Office of Business Operations

Travel Guidelines



To define University of Northern Iowa travel guidelines and procedures for faculty, staff, and other persons traveling on behalf of the University (i.e. conference attendance, professional development, student trips, etc.).


The university recognizes travel as an absence from the university.  The Office of Business Operations (OBO) is the designated university office to administer travel reimbursement guidelines and procedures.  Faculty, staff, and other persons traveling on behalf of the University who incur expenses are encouraged to use the most economical and appropriate means of travel.

Domestic Travel
International Travel
Group/Team Travel
Authorization for Travel-Create Trip
Conference Registration
Travel Advances - Cash Deposits, or Prepaid Expenses

Clearing Travel Advances
Air Travel
Charter Air Travel
Personal Airplane
Personal Automobile
Mileage Reimbursement Rates
Rental Car
Rental Car Insurance
Parking, Bridge, and Road Tolls
Taxi or Local Common Carrier
Rail and Bus Travel
Employees Sharing a Room
Miscellaneous Reimbursement
Third-Party Reimbursements
Charges Not Allowed
Travel and Lodging Discount Programs
Persons Other than Faculty and Staff
Travel Object Codes
Additional Resources


Travel expenses must be itemized in ProTrav on a travel expense voucher (for out-of-pocket expenses) or procurement card voucher (for expenses charged to a UNI procurement card**). By approving the voucher, the traveler signifies the expenses are actual costs incurred, allowable by policy, and will not be reimbursed from any other funding source or claimed as a tax deduction. The funding account manager will also provide approval indicating that all expenses and receipts have been reviewed and comply with University policies and guidelines. By approving the expenses, the funding account manager has verified that these expenses have been incurred as University business. As a designated departmental approver of expenses, the approver understands that he or she is accepting a fiduciary responsibility to comply with all applicable institutional policies. It is his or her responsibility to examine all expenses and the required supporting documentation, to determine if the charge is for a valid business purpose and for the University’s benefit. The funding account manager may not approve expenditures that are outside the established University travel guidelines. Individuals should submit a Travel Expense Voucher (TEV) within 120-days of travel. 

When an employee combines vacation with business travel, reimbursement for car rental, lodging, mileage, parking, etc. will not be granted during vacation days. Individuals not on University-related business may accompany, at their own expense. Travelers are allowed one travel day prior to and one day after an event; any additional days will be considered personal travel without proper justification or pre-approval from the Office of Business Operations.

Itemized receipts for airfare, rental vehicle, train or bus, hotel, conference/workshop registrations, and any other expenses of $75 or more must be scanned and attached to the TEV or PCV. If a non-itemized receipt is the only receipt available, the following documentation will be required: a copy of the canceled check and/or a credit card statement illustrating the payment (account numbers and all other unrelated transaction information should be redacted). Original receipts must be retained by the department until the TEV or PCV has been approved by OBO and posted to the General Ledger.

Out-of-pocket travel expenses will be paid via direct deposit to employees or mailed to the individuals’ home address or campus address in accordance with preferences identified within the supplier record of the traveler. Travelers who are employees or students can sign up for direct deposit by accessing their MyUNIverse account via the UNI home page: On the MyPage tab, select Direct Deposit Sign-Up.  Non-university travelers will be issued a physical check to the address on file in ProTrav. Please make sure you have the correct address prior to creating the trip for the non-university traveler.  Due to the fact that most non-university travel reimbursements are a one-time occurrence, a physical check will be the default payment method.  If an exception is requested in order to pay the non-university traveler via direct deposit, please contact OBO for pre-approval before obtaining direct deposit information from the non-university traveler. .

** All allowable travel expenses may be charged to a University of Northern Iowa procurement card. Procurement cards may be obtained for any UNI employee who travels on a regular basis for University business and receives proper departmental approval.


The U.S. Department of State provides guidance for reimbursement rates for meals and lodging. Travelers will be expected to follow these guidelines unless university departments or granting agency regulations are more restrictive.  Individual UNI academic and administrative units may reimburse at rates lower than those established by the U.S. Department of State or not at all so long as written notice is provided to the traveler before they incur the expenses.  Written notice may be by a printed document, a web page, or an email. Receipts for hotel, car rental, registration, and other transportation are always required to substantiate the actual cost. Other receipts are required only for expenses that exceed $75. The maximum travel allowances for foreign areas are listed on the U.S. Department of State website

  • If a traveler requires paid lodging, she/he may claim the full lodging allowance (unless a lower amount or no amount is established by their unit as described above) for that city (if city is not listed, choose “other”).  A receipt is required showing a zero balance due.  The actual cost to the traveler need not be calculated.  If a traveler does not require paid lodging, no lodging allowance will be allowed.
  • According to the Internal Revenue Service, lodging for the entire trip must calculated based on allowance rates or actual cost.  Selected days cannot be at actual cost while others are at allowance rates.  Some granting agencies restrict reimbursements for lodging to the lesser of actual or allowance rates.
  • For partial days of travel, the allowable reimbursement rate (or lower approved amount) will be prorated based on the percent of time the traveler was in travel status for that day.
  • The traveler may be reimbursed up to 150 percent of the allowable lodging reimbursement rate approved by the U.S. Department of State with adequate justification and appropriate approvals. The traveler must provide an explanation of the extenuating circumstances and original receipts supporting all lodging and meal expenditures.  Reimbursements in excess of the U.S. Department of State rates will not be approved if prohibited by granting agency regulations.
  • When using allowance rates for lodging, the actual city name must be shown for each day on the TEV or PCV.  The allowable meal rate (if allowed) will be prorated for meals not purchased, i.e. provided as part of a conference.
  • A traveler may claim a meal allowance (unless a lower amount or no amount is established by their unit as described above), even though he or she does not claim lodging.
  • Passport and visa charges are reimbursable with itemized receipts.
  • The TEV or PCV must be completed in U.S. currency by date and each item should show the rate of exchange used for conversion.  Exchange rates may be obtained from the website, a local financial institution, or a copy of a credit card statement showing the conversion to USD.  Receipts for currency conversion transactions, if available, should be attached to the TEV or PCV.  The exchange rate and source must be referenced on the voucher. The required receipts should be attached to the TEV or PCV and individually labeled (hotel, meal, taxi, etc.) with the U.S. dollar equivalency.
  • According to the Fly America Act, employees are required to use U.S. Flag Air Carriers for international air transportation funded by a federal grant. It is highly recommended that you book your international travel through one of our contracted Travel Agents. Please be sure to advise them that your trip is business related and should be validated on an American Carrier.  Use of foreign-flag carriers is only permissible under certain circumstances. There will be times when an exception may be appropriate. To document exceptions, we rely on the Fly America Act Waiver.  Visit the GSA website for the current Open Skies Agreement for details.
  • International travelers need to be aware of federal export control regulations which restrict the export or transfer of information, goods, equipment, technology, related technical data and certain services to foreign countries and nationals in order to protect national security and the domestic economy. For additional information please visit:


University of Northern Iowa group/team travel is subject to University travel guidelines and meal/lodging allowances. Exceptions will be made to the standard individual cash advance policy. An amount large enough to reasonably cover meal and miscellaneous expenses for the group/team will be allowed. Hotel expenses should be charged to a UNI procurement card or direct billed whenever possible and should not be included in the cash advance request unless no other payment method is available. Group/team airfare other than charter air should be purchased through one of the University’s preferred travel agencies and charged to a UNI procurement card whenever possible. This should be done in order to obtain discounts and additional insurance coverage provided by the University’s airline and credit card agreement(s). When an outside travel agency must be used or provides documented cost savings, airfare should be charged to the UNI procurement card. Prepaid cash advances will not be allowed for group/team air travel charged to personal charge cards.

**Note** Team travel object codes (61220, 61520, 61820) are only to be used if the team is traveling for competition purposes, otherwise use the corresponding (in-state/out-state/foreign) staff or student codes.


Individuals traveling for in-state, out-of-state, and international University business must receive approval from their department and/or other appropriate University officials prior to incurring any expenses. Travel requests must be approved using the electronic ProTrav trip request form. ProTrav workflow will systematically route the trip for approval, but it is the end users’ responsibility to ensure that proper approvals are received. Instructions on how to create a trip in ProTrav can be found in the ProTrav Travel Training Document located on the OBO website.  

  • The approved create trip process secures the approval of the administrator for the travel.
  • Administrators may reimburse employee travel in accordance with university travel guidelines or may place dollar limits on a given trip. 
  • More restrictive limits in bargained contracts, federal grant guidelines, and guidelines of other authorized agencies may take precedence over university policy.
  • Individual vs. Group Trips:
    • If a UNI traveler is taking a group of students to an event and will be incurring all of the expenses, then group travel should be selected when creating the trip. If group travel is selected a list of participants must be included as an attachment or provided in the comments section of the trip create process.
    • If a UNI traveler is taking a group of students to an event and personal reimbursement is going to be needed for each person, then individual trips should be created.


Whenever possible, the UNI Procurement Card should be used to pay for conference registrations. This is the most efficient form of payment in order to ensure that registration deadlines are met.  Registration receipts showing proof of payment are required. Details of the conference or meeting agenda must be included when submitting the electronic ProTrav trip request form. The documentation provided should clearly show which meals are provided as part of the conference registration.

Expenses substantiated by a generic receipt will not be reimbursed unless accompanied by additional documentation.  This may include one of the following but not limited to:

  • Copy of front and back of canceled check
  • Check Carbon Copy/Duplicate and bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Letter or new receipt from conference confirming payment

Fees paid for personal memberships, recreational activities, tours, or other social events are not reimbursable.


Travel advances are available to faculty and staff for domestic travel exceeding 14 days. Team travel, international travel, student group travel, other group travel, or athletic recruitment would all qualify for advances. An itemized estimate of expenses must be provided on the advance request for any cash advance; this itemization allows OBO staff to process your request more efficiently.

  • Travel advances must be requested through ProTrav at a minimum of two weeks prior to travel. Requests not received within this time frame are subject to denial.
  • Travel advances will dispense 10 days prior to the trip start date.
  • Payment method will default to the traveler’s identified non-payroll pay method (i.e. direct deposit or paper check).
  • The Office of Business Operations may grant exceptions for travel advances.


Travel advances must be cleared by submitting a completed and approved travel expense voucher along with the required receipts (or repaid in full) within two weeks from date of return. If settlement does not occur within the required time frame, a reminder email is sent. If the advance is still not cleared by the time defined within that email, the outstanding amount will be withheld from the employee’s payroll check.** Any advance that is over 120 days past due will be reported as income to the individual traveler per the Internal Revenue Service Regulation 1.62 2(g). Additional advances or reimbursements will not be allowed until the delinquent advances have been cleared. To clear travel advances obtained for group meal allowances, a document signed by each person in the group who received cash must be attached to the TEV or PCV prior to submitting to OBO for processing.

**When clearing an advance used for student travel, the student u-bill can be charged in the event receipts are not provided within the allotted time.


Transportation should be by the most economical means available, giving consideration to time, distance and work requirements.  UNI Motor Pool provides vehicle rentals to individual faculty and staff who are traveling for University business. To reserve a vehicle, complete the Vehicle Reservation Request form or call Motor Pool directly at 319-273-2610.

Mileage reimbursement will be made to the owner of the vehicle only. The actual mileage driven (shortest or most convenient route directly to and from business destination) must be stated in the comments box of the TEV. Mileage is calculated from home or business, whichever is the shortest to destination. Mileage expenses that exceed $300.00 will require additional documentation which will include but are not limited to a justification and an airline quote showing the cost it would have been to fly vs. drive.


University travelers are reimbursed for round-trip coach-class fare.  Travelers are expected to obtain the lowest available fare that reasonably meets their business needs. To obtain the lowest fare, tickets should be purchased at least 14-21 days in advance of travel whenever possible.

The original ticket/receipt or electronic itinerary with the proof of payment is always required for reimbursement, and the itemized receipt must include the name of the traveler and the ticket number. When a ticket is exchanged, the original ticket, the exchange (new) ticket, and the Refund/Exchange Notice must all be submitted with the travel voucher. Justification for the exchange or cancellation must be provided on the TEV or PCV.

If an airfare expense is incurred on a trip that also includes personal travel time, an estimate of what the airfare expenses would have cost without the personal travel time included should also be provided on the TEV or PCV. This documentation should be obtained at the same time the actual tickets are purchased, at least 14-21 days in advance of travel whenever possible.

Preferred seating or other seating selection options and trip insurance are not allowable expenses. Special accommodations when traveling by air need to be requested through OBO prior to booking travel. 

If a Federal grant provides funding for foreign travel, this travel should be in accordance with the “Fly America Act” which normally requires that employees use U.S. flag air carriers for international air transportation. For more information on the Fly America Act visit their website, see International Travel section for additional details as well.


Chartered Air Travel may be authorized by an appropriate administrator when it is in the best interest of the University.  Decisions are based on cost savings to the University which include, but not limited to, transportation costs, lodging expenses, meals, and time considerations.  Situations where charter air travel is reasonable may include, but not limited to, the following:

  • When travel by commercial air is not feasible and/or where significant time savings would be realized by flying charter air
  • When travel by commercial air would result in a late return flight that would make working a full day following unreasonable
  • Where a group of University faculty, staff, or students are traveling to the same destination and there is a significant cost savings can be realized
  • When commercial air is not available to the travel destination
  • When there is an emergency situation for a required off-campus commitment that benefits the University to participate and alternate reasonable travel methods cannot be arranged

Contact the Procurement Services team for Charter Agreement details.


Persons authorized to travel on university business may use a personally/privately owned airplane.  A person piloting his/her personal airplane does so at his or her own risk and is personally responsible for all costs of operations, including but not limited to: licenses, fees, FAA certificates, fines, rental charges, storage costs, fuel, repair costs, and aircraft/passenger liability insurance. Travelers may wish to confer with their personal insurance representative prior to travel.

Requirements: Any person authorized to travel on University business and who intends to use a personally/privately owned or leased aircraft for transportation must meet the following conditions:

  • Travler must be a licensed/certified pilot
  • The purpose of the travel must be within the scope of the traveler's position at UNI
  • The cost or time savings must be realized, or prove that no adequate common carrier was available to the point of travel
  • If traveling with passengers, all must be at least 18 years old
  • Prior to traveling, the traveler must obtain written approval from the Director of Risk Management of their travel plans and provide a certificate of insurance. Upon approval, the traveler must provide written approval to the Office of Business Operations.

Reimbursement is based on the General Services Administrative (GSA) rate for airplanes. Reimbursement may not exceed cost of coach class commercial airfare to the nearest airport and ground transportation to and from business destination.

The University is not responsible for personal injury or damage for individuals who choose to travel in a privately owned or leased aircraft. In the event of accident, injury, or damage, travelers must look to the responsible party (i.e. the pilot or the owner of the aircraft) for recourse.


Any person authorized to travel on University business may choose to use his or her personal automobile, but does so at his or her own risk and is personally responsible for all costs of operation, including repairs to the automobile, towing expenses, access charges for lost keys, parking fines or missed toll charges, and for public liability and property damage. When driving a personal vehicle for university related business a current auto insurance policy must be in place that covers the vehicle in operation. Refer to the section on Excess Liability of policy 9.63 for clarification of university provided insurance coverage. Mileage reimbursement is based on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mileage rates. Mileage should be computed from home or permanent work address, whichever is less.  Travel should be by the most direct route.  Any substantial deviations from distances on maps need to be explained on the reimbursement request. 

Google Maps, Directions


Based on travel circumstances, travelers will be reimbursed at the following rates. Refer to the table below for specific rates and effective dates.

The standard business mileage rate established by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for travel when:

  • An employee is traveling less than 100 miles round trip or
  • The round trip distance is more than 100 miles and a motor pool vehicle is requested 48 hours in advance and is not available (see Note below) or
  • Use of a motor pool vehicle is not feasible or reasonable, for example when faculty, staff, or students are not located in an area served by motor pool; in situations when an individual must use a substantially modified or specially equipped privately owned vehicle the Business Operations Accounts Payable Manager should be consulted to assist in determining the appropriate reimbursement rate or
  • Round trip travel to/from designated airports is greater than 100 miles and the lower airfare cost justifies the use of the designated airport.  Designated airports are Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines. If a non-designated airport is selected, additional justification is needed. Travelers will need to provide a flight price comparison.

Note:  The reimbursement must include a statement from the Motor Pool indicating that a vehicle was not available 48 hours prior to the departure date.  A TEV or PCV submitted without the requisite statement will be reimbursed at the University rate.  The Business Operations Accounts Payable Manager may make exceptions when there is a bona-fide reason for not reserving a vehicle at least 48 hours in advance of departure. 

Note:  Mileage reimbursement for non-UNI employees and students is at the discretion of the account manager, but may not exceed the IRS standard business mileage rate.

Mileage Reimbursement Rate Table

For travel beginning:

IRS Business Rate

University Rate


Moving Rate


January 1, 2024

January 1, 2023












University employees are expected to secure rentals when on business from University contracted vendors, unless documentation can be provided that illustrates a better rate was available from another vendor. Reasonable rental charges for standard/midsize vehicles are allowed. Upgrades are not allowed unless there is a reasonable business need. In the event of an upgrade, a justification must be provided on the TEV or PCV.

The original itemized receipt or invoice from the rental car agency must be attached to the TEV or PCV. Gasoline costs not included on the rental invoice may also be claimed for business usage but should be itemized on the TEV or PCV by date of purchase and itemized receipts included.  If the rental includes any personal days, the total cost should be divided by the total number of rental days and then multiplied by the number of business days.

If a rental car is needed locally for university purposes, Motor Pool should be contacted for arrangements.


When possible travelers are encouraged to utilize the University's contracted vendors when renting cars to ensure appropriate insurance coverage. These contracts include Damage Waiver ("DW") (which may be described as LDW or CDW by the renal agent) and Third Party Liability Protection at no additional cost.

If a non-contracted rental company is selected, the following guidelines apply:

  1. Verify whether or not basic third party liability protection is included in the rental prices. If liability protection is not provided, it is recommended that the traveler purchase the minimum amount of liability protection available.
  2. Verify whether or not a damage waiver is included in the rental prices. If a damage waiver is not provided, it is also recommended that the traveler purchase the damage waiver (may be referred to as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)) for the rental.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The purchase of additional insurance on a rental car by University of Northern Iowa representatives will NOT be reimbursed.

Guests, job candidates, speakers, consultants, etc., who are not UNI representatives, will be reimbursed for insurance on a rental vehicle.

University of Northern Iowa employees are also covered under the Board of Regents Motor Vehicle Self-Insurance program, which includes liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage when traveling on approved university business. However, this program assumes there is underlying coverage on any rental vehicle. 


Parking, bridge, and road tolls are reimbursable if properly itemized on the TEV or PCV.  Parking, bridge, and road tolls should be itemized by date. Airport parking is reimbursable at the long-term lot rate. A justification is required when the expense exceeds $50.  In general, receipts are not required; however receipts are required for a single fee in excess of $75. Valet parking will only be reimbursed up to the self-parking rate. 


Taxi, shuttle, car service (i.e. Uber or Lyft) or other local common carrier fares (including tips up to a maximum of 20% of the fare) are allowable expenses.  Expenses should be itemized by date and indicate points of travel in the description.  A justification is required when the expense exceeds $50. Receipts are required for fares in excess of $75. Any travel expense from the location of your hotel to another venue, such as restaurant, theatre, etc.) is considered a personal expense, unless there is a proper business justification or pre-approval from the Office of Business Operations.


Rail travel charges including Pullman car and Parlor car rentals are allowable.  The cost of travel by rail or bus will be limited to the cost of round trip airfare booked at least 30 days in advance plus applicable ground transportation.  Rail and bus travel should be itemized by date.  Itemized rail fare and bus ticket receipts are always required.


**Beginning January 1, 2022, all in-state lodging providers must complete the Department of Public Safety's Human Trafficking Prevention Training certification to receive public funds for State employee lodging, conferences, meetings, banquets, or any state-funded event, pursuant to Iowa Code 80.45A. In order to be certified, all employees employed by the lodging provider must complete the required training. If a lodging provider is not certified, public funds cannot be used for travel reimbursement or any other expense. Travelers must confirm that a lodging provider has received the Human Trafficking Prevention Training certificate by verifying they are on the list at prior to expending or committing public funds for in-state travel lodging, conferences, meetings, banquets, or any state-funded event. Employees who stay at non-certified facilities will not be reimbursed.

Reimbursements for lodging will be limited to the standard single room rate plus applicable taxes.  Travelers are expected to seek standard, reasonable lodging accommodations that are convenient, comfortable, and meet the university business needs. When attending a conference, employees are expected to take advantage of conference negotiated rates when it is economical. Travelers are strongly encouraged to request state, government, or corporate rates.  Lodging rates set by federal regulations will be used as a guide in determining whether a cost is reasonable. These rates are reviewed and amended periodically and are available on the OBO website. Attach the itemized hotel/motel bill/folio to the TEV or PCV.

Maximum allowances:

  • If the hotel is the site of the conference, reimbursement will be the actual cost of a standard single room plus tax. A hotel qualifies as a conference site when the conference or related events are held within that hotel or it is designated as the headquarters hotel. Documentation listing the hotel as the conference site must be attached to the voucher and the appropriate box checked on the voucher. The least expensive room should be selected for full reimbursement. If not available, please provide documentation that the selected room was no longer available.
  • If the hotel is not the site of the conference, but the cost is equal to or less expensive than the conference site hotel, the actual cost plus tax will be reimbursed when documentation showing the cost of the conference site hotel is provided.
  • If neither of the above applies, reasonable hotel accommodations will be reimbursed. The University reserves the right to determine what a reasonable amount is. A reasonable amount for non-conference hotel costs may be the maximum listed on the OBO website. For international travel, reimbursement is limited to the federal government lodging maximum. International rates are available at the U.S. Department of State website.

If sharing the room with another person (or persons), please indicate on the TEV or PCV whether the person(s) traveled on University-related business.

  1. If sharing with another University employee on University-related business, the cost of the hotel expense must be split between the travelers using the split expense functionality within ProTrav.
  2. If sharing with a colleague(s) from another institution, only the portion for the UNI employee will be reimbursed.
  3. If sharing with a person(s) who is not on University-related business, reimbursement will be limited to the single room rate or 90 percent of the double room charge. If claiming the single room rate, clear documentation of the single room rate must be provided. Acceptable documentation includes official housing information from conference materials or official verification of the single room rate provided by the hotel, on hotel letterhead.

Staff staying with friends or relatives will not be reimbursed for lodging.

In-room movies, athletic facility use, laundry, dry cleaning, pressing, safe rentals, and other personal items are not reimbursable.  Fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses, foreign transaction fees, and other for personal services performed should not exceed the daily per diem rate of $5.00 for incidental expenses.

Room upgrades are NOT reimbursable.

The traveler should enter itemized hotel charges by date within the Line Editor provided for this expense type and attach the zero balance, itemized hotel folio with the Travel Expense Voucher.


Under the Code of Iowa Section 18.75 paragraph 8, the University of Northern Iowa is required to report annually to the State of Iowa the names of all State employees who traveled for the previous fiscal year.  Employees who share a room and split the cost should obtain separate receipts from the hotel and will submit separate TEV’s for their portion of the room. If one person pays for the room, the employee paying for the lodging should submit a TEV for the entire cost of the room and split out the expense to the other traveler on the Voucher Editor Screen within ProTrav. Specific instructions on splitting a trip expense in ProTrav can be found in the ProTrav Travel Training manual found on the OBO website.  Employees and students are not allowed to share a room.


Actual meal claims are reimbursable but cannot exceed the maximum daily allowance (see below). Meal tips are allowed up to the maximum per diem allowance and should not exceed 20 percent of the pre-taxed subtotal. State policy does not permit reimbursement for alcoholic beverages. Any meal cost over domestic or international limits will be at the traveler’s expense.

  • For domestic travel, maximums will be based upon rates set by the federal government for each out-of-state and in-state destination on days the traveler is in travel status the full day. On days of departure and return the maximum allowance will be prorated according to the time and meal charges below, allowing 20 percent of the meal allowance for breakfast, 30 percent for lunch, and 50 percent for dinner.

The traveler must be in travel status during the following time frames to qualify for individual meal reimbursements.  Travel status is defined as the time the traveler leaves his or her home or office until the time the traveler returns to his or her home or office.


On date of departure traveler must leave prior to

On date of return the traveler must return after


6:00 am

8:00 am


11:00 am

1:00 pm


5:30 pm

7:30 pm

  • For international travel, maximums will be based on rates set by the U.S. Department of State. On days of departure and return the maximum allowance will be prorated according to the time and meal charges above.
  • If meals for other UNI employees are paid by another traveler, the cost of the meal must be split among all University employees using the split expense functionality within ProTrav. If the individual(s) is (are) not a University employee(s), the name and affiliation must be provided.
  • If guest meals are included, the guest(s) must be named, the time and place of the meals must be listed, and the business purpose of entertaining the guest stated.  An itemized receipt is required any time an employee pays for another individual’s meal.
  • Meal costs reimbursed to University employees for non-overnight trips will be subject to withholding and reported as taxable income in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations. The cumulative taxable amount and the amount withheld will be reported on the W-2 form that is mailed at the end of the year.
  • Optional banquet meals provided during a conference, but paid separately may be reimbursed up to the maximum meal allowance (provide a copy of the conference brochure or the banquet ticket).
  • Reimbursement will not be made for meals included with airfares, hotel stays, or conference registrations/fees. Meals that are included as a part of another expense should have the “provided” box checked when completing the meal reimbursement portion of the TEV.
  • For a whole day of travel, the total amount for each day applies and allows individual meal flexibility.
  • Receipts are not required for personal meals unless the amount exceeds $75.
  • The traveler should itemize meal costs (including tips) by day, showing the cost of each meal in the space provided for this purpose.
  • Business meals incurred while in travel status should be consistent with Policy 13.07, Entertainment of University Guests. Business meals while in travel status are allowed only if non-UNI employees are involved in the meal. Meetings with only UNI employees and/or students are limited to actual costs up to the maximum meal allowance for that city. The cost of the meal must be split among all University employees using the split expense functionality within ProTrav. The name and business affiliations of the non-UNI travelers and purpose of the meeting/meal must be provided.
  • Individual UNI academic and administrative units may reimburse at rates lower than those established by the U.S. Department of State or not at all so long as written notice is provided to the traveler before they incur the expenses.  Written notice may be by a printed document, a web page, or an email.

In State

Out of State


Refer to GSA website 

Refer to GSA website


Refer to GSA website

Refer to GSA Website


Refer to GSA website

Refer to GSA Website

Daily Total

Refer to GSA website

Refer to GSA Website

**Meal reimbursement rate is determined based on a travelers trip destination (i.e. traveler coming to Iowa from out of state would receive Iowa meal allowance rates).


Itemize each charge by date and explain the charge in the description field. Allowable items may include:

  • Tips – Meal tips are allowed up to the maximum per diem allowance and should not exceed 20 percent of the pre-taxed subtotal. Fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses, foreign transaction fees, and other for personal services performed should not exceed the daily per diem rate of $5.00 for incidental expenses. Itemize by date and indicate the purpose of the person to whom paid in the comment box.
  • Baggage expense - Itemize by date, provide business justification, and explain in the comment box whether the charge is for storage or transportation. The University will reimburse for one bag per traveler.
  • Telephone, Internet, Data – Itemize University-related business expenses by date; include a business purpose/justification.


When travelers receive travel reimbursements from third-party sources, it is the responsibility of the traveler and their department to ensure all funds are deposited into an appropriate UNI account when expenses were paid directly by the University via procurement card, request for payment, travel expense voucher, or any other means.


Charges that are not reimbursable include but are not limited to:

  • Personal insurance
  • Airline/trip insurance
  • Personal phone calls
  • Safe rental
  • Lost baggage or insurance
  • Laundry
  • Entertainment
  • Valet parking
  • Alcohol
  • Airline club memberships
  • Extended leg room accommodations on airlines
  • Hotel upgrades
  • Pet fees
  • Airline seat upgrade or selection (unless required by airline)
  • Taxi, Uber, Lyft or other car service expenses from hotel to another venue without a business
    justification is considered a personal expense
  • Increased expenses incurred for airfare, car rental, lodging, meals, parking, etc. for personal travel when combined with business travel

Exceptions to any items on this list would need to be justified and approved by the Business Operations Accounts Payable Manager.


University employees may participate in certain travel and lodging discounts extended to the university, but to do so means that the traveler is subject to the understanding that any rebates and/or other concessions are the property of the University.


Persons, other than faculty and staff, traveling on university business are subject to the same guidelines as faculty and staff.


3.05 Student Domestic Travel Policy

Guide for Faculty and Staff Relocation

4.77 University of Northern Iowa International Travel Safety Policy

8.01 Equipment Use/University Property

9.43 Reimbursable Expenses

9.46 Cell Phone and Data Access

9.63 Motor Vehicle Usage

13.07 Entertainment of University Guests

13.14 Export Controls

13.17 Preparation and Service of Food & Beverage on Campus

ProTrav Travel Training Manual