Professional Travel to Conferences

Professional Travel Funding Deadline: ongoing
Supplemental Travel Funding Deadline:  1 April

Professional Travel Funds. The purpose of professional travel funds is to encourage scholarly activity by the faculty through partial subvention of the travel costs associated with professional activity.  Eligible are full-time faculty and those holding ongoing, long-term lectureships. This annual allowance per faculty is restricted to use for participation at a discipline specific professional venue where scholarly activities are showcased after a peer-reviewed procedure.  It is expected that qualified venues are minimally a regional event, but preferably a national or international event.  To assist full-time faculty in maintaining their scholarly work, the following provisions are in place for professional travel to conferences by faculty members:
If a faculty member is presenting (or engaging in an analogous activity) at one or more conferences, an annual maximum of $1500 is available to defray the cost of conference travel.

  • If a faculty member is attending only(and not presenting), a maximum of $800 is available to defray the cost of conference travel.  A faculty member can receive reimbursement for attending (and not presenting at) a meeting only once per year.
  • Should the faculty member attend one meeting and present at one or more other meetings, an annual maximum of $1500 is available for reimbursement of travel expenses.
  • Faculty in the arts (theater, dance, music, and studio art) may use professional travel to attend exhibitions, studios, and performances.
  • Faculty athletic coaches may use Travel to Conference funds to attend national, athletic conferences.  To qualify for “presenter” funds, a coach must be an officer of a national association or committee and perform an active participatory role at the conference or must make a presentation to a national conference.  Like allother disciplines ‘proof of presentation’ involves attaching a copy of the page in the meeting program that shows the coach’s name next to the conference activity.
  • Faculty members are reimbursed afterthe completion of the travel. (More information and guidelines.)
  • Individual faculty travel allowances originate in the Dean of the Faculty’s annual expenses budget.  The fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30, and no funds can be “carried over” from a prior year, nor may funds be “borrowed” from future years.

Supplemental Travel Funding. In March each year the Office of the Dean of the Faculty will make a determination of whether there are sufficient funds available for Supplemental Travel Funding.  An email to faculty will be made announcing the situation for that year.  There are two uses for Supplemental Travel funds: (1) to reimburse for expenses which exceeded a faculty’s normal annual allocation; or (2) to fund additional travel before the end of the fiscal year.  Supplemental Travel Funding requests must be sent electronically to Jason Scheideman in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. The request for supplemental travel funds must include a compelling argument that the travel was/will be important to one’s scholarly work.  The Dean will award supplemental travel funds, if available, based on the quality of the request.

Bates Faculty Development Fund.  Faculty increasingly attend multiple scholarly conferences.  Three times annually, mid September, early December and late April, the Committee on Faculty Scholarship accepts proposals for a wide variety of purposes, one purpose being additional support to help defray scholarly travel.  This fund is much less restrictive than the Travel to Conferences fund and can carry across the fiscal year barrier.

Reimbursement.  Bates College rigorously follows all Internal Revenue Service regulations pertaining to employee reimbursement. Bates College is professionally audited annually and intends to remain “squeaky clean” in accordance with state and federal regulations. Anything discussed on this brief website is thoroughly explained in the actual Travel Policy.

The gateway to reimbursement is the Travel Expense Report which is used by all Bates employees for all travel related reimbursements.

  • Bates Accounting can only make final charges to an account AFTER the completion of the travel in the fiscal year the travel occurred.  Those traveling in June must by ready to submit the Travel Expense Report as soon as they return!  If your travel straddles July 1 then the total trip expenses will be charged to the DOF Travel to Conferences account for the fiscal year that the preponderance of expenses occurred.
  • Requests for reimbursement for all professional activities should be made to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty promptly following those activities.
  • Requests for reimbursement for professional activities should be made to the dean of the faculty’s office promptly following those activities.
  • All expenses must be accompanied by original receipts. When requesting reimbursement for air travel, the original airline ticket receipt and/or electronic payment receipt must be provided as a receipt (an itinerary from the travel agency is not sufficient proof of purchase, per federal guidelines).
  • All travel related expenses must be initially paid by the individual faculty and paid invoices or receipts must be carefully preserved for reimbursement.  The vendor, date paid, and amount paid must be clearly visible (yellow highlighter on credit card receipts will dissolve the invoice ink !!)  Shared expenses paid on one bill should show your share written and circled.
  • Entries on a monthly credit card bill are NOT judged as legal receipts.  Single paid invoices only.
  • By federal regulation, the College cannot reimburse faculty members for personal expenses such as pet care, lawn care, laundry, house sitting, child care or physical fitness expenses while traveling.

Travel Advances.  Expense reimbursements for an activity YET to happen.

Register for conferences and book transportation and lodging early!!  Stretch your allotted dollars.  Before the Advance system was integrated the large bills for early booking sat on your personal credit card or in their checkbook either generating monthly interest expense or tying up personal assets.   No one wanted that situation so ‘early-bird specials” were never attempted.  A Travel Advance solves that problem.

  • Attach original receipts from the vendor to a completed Advance Request Form and submit to the DOF office
  • If a cash advance is desired, check the appropriate box, and attach a short explanation.
  • “Cash”  in the accounting world means bills and coins or a check for deposit
  •  Bills and coins have a limit of $150
  • Checks can be higher
  • The amount being advanced to an individual is actually an interest-free loan from Bates to the individual.  No account is actually charged for the reimbursement until the Travel Expense Report is submitted AFTER the travel.  The individual is legally responsible for the payback of the loan by submitting the Travel Expense Report or by personal check.
  • All Advances must be retired within ten days after the travel event by submission of the Travel Expense Report or a personal check.
  • Final reimbursement to the individual following a Travel Expense Report will be the total trip expense minus the Advance.
  • The amount charged to an account is the total expense of the trip.

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Tips for the Savvy Traveler

Tip #1

Travel Expense Report Attachments

  • A copy of the cover page of the conference program to prove your travel is a qualifying expense
  • A copy of the program page showing your name as a presenter, or discipline specific equal, to prove the extra $1,000 is justified
  • A MapQuest page showing personal car mileage traveled to be reimbursed using the current IRS allowance per mile standard
  • All other paid receipts for reimbursement
  • These reports get transported and handled by multiple folks and paperclips can easily come undone or pick up some other person’s working paperwork, a single staple works great and is safer in all respects.  Staples are easy to remove and very reliable.

Tip #2

  • In order to complete the Travel Expense Report we all must separate the receipts into piles-one for each calendar day of the trip.
  • Losing a receipt in transit is a disaster
  • For safety in transmission and so as not to duplicate the task at each stage of the accounting procedure date-label a piece of 8.5 X 11 paper for each calendar day and tape all receipts to the correct day paper.  It is OK to tape and overlap like-sized receipts as long as each receipt can be lifted and viewed by an accounting staff or auditor to verify the vendor, amount and date.
  • Underlining or circling the total on a receipt is always helpful
  • Mastercard/Visa receipts are printed with cheap ink and are dissolved by highlighter

TIP #3:

  • If you share the meal bill with a colleague, write the amount of your share clearly on the receipt.
  • Reasonable and customary expenses for meals and tips are reimbursable and should be claimed only when there is an out-of pocket expense.
  • Out-of-pocket meals should normally be limited to $60.00 or less per day, with the exception of meals that include College sponsored guests for the purpose of conducting College business.
  • When total meal expenses do not exceed $35.00 per day, meal receipts are not required.

Tip #4

For foreign travel ask for large amount receipts, e.g. hotel bills, to be paid in US Dollars or get them to convert for you as per the day’s exchange rate.  There are now also websites with foreign exchange calculators that are specific for a date, or a handy calculator is also a good tool if know the correct exchange rate to use.

Technology and Being a Presenter

  • Bates ILS recommends that if you are a presenter at a venue where the type of digital device or format is not specified it is wise to communicate prior to or schedule a time to meet on location with that venue’s electronic support staff. Do not wait until it is too late for them to accommodate your electronic needs.
  • It may be wise to bring multiple copies of your presentation, maybe even in different formats in different devices.  Simple things like projector resolution settings can ruin a presentation.  Murphy’s Law is real.

Travel, learn, enjoy to the fullest