FI0705 – Travel

Fiscal Policy:

FI0705 – Travel

Version: 34

Effective Date: 06/01/2023

SECTION 1. Policy Statement

  1. Generally
    1. Subject to this policy and its associated procedures, the University will either directly pay for, or reimburse travelers for, travel expenses that are necessary for the traveler to facilitate University business purposes.
    2. If an expense is not listed in this policy’s procedures, the applicable campus or institute has discretion to determine that the expense is or is not an expense that facilitates a legitimate University business purpose.
    3. The University strongly encourages employees to use the University’s travel card to the extent possible. See FI0531—Travel Cards. When an employee uses the University’s travel card, the employee does not have to use personal funds for travel expenses and, therefore, does not have to wait on the reimbursement process for any expenses placed on a University travel card.
  2. Specific Laws and Regulations
    1. Airfare:
      1. Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-7-130 limits University employees to purchasing standard coach airfare (the lowest-cost airfare) or equivalent class of airfare (if the airline does not classify their lowest-cost airfare as “coach”).
      2. For airlines that do not label an airfare as “coach,” such as Southwest Airlines, employees are limited to purchasing the lowest-cost airfare (which is the equivalent to coach-class airfare).
    2. Non-Discrimination:
      1. Travelers must abide by the Tennessee Civil Rights Act of 1990 (Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-801 et. seq.), which prohibits the University from transacting with entities that discriminate based on sex, race, creed, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, or disability.
      2. No University funds may be paid to entities that violate the Tennessee Civil Rights Act of 1990, and the University cannot reimburse travelers if a traveler incurs costs from a vendor who violates the Tennessee Civil Rights Act of 1990.
    3. Fly America Act
      1. Federal grant sponsors require awardees to fly on U.S. flag air carriers, even if internationally based air carriers are less expensive or more convenient. See this website for more details.
      2. Employees may contact the University’s Travel Agency to seek guidance regarding complying with the Fly America Act.
    4. Research Security; Export Control
      1. Each Campus or Institute must issue a procedure that establishes a review process for International Travel requests to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including without limitation, research security regulations (National Security Presidential Memorandum 33, for example), and U.S. export control laws and regulations.
      2. Travelers to all international destinations must comply with U.S. export control laws and regulations, including, without limitation, the Export Administration Regulations (13 CFR Parts 730-774), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22CFR Parts 120-130), and the Foreign Assets Control Regulations (31 CFR Parts 501-598). Please direct all questions about these laws and regulations to the applicable University campus or institute Export Control Office.
  3. Travel Funded with Funding Provided by Sponsored Projects
    1. Employees who will charge travel expenses to sponsored projects might be subject to specific restrictions set by the sponsor.
    2. Travel restrictions vary from sponsor to sponsor. When utilizing sponsored funds, employees are responsible for complying with the sponsor’s requirements. If a sponsor imposes requirements that are more restrictive than this policy or its procedures, the employee must comply with the sponsor’s requirements.
    3. Department heads have sole discretion to limit travel expenditures to more restrictive limits on spending than this policy allows in order to ensure compliance with any restrictions that a sponsor establishes.
    4. If an employee incurs travel costs that exceed the rates allowed the applicable sponsored project, the department will be responsible for paying the difference between that the sponsor allowed and what the employee incurred.
  4. Travel Agency
    1. The University’s Travel Agency can assist the University’s employees with travel plans, travel booking, and with obtaining required documentation. The University’s Travel Agency’s contact information is available at
    2. The University will not reimburse employees for expenses associated with other travel agencies.
  5. Exceptions
    1. The campus/institute Chief Business Officer (or designee) must review any exceptions to this policy and will serve as the final review step for exceptions to this policy, except that Chief Business Officers may not approve exceptions for their campus chancellor or institute head official.
    2. The University’s Chief Financial Officer (or designee) will approve exceptions for the campus chancellors and institute head officials.
    3. Additionally, after the campus/institute Chief Business Officer approves the following exceptions, these exceptions must route to the Chief Financial Officer (or designee):
      1. Exceptions for airfare other than coach-class airfare.
      2. Exceptions for
        1. Chief Business Officers
        2. President
        3. Employees in the President’s office
        4. Chancellors
        5. General Counsel
        6. Secretary and Special Counsel to the Board of Trustees
        7. Treasurer
        8. Any officers of the University, as defined in the University’s Bylaws
    4. All exceptions will be routed through the University’s Travel System.

SECTION 2. Reason for the Policy

This policy and the associated procedures govern the University’s travel expense and reimbursement process.

SECTION 3. Scope and Application

This policy applies to all University employees.

SECTION 4. Travel Procedures

General Travel Procedures

Special Aircraft Procedures

SECTION 5. Definitions

Contracted Car Rental Agency: Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental.

International Travel: Travel to a location outside of the United States’ 50 states and Washington, D.C. For clarity, even though the following locations are considered part of the United States, the following locations are considered “international” locations for purposes of this policy:

  • American Samoa
  • Baker Island
  • Guam
  • Howland Island
  • Jarvis Island
  • Johnston Atoll
  • Kingman Reef
  • Midway Islands
  • Navassa Island
  • Northern Marianas Islands
  • Palmyra Atoll
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Wake Island

Please note that CONUS rates only apply to the continental United States (sometimes referred to as “the lower 48” states). Travel to a U.S. destination outside of the lower 48 s tates falls under OCONUS rates. Also, please note that the University’s rental-car insurance only applies to travel within 1 of the 50 states (and it does not apply to U.S. territories outside of the 50 states).

International Travel Authorized Person: The person or office that the applicable campus or institute names as their official person or office who will advise employees on International Travel.

Travel Agency: World Travel Service, Inc., commonly referred to as “World Travel.”

Travel System: The software program that the University utilizes as its travel management system.

SECTION 6. Penalties/Disciplinary Action for Non-Compliance

Employees who fail to comply with this policy might be personally liable for some, or all, travel expenses incurred for a given trip. Employees who intentionally violate this policy might face adverse human resource actions, up to and including termination. Employees who intentionally request reimbursement for false travel expenses might face criminal charges.

SECTION 7. Responsible Official & Additional Contacts

Subject Matter

Office Name

Telephone Number

Email/Web Address

Policy Clarification and Interpretation

UT System Administration Accounts Payable


SECTION 8. Policy History

Revision 33: 02/09/2021

SECTION 9. Related Policies/Guidance Documents

Travel FAQs

FI0130—Fraud, Waste, and Abuse



FI0530—Procurement Cards

FI0531—Travel Cards

FI0725—Use of University Vehicles

BT0030—Policy Statement on Travel