All employees are required to complete the Mason Finance Gateway Navigation training prior to receiving access. This 30 minute online training provides users with an understanding of how to navigate the new system. To access the training go to https://masonleaps.gmu.edu/ and login with your NetID and password. Locate the training under the “Required Training” tab. Please refer to the Training Guide for assistance.
GRA/GTAs and non-student wage are classified as employees and should complete the training if they will be submitting, approving, or receiving a business expense reimbursement. Students and Non-Mason travelers will not have access to the system.
The Mason employee must designate a delegate. Please follow the following resource guide: MFG Resource Guide.
Login to Mason Finance Gateway as yourself and follow this guide.
Login to the Mason Finance Gateway a yourself. From your Profile menu, select the person you are named a delegate for (see Delegate guide for more instructions). Once you are viewing their profile, select the “Submitted Last 90 Days” from the Pre-Approval or Expense ribbon, then click on the appropriate report name. Once the report is opened, click on “Tracking” to see where the document is in the approval process.
- Airfare or train transportation may be paid on the P-Card. Generally, airline and rail travel cannot exceed the rates charged for tourist or coach class accommodations. Acela service on Amtrak, first class airfare, higher-level coach class services (examples: Delta Comfort, United Economy Plus, etc.), preferable seats, priority boarding, advance seat selection and/or other amenities are prohibited. Baggage fees may not be paid on the P-Card but can be reimbursed to the traveler when reasonable.
- Registration fees may be paid on the P-Card directly to the vendor or through the Vendor’s website. If a check payment is required for registration, the department may submit a Payment Request
- Local Lodging for candidates, guest speakers or other Non-Mason visitors may be paid by eVA Purchase Order when utilizing a Local Lodging contract. Mason travelers are prohibited from lodging within 25 miles of their work or home location.
In order for business travel to be reimbursable, it must be performed in the most economical manner and may not exceed the limitations imposed by the Commonwealth and Mason. Only actual expenses, supported by a receipt, may be reimbursed (except for meal and incidental expense per diem). ALL travel reimbursements must be approved by the department and may depend on available budget.
- Transportation (rental car and gasoline, taxi, shuttle, personal vehicle mileage)
- Airfare and rail tickets (if not paid on P-Card)
- Airline checked baggage fees (when necessary)
- Overnight lodging
- Non-Mason Parking and toll charges
- Business telephone/internet charges
- Registration fees (if not paid on P-Card)
- Passport and visa expenses, immunization fees
- Meals (based on overnight lodging location per diem)
Mason does not issue travel advances for individual domestic travel. Travel Advances may only be request for group travel – when a faculty or staff member is supervising a group of students on a university-sponsored activity OR for international travel – where credit cards may not be accepted. Please review the Group Travel Advance Instructions or the Individual International Travel Advance.
The following expenses are not reimbursable. Please note that this list is not all-inclusive. If you have a question about an expense please consult the Travel Manual and if needed contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lost or stolen articles
- Alcoholic beverages
- Excessive meal and lodging charges
- Personal telephone calls
- Personal laundry expenses
- Towing charges
- Mason Parking fees
- Movies charged to hotel
- Luxury vehicle rental
- Services to gain entry to locked vehicle
- Travel and rental car insurance
- Damage to personal vehicles, clothing or other items
- Expenses related to personal negligence of the traveler, such as fines
- Excessive parking and gasoline charges
- Expenses for children, spouses and other non-business companions
- Local commuting expenses
- Service fees and tips (e.g., to baggage handlers)
- Travel between lodging and places where meals may be taken
Travel insurance (personal injury or loss, trip interruption/cancellation, etc.) is not reimbursable. Travel accident and emergency insurance coverage is available for employees (covered cost). Additional information is available at https://risk.gmu.edu/insurance/. Rental Car insurance is provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Additional rental insurance will not be reimbursed.
Expenditures that can be reimbursed are limited to the following:
- Emergency office supplies while traveling on university business
- Postage, shipping or photocopying
- Business meals (See Food & Beverage Overview)
- Entry fees
- Student event and business supplies (when approved by the Department)
- Research Subject Payments
- Professional Membership Dues
- Publication fees
- Other expenses when approved, in writing, by Purchasing or Accounts Payable
Purchases that cannot be reimbursed include the following:
- Routine office supplies to include printers, toner, paper, etc.
- Computers, monitors or accessories
- Computer software
- Magazines, periodicals or books
- Any payment to an individual for the performance of services
- Routine food and beverage with the exception of business meals
- Grocery store/department store/wholesale club purchases
- Consulting Services
- Academic Testing fees
- Employee Training Course fees
- Lab Supplies
- Storage Facility Leases
- Space Rentals
- Equipment Rentals
Individuals are responsible for presenting legitimate and complete Expense reimbursements through the Mason Finance Gateway. Reimbursement requests and all supporting documentation must be submitted through the Mason Finance Gateway within 60 days of trip or event completion. Reimbursements submitted more than 60 days after trip or event completion are subject to taxation.
Please refer to the Getting Started Guide, Delegate Guide and/or Approver Guide for assistance with navigating the Mason Finance Gateway. Information, step-by-step guides, and videos are available on the Mason Finance Gateway webpage to assist users with processing travel, food and beverage, or other business expense reimbursements. When logged into the Gateway, extensive resources are available within the system under Help Center.
Food and Beverage Reimbursement
No, per diem is only provided when there is an overnight stay.
The traveler must include a note or other documentation with the Travel Reimbursement Voucher documenting how the meal did not meet their needs. This note should be entered in the comments section in Mason Finance Gateway.
All “no-cost” meals, meals paid by others and meals included in the conference registration fee must be deducted from the travel expense report. If a continental breakfast or reception is offered as part of the travel event and the food/timing is sufficient to serve as a meal, the traveler must mark the Breakfast checkbox and Mason Finance Gateway will deduct the appropriate per diem amount.
Individual meal components are built into the Mason Finance Gateway. Review the Learn About Per Diem page for additional guidance.
On travel departure and return days, travelers automatically receive 75% of the per diem meal allowance, regardless of the time of departure or return. The return day allowance is based on the rate at the location where the traveler spent the night prior to returning to the home base.
How do I add per diem for travel where there are multiple locations that have varying per diem rates.
Add the per diem wizard location for all trip days for each city. Then delete the duplicate per diem days so you end up with the correct rates based on location, date of lodging, and the 75% travel date rate is applied properly on the departure and return day of travel.
The per diem rate includes: meals and incidentals (including taxes/tips), transportation to where meals are taken, personal telephone calls, laundry expenses and tips to baggage handlers/concierge.
A business meal is a meal provided at a commercial dining establishment open to the general public, or at a university location as long as no service other than delivery/pickup is provided. A business meal can occur in travel or non-travel status. Additional information can be found in the Travel, Meals, and Entertainment Manual.
A P-Card can only be used to pay for a business meal if there is a lift on the card. To request a P-Card lift, fill out the P-Card Maintenance Form.
Do I need approval from the Travel Office to share a room if I am not exceeding the basic or maximum lodging (2 x basic) rate?
If the room cost (before splitting) does not exceed the conference rate, you do not need approval from the Travel Office. You should note the room share on your Travel Authorization and list the names of all those sharing rooms in the comments section.
Do I need approval from the Travel Office when using alternative lodging (overnight lodging other than traditional hotel/motels, such as AirBnB)?
Please note that additional fees (cleaning, linen, management, and community, etc.) are considered part of the room cost each night. If these fees plus the room cost exceed the maximum lodging rate the traveler will only be eligible for the maximum and the pro-rated lodging taxes.
Do I need approval from the Travel Office to stay at a local hotel, within 25 miles of my workplace or home?
Yes. Generally, employees are not reimbursed for lodging within 25 miles of his/her work place, office or home. If extenuating circumstances and budget permit, an employee may seek advanced approval for lodging in the local area. To request an exception please contact the Travel Office at least 30 days prior to the trip start. No approval will be given after the trip has taken place.
Do I need approval from the Travel Office when I am planning to take personal time before/after my business travel?
You do not need approval. However, you must provide a cost comparison BEFORE the trip. Follow the instructions on the Personal Travel with Business Travel Guide.
Required receipts must be uploaded and attached to the Expense report in the Mason Finance Gateway before submitting for approval. Refer to the Submitting Receipts guide for assistance.
- Airfare – A legitimate receipt which shows the class of seat purchased, fees, and total purchase price.
- Hotel – An original itemized hotel bill must support lodging reimbursement requests. For hotel rooms obtained through internet providers, the traveler must attach the entire hardcopy receipt from the internet site showing total cost and confirmed services to the Travel Reimbursement.
- Car rental – an itemized receipt showing the rental dates, type of car rented, taxes charged and total paid.
- Fuel – an itemized receipt for actual purchase. *Refueling agreements are not allowed and will not be reimbursed.
- Taxi – a receipt is required when the reimbursement claim exceeds $75 per instance.
- Meals – Per Diem should be claimed, receipts to document meal expense are only required for group travel and pre-approved business meals that will be reimbursed on the Food & Beverage form.
- Phone/Internet Use - Business phone calls, facsimiles and data transmission charges must be supported by documentation that includes the date, points and parties involved, the business purpose of the call, and the charges incurred. Travelers are permitted to incur charges for use of the internet at hotels, airports or other locations provided that internet access is necessary for business activity. To be reimbursed for internet charges, travelers must provide an explanation of the internet usage, such as reading and responding to email. The explanation may be written on the itemized hotel bill or internet provider receipt.
- Visa/entry documentation – itemized receipt or documentation.
- Conference Registration – itemized receipt or documentation.
- Referees/Officials/Judges - Tour guides, translators, speakers or other individuals up to $600: A legitimate receipt including the recipients’ name, amount paid and recipient’s signature must be obtained and the Justification for Services performed outside of the United States Form must be completed at the time the service is rendered. If vendor cannot provide receipt, use Mason Receipt Certification form.
- Tour guides, translators, speakers or other individuals in excess of $600: Cash payment may not be issued. Payment must be made via the Payment Request, Honorarium or Purchase Order process, as appropriate. Proper tax documentation must be obtained (W-9/W-8BEN) and submitted with the request for payment. The department should complete this process prior to trip departure and obtain a check payment for the payee whenever possible. Payments may be made via wire transfer to the payee upon trip return in extenuating situation.
- Business Meals provided to others while in travel status - Reimbursement for business meals occurring during overnight travel will be limited to the cost of the guest’s meal only; the traveler/host will receive the normal per diem payment for the trip location Reimbursement for food and beverages purchased during business meals requires a “Food and Beverages Authorization” form and submitted to Accounts Payable.
- Entry Fees - itemized receipt or documentation.
UTAC (The University Travel Advisory Committee) approval is needed when traveling internationally to countries or areas under U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories Level 3 and 4, Center for Disease Control and Prevention Level 3 warnings, or countries that are under comprehensive economic sanctions.
Departments that are looking to invite residents of foreign countries to travel at the university's expense must consult with the International Tax Office before inviting the individual to travel or making any travel preparations on the visitor's behalf.
When federal funds are used, provisions of the Fly America Act (FAA) are applicable and
international travel is restricted to a U.S. air carrier unless circumstances meet the
qualifications for a waiver. All waivers must be documented on the Certificate of Exception to
Fly America Act form. This form must be submitted with the Expense document, attached to an
invoice approval if traveler was billed or submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs if
airfare was purchased on a P-Card. Please use the Fly America Act Decision Tree prior to
booking international travel. For more information on DOD funded travel, the Fly America Act
and Open Skies agreement with EU, Japan, Switzerland and Australia please visit osp.gmu.edu.
The Travel Office typically posts/processes reimbursements within 5 days of receipt. Payment occurs approximately 2-3 business days after approved. Keep in mind that the Travel Office will not receive the expense report until ALL approvers have signed off.
It has been more than 10 days since my Travel Reimbursement was approved. How do I check the status of my payment?
Login to Mason Finance Gateway, open Submitted Reports, and check the status next to the applicable expense report https://fiscal.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/MFG-Getting-Started.pdf.
The Pre-Approval is an estimate of costs. A Travel expense report must be initiated and submitted through Mason Finance Gateway after returning from the trip to claim actual expense reimbursement. Follow the instructions to submit an expense report https://fiscal.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/MFG-Getting-Started.pdf.
The traveler and/or delegate will receive an email once ALL approvals have been received. The traveler and/or delegate can click on the “Tracking” button on the specific expense report listed under “Submitted Last 90 Days.”
What should I do with purchases made with a P-Card that are on my Expense Reimbursement from a Pre-Approval?