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Policy 2.105
Sponsored Programs Travel

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Responsible Official: Vice President for Finance/Chief Finance Officer
Administering Division/Department: Procurement Services
Effective Date: April 01, 2010
Last Revision: March 31, 2010

Policy Sections:


The purpose of this document is to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations of Sponsored Programs.


The Travel Policies apply to faculty, staff, students, and non-employees traveling on behalf of the University and seeking reimbursement or payment for travel-related expenses from Emory University funds, regardless of the funding source.

Policy Details

2.105.1 Traveler and Principal Investigator Responsibilities

2.105.2 Responsibility of Higher Level Approvers

2.105.3 Sponsored Programs Travel

2.105.1 Traveler and Principal Investigator Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the traveler and the principal investigator to know the terms set forth in the award of a sponsored program with reference to allowable travel expenditures.

2.105.2 Responsibility of Higher Level Approvers

Higher Level Approver must ensure that: 

  • the traveler is aware of the Emory Travel Policy in advance of the travel;
  • travel expenses were incurred while conducting authorized University business;
  • travel expenses were necessary, reasonable and consistent with University policies and the
  • stated business purpose;
  • an expense report includes the required documentation; and
  • travel expenses meet any and all Sponsored Program guidelines, if applicable.

2.105.3 Sponsored Programs Travel

Sponsored programs often have travel requirements that differ from the Emory University Travel Policy. In particular, federally funded sponsored programs are subject to certain Federal Laws; the guidelines set forth in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21, Section J 53, Travel Costs; specific agency restrictions as well as Emory Travel Policies. The terms and conditions of the individual agreement should be reviewed prior to incurring and processing any travel cost. When there is a conflict between University policy and award requirements, the most restrictive policy applies. Sponsored program travel has a high audit profile and can be examined by both internal, external and sponsor auditors.

Sponsored travel must be justified, well documented and in compliance with the sponsor requirements. Charges for travel under a sponsored program must be reasonable, necessary, allocable, allowable and appropriate to and specifically benefit the intent and purpose of the award. Travel cost must be incurred within the period of the award or any authorized extension.

Because each award has unique requirements, it is impossible to provide a comprehensive list of sponsor restrictions. The following list only highlights some common concerns, requirements and University procedures:

1) Prepaid travel costs (e.g., airfare and registration) may not be charged to a sponsored program when the actual travel or training will occur after the termination date of the award. 

2) Travel Advances are not authorized on a sponsored account. Travel advances should be funded from an unrestricted account and then reimbursed when the trip is over and the expenses are charged to the appropriate sponsored programs.

3) First Class, Business Class or Coach Upgradable fares cannot be charged to sponsored programs. 

4) Federal awards require air travelers to use U. S. Flag Carriers regardless of cost savings under the “Fly America Act” except when:

 a. A U.S. carrier does not provide service to a destination; however, a U.S. carrier must be used for any leg of travel, when available.

b. Use of a U.S. carrier would delay travel time by 24 hours or more; would require a layover of six hours or more; or would extend the total travel time by six hours or more.

c. Travel by a foreign carrier would eliminate two or more aircraft changes en route.d. For short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, a foreign carrier is only permissible if the travel time on the foreign carrier is three hours or less and service by a U.S. carrier would double the travel time.

d. For short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, a foreign carrier is only permissible if the travel time on the foreign carrier is three hours or less and service by a U.S. carrier would double the travel time.

e. Documentation supporting a justification for any exception to the federal requirements must be provided with the expense report. 

5) Some awards may:

a. Prohibit foreign travel;

b. Require pre-authorization for each trip;

c. Restrict the number of trips that can be taken;

d. Restrict the number of travelers on an authorized trip;

e. Set a maximum dollar value per trip, 

f. Limit travel to a specific destination or purpose, or

g. Specify maximum meal, mileage or other cost rates (e.g. State of Georgia).

 6) Meals provided by commercial transportation carriers, training sites or conferences the traveler uses/attends are not reimbursable or payable. Thus meal per diems should be prorated using 20% for breakfast, 20% for lunch, and 60% for dinner. 

7) Meal expenses should be pro-rated based on when the traveler departs from home at the beginning of the trip and when the traveler arrives home at the end of the trip.   

8) Charges for alcohol or for items that could be considered personal (calls home or laundry, etc.) or entertainment are not allowable. A list of non-reimbursable or payable expenses can be found in 2.4.15 TRAVEL POLICY-NON-REIMBURSABLE OR PAYABLE ITEMS.

9) Charges for individuals not specifically working on the project or covered by the intent of the award are not allowable.

10) Tokens of appreciation to a individual in lieu of lodging cannot be charged to sponsored programs.

Please contact your OGCA representative for questions concerning travel requirements and restrictions on a specific sponsored agreement.

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