reasonable airport from their campus or home location, or where the anticipated transportation, parking, and airline costs are most reasonable. The College currently does not utilize preferred air carriers; however, the College’s American Airlines Business ExtrAA number (752920) should be used when flying with American Airlines.

Employees should book coach, non-refundable tickets. Upgrades and first class will not be reimbursed, but may be booked if done at the expense of the employee so long as there is no additional charge to the College.  When a baggage charge is incurred, Columbia College will reimburse for two standard bags, or the equivalent, for the employee’s luggage only.  Receipts are not required for standard airline baggage charges if those charges are made on the employees’ corporate credit card. A receipt is required for out-of-pocket payment of baggage charges.

Unused or refunded airline tickets are the sole property of the College and if not re-issued to the original traveler, may be re-issued to another College employee.

Employees should only book airfare for travel that they are reasonably sure will not be changed or canceled. If an employee needs to change or cancel their airfare booking they should contact the College’s travel specialist within the Purchasing Department. If a cancellation is needed the airline (in most cases), will issue an unused ticket. Employees should be aware that to use an unused ticket on a future trip there will be an airline charge of $100-200 that will be deducted from the original amount credited by the airline. If an employee needs to book an itinerary that they feel may need to have changes to dates or times, they should contact the College’s travel specialist within the Purchasing Department to discuss options for booking. 

Vehicle Rental Guidelines

All drivers of rental vehicles must be current College employees with approved driver status through the Human Resources Department.  All vehicle rentals must be booked via Concur or by contacting the College’s travel specialist within the Purchasing Department, or if needed, contacting Shorts Travel Management.  The College utilizes Enterprise/National as the preferred car rental agency. Employees should book with either Enterprise or National unless there is no option available for the desired location.

Rentals are limited to the “standard” vehicle class unless circumstances dictate a larger vehicle is needed for the business purpose.  If an employee needs to rent a passenger van they should contact the College's travel specialist within the Purchasing Department to do so.  Vans cannot be booked via Concur.

Renting a vehicle in lieu of using a fleet vehicle (see Fleet Vehicle section below) or personal vehicle may be approved by the employee’s supervisor on a case-by-case basis.

Safety guidelines include, but are not limited to: no cell phone usage (unless hands-free); no texting while driving; driver must be properly insured; driver and passengers must obey all federal/state/local laws; driver must operate the vehicle in a responsible manner; no alcohol or illegal substances will be used prior to, or while operating the vehicle.

Fueling of rental vehicles will be done by employee at a local gas station, unless in rare circumstances, the pre-paid option with the car rental agency is warranted. Charges related to lost keys for vehicle rentals will not be reimbursed.

When a fly vs. drive option is considered, the mileage to and from a location for an approved business purpose (along with any additional costs related to driving), will be evaluated against the cost of charges that would be associated with flying (i.e. airport fees, drivers, shuttles, parking, etc.). Employees will be reimbursed for the lesser of the two.

Car rental vehicle insurance should be waived at the time of rental with the vendor unless circumstances dictate otherwise. The College provides proof of insurance that can be printed through myPortal.

College Fleet Vehicle Guidelines

Pick-up and drop-off guidelines for Columbia, Missouri campus and all other campuses follow local guidelines.

The College has fleet vehicles available for employees to use for work related activities and travel – primarily at the Columbia, Missouri campus location.  All drivers using a fleet vehicle must be current College employees with approved driver status with the Human Resources Department.

Employees who wish to use a fleet vehicle should first submit a Fleet Vehicle Requisition form to Campus Maintenance as soon as you know the travel dates/destination. They will provide details as to where you can collect the keys and where the fleet vehicle is location.

The car should be parked in the parking lot behind Southwell Gymnasium, and be ready for your pick up. Return the vehicle to the same lot.  Gasoline for fleet vehicles may be obtained using a College gas card, a College corporate card, or personal payment and reimbursement.  Keep the car as clean as possible at all times and there is no smoking permitted inside College fleet vehicles.

Safety guidelines include, but are not limited to: no cell phone usage (unless hands-free); no texting while driving; driver must be properly insured; driver and passengers must obey all federal/state/local laws; driver must operate the vehicle in a responsible manner; no alcohol or illegal substances will be used prior to, or while operating the vehicle.

Personal Mileage Guidelines

There may be situations in which College employees travel for work related purposes in their personal vehicles. All drivers claiming mileage must be current College employees with approved driver status with the Human Resources Department.

Using a personal vehicle in lieu of a fleet vehicle or rental vehicle may be approved by the employee’s supervisor on a case-to-case basis.  Employees will not be reimbursed for mileage that is considered general travel to and from their personal home and their home office location. This includes evening and weekend travel to College related events.  All reimbursed mileage must be reasonable for the business purpose.  Mileage will be reimbursed according to guidelines and supervisor discretion. Mileage is reimbursed at the current IRS calculated rate. Insurance of a personal vehicle is the responsibility of the vehicle owner.

Request for mileage reimbursement must be done via Concur. Concur automatically calculates the reimbursement using the current rate. Employees must use the Mileage Calculator provided when they have chosen the expense type Mileage-Personal Car in Concur. Street addresses for homes and campuses should be used in order to reflect the most correct mileage possible.

When traveling to/from an airport location the employee will be reimbursed from their campus or home, whichever is the lesser of the two. If at all possible, employees should ride-share when traveling to airports or group meeting locations.  Gasoline, and other car maintenance expenses, for personal vehicles are not reimbursable and should not be charged on the College corporate card. Mileage is paid for use of personal vehicles.

Safety guidelines include, but are not limited to: no cell phone usage (unless hands-free); no texting while driving; driver must be properly insured; driver and passengers must obey all federal/state/local laws; driver must operate the vehicle in a responsible manner; no alcohol or illegal substances will be used prior to, or while operating the vehicle.

Additional Ground Transportation Guidelines

The most cost effective and appropriate mode of ground transportation (i.e. shuttle, taxi, mass transit) should be used according to the situation.  When multiple travelers will be using MoX (airport shuttle service from Columbia, Missouri) they should all be booked on one reservation to reduce the cost.  Use of limousines, or other unique or special transportation, must be approved prior to departure by your supervisor.  Reasonable effort should be made to obtain receipts for public transportation (i.e. shuttle, taxi, etc.) if the charge is over $5 and is an out of pocket expense.

Transportation - Parking/Tolls

Employees using airport parking should choose parking services that have a daily charge of $15.00 per day or less. If the airport is located in a city where this is not possible, the employee is to make comments to this effect in their expense report and the overage is reimbursable upon supervisor approval. No airport valet parking is to be used.

Costs incurred due to tolls will be reimbursed without a receipt for charges $5.00 and under for each toll expense.

Hotel & Lodging Guidelines

Hotels and lodging should be booked via Concur or by contacting the College’s travel specialist within the Purchasing Department.  If a hotel must be booked through a conference planner or hotel directly, the employee may do so, or request the travel specialist within the Purchasing Department to do so on their behalf, and then forward their confirmation to TripIt so that it is imported into Concur.  Conference hotels should be booked when circumstances dictate, otherwise a comparably priced hotel (taking transportation into consideration) should be booked.  Hotel reservations should be for reasonable, safe, convenient, and comfortable lodging.

Mid-range hotels (i.e. Drury, Fairfield, Hampton Inn, and Holiday Inn Express) should be booked unless circumstances dictate otherwise. A standard room (i.e. 1 king or queen) should be booked when available. Reimbursement will only be made for a single-rate room plus applicable taxes.  The employee will be responsible for any room upgrades unless the upgrade is for a legitimate business purpose.

Employees should present tax exempt letters when applicable. Tax exempt letters for qualifying states can be accessed through myPortal.

The College will only reimburse for lodging that meets hotel and lodging licensing requirements for the state in which they are operating.  If extra nights are booked for personal time before or after the business trip, those charges are the responsibility of the employee.

If a traveler’s flight departs extremely early, or arrives extremely late, and the employee does not feel comfortable driving at these times, the employee may book a hotel the night before or after the flight. The cost of the extra hotel night is reimbursable.  Hotel offers to lower room rates for pre-payment are acceptable. Any unused funds or reimbursements are to be made directly to the College.

Cancellation fees will be reimbursed by the College as long as the cancellation was made for a legitimate reason and the employee made every effort to cancel as soon as possible according to the situation.  Hotel fees charged for items of a personal nature, or discretionary items, including, but not limited to movies and health clubs, are the responsibility of the employee.

The College will pay for use of a hotel safe or hotel internet if the charges are reasonable under the circumstances. Fees charged for damage to the hotel room or property, or loss of hotel property, are the responsibility of the employee. 

Travel Expense Guidelines – Meals/Food

A maximum food reimbursement of $50.00 per day is allowed per employee traveling on College business. When an employee is traveling on College business for less than four (4) hours on any given day, the maximum food reimbursement is $25.00. If an employee has food expenses exceeding the limits, the employee should make comments in the expense report to this effect, the overage will be reimbursable upon supervisor approval. If the overage is not approved the employee will be responsible for the overage.  Only food consumed by the employee during the business trip is reimbursable. Alcohol and other nonfood items may not be charged toward the daily food allowance. Purchasing of restaurant gift cards is not allowed and is not reimbursable.

Meals purchased for a non-College employee, whose role directly benefits the College in areas such as recruitment, fundraising, etc., are reimbursable, as long as the charge is reasonable and approved by the employee’s supervisor.

If an employee is attending a conference where meals are provided, it is the general rule that the employee will take advantage of the meals provided. If this is not possible, the employee will be reimbursed for the meal(s) charged upon supervisor approval.

When submitting an expense report including meals with multiple attendees, the attendees must be listed using the Attendee function in Concur. Groups of 4 or more may be listed as a group. Please contact the College’s travel specialist within the Purchasing Department for assistance in listing groups. 

Travel Expense Guidelines – Tipping and Gratuity

Customary and normal tips may be paid for transportation, food service, and baggage services, and are reimbursable to the employee up to 20% of the meal or service.

Travel Expense Submission for Reimbursement

All College travel related expenses are to be submitted for reimbursement via the College’s expense and travel software, Concur. All travelers must have a profile in Concur in order to utilize the system. Employees may access a Concur New User Information Sheet through myPortal. This form is to be filled out and returned to the College’s travel specialist within the Purchasing Department.

All travelers must also have a TripIt profile which gives them ability to feed travel arrangements that were booked outside of Concur into the Concur system.

Instructions for using Concur and TripIt can be accessed by going through myPortal.

If an employee has lost, or is waiting on a receipt, they should print out, fill-in, and attach a Missing Receipt Affidavit as their receipt. This document may be accessed by going through myPortal.

Credits or refunds for travel related expenses will come into the employee’s Concur Available Card Charges queue as negative amounts. These should be imported into the employee’s expense report along with their other expenses, making a comment as to what the credit/refund is for.

All College American Express credit card charges will import into the employee’s Available Card Charges queue in Concur. Employees should wait to enter their corporate credit card expenses until these charges have appeared. If the employee enters their corporate card expenses into a report before the charges have imported into the Available Card Charges queue, the system will recognize the entries as out-of-pocket, and set them for reimbursement to the employee. The charges will then import and have to be submitted, causing a duplicate expense. The employee will then have to reimburse the College for the credit card charge that was turned in as an out-of-pocket expense.

Columbia College Expense and Travel Web Portal

Employees may access training documents and videos, forms, best practices, and more on Expense and Travel.


Questions about this policy and the information contained herein should be directed to the Purchasing Department.

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