The Mason Finance Gateway, powered by Chrome River, is our new travel and expense management system and used to process all travel pre-approvals and reimbursements. It replaces the current Travel Request System. Resources are available on the Mason Finance Gateway webpage.
For the most up to date information on University travel restrictions please visit https://www2.gmu.edu/safe-return-campus/travel.
Learn the Basics
University Policy Number 2101 – Travel, Meals, and Entertainment provides information related to payment and reimbursement of reasonable and necessary expenses incurred while traveling on university business.
The following requirements must be met in order for business travel to be reimbursable:
- Travel must be consistent with the university mission.
- Travel must be performed in the most economical manner (i.e., expenses must be necessary and reasonable).
- All expenses must be incurred while in travel status.
- Actual expenses must be reported (except for meal and incidental expense per diem).
- Expenses must not exceed the limitations imposed by the Commonwealth or Mason.
Training Requirement for System Access
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.
Timeline for Travel Reimbursement Requests
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 per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Travelers who make multiple local trips (mileage/transportation only) may consolidate them into one monthly travel voucher.
Examples of Allowable Expenses
- Transportation (including airfare, rail tickets, rental car, taxi, shuttle, etc.)
- Lodging (within per diem rate for location when an overnight stay is required)
- Meals (based on overnight lodging location per diem rates)
- Business telephone calls
- Internet charges (when required for business)
- Passport and visa expenses, vaccination fees, airport fees
- Registration fees
Required Documentation for Reimbursement of Business Phone and Internet Charges
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 internet usage, such as checking and responding to email. The explanation may be written on the itemized hotel bill or internet provider receipt.
Internet Charges to Sponsored Funds
Internet charges to sponsored funds are allowable only when directly related to the specific grant or contract. As such, checking email could only be charged to a grant if email activity was limited to, and directly related to, a specific project. Internet-based research directly related to a sponsored project is allowable.
Personal expenses are generally not reimbursable. Examples of common expenses that are not reimbursable are listed below. This list is not all-inclusive.
- Lost or stolen articles
- Alcoholic beverages
- Excessive meal and lodging charges
- Personal telephone calls*
- Personal laundry expenses*
- Damage to personal vehicles, clothing or other items
- Expenses related to personal negligence of the traveler, such as fines
- Services to gain entry to locked vehicles
- Towing charges
- Insurance associated with rental cars in the United States
- Luxury vehicle rentals
- Excessive parking and gasoline charges
- University parking fees
- Movies charged to hotel/motel bills
- Expenses for children, spouses and other non-business companions
- Local commuting expenses
- Service fees and tips (e.g., to baggage handlers) *These expenses are covered by the incidental portion of the per diem payment
- Travel between lodging and places where meals may be taken
- Travel insurance (personal injury or loss, trip interruption/cancellation, etc.) Note: Travel accident and emergency insurance coverage is available for employees (covered cost). Additional information is available from the Office of Risk Management.
The following items should be considered when planning a business trip. Review the Getting Started Guide to submit a Pre-Approval (required for domestic trips where the cost will exceed $1,000 and all International business travel):
- The business reason for travel (i.e., attending a conference)
- Dates of travel and fiscal year
- Transportation methods (i.e., airline, train, rental car)
- Lodging requirements including per night cost, tax and surcharges (Must be with per diem)
- Registration fee(s) for event
- Meals and no-cost meals provided at the event
- Other anticipated requirements and expenses (i.e., mileage, baggage fees, etc.)
All travel costs must be estimated before the proposed trip is made. These estimates should include expenses to be billed directly to Mason on a P-Card (such as airfare and registration fees) as well as expenses to be reimbursed to the traveler.
Obtain Required Receipts
Travelers are required to obtain legitimate receipts for all expenses except for: meals, transportation expenses under $75 and incidental expenses reimbursed on a per diem basis. Receipts must be attached to the corresponding travel document in order to be reimbursed to the traveler. Please review the Submitting Receipts Guide for easy App downloads and email forwarding of receipts directly to your Mason Finance Gateway profile. Original documentation/receipts should be retained by the traveler until after reimbursement has been received. The Travel Office may request original receipts if the attached document is illegible.
- Airline ticket receipts and credit card statements
- Airline checked baggage receipts
- Lodging folio – itemized lodging receipts
- Public transportation receipts– taxi, limo, etc.
- Rental car, including gasoline receipts
- Parking and toll charges
- Business meals with outside parties
- Registration fees
- Internet access receipts
Although receipts for actual transportation costs under $75 are generally not required, if the maximum reimbursable amount is claimed on a consistent basis, the Travel Office may require receipts to be presented.
Travel Charging Sponsored Project Funding
The dollar limitations on lodging, meals and incidental expenses in conjunction with an overnight trip, and transportation also apply to travel conducted in support of grants and contracts sponsored by outside agencies unless the underlying grant or contract specifically provides different reimbursement policies or rates.
Review the award document for any restrictions related to travel, as some sponsors may not allow foreign travel or any travel not approved in the budget. In some cases, prior approval may be needed and this request would need to come go through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Any air travel charged to federally funded, sponsored project must be taken on U.S. flag air carriers, unless an exception applies as noted in the Federal Travel Regulation.
Fly America Act
When federal funds are used, provisions of the Fly America Act are applicable and foreign travel is restricted to a U.S. flag air carrier unless extenuating circumstances apply and are approved in advance by the Office of Sponsored Programs. Use the Fly America Act Decision Tree to help determine if there are exceptions.
Exceptions may be made when using a U.S. air carrier rather than a foreign carrier would:
- Increase the number of aircraft changes made in route by two or more,
- Extend the travel time by six hours or more, or
- Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.
Principal Investigators and unit administrators must document the reason for the exception on the Certification of Exception to Fly America Act and submit the form to OSP for approval. The approved form must be uploaded and attached to the Travel Reimbursement in the Travel Request System.
Cost is Not an Exception and is not considered a reason for exception under this federal regulation. Travelers will not be reimbursed for any transportation cost when there is improper use of a foreign air carrier. Travelers are required to indicate the name of the air carrier for international travel when federal funds are charged.
For Additional Questions
Questions regarding travel to be charged to sponsored projects should be directed to the Office of Sponsored Programs at ext. 3-4806.