Carnegie Mellon University

Originally Posted: March 5, 2020

Updated: March 7, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) are providing information and guidance on the allowability of the costs incurred on externally sponsored awards as a result of travel cancelations due to Coronavirus.

During this time, please continue to follow CMU’s Business, Travel and Expense Policy, as well as specific sponsor requirements.  All travelers should first work with their travel service provider to secure any refunds for which they are eligible.  Regarding expenses that cannot be refunded, as the coronavirus situation evolves, please check with your relevant sponsor’s website or program officer.  As of the last time this page was updated, the only sponsor which we are aware has addressed this specific topic in any way is NSF, as part of their general FAQ linked below. (This page will be updated as SPA, OSP and OVPR become aware of any additional sponsor-specific guidance on expense reimbursments.) 

In the absence of broad guidance and approval by sponsors on their website, travelers should request and obtain written approval from the sponsor for canceled travel expenses and submit this approval with applicable receipts for reimbursement.

For additional inquiries regarding travel arrangements/refunds related to sponsored projects, please contact Beth Callaway, in SPA.  

Note that the university is developing guidance for any unrecoverable cancellation fees that cannot be recouped from sponsors and will provide that information to academic and administrative units in the near future.


David Quinn, AVP of Research
Carrie Nelson, AVP of Finance and Controller

 Agency/Sponsor Specific Guidance

National Science Foundation : NSF has posted a “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for National Science Foundation (NSF) Proposers and Awardees” which includes questions and answers about travel and travel cancelations.