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Travel Information

Business Affairs is dedicated to assist travelers and process travel-related payments in a prompt, accurate, and courteous manner. This office processes travel payments consistent with policies, procedures, and guidelines established by SUNY Cobleskill, the NYS Office of the State Comptroller, SUNY, and the NYS Office of General Services. We recognize the complexity of travel policies, procedures and guidelines and strive to make travel experiences as positive as possible for members of our campus community.

It is important to note that these policies, procedures, and guidelines are recognized by the IRS as an Accountable Travel Plan. In the absence of this recognition, travel payments could be considered additional compensation which could cause extra, unnecessary tax burdens. Strict adherence to the policies, procedures, and guidelines is therefore required.

Business Affairs fully implemented an ETravel (ETrave) System in 2019 to replace the paper process.  

ETrav must be utilized by all faculty and staff for domestic travel.  Business Affairs will not accept paper copies of Travel Requests.  The link to ETravel is available on this page located under Forms.  The instructions for use of ETravel is available on this page located under Resources.

Travel Requests for International Travel shall remain a paper process.


ETRAVEL only works when on-campus logged on to the network or logged in to the network via the VPN.

Approval of documentation is required at different levels and stages depending on the type of travel and needs of the traveler:

1. Before Travel Takes Place: THE TRAVEL REQUEST and TRIP SCHEDULE

An employee must complete a Travel Request and Trip Schedule in ETrav for every trip whether they are in overnight status, or simply taking a day trip.

Travel Requests identify who is traveling, where they are going, what they are doing, when they leave and return, what expenses they expect to incur, the funding account and a complete list of all parties traveling. The traveler's supervisor, Director, Dean, Vice President, Provost or President should approve an employee's travel plan and funding source before travel takes place.

It is important that all employees plan their travel, submit a completed and approved Travel Request to Business Affairs at least TWO WEEKS in advance of the date of departure. The dollar limit is the maximum amount that will be reimbursed to the traveler. Failure to submit a Travel Request may delay a traveler's request for reimbursement.

Please note: All out of state travel requires approval from a Vice President. Professional development funding requires additional approval from the department chair of Professional Development.

2. After Travel Takes Place: THE TRAVEL VOUCHER

After travel takes place, the traveler must use the ETrav link to complete the Travel Voucher.  All itemized receipts should be scanned and attached on the Travel Request.  The Traveler will Sign and Submit on the Travel Voucher which will then be routed to their supervisor, Director, Dean Vice President, Provost or President for approval and sent to Business Affairs.

If a fleet vehicle is not available, and a personal vehicle is used during a trip, personal mileage will be reimbursed. 

The traveler is responsible for knowing and complying with all travel guidelines.

Please note: travel reimbursement will be directly deposited into the travelers account at their financial institution. 

An employee is considered to be in travel status and eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses (including lodging, meals, transportation, and miscellaneous travel expenses) when an employee is assigned at a work location more than 35 miles from the travelers work station AND home. The assignments must meet a necessary business purpose as directed and approved by appropriate personnel.

The official work station for the majority of our employees is SUNY Cobleskill, 106 Suffolk Circle, Cobleskill NY 12043. Traveling from SUNY Cobleskill to home or vice versa is considered commuting and is not reimbursable. 

Employees may choose one of two methods for reimbursement for overnight travel. Breakfast and dinner are reimbursable meals, lunch is not.

The Unreceipted Method (Method 1) and provides a flat rate allowance for meals, lodging and incidental expenses regardless of where lodging is obtained, including lodging with relatives or friends. Rates are established based on the city or county where lodging is obtained or the location to which the employee is traveling (whichever is less), and such location must be indicated on the Travel Order. No receipts are required when using this method. Current rates are as follows:

Location Per Diem
New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and         
Westchester Counties
Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester,         
Syracuse and their respective surrounding 
metropolitan Areas
All other locations in New York State $35
Out of State (this includes any out of state tax) $50

Travelers using this method may also be eligible for an additional $5.00 for breakfast on the day of departure, if they leave at least one hour before their normal work start time. They may also be eligible for an additional $12.00 for dinner on the day of return if they return at least two hours later than their normal working time.

The Receipted Method (Method 2) provides reimbursement of actual lodging costs and an allowance for meals based on federal reimbursement rates for the county of lodging. Since rates are based on location of lodging, the city and state must be indicated on the Travel Order. Itemized receipts are required for lodging, but not for meals. 

For each day the traveler is in overnight status, the traveler is eligible for reimbursement for lodging up to a maximum lodging per diem and a per diem allowance for meals. The meal per diem is for dinner the first night and breakfast the following day.

Travelers using this method are also eligible for an additional per diem breakfast if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time the first day, and/or dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time on the last day of travel. In these cases, breakfast and/or dinner will be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of the meal per diem allowance specified for the particular area of lodging.

Maximum lodging rates exclude taxes. For travel within New York State, travelers must provide a New York State Tax Exemption Certificate (ST-129) to the hotel. For travel outside of New York State, state and local taxes are NOT included in the maximum lodging rate and will be reimbursed in addition to the per diem amount.

On occasion, travelers may be unable to find a hotel at a rate that does not exceed the maximum federal lodging per diem rate for the location of travel. If that occurs, travelers must obtain prior approval from his/her finance office to exceed the federal rate using the SUNY Cobleskill Request to Exceed Max Lodging Rates.

Travelers may be reimbursed for breakfast and/or dinner for day trips based on departure and return times. Travelers are entitled to reimbursement for breakfast if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time, and/or dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time.

Travelers without meal receipts are reimbursed $5.00 for breakfast and/or $12.00 for dinner. 

Travelers with meal receipts are reimbursed up to the maximum amount of the meal per diem allowance (Method 2) specified for the particular area of travel.

Day trip meal reimbursements are reportable as income to the IRS.

On occasion, travelers must attend conferences sponsored by other organizations at facilities which exceed the maximum lodging rate. Travelers must obtain approval from Business Affairs to exceed the federal rate using the SUNY Cobleskill Request to Exceed Max Lodging Rates.

Social activities such as sightseeing and golf outings are considered personal expenses and will not be reimbursed.

When meals and/or lodging are provided as a part of a conference or event, additional reimbursement is not permitted.

Fleet vehicles are available for use by faculty and staff traveling on official state business. Fleet vehicles must be used for all state travel if one is available. Personal Vehicles may only be used when a fleet vehicle is not available, a rental vehicle is not available, or when the traveler is not seeking reimbursement for mileage or gasoline. 

Only SUNY Cobleskill employees over 18 who meet the License Event Notification (LENS) requirements are eligible to drive fleet vehicles. Fleet vehicle reservations can be made on Employee Sharepoint. Travel Requests must be on file with Business Affairs and Facilities when requesting Fleet vehicles. Vehicles will not be assigned to a traveler until the Travel Request is received by the Business Office and a copy faxed to Facilities. 

If traveling in a fleet vehicle with passengers, passengers may only be faculty, staff, and/or students. All passengers must be listed on the Travel Request, and the Travel Request must be amended immediately if the passenger list changes. 

If there are changes to the Travel Request such as the destination, time of departure and/or time of return, the Travel Request must be amended as soon as possible. 

The Fleet Reservation Procedure is available on the Facilities web page and should be reviewed prior to reserving a vehicle. 

Failure to follow the Fleet Reservation Procedure could result in denial to use a Fleet Vehicle and personal mileage will not be reimbursed.

Effective Monday, March 20, 2023, all related entities utilizing fleet vehicles will be billed the standard IRS government rate per mile.

Travelers frequently incur miscellaneous expenses during their travel. In all cases, in order to be considered reimbursable, these expenses must be reasonable, actual, and necessary. To be reimbursed, original documented proof of payment of the miscellaneous expenses must accompany the travel voucher. 

Examples of reimbursable items are:
   1. Business-related telephone calls
   2. Internet connection fees
   3. Baggage transfer and storage
   4. Parking (Please check in advance to see if parking charges
        would exceed taxi or shuttle charges.)
   5. Taxi or shuttle charges

Examples of non-reimbursable items:
   1. Parking tickets
   2. Laundry service
   3. Valet service
   4. Seat upgrades
   5. New York State taxes
   6. Personal charges
   7. Fees associated with flight or train changes for personal reasons
   8. Personal travel VISAs and passports 
Registration fees may be required for attendance at business events. The payment of registration fees has changed significantly as a result of the mandatory implementation of the Statewide Financial System (SFS).

SUNY Cobleskill offers three options for registration fee payment:

Option 1, Procurement Card (PCard):
Registration costs should be discussed, and planned with a supervisor before a purchase is made. Amounts should be listed on the Travel Request. All PCard policies and procedures must be followed.

Option 2, Reimbursement: 
When you pay a registration fee directly, obtain a receipt of payment and also keep a copy of the completed registration application form. To request reimbursement of the registration fee following the event, submit the completed Travel Voucher along with the original receipt and a copy of the completed registration application, including information about what expenses were covered by the fee.

Option 3, Direct Payment to the Conference: 
This option is usually not practical in situations where there are time constraints.  The attendee must inquire of the conference organizer whether the organization is, or is willing to become, a NYS Vendor.

- If the organization is already set up as a NYS Vendor, the attendee must request an invoice from the organizer with attendance information included as well as their required NYS Vendor information.

- If the organization is not set up as a NYS Vendor, the attendee should inquire if the organization is willing to complete a NYS Substitute W-9 so this may occur. Then the attendee must request an invoice from the conference organizer with attendance information included.

- The attendee should take the documentation, along with a Purchase Requisition to Business Affairs to be processed. 
Occasionally, employees may have to travel outside of the continental United States for the benefit of the university. When seeking reimbursement, Travelers must:

1. Seek reimbursement based on the maximum per diem allowance established by the U.S. Department of State, www.gsa.gov. The foreign per diem rates are published monthly. Expenses must be converted to American currency based upon the exchange rate in effect during the period of travel. 

2. Must breakdown meal per diems, if needed, (20 percent of total meal per diem for breakfast and 80 percent total per diem for dinner). 

New York State authorizes the issuance of Travel Cards (TCard), and Non-Employee Travel Cards (NETCard) to employees for the specific purpose of paying travel related expenses. These credit cards are separate from PCards. Employees who anticipate traveling in overnight status once a year may wish to request a TCard. If an employee chooses not to request a TCard, they will be required to pay all of their expenses out of pocket and seek reimbursement when they return from their trip.

A traveler must complete and submit a Travel Request using ETrav to Business Affairs prior to placing any charges on the credit cards. All travel receipts, including meals, must be turned into Business Affairs at the end each billing month.  The traveler must create their account with the vendor and download their statement for each month they travel.  Statements and all receipts must be sent Business Affairs each month.

All credit card receipts must show an itemized detail of all charges. A credit card slip showing only the amount of the charge authorization is not sufficient. All expenses charged will be charged to the account listed on the corresponding Travel Request.

Business Affairs has issued list of allowable Travel Credit Card expenses, and Non-allowable Credit Card expenses. All travelers will receive a copy of this document when they sign for and pick up their cards. If travelers lose this document, they may view it on the Forms link above. 

In certain circumstances, SUNY Cobleskill may reimburse travel costs incurred by non-employees traveling on college related business. In most cases, non-employees may be reimbursed up to the rates that are available to employees.  Non-employees are required to download, complete and submit and IRS Form W-9 in order to be reimbursed.  

Travel reimbursements to non-employees of SUNY are processed through a Standard Voucher. The payee or department should complete the voucher to specify the exact purpose for the payment, as well as dates of the activity.

The payee's signature must be entered in the "Payee Certification" block on the voucher. Travel expenses for lodging and meals for non-employees must be via Method 2 guidelines which require receipts for lodging (not for meals). All original receipts should be stapled to the Standard Voucher and forwarded for appropriate approval signatures and processing by the Accounts Payable Office.

Types of non-employee travel include travel for interviews, travel by students, and travel by vendors including lecturers, evaluators, and those receiving honorariums. 

The ban on travel to North Carolina has been rescinded; however, non-essential travel to Mississippi is still prohibited per Executive Order. https://www.governor.ny.gov/executive-order/no-6-continuation-and-expiration-prior-executive-orders (A. Cuomo Executive Order 156)

This travel ban applies to all travel funded by the University, State or the Research Foundation.

Travel through an airport located Mississippi to a final destination outside of Mississippi is allowed as long as there is no overnight layover in Mississippi. Travelers should avoid making airline connections through Mississippi whenever possible and cost effective.