The State of New York Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) and State University policies govern official travel and travel reimbursement. Actual and necessary expenses while in travel status supported by receipts and established per-diem rates for lodging and food may be reimbursed as well as personal car mileage (PCM) at prevailing reimbursement rates.
All travel reimbursement is subject to supervisory approval and availability of funds.
At times, travel may be funded through Research Foundation grants. As a legally independent corporate entity, the Research Foundation is not required to comply with New York State policies but rather adheres to sponsor mandates. To the extent practical, however, Research Foundation travel guidelines parallel those of State University and are described separately in the Project Director Guide issued by the R.F. Fiscal department of the Business Office.
Candidate Travel Links
The cost of airline tickets can no longer be centrally billed to the College’s Business Travel Account (BTA) Account. A traveler may continue to secure an airline ticket through one of the State’s Travel Agents but will need to charge the cost of the airline ticket to their personal credit card. A BTA number will no longer be necessary.
A travel advance may be requested up to 4 weeks prior to the anticipated date of the airline ticket purchase to reimburse the traveler for the airfare costs charged to their personal credit card. The traveler should send a completed and approved Travel Authorization form to Accounts Payable to secure the advance.
Travelers are encouraged to purchase airline tickets through the one of State Contract Air Travel Services Travel Agents. For our region, the travel agents are Advantage Travel and Carlson-Wagonlit.
When contacting one of the state contract travel agents, Advantage Travel at (888) 444-4240 or Carlson-Wagonlit at (800) 774-0655, please identify yourself as a SUNY Cortland employee, and proceed with the flight information. The agency will offer schedule and fare options. The fares offered will include the least expensive flight, the most direct routing, etc., and the traveler should select the least expensive option that is consistent with traveler's time schedule.
If a traveler is able to secure better pricing for airfare on their own than the contract agent can provide a reimbursement can take place provided a justification is furnished showing that there is a cost savings over using the State Contract Agent. This justification must include a written price quote from the contract vendor on the flight showing the price they would charge for a similar ticket as well as the dollar amount of savings.
To ensure that they are getting the best price for their airfare, travelers should research different methods of securing airline tickets to have an idea of what is a reasonable price before contacting one of the contract travel agents. Travelers should also ensure that the pricing that they are getting is for a similar ticket including same departure and return times, same travel routes, refundability, etc.
For any questions please contact the Accounts Payable Office at ext. 2409 or 2407.
The above procedures apply to: State operations, DIFR, IFR, and joint committee awards (JDA, IDA, DRESCHER, etc.). Excludes: Research Foundation, ASC, and College Foundation.
Commercial Transportation (airfare, rail fare, etc):
For faculty-related searches and all other searches financed by the Provost’s Office, candidates will cover their air travel costs and be fully reimbursed. Please contact the provost’s staff assistant at Ext. 5421 regarding payment of bills. For more detailed instructions and procedures download this pdf file.
As part of the discussion regarding air travel arrangements, campus contacts will advise candidates about making their arrangements through our local travel agency, AAA Travel (607-257-3557). In case a candidate has other options, or plans to use another form of commercial transportation, s/he should consider reasonable deals and notify department contact about the price before finalizing the ticket purchase.
Travel reimbursement to candidates is processed using a Standard Voucher found on the Accounts Payable website.
If you have any questions regarding the above procedures please call Accounts Payable at Ext. 2407 or 2409.
Commercially rented vehicles may be used only when it is determined that use of other methods of transportation would be less cost-effective for the State. A satisfactory written justification for the use of a rented automobile is required when traveling within New York State (out-of-state rentals usually do not require a justification as their use is often self-explanatory). New York State law imposes a ten-day limitation on the use of rented automobiles used within New York State. There is no duration limitation for out-of-state travel.
Note the following excerpt from published OGS Bureau of Insurance Guidelines regarding Rental Vehicles.
What you need to know as a State Employee
1. Always rent in the name of the State of New York.
2. The rental company must provide New York statutory liability limits of insurance in the amount of $25,000/50,000/10,000 plus statutory uninsured motorists an no-fault coverage.
3. Neither you or your employer are authorized to purchase any additional insurance when renting a vehicle in New York State.
4. In the event of a serious accident where the basic limits are exhausted, the State employee would be defended and indemnified under Section 17 of the Public Offenders Law subject to the conditions contained therein.
5. If the rental vehicle is damaged, the State is responsible for a maximum of $100 to private passenger vehicles (including mini vans) and full value for commercial vehicles such as large vans and trucks. In the event you pay the $100, OGS will reimburse you through the Bureau of Insurance, with appropriate documentation.
6. If more than one employee will be driving the vehicle, additional drivers must be listed on the rental contract. The State should not pay additional charges for these drivers. Unauthorized persons should not be allowed to drive the vehicle.
New York State currently has an exclusive agreement with Enterprise Car Rental which offers discounted rates to all State employees on official business rentals. Contact the Accounts Payable Office for more information.
Registration fees for conferences may be paid directly by the traveler with reimbursement via Travel Voucher after the trip when supported by a proper registration receipt, or may be paid via travel advance or purchase order prior to the conference.
To Secure Registration via Purchase Order:
* Note: Actual payment for a registration fee via a purchase order cannot be processed until after the conference is held. Conference attendees should check at the point of making arrangements to attend if a purchase order will secure registration.
To Secure Registration via Travel Advance:
Note: Travel Advance checks must be made payable to the individual, not to the organization holding the conference, thus requiring personal registration payment. All advances made for registration fees must adhere to the travel advance limits of $400 maximum, $19 minimum.
Individuals traveling abroad on official business must adhere to all of the previously mentioned guidelines with regard to travel authorization, advances and receipt requirements. Per diem rates for foreign travel follow the rates established by the Federal government in the Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas published monthly. This publication is on file in the Business Office and the rates may be obtained by contacting the Accounts Payable Office at ext. 2407. This information is also available on the Web at http://www.state.gov/m/a/als/prdm
The foreign travel rates provide for lodging costs up to a maximum amount and an allowance for meals. If a traveler is not entitled to the full per diem, the meal allowance is divided into 80 percent for dinner and 20 percent for breakfast.
Travelers to foreign countries should document the exchange rate for the applicable foreign currency during the dates of travel because conversion to American dollars is required for reimbursement. These exchange rates are later verified by Accounts Payable when the travel voucher is processed.
These guidelines are supplemental to SUNY Procedures and are to be filed with the New York State Office of the State Comptroller.
The following procedures are fully approved by the State University of new York College at Cortland Intercollegiate Athletics Board (CIAB):
Hotel reservations are normally made by the traveler. Hotel/motels within New York State should be advised that the business travel is sales tax exempt and that a Tax Exemption Certificate will be provided. "State rates" should be requested.
The traveler must obtain an itemized receipt in order to gain reimbursement.
This method provides for a flat rate allowance for meals, lodging and incidental expenses regardless of where lodging is obtained, including lodging with relatives or friends. No receipts are required. To be entitled to the full per diem, you must be in overnight travel status and eligible for both breakfast and dinner.
This allows for reimbursement of actual lodging costs up to a specific amount, plus an allowance for meals. The federal domestic per diem amounts are based on the area of your work assignment. The breakdown of the meal per diems listed on the GSA website is found here. Receipts are required for lodging. No receipts are required for meals.
The reimbursement amounts are based on rates established by the Federal government. These rates are established by county, so the county must be indicated on your Travel Voucher as well as the city.
No taxes should be paid within New York State. You should be prepared to submit a completed ST-129 Sales Tax Exempt form to the place of lodging. For out-of-state travel, local and state taxes will be reimbursed in addition to the per diem amount.
Meal Allowances Per the President's Cabinet, the allowable rates for candidate-related meal expenses are as follows:
Exceptions to this policy apply to searches for members of the President's Council or at the discretion of the appropriate vice president.
Payment of Meal Costs
A. Meal costs related to candidate interviews must be for no more than the candidate plus two College interviewers. Costs should be limited to the extent possible.
B. Requests for payment of meal costs cannot include tax or alcohol. (New York State does not consider alcoholic beverage costs an appropriate State expense).
C. For restaurants accepting such arrangements, the responsible interviewer may sign for the bill and promptly forward the original itemized invoice along with a completed Purchase Requisition to Purchasing for direct vendor payment. It is wise to check at the time reservations are made to be certain that direct billing will occur.
D. For restaurants not willing to bill the campus, the responsible interviewer will make personal payment and forward the original itemized receipt along with a completed Purchase Requisition through the proper channels for signatures and account coding to Purchasing for reimbursement to the individual.
NOTE: Each Purchase Requisition must contain the names of the interview candidate, the College interviewers, the title of the position being being interviewed, the date of the meal and an itemized statement from the appropriate restaurant.
E. Per Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) Bulletin G-78, the following criteria apply (in case of OSC disapproval, the liability may rest with the individual employee):
1. The interview process which includes a necessary meal period must be of benefit to the College.
2. The cost of the meal must be at the lowest reasonable and feasible amount.
3. Only College employees essential to the interview process may incur meal expenses in addition to the candidate.
4. Alcoholic beverages cannot be included.
5. A candidate may not additionally receive reimbursement for the same meal through any standard voucher process.
6. An itemized receipt (restaurant, etc.) is to be submitted as substantiating documentation.
The following procedure is to be used to secure local lodging for interview candidates, expedite payments to lodging vendors, designate the name of the candidate, and certify tax exempt status.
Please Note: For faculty-related and all other searches that are financed by the Provost’s Office please contact the provost’s staff assistant at Ext. 5421 regarding payment of bills. For more detailed instructions and procedures download this pdf file.
Note: Candidates are expected to pay for all telephone calls, cable-movie rentals and all other incidental charges at the time of check out.
The following hotels have agreed to accept Purchase Orders and bill the College for candidate lodging charges:
188 Clinton Ave. Ext., Cortland, NY 13045
Country Inn and Suites
3707 Route 281
Cortland, NY 13045
Ramada Cortland Conference Center
2 River Street
Cortland, NY 13045
A traveler is entitled to reimbursement for breakfast if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time, and/or for dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time.
Please be mindful that in order to verify eligibility for reimbursement the traveler must show their normal work start and end times on their Travel Voucher.
The current day trip meal reimbursement rates are:
(lunch is never reimbursed)
Note: Day trip meal reimbursements are reportable as ordinary income to the IRS as they are considered a non-essential travel cost. Therefore, payroll tax withholding reflective of the reimbursed amount will occur in a subsequent paycheck.
To protect the traveler and the institution, it is important to establish the official business nature of the travel prior to departure, whether or not costs are reimbursed. Unless formally stated elsewhere (specific reference in performance program, etc.) a fully approved Travel Authorization Request is necessary to satisfy this requirement.
Active New York State employee status normally demonstrates official business activity. However, official business may occur while in leave status, student status, Research Foundation employment status, volunteer status. In these circumstances it is especially important to formally establish the official business purpose and authorization for travel.
The Accounts Payable Office of the Business Office administers travel and may be contacted regarding any of these guidelines, ext. 2407.
In accordance with New York State Accounting System Procedures, Volume XI, Section 3.0600, Page 2, SUNY Cortland is to designate the official station for all employees for the purposes of official travel and reimbursement, in the best interest of the State.
Except when otherwise designated, all SUNY Cortland employees will have as their designated official station SUNY Cortland Main Campus, Cortland, New York 13045.
Some College employees whose primary and ongoing official work site is other than the main campus may have an official station designation as that work site. In some cases, a person's legal residence may be designated as official station so long as that residence is at least 35 miles from the main campus or branch campus site of SUNY Cortland, and no regular attendance at a main or branch campus is required as a condition of employment.
To have an assigned official station other than the main campus, the supervisor of the employee should designate in writing, gain the respective Vice Presidential approval, file with the Business Office-Accounts Payable, and advise the employee.
When in travel status, the designated official station shall be used in all time and reimbursement calculations, except that when travel commences from an employee's residence, the departure point shall be the residence or official station, whichever is closer to the destination. In this way, only actual costs will be reimbursed consistent with policy and tax law intent.
NOTE: To be eligible for reimbursement of meal and lodging expenses, the traveler must be in continuous travel at least three hours with a destination greater than 35 miles from the employee's residence and official station.
Reimbursement for personal car mileage is made in accordance with the rates established by the employee's respective bargaining agreement, with some units basing reimbursement on the standard allowance established by the Internal Revenue Service. These rates change periodically and will be verified by the Accounts Payable Office when vouchering.
Personal car mileage reimbursement rates can be accessed via the Web at:
To document personal car mileage for reimbursement, travelers must complete a Statement of Automobile Travel
(Form AC 160) detailing the mileage claimed, sign, and attach to the Travel Reimbursement Voucher.
Note the following excerpt from published OGS Bureau of Insurance Guidelines regarding Conditions of Use of Personal Vehicles.
Conditions of use of personal vehicles for personnel authorized to use their personal vehicle on official State business, the following conditions and/or State coverages apply.
1. There is no State coverage for:
Personal Injury Protection
These coverages must be provided through your own personal policy
2. Worker's Compensation coverage is provided the same as if you were using a state owned vehicle on state business.
3. Comprehensive & Collision losses to the personal vehicle are not covered by the state.
4. Liability to other persons, including your passengers must be covered by your own personal auto policy. If losses exceed your policy limit, the state will cover the excess liability under public officers law, section 17, article 2.
If you use your personal vehicle on a regular basis on state business you should contact your insurance agent or company to ensure that you are properly covered.
To be reimbursed for certain travel related expenses, original receipts must be provided as follows:
Original receipt from the lodging establishment must accompany the travel voucher and must contain the following information:
A. Name of traveler
B. Name, address, and telephone number of lodging establishment
C. Number of people in the room.
D. Rate paid.
E. Dates of occupancy.
NOTE: If lodging is shared, the name(s) of the other employee(s) must be included on the voucher and each employee must claim only their share of the actual lodging cost. If lodging is shared with a non-employee (i.e., spouse), the employee must document that the rate claimed is the rate for single room occupancy.
No receipts are required when in overnight status.
Common Carrier (Bus, Train, Airplane)
Original ticket passenger receipt must accompany the travel voucher detailing passenger name, travel dates, and amount of ticket.
Tolls, Parking, and Taxi or Shuttle Fares
Original receipts for each must accompany the travel voucher for reimbursement.
Original receipt which lists vehicle plate number, number of gallons purchased, name of vendor, and amount must accompany the travel reimbursement voucher.
The Office of the State Comptroller's Bulletin G-180 extends to Agency Chief Fiscal officers the authority to approve exceptions to standard travel rates when deemed necessary. On this campus, review for pre-approval of over-the-maximum requests are performed by the Vice President for Finance and Management after approval by the travelers appropriate Vice President. All such requests (including justifications) must be made in writing BEFORE the trip and a signature-approved copy of the request must be forwarded with the travel voucher for reimbursement after travel completion.
The Research Foundation for SUNY extends to R.F. Operations Managers the authority to approve exceptions to standard travel rates when deemed appropriate and necessary. On this campus, review for pre-approval of over-the-maximum requests are performed by the Vice President for Finance and Management. All such requests (including justification) must be made in writing BEFORE the trip and a signature-approved copy of the request must be forwarded with the travel voucher for reimbursement after travel completion.
Please reference the SUNY Cortland Project Director's Guide.
When traveling within the State of New York on official business, lodging charges may be exempted from State and Local Sales Taxes by presenting a Tax Exemption Certificate (Form ST 129 PDF) to the lodging vendor at the time of check-in. These certificates are available from the Accounts Payable Office and should be acquired prior to travel since reimbursement for Sales Tax is not allowed by OSC when lodging is secured within the State.
Federal lodging per diem rates are now for room rates only, and do not include taxes. When traveling outside of New York State on official business, reimbursement of actual costs paid for lodging taxes may be reimbursed to the traveler as a miscellaneous expense, subject to funding availability.
Travel Advances are available but must be requested prior to travel to cover per diem costs of meals and lodging as well as registration fees in cases where a purchase order is not accepted (see Conference Registration Fees).
If a travel advance is requested, an Application and Account for Travel Advance form must be completed with appropriate signatures and forwarded to the Accounts Payable Office. A Travel Authorization Request form must be on file with the Accounts Payable Office for issuance of the advance.
A travel advance should be limited to what can be reasonably estimated to be the traveler’s expected business travel expenses.
Please note: Advance requests should not be less than $75 or exceed funding limitations imposed by the traveler’s department. Travel advances exceeding $400 are acceptable but Accounts Payable does require a 10-day notice to allow for processing through the NYS Treasury.
Advances will be issued by Accounts Payable approximately three days before the date of travel unless otherwise noted on Advance Form. Advance repayment is accomplished through the voucher reimbursement process, however the Advance recipient (i.e., the traveler) is fully liable for repayment of any and all advance amounts which are not reimbursable via travel voucher.
Campus authorization to travel is required for official State business, whether or not cost reimbursement will occur. This is to ensure that the travel is endorsed as part of the College's activities and to verify the staff member's travel status in the event of accident or death. A standard campus form, Travel Authorization Request, must be completed by the traveler, signed by the appropriate supervisor and forwarded to the Business Office (Accounts Payable) for filing and any cost reimbursement.
The traveler completes the Travel Authorization Request stating destination, travel dates, purpose of travel and account code to be charged.
The traveler signs the authorization and forwards for supervisory signature.
The completed form is forwarded to Accounts Payable.
Items for Special Consideration:
In cases of non-overnight, local (under 35 miles) travel incidental to on-campus activities, often of an unscheduled nature, it may be impractical to process a formal Travel Authorization Request. In this circumstance, it is suggested that notification to one's immediate supervisor occur to document the official nature of the travel in protection of the individual. The following are examples of the above:
Travel occurring while on leave (sabbatical, etc.) or during non-obligation periods (e.g., during intersessions/spring breaks/summers) would normally be considered personal and therefore exempt from this procedure unless a direct College responsibility. Similarly, jury duty or other compensated activities normally are considered personal and exempt from this procedure.
Per diem rates are established by the Federal government. Rates are identified by county and the traveler must indicate the county as well as the city on the Travel Voucher (Form AC 132). A full per diem is considered to be dinner the first day, and lodging and breakfast the following day.
The meal allowances for breakfast and dinner are allocated as follows, with different allowances based on locations:
$71 Meal Allowances $14 $57
$66 Meal Allowances $13 $53
$61 Meal Allowances $12 $49
$56 Meal Allowances $11 $45
$51 Meal Allowances $10 $41
$46 Meal Allowances $9 $37
Note: Incidental expenses such as tips to bellmen, porters, hotel maids, etc., continue to be included in the above allowances.
Out-of-State and foreign per diem rates are available by contacting Accounts Payable at ext. 2407 or can be accessed via the Web at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287
The traveler completes a Travel Voucher (Form AC 132), attaching all receipts for lodging, tolls and miscellaneous expenses, registration fees, airline tickets, etc. along with a copy of the program brochure, and agenda, if applicable, for any conference attended.
The traveler completes and attaches to the Travel Voucher a Statement of Automobile Travel (Form AC 160) if personal car mileage (PCM) reimbursement is claimed.
The traveler signs, indicates official station and the correct home address, and forwards the Voucher and attachments for supervisory approval and signature.
The supervisor indicates the approved reimbursement amount and account number to be charged on the Travel Voucher, signs and forwards to the appropriate dean or vice president for signature and account coding if funding is being provided by those areas. The Travel Voucher is then forwarded to Accounts Payable.
Accounts Payable receives and date stamps the Voucher and matches with the Travel Authorization Request on file.
If required signatures are not affixed, the Voucher cannot be processed and is returned to the traveler or supervisor.
Accounts Payable audits the Travel Voucher in accordance with guidelines set forth in OSC Bulletin No. G-180.
Accounts Payable Audit Steps:
Travel reimbursements to non-employees are processed via a New York State Standard Voucher. The Standard Voucher should contain the complete name, home address, and Social Security number of the person being reimbursed and the description block should specify the exact purpose for the payment including dates of the activity.
The payee's signature must be entered in the Payee Certification block on the voucher. Effective February 1, 1994, all travel reimbursements to non-employees must be via Method II guidelines which require receipts for lodging (not for meals). All original receipts should be stapled to the Standard Voucher and forwarded for appropriate approval signatures and processing by Accounts Payable.
Reimbursement of student travel expenses may also be made via a Standard Voucher utilizing the same guidelines listed above if the student is attending an officially authorized event or other official University business. Original receipts and appropriate signatures and a justification describing the travel as official and necessary must accompany the voucher for reimbursement.
The College maintains a fleet of State-owned (College-owned) passenger cars and vans for official business travel. Whenever practicable, State-owned vehicles are to be used, based upon economy, availability and requirements. State University of New York and SUNY Cortland set forth the following requirements for use of State-owned vehicles: