Reimbursement Guidelines for CU-Affiliates: Faculty, Students, Staff

To ensure your reimbursement requests are processed in an efficient and expeditious manner, we ask that you please read and follow the guidelines listed below:

Key Compliance Matters:

  • All expenses must be for a valid business purpose that is necessary and reasonable in order to conduct University business and must provide a clear benefit to the University.
  • Expense reimbursements should be submitted to the Business Office in a timely manner, preferably within 10 days of your last expense
    – Receipts received by the department after 120 days of the last expense date may be considered taxable income
  • All receipts, including meal receipts, must be itemized and include proof of payment.
  • Purchase of equipment/supplies over $500.00 must be made through the Business Office – Contact the Business Office at

Travel and Lodging:


  • Always purchase the lowest cost economy ticket, unless there is a documented condition why an upgrade is necessary
    – Upgrades to business or first class travel are considered “segregated”, and are not always reimbursable
    – If upgrades are necessary and allowable, at the time of booking obtain a quote for a round-trip economy flight, and submit with your purchased ticket
  • Ensure proof of payment is clearly visible
    – Note that websites such as Expedia often show only an “estimated fare” or “quote”; this is not a valid proof of payment
  • If using a federal grant (NSF, NSA, DoD, etc.) you must comply with Fly America / Open Skies Act, which generally requires use of a US based air carrier
  • Arrive the day before your event begins, and depart the day after it ends. Extending travel beyond the minimum days for personal reasons requires additional documentation, or travel will not be reimbursed. Please consult the department before purchasing tickets involving extended stays.
  • Clearly document changes in travel plans, or other unusual circumstances

Ground Transportation

  • Local transportation should specify origin and destination (e.g., taxi from airport to hotel)
  • Car rentals should be purchased through Hertz when possible, using Columbia account CDP# 254158
    – When using Hertz, DO NOT purchase Liability or other insurance from the agency. Loss/Damage Waiver and Liability Insurance is included under the Columbia contract. Insurance may be reimbursed from other vendors, if Hertz is not available

    – Provide a copy of the rental agreement with proof of payment
  • Use of personal vehicles may be claimed, and are reimbursed based on mileage. Gas is not eligible for reimbursement when using a personal vehicle.
    – Provide an online printed map showing your origin/destination and total number of miles

    – List this expense as “Personal vehicle mileage” on your reimbursement form as a line item
          – For travel occurring in 2018, the formula for mileage is: Total miles * 0.545 = $ amt
          – For example, you drive 100 miles round-trip to attend a conference. 100 miles * 0.545 = $54.50 (can be claimed as reimbursement)


The University will reimburse travelers for the cost of their rooms and any applicable taxes and fees when traveling on approved University business. When possible, the University’s preferred hotel properties should be utilized and can be viewed at

The cost of a hotel stay in the US should not exceed $350 per night (excluding taxes). International travelers should obtain room rates that do not exceed $400 per night (US dollars, excluding taxes).


  • Provide an itemized receipt, showing all items purchased
  • Ensure proof of payment is visible on the receipt (“CASH”, “VISA xxxx”, or similar)
  • Provide the names of all participants at the meal

Business meetings involving only University personnel and students should not exceed the following thresholds (per person), excluding tips and tax:

  • Up to $25 for breakfast,
  • Up to $35 for lunch,
  • Up to $75 for dinner

List of Non-Reimbursable Expenses:

For more Travel and Business Expense Information:


Travel & Business Expense Report on CONCUR


The University has rolled-out a new travel and business expense management system called Concur to replace the Travel & Business Expense (TBER) process. The University launched Concur on Monday, October 19th, ,2020 . Concur is an on-line system that has replaced the previous TBER process for initiating and completing your reimbursement requests with the Business Office.

Due to compliance and security reasons, the Department cannot set up your profiles in the system for you. You will need to use your UNI account credentials to access Concur from the Columbia Travel and Expense Portal. 

Please go to Training Guide: Setting up Your Concur Profile for Travel and Expense Users to see more details on how to login to Concur and Access your profile settings. You can download, save, or print, and read this manual at your earliest convenience.

Below are instructions for assigning Preparer Delegates (Brascia Audain – ba2686):

  1.     Go to Profile Settings
  2.     Under Expense Settings on the left-hand side, select “Expense Delegates”
  3.     Click Add.
  4.     Search using last name, UNI, email, etc. A list of matches appears.
  5.     Select the desired match or click the Add button next to the search field.
  6.     Select the check boxes to assign the permissions you wish to give the delegate (Options below):
  • Can Prepare – to prepare expense report
  • Can Book Travel –travel is currently restricted, but you can set this up now for later
  • Can Submit Reports – always select this; otherwise, the delegate must email you to let you know the report is ready for your review
  • Can Submit Requests — to allow delegates to prepare cash advances, if necessary 

7.      Click Save.

Please note that your Initial Approver in Concur is TBD – Business Manager

Please contact the Business Office at with any questions or concerns.