Carnegie Mellon University

Reimbursement Procedures

Make sure you have first read and are aware of the allowable expenses and circumstances for reimbursement (Business and Travel Expense Policy). As part of this policy, make sure you have discussed with the Business manager or a faculty advisor where funding for your endeavor is coming from before you incur costs.

Choose and fill out the form that is applicable to your expense.

Access Travel and Non-Travel Expense Forms (restricted)

Follow the instructions on each form and submit the form. If you have receipts, please upload them via the appropriate form. If any additional information is needed from you (further details regarding the expense), we will contact you via email.

Travel Questions

Yes. Students are advised to check in a couple of places: 1) CMU’s GSA (Graduate Student Assembly) to apply for a conference attendance grant; 2) with the conference that they are planning to attend to see if there are any scholarship/grant opportunities; 3) with any faculty member with whom they work with to see if there are travel funds available from a grant; and 4) from department sources. The department has some funds to help with travel for students who are presenting research at meetings. Talk to Business Manager Laura Butler about these possible funds. If you receive word that a faculty member’s grant or the department will fund a portion of your trip, we will reimburse you for the (eligible) expenses you incur while on your trip.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no guarantee of funding until you have confirmation from your potential source (such as the department’s Business Manager or Department Head or the GSA). Remember this before you begin to make travel arrangements.

Not necessarily. Many prestigious and valuable experiences may be gained while attending a conference that you are not speaking at. However, the more unique the opportunity, the more likely that it is to get funded.

Yes. When you checkout, however, you must insist that your portion of the bill be charged to your credit card and that you receive a receipt showing this. (The receipt will usually display the last four digits of your credit card.) This becomes especially important when your friend books the room in their name and they are the only one whose name and address is listed on the receipt. We must have proof that YOU paid for YOUR portion of the room.

No. Students are not permitted to use per diem. They must turn in all receipts for daily meals.

The university will reimburse travelers for the reasonable cost of their own meals incurred during the time they are away from home. What is reasonable? If you really have any doubts, check out the per diem rates that the U.S. General Services Administration and U.S. State Department sets for travelers:

Insist on separate checks. You can pay in cash, but a receipt must be accountable that displays a reasonably-priced meal for one person paid by one person.

Yes. Talk to Business Manager Laura Butler about this possibility. The same rules apply for securing the funds (talk to faculty you work with or the Business Manager to see if department funds would be available). Once you know you have funding available to you, we can set up booking airfare through the university’s travel agent or simply advancing you the money. 

Important: advancing the money to you through the department acts as though a scholarship has been awarded. If you are an international student this money will be taxed at a rate of 14%.

Yes. Make sure you receive an itemized receipt displaying what you ordered (instead of simply a credit card receipt). However, keep in mind that alcohol cannot be charged to a Federal grant. Remember this if you are receiving reimbursement from a faculty member’s grant. Otherwise, stay within the scope of a reasonably-priced meal.

Gratuities that are recorded on a receipt (restaurant, taxi paid with a credit card) are reimbursable.

Yes. Mileage is reimbursed at the IRS rate of 58.5 cents per mile.

Non-Travel Related Reimbursement Questions

Business meals of 2-5 people should not exceed $75/person; for groups over 5, total cost shouldn’t exceed $375, including alcohol, tax, and tip. If you order alcohol, ask the server to put the alcohol on a separate check. Pay for it just the same. It is reimbursable but needs to be split from the rest of the bill.

General Questions

ALL original receipts! More specifically, if you fly, please turn in your boarding passes. If you go out to dinner, make sure to submit the ITEMIZED receipt (not just the credit card slip–but turn in the credit card slip too!) If your receipt is the kind of receipt that lists a name/address (such as a hotel , airfare, or conference receipt), the name/address MUST BE YOUR OWN. Also, the credit card used must be IN YOUR NAME. If you would like to keep copies of receipts, just copy them before you submit the originals.

A reimbursement will be taxed if : 1) funding is provided up front (so, it’s not necessarily being reimbursed) and the student is an international student, or 2) If the reimbursement is processed more than 90 days after the trip has been completed. (After 90 days, the IRS views reimbursements as taxable and the university will withhold tax.)

1) After you’ve talked to our Business Manager Laura Butler and/or a faculty member you work with about whether there is money available for you and where it will be coming from; 2) After you’ve completed your trip; and 3) When you have all of your original receipts accumulated.

Fill out the form applicable to your expense (travel or non-travel) via the Travel and Non-Travel Expense Forms (restricted). There is a section on each form for digitally uploading your receipts as well.