Fiscal Operations Manual
Section 411: Travel
Reimbursement for meals will be based on approved meal per diem. Actual meal receipts are required for group travel, when the claim for meal costs or food supplies (i.e. groceries purchased from a store or other entity) is greater than the allowed per diem,. Note: OSU’s purchasing policies should be followed when buying any non-consumable item(s).
Meal per diem rates are determined by the traveler’s lodging location. A deduction from the daily Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE) per diem is necessary for meals provided by others and as dictated by the departure/return time to the claimant’s official station.
For group travel, the employee responsible for the group must submit an itemized, valid receipt obtained from the eating establishment to receive reimbursement. Athletic team meal expenses exceeding the OUS per-diem rate require written justification and approval of the Athletics Director or the Associate Athletics Director that the coach reports to. Student group meal expenses exceeding the OUS per-diem rate require written justification and approval of the department head.
For hosting of non-employees, refer to OSU’s hosting policy in FIS 410-05 Hosting Groups and Official Guests.
The cost of alcoholic beverages will not be reimbursed, regardless of funding source.
Direct-bill invoices from vendors have the same written justification and approval requirement for meal expenses exceeding OUS per-diem rate.
For the day the traveler leaves on a trip, the per diem rate specified for where the traveler will spend the night is used. When there is more than one lodging location during the trip, use the specified rate for where the traveler will spend the night. For the day the traveler returns from the trip, the per diem rate specified for the last location where the traveler stayed overnight is used. The traveler is eligible for 100% of the daily per diem if the trip concludes at 6:00 pm or later, 50% of the per diem if the trip concludes between 12:00 pm (noon) and 5:59 pm, or 25% if the trip concludes prior to noon.
Clarifications in regard to reimbursement of meal per diem:
- Meals provided at a conference included in the conference registration fee are not to be claimed.
- Breakfast is not to be claimed when staying at a bed and breakfast, as it is considered part of the lodging cost rather than “complimentary.”
- Meals & Incidental Expenses per diem will not be reduced for a complimentary meal provided by a common carrier or hotel/motel.
- When a meal has been provided, or is not claimed, a deduction from the full daily rate is made using the following methodology established by OUS: Breakfast 25%, Lunch 25%, Dinner 50%.
Particular guidelines as shown in FIS 410-29 Meals on One Day Trip (no overnight stay) must be followed when determining what constitutes an allowable payment for meals on a one day business trip.
Meals & Incidental Expense rates for travel to and within the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia are the OUS approved rates as shown in the OUS Fiscal Policy Manual –Travel and Transportation, Section 95.710 Summary of Travel and Transportation Rates and Section 95.730 Travel – Federal Out-of-State (Continental U.S.) High-Cost Localities Eligible Table.
For travel to or within Alaska and Hawaii, the OSU Lodging and M&IE per diem rates equal the federal rate using the Federal Specific Locality Table.
To obtain the correct rate table use the link on the Business Affairs Travel Reimbursement Website. These rates are also updated monthly in OSU Travel Reimbursement Entry System (TRES) tables.