COVID-19 Updated Travel Reimbursement Policy

Updated May 7, 2020

  • UT will not permit reimbursements from any source for deposits, down-payments, change fees, or non-reimbursable airfares booked after March 26 for travel at any future time if the travel has not followed protocol.
  • It is strongly recommended that travelers use the contract travel agencies for centrally billed airfare for domestic and international trips that are properly approved as set forth in recent updated travel policy extension as reimbursements will not be allowed if the trip is not taken.

Updated March 30, 2020

Pursuant to all relevant disaster, emergency, and pandemic declarations issued, it is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin to reimburse all foreign and domestic travel expenses incurred, but not utilized, by faculty and staff due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) prior to March 26, 2020. Reimbursement for expenses incurred should begin immediately and does not need to wait until travel was scheduled to occur, so long as the faculty or staff member can substantiate that business travel has been canceled.

If the faculty or staff member did not use one of the UT contracted travel agencies, the employee may accept a reimbursement from the travel provider including, but not limited to, a cash refund, travel credit, or flight voucher. If the employee is unable to receive reimbursement from the travel provider, the department shall be responsible for providing reimbursement to the employee. In both cases, the employee must sign an attestation confirming their reimbursement, or unsuccessful attempt to receive reimbursement.

If the faculty or staff member receives non-cash reimbursement from a travel provider, including, but not limited to, a travel credit or flight voucher, the faculty or staff member must report receipt of this refund and utilize the credit or voucher only for UT Austin related business travel pursuant to the signed attestation. If the faculty or staff member utilizes a travel credit or voucher received as reimbursement for business travel on non-UT Austin business travel, the credit will be treated as taxable income. Pursuant to the attestation, the faculty or staff member is expected to report usage of the credit or voucher to Procurement and Payment Services; the credit or voucher will be reflected on the employee’s IRS W-2 form.  

If the employee’s department utilized one of the UT authorized travel agencies or Concur, any credits or vouchers received will be held centrally by the authorized travel agencies for use in future travel by the traveler. If a department has an extenuating circumstance, a request for emergency funding may be submitted to the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer through the Dean or Vice President.

Reimbursement of student or non-employee tickets will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis since the student or non-employee is not an employee of the institution and does not fall within the accountable plan.

Contact Payment Services – Travel at oa.travel@austin.utexas.edu with any questions.

See "Travel policy memo to Deans, VPs and CUBOs on 03-27-20" sent by Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Darrell Bazzell.

Additional travel-related information and resources can be found on the Travel Guidelines site.

Additional Updated Travel Policy:

  • COVID-19 Updated Travel Policy also applies to lodging credits and registration credits for canceled conferences, such as SXSW, where credit is given for future use instead of a full refund by the vendor.
  • A copy of the completed form will need to be included in the supporting documentation of the reimbursement document. The reimbursement document may need to be a VP2 document; a VP5 document for reimbursement of travel will not create if reimbursing prior to the end of travel dates on the RTA. If using a VP2 document, the document creator must add the TV# of the RTA in the "PO Nbr" field on the VP2 document.
  • Domestic travel exceptions must be obtained from the CSU’s leadership and the Dean or Vice President’s office and include a copy of this exception approval within the reimbursement document. Local funds must be used.
    • This includes travel exceptions when employees choose to drive their personal car in-state or out-of-state instead of flying because current airfare costs are lower due to COVID-19 (HBP 11.5.1.B.4).