Guest Speaker Travel Fund Requests

Seminars and Workshops Only

Effective July 1, 2023

Every year we set an annual travel budget for our seminars and workshops to share. Any travel associated with Conferences is funded through our conference budget. The Travel Fund is a shared but limited resource. We encourage seminars and workshops to adhere as best as possible to the budgeted amount allotted to them. Any unused funds are repurposed for travel expenses related to other seminars and workshops.

  • Travel Funds are not guaranteed. A Travel Fund Request Form must be submitted for the Director of Administration and Planning to review and approve before guests' invitations can be confirmed (see How To Request Travel Funds  below Travel Fund Requests and Deadlines section). Once the budget is approved, chairs and/or rapporteurs need to let guests know exactly what travel needs will be covered to avoid any confusion post event.
  • The chair and rapporteur will inform their traveling guest speakers that The University Seminars does not cover out of pocket expenses or provide per diems. 
  • A seminar or workshop that books travel without prior approval from The University Seminars risks delays in funding travel expenses and/or reimbursing guests.
  • The University Seminars will not assume the cost or reimburse the cost of lodging, local transportation, meals or other costs for more than the minimum days necessary for travel to a University Seminars event. 
  • Chairs may request to use their gift account funds to cover all or some travel costs allowable by The University Seminars, but gift account balances should be reviewed carefully before confirming these provisions. A Chair who wishes to use their seminars gift account is still required to submit a Travel Fund Request Form. Chairs should add a note to their fund request stating the amount they wish to use from their gift account. Contact Gesenia Alvarez-Lazauskas ([email protected]) to request a gift balance.

Travel Fund Requests and Deadlines

  • Chairs must submit a Travel Fund Request Form to initiate request. Forms will be reviewed by Pamela Guardia for approval.

  • Chairs may request travel funds for the following categories: air/rail fares, one or two nights hotels/other lodging, local or other transportation, car service, parking, or personal vehicle mileage. A three-night stay at a hotel is solely reserved for international or West-Coast travelers.

  • If Chairs find a need for last-minute travel and/or have missed the deadline for submission, the Chair should submit a Travel Fund Request Form at least two-months prior to the date of travel. Approval for last-minute travel fund requests are dependent on the travel funds available at the time of the request. 

Travel Fund Request Form - Submission Deadlines

Expenses Eligible for Travel Fund Request

Once travel funds are approved, air travel may be booked by our Administrative Assistant (see Booking Travel page for information). When booking domestic or international air travel, economy/coach class is permitted aboard a regularly scheduled commercial carrier. Travel must be booked utilizing the Lowest Logical Fare (LLF) which is the least expensive non-refundable fare for non-stop flights (or the minimum number of stops if non-stop flights to a destination do not exist), that allow the traveler to achieve their business objective without prolonging the trip.

For example, if there are two non-stop flights both departing from the origin city around the same time and arriving at the destination city around the same time, the lower cost flight option would be considered a LLF.  However, if there is a connecting flight that has a less expensive fare but requires a longer travel time, it would not be considered a LLF. While some restrictions or penalties may apply, reservations should be made 14 days or more in advance of the trip to secure the lowest fares. For all travel (except for travel on a government grant), carrier selection should be influenced by price (and not by the traveler’s frequent flyer affiliation or other personal considerations).

Once travel funds are approved, rail travel may be booked by our Administrative Assistant (see Booking Travel page for information). 

  • Rail should be purchased at the LLF. While some restrictions or penalties may apply, reservations should be made 14 days or more in advance of the trip to secure the lowest fares.
  • If the traveler is traveling domestically in first-class, the traveler must provide justification. The traveler must segregate and provide a cost comparison for the amount above economy class if traveling domestically in first-class or business class (not including Acela).
  • International rail travel does not require segregation regardless of class of service selected.
  • Travel must be booked utilizing the Lowest Logical Fare (LLF) as defined above. Business class may be used for travel if a the traveler has a documented medical condition which requires a reasonable accommodation
  • If a traveler elects to fly in business or first class on a flight of less than five (5) hours duration, has not met the above mentioned condition, and has not obtained the necessary financial approval, they will be reimbursed only for an amount equivalent to an economy/coach airfare.
  • Segregation of airfare above the economy/coach rate is required in all cases.  It is important to note that the cost of the lowest logical available economy/coach airfare when purchasing a business/first-class fare should be obtained by the traveler at time of initial purchase.

  • The amount above the economy/coach fare must be segregated to the appropriate expense type, a comparison of the coach/economy and business/first-class airfare costs must be provided, along with payee justification is required.

While traveling, it may be necessary to use multiple modes of ground travel. These include interstate bus, rental cars, taxis, private car services, or personal vehicles.

  • In all cases, the traveler should exercise reasonable judgment and either use a University preferred supplier (see the Booking Travel page for car service information) or choose the most economical ground travel option available.
  • Travelers may use other services such as Lyft and Uber so long as the total cost of such services is comparable to other ground transportation options. Travelers need to be aware that there is no guarantee of safety when using such services.

When traveling for business purposes, a personal vehicle may be used in order to save time, transport equipment, reduce costs when several people are traveling together, or travel to locations within reasonable driving distance.

  • If a personal vehicle is used primarily for the convenience of the traveler and the approved travel is to a location more than 500 miles beyond the point of origin, reimbursement will not exceed the lesser of the following: 1) the cost of per- mile reimbursement plus tolls; or, 2) the round-trip airfare between the nearest commercial airport serving the origin and destination cities, plus transfer costs to and from the airport.
  • For the business-related use of a personal vehicle, the traveler will be reimbursed at a rate based on the Federal IRS approved highway mileage guides. Mileage reimbursement covers fuel, maintenance/repairs, insurance, transportation and operating costs, so these will not be reimbursed separately. The traveler will not be reimbursed for the cost of vehicle purchase or lease.
  • In addition to the mileage allowance, tolls and necessary parking charges may be reimbursed. CU Parking may be available but requires advance booking (see CU Parking page for more information).                                      
  • The University Seminars does not assume liability for damage to personal automobiles used on University business and does not assume liability for deductibles or any other uninsured loss to the vehicle. Expenses for vehicle repairs are not reimbursable. Under no circumstances will the University reimburse parking fines and moving violations on personal vehicle.
  • Personal Vehicle Mileage Rate:
    • 2024: $0.67/mi
    • 2023: $0.655/mi
  • Travelers may request reimbursements for bus, subway, or other mass transportation, shuttle, taxi fares, or private car service plus reasonable tips when necessary for business purposes. Reimbursement may be provided for transportation between hotels, railroad stations, airports, restaurants, workplaces or meetings. Foreign nationals should review any visa restrictions before assuming any costs (see the Reimbursements page for more information).
  • The University Seminars will consider travel requests for a one-night stay for a guest speaker. For speakers traveling a significant distance from locations within the US or Canada, The Seminars will consider requests for a two-night stay. 
  • International guest speakers may receive approval for a maximum of three nights. Chairs must specify a justification for the extra nights on the Travel Request Form for such travelers.
  • Guests who wish to extend their stay in New York City are responsible for booking separate accommodations. 
  • The cost of a hotel stay in the US should not exceed $350 per night (excluding taxes). Lodging costs in excess of $350 per night in the US requires payee justification and Financial Approval. Additionally, lodging costs in excess of $525 per night in the US requires Senior Business Officer approval.   
  • Once travel funds are approved, hotel stays may be booked by our Administrative Assistant (see Booking Travel page for information).                                                  

Hotel Rate Thresholds

Travelers who stay in a private residence with relatives or friends while traveling on business may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred extending appreciation to hosts for their hospitality. This may include a small gift to the host or payment for meals, and should not exceed $100. If the gift exceeds $100, payee justification is required.