Research, Grants and Contracts Travel

The following guidelines apply to all travel undertaken by SUNY Oneonta Research Foundation (RF) employees, as well as any faculty, staff or students funded by RF monies.

Travel being paid through a grant, contract or other sponsored program (including on-campus grant programs funded through the RF), follows federal and RF rules and regulations. In general, travel costs are allowable when they are directly attributable to specific work on a sponsored project, including projects funded by on-campus grant programs through the RF. Travel should be by the most efficient and cost-effective method of transportation available and should be scheduled effectively to minimize expenses whenever possible. Staff traveling to the same event should travel together to minimize mileage and gas cost.

  • Travel expenses that include airfare or lodging should be encumbered before the trip through use of the Travel Authorization Form.
  • Lodging over established per diem rates requires a written justification submitted with the Travel Authorization Form prior to travel.
  • Tutors and recruiters do not need to encumber travel ahead of time for tutoring and recruiting activities and should submit mileage traveled with their timesheets.
  • Travel expenses should be submitted for payment within two weeks of return from a trip on the Travel Payment Request Form.
  • Original passenger receipts and boarding passes must be submitted when required.
  • All car rentals require a written justification.
  • Travelers may request an advance for expenses they will incur on their Research Foundation-funded trip. The travel advance can be requested by completing a Travel Payment Request Form.
  • Requests for a travel advance should be submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to departure.
  • Travel advances may be granted for a maximum of $2,000. Advances are calculated based upon 100% of anticipated common carrier expenses (airfare, bus, train) and up to 80% of other anticipated travel expenses.
  • Travel advances can be provided to Research Foundation or SUNY employees only. Consultants and independent contractors cannot receive travel advances.
  • Grant funding cannot be applied to expenses incurred for a trip that did not occur. Employees can be held personally responsible for expenses/costs incurred for canceled reservations. A determination will be made based on the reason for the cancellation and will be made in consultation with the employee's supervisor.
  • Airfare for employees can usually be applied to another trip for the same employee with a change fee - consult airline policies for allowable exchange period and fee amount.
  • Airfare for non-employees should always be purchased as a refundable ticket.
  • Cancellation of the hotel and car rental reservations do not incur charges if advance notice is provided.

Telephone calls are appropriately documented by listing the name of the party called, place called, date of call and reason for the call. Faxes are documented by listing the date, purpose, fax number to which the document was sent, recipient, and a number of pages for each facsimile. If available, receipts should be attached.

When traveling within New York State (including NYC), travelers should use the Exempt Organization Certificate. This form should be used to claim exemption from hotel room tax anywhere within the state.

Tax exemption is also available for Research Foundation business in the States of Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas. These forms are available by contacting the Research, Grants and Contracts Office at 607-436-2731.

Transportation expenses over $75 require receipts. Examples include ground transportation such as taxi or shuttle expenses, parking and tolls.

Guidance from the Research Foundation and Federal Travel Requirements indicates that reimbursement or payment is not permitted for expenses for personal travel combined with business travel or personal expenses incurred while in business travel status. Official travel status begins on the actual day of travel and ends at the conclusion of the event or initial requirement to travel. Travel expenses will be covered based on travel status, defined as attendance at a conference, meeting or other business purpose occurring at a distance greater than 35 miles from both the traveler’s official station and place of residence. The guidelines below are to assist in the determination of what can be considered business travel costs and what must be considered personal costs when a trip combines both.

Travel arrangements should be made as far in advance as possible to secure the most economical pricing. The Request for Authorization to Travel form (FA60) should be submitted prior to travel with meeting agenda(s), and copies of flight costs indicating pricing the day official travel status ends. (See more about flight documentation below).

Per Diem meal reimbursement

Travel status (either half day or full day- based on the submitted agenda) ends following the conclusion of the event or fulfillment of the travel requirement →personal time begins:

Based on prior submission of a comparable one-way flight home attached to the FA60; upon conclusion of the event, if the employee would have returned home after 7:00 p.m., a dinner allowance may be paid for that last day of travel status.

If return trip were to begin at this time and the employee would arrive home prior to 7:00 p.m., an additional dinner reimbursement will not be paid.

Hotel reimbursement

Travel status (meeting, conference or other purposes of travel) ends→ personal time begins: no hotel reimbursement.
The hotel room will only be covered if the last day of the event is a full day and the employee was unable to return back to workstation until the following day based on flight schedules.


Mileage will be paid as the mileage to and from the official workstation and meeting site/travel destination.

Airfare must be made with the most economical carrier regardless of rewards and will be reimbursed by the lesser of either the actual cost for return flight OR what the flight would have cost if made the day the originating flight was booked from the example submitted with the FA60.

Rental car –Any personal need for a vehicle must be rented in the name of the employee, not the Research Foundation. An employee is only covered for insurance purposes and may rent vehicles in the name of the Research Foundation only if the employee is in official travel status.

Policy Precedence

In general, RF travel policy takes precedence over a sponsor's regulation unless the sponsor's regulations are more restrictive or the sponsor has set forth explicit, less restrictive requirements in the RF-approved award document.

Travel expenses must be documented with an RF Travel Authorization Form (prior to travel) and with an RF Travel Payment Request Form (upon return from a trip). Travelers should not use SUNY travel forms.

Helpful Hints for Completing and Submitting Forms:

  • Account numbers must be included where indicated on travel forms.
  • Supervisor's signature is required on all travel forms where indicated.
  • Conference brochures or meeting agendas must be attached to Travel Payment Requests.
  • Flight or train ticket stubs must be attached to Travel Payment Requests.
  • Original lodging receipts are necessary when claiming per diem.
  • Dates and times of departure and return must be completed as indicated on travel forms.
  • Home Address, including zip code, is a must.


The Research Foundation for The State University of New York (RF) is the largest comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country. Click on the logo below to learn more.

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