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Travel Policies

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Faculty Professional Travel

Each full-time member of the faculty (including faculty on one-year appointments), excluding those who already possess travel support as holders of endowed or rotational chairs or as recipients of special research support funds, will be granted $2,000 toward travel in support of research or creative activity needs.

Examples of such needs include travel to professional conferences (for purposes of participation or attendance); travel to libraries, archives, laboratories, or performances (for purposes of information collection and study); and travel for purposes of professional collaboration or conducting interviews (when directly relevant to research or creative activity).

Expenses to be covered include:

  • reimbursement for transportation costs, registration or admission fees, lodging costs, and professional memberships (when such memberships enable reduced costs for conference attendance);
  • a supplement for meals not to exceed $50 per day.

You may combine this year′s $2,000 increment with funds banked from last year′s allowance. Recall that travel funds now have the ability to roll-over from year to year. Individuals are free to accumulate unused portions of their travel allotments for use in future years (up to a maximum balance of $5,000). This change allows for greater flexibility when professional travel straddles two fiscal years. It also allows for longer-range planning.

This travel program grants faculty members the freedom to use funds for travel toward those research and/or creative ends they find most vital to their professional development. Such freedom, of course, also carries with it the responsibility of carefully weighing how best to deploy the available funds.

From time to time there are extraordinary opportunities for faculty travel associated with professional development that require funding well beyond the limits established in the policy above. Although such funds are very limited, the College will do all that it can to support a faculty member in taking advantage of such opportunities. Please address all faculty travel requests of this nature to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Faculty Professional Travel Advance Requests and Faculty Professional Travel Expense Reports (both forms are yellow) will be available in the Bursar’s and the Comptroller′s Office. Completed forms should be submitted directly to the Administrative Assistant in the Comptroller′s Office. Receipts for expenses incurred, along with the Expense Report that summarizes the expenses incurred, must be submitted no later than ten days after the last day of travel. This due date is necessary in order to maintain proper accounting of requests and to process the reimbursements efficiently. Although there is no “approval” required for such travel, faculty members will be held accountable for the appropriateness of all travel for which travel funds are drawn.


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International Travel With Students

Faculty and Staff Collaboration with Students in International Off-Campus Programs and Rhodes-Sponsored Activities

The safety and welfare of Rhodes students is a foremost concern in the development and implementation of off-campus Rhodes-sponsored programs and activities. There are very tangible rewards in providing curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular international opportunities to our students. There are also very real responsibilities incurred by the College in sponsoring, promoting and implementing them. While we cannot guarantee the health, safety and welfare of our students at all times, whether on or off campus, we can and must take steps to ensure that Rhodes has been diligent in informing them of risks and risk management strategies and in preparing them for the experience upon which they are embarking. Without “due diligence” we are placing the College in a position of potentially serious liability.

Policy for International Travel with Students and Non-Students

All college-sponsored trips to international sites, whether for- or not-for-credit, and whether for Rhodes students or non-students, must be registered with the Buckman Center for International Education before the trip or program is authorized to be announced.

Students must attend pre-departure risk management sessions conducted by the Center and sign a Statement of Responsibility and Assumption of Risk form. Faculty/Staff leading such trips must have training, be familiar with safety and security issues and with crisis protocols. Faculty/Staff must also make arrangements for or conduct country- or site-specific orientations for participants.

Student eligibility for all international travel on Rhodes programs or Rhodes-sponsored activities includes maturity and good academic and social standing.  Those students enrolled in credit-bearing programs must also have, at minimum, a 2.5 cumulative g.p.a. Any exceptions to the eligibility requirements related to academic standing must be approved by the Faculty Standards and Standing Committee.


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State Department Travel Advisory Level Policy

Rhodes' Policy for the Department of State Travel Advisory Levels

Rhodes strongly encourages its students, faculty and staff who are contemplating travel abroad for educational or other purposes to plan well in advance and to take precautions to ensure a safe trip. All travelers should familiarize themselves with political, health, crime, and other safety-related conditions prevailing in any country and specific locations within the country(ies) to be visited. A review of these conditions should be performed by viewing web-based information provided by the U.S. Department of State as well as information provided by various other cognizant agencies and governments.
Additionally, the College recommends that its students and their parents consult the comprehensive website offered by GeoBlue (see Global Health and Safety), a private travel emergency assistance provider engaged by Rhodes to support students who are traveling internationally. This site provides up-to-date information about travel risks of many kinds.
The following provisions apply to all Rhodes students who intend to study abroad or participate in any travel abroad sponsored or funded by Rhodes, or in connection with a trip abroad by a recognized student organization or institution affiliated with the College:
All Rhodes students have primary responsibility for their own safety when traveling internationally, whether or not their travel abroad is funded or sponsored by Rhodes or is accorded credit by Rhodes. Before departure, all students traveling abroad to participate in an internship, undertake research, study abroad in a Rhodes or affiliated program, or participate in a recognized student organization or athletic trip abroad, as individuals or in groups, must provide the College with a statement in a form provided by the College, acknowledging their understanding of the risks of such travel, affirming that they have reviewed and understand the relevant safety-related materials, and stating that they are assuming the risks related to their international travel. Students under the age of 18 must obtain a parental/guardian signature on the form. All student international travel must be pre-approved by the Director of International Programs.
Countries, or areas within a country, placed on the U.S. State Department Travel Warning List fall into one of two levels of severity. Rhodes will not grant or award credit, funding, support or otherwise sponsor any international academic or co-curricular project in any country, or area within a country, for which the U. S. State Department has issued the more severe warning. These include locations for which the U.S. State Department has:

  1. Issued a travel warning that orders departure of U.S. dependents and non-emergency personnel;
  2. Recommended that U.S. citizens depart the country; 
  3. Advised U.S. citizens against all travel to the country; or
  4. Recommended that U.S. citizens defer non-essential travel to the country.

Additionally, Rhodes students are strongly advised to use caution when traveling to countries for which theU.S. State Department has issued a lesser warning levels or alerts, such as, for example, when the U.S. State Department has:

  1. Warned U.S. citizens of the (risks, danger, or potential risks or danger) of travel to the country;
  2. Urged U.S. citizens to evaluate carefully their security and safety before traveling to the country; 
  3. Warned or cautioned U.S. citizens to consider the risks of travel to the country; 
  4. Cautioned U.S. citizens to take prudent security measures; 
  5. Urged or warned U.S. citizens to weigh the necessity of travel to the country; or 
  6. Urged U.S. citizens to exercise extreme caution.

Travel to any country or area for which the U.S. Department of State has issued a lesser warning must have a Petition to Travel to a Warning Listed Country completed and approved in writing by the Director of International Programs and the Dean of the Faculty at least 60 days prior to departure.

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Travel Information

The College will pay for reasonable, appropriately documented and properly authorized travel expenses that are necessary to achieve a legitimate business purpose provided those expenses adhere to the guidelines outlined in this policy. It is the expectation of the College that employees and students should neither lose nor gain financially when traveling on official business. The College is not obligated to reimburse employees or students for expenses not in compliance with Rhodes’s policies.

The IRS states that ordinary and necessary business-related expenses are deductible and reimbursable. The IRS defines ordinary as “common in your field of trade, business or profession”; and necessary as “helpful and appropriate for your business.” The IRS states that meals, transportation, hotels and entertainment expenses cannot be “lavish or extravagant.” The IRS requires all businesses (profit and non-profit) to adhere to “an accountable plan” when reimbursing employees for travel and entertainment expenses. For a plan to be deemed “accountable”:

  1. There must be a business reason for the expense.
  2. The employee must substantiate the expenses within a reasonable time period.
  3. The employee must return to the employer any amount advanced in excess of the substantiated expenses on a timely basis.

To ensure compliance with the IRS, the College has prepared the following accountable travel and entertainment plan. Rhodes has defined a reasonable time period to report Accountable Plan expenditures as within 60 days from the date of the transaction. The trip or entertainment expense must have a valid purpose to benefit the employee’s job or College business and not be given as a bonus or for the morale of the employee. These guidelines apply to all College employees and students traveling on College business.

These guidelines are not meant to be an exhaustive statement of College policies, but rather to provide sufficient guidance to conduct business and seek reimbursement. These general policies apply to most College travel. These may be adapted to be more restrictive by programs or other offices or for specific events. Employee’s whose expenses are funded by a grant or contract should refer to the terms of that grant or contract for guidance on what expenditures are allowable. 

Travel Costs. Travel costs are the expenses for transportation, lodging, meals, and related items incurred by employees who travel on official business for the College. 

All business travel should be pre-approved by the traveler’s Department Chairperson or Supervisor. Expenditures to be paid by departmental funding must be pre-approved by the appropriate Department Chairperson or funding Budget Manager. Expenditures submitted for grant or other restricted funding should be approved by the Grant Principal Investigator or the appropriate Gift Manager. 

Travel planning should be completed as far in advance as practicable. Advance travel planning is key to obtaining the lowest airfares and securing first choice flight times and room accommodations. 

Employees are required to use their College credit card for all travel related expenses. If an employee does not have a College credit card, a personal credit card may be used. For business expenses not paid with a College credit card, employees should use personal funds or other means and request reimbursement immediately following the incurrence of the expense by submitting an expense report in Workday for such expenses.

Combining Business and Personal Travel. When business travel is extended for personal reasons, or coincides with personal travel, the employee is responsible for any expenses incurred as part of their personal travel. This includes but is not limited to rental cars, lodging, meals, tips, entertainment, etc., and any increase in the standard cost of business expenses to accommodate travel companions. As long as the main purpose for the trip is business the College will pay or reimburse necessary and reasonable travel expenses directly related to the business purpose of the trip. When an employee’s travel includes transportation to or from a non-business travel location the College will pay only that portion that is business related. The employee must provide documentation to detail the business purpose and to support the cost of the College’s portion of the trip.

Travel Companions. The College will not pay expenses attributable to an employee’s family member(s) or personal guests. 

Transportation Expenses

Mode of Travel. Transportation should be chosen based on the most economical mode of transportation that reasonably meets the business travel needs. Travelers should choose carriers (air, rail, rentals) based on cost and most reasonable mode rather than giving preference to companies based on personal rewards from memberships. 

Airline Reservation Procedures. Rhodes has a designated travel agency which can be helpful in securing airline reservations and can assist with international travel requirements and documents. Travelers may make their own arrangements but are welcome and encouraged to contact the Finance Office for guidance and travel agency information. Call or email the Finance Office at (901) 843-3760 or

Air Travel. Travelers are expected to book the lowest priced coach airfare. Airfare costs in excess of the customary standard commercial airfare (coach or equivalent) are not allowed except when such accommodations would excessively prolong travel, require travel during unreasonable hours, result in additional costs that would offset the transportation savings, or offer accommodations not reasonably adequate for the employee’s medical needs. Exceptions should be explained and documented to provide justification for higher costs. First class travel is not reimbursable.

Vehicle Rental. When renting a vehicle, travelers are expected to rent the safest and most economically available car for the business purpose. Rentals of 15-passenger vans is not permitted and is not covered by the College insurance. When traveling in groups, sharing of vehicles is encouraged to reduce costs. Travelers must refuel the vehicle prior to returning it to the rental company. Do not purchase the pre-paid fuel options and luxury add-ons are not reimbursable. The College carries auto rental insurance in its comprehensive insurance policy. No additional coverage should be purchased when renting vehicles for domestic business travel. Additional insurance coverage should be purchased for international rentals. All persons expected to drive the rental vehicle should be registered with the rental agency to ensure age and legal requirements of the contract are met. 

The College has a Preferred Business Contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental companies. The contract covers both agencies. Business travelers should use this contract number on business rentals to ensure discounted pricing and sales tax exemptions in the states where we have exemptions. Enterprise and National should be priced before choosing other car companies based on the traveler’s memberships. Contact the Finance Office for further information on the Business Contract. 

Approved Drivers. Anyone who regularly rents or drives a vehicle for College business or drives a College-owned vehicle must be an approved driver. Students may be approved drivers but cannot rent vehicles on behalf of the College. Contact the Finance Office to provide the information necessary for driver qualification review. 

Personal Vehicles. Travelers may request expense reimbursement for the use of personal vehicles for business-related travel. Either a mileage or a fuel reimbursement may be requested but not both for the same trip. Both reimbursements have limitations. For trips greater than 250 miles (500 round trip) other travel options may be more economical. Contact the Finance Office for details and further options. 

  • The insurance of the vehicle owner, rather than the College’s insurance, applies when employees use their personal vehicle for business travel; The College’s insurance does not cover business travel in personal vehicles. 

Lodging. The College will pay actual and reasonable costs of lodging as supported by the detailed bill, for each day that lodging away from home is required for business purposes. Travelers should choose good quality, non-luxury hotels for business travel. However, when attending a conference, travelers may stay in the conference hotel even if it is not the most economical option available, provided the conference hotel is not exorbitant. Charges for personal services and items such as movies, in-room mini-bar, laundry, alcohol, etc. are not permissible business expenses and should not be added to the hotel bill. These items must be paid with personal funds. Qualified expenses charged to the room must be substantiated with detailed receipts showing all the services or products received; otherwise the charge will be considered personal and not covered by the College. 

Lodging with Friends or Family. While traveling, an employee may elect to stay with family or friends in lieu of staying in a hotel. A reasonably priced meal or non-cash gift given to the host in lieu of hotel costs is permissible. Detailed receipts must be provided for the expense. Cash payments, gift cards, and certificates for products, services and entertainment given to the host are not allowed. 

Meals. The College will reimburse or pay for reasonable meal expenses incurred while traveling away from home or entertaining while on College business. Travelers should use good judgement when spending College funds for meals during travel. Alcohol is not reimbursable unless the meal is for the purpose of business-development entertainment with non-Rhodes attendees. Buying alcohol for students is not permissible regardless of their age. If the event will be paid for by a grant or College restricted program, ensure that the grant or program will allow alcohol during entertainment meals. A traveler may choose to be reimbursed for meals by the Actual Cost of Meals with detailed receipts or Per Diem. Contact the Finance Office for details and submission requirements for each method. Limits do apply.

Group Travel. Contact the appropriate Dean or Vice President for approval of any Rhodes related group travel program or excursion.

International Travel. If traveling out of the country, all student-related programs must be registered and cleared through the Buckman Center for International Education. Additionally, all international travel by faculty and staff must be registered with the Buckman Center. For more information regarding international travel involving students and non-students, please contact the Buckman Center for International Education.

Travel Expenses Reimbursements and Reconciliations. The College will reimburse reasonable and necessary expenses of travel for College-related business within the policies prescribed by the Finance Office or the appropriate Vice President or Dean if those policies are more restrictive. Requests for travel reimbursements or a reconciliation of travel expenses on College credit cards must be made by submitting an expense report in Workday. 

Expense Report. Expense reports must be submitted through Workday with a clear business purpose and substantiating documentation. Receipts and supporting documentation must show the vendor name and location, transaction date, detailed description of all goods and services purchased and their costs, amount paid, and the form of payment. A description of each transaction should be detailed enough for all approvers to clearly understand the nature and business purpose of the expense. All expenditures may be subject to review for up to three years or longer as determined by the IRS. Insufficient documentation could result in retroactive tax consequences to the employee. 

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