Policy for University Business Expenses

General Statement

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance and direction for traveling on University related business, extend hospitality when it serves the University's interests by enhancing community and public relations, and by recognizing excellence of University staff and students while maintaining compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations. All members of the University community are subject to this policy and must ensure compliance with the specific guidelines of the University.

Reimbursement Guidelines

The IRS has established strict rules governing business and entertainment expenses. The University's policy is to reimburse employees for legitimate, reasonable, and appropriate business and entertainment expenses in accordance with the requirements and procedures set forth in this policy. Employees are expected to exercise prudent business judgment regarding expenses covered in this policy and in a manner that excludes consideration of personal advantage. Requests for reimbursement must be entered into Vantage within 30 days of the date incurred.

The approval of the travel expense report by the traveler and his/her supervisor constitutes certification to the accuracy and appropriateness of all expenses and allowances listed as actually necessary in the performance of official University business and in conformity with University travel policy and procedures.

However, expenses may be denied upon review by Business Office staff.

Business Meals

Reasonable business-related expenses, including tips, for food and beverages furnished to third parties are reimbursable when the following guidelines are met – (1) there is more than a general expectation of deriving some current or future benefit for the University (2) the employee is actively engaged in a business meeting or activity necessary to the performance of the employee's job duties and (3) there is a clear business purpose.

No reimbursement will be made for a meal that is provided as part of a conference registration fee.

The following information is required when submitting an expense for reimbursement of entertainment related meals: 

  1. Amount (an original itemized receipt is required and must accompany the reimbursement request). Debit card/credit card receipts are not acceptable.
  2. Date
  3. Place (name and address of location)
  4. Reason for entertainment or the business purpose and the nature of the business benefit expected to be gained
  5. Name of each guest in attendance

The University will reimburse up to $41 per day, including taxes and tips, for meals. This amount is in accordance with the IRS per diem rates. The breakdown of the daily allowance is as follows: breakfast $8, lunch $12 and dinner $21.


Travelers will be paid up to $96 per night while traveling on University business that is 100 miles or more from the traveler's primary work assignment.

The University will pay actual room costs for each day that lodging away from home is required for business purposes. Travelers are entitled to accommodations that are suitably located and meet reasonable standards for safety, cleanliness, and comfort. When attending a conference, travelers may stay at the conference hotel even if it is not the most economical option available. If there is a choice of choosing hotels, travelers are expected to stay at the least expensive one. No show charges or cancellation fees will be the responsibility of the employee.

When requesting reimbursement the original itemized hotel bill and the original receipt showing proof of payment must be attached to the travel reimbursement request form. The original receipt must contain the following;

  1. Name of the traveler
  2. Lodging date(s)
  3. Name, address, and telephone number of the lodging establishment
  4. Cost per night
  5. Total cost of the lodging

Personal Vehicles

The University does not provide coverage for loss, damage or repairs to personal vehicles of employees when used in conjunction with University travel. Likewise, the University is not responsible for the loss of or damage to any personal property stored in the vehicle.

Employees using personal vehicles must be licensed and carry the minimum insurance required by the state of Kansas.

Employees who utilize personal cars for business travel will be reimbursed at the per mile rate established by the University. The expenses related to gasoline consumed by personal vehicles are the responsibility of the employee. Gas receipts will not be accepted for personal vehicles.

Mileage recorded must begin from your primary work assignment – never from your home.

Mileage allowance applies to the following frequently travel routes:

  • Baldwin City to Overland Park campus: 72 miles round-trip
  • Baldwin City to KCI: 137 miles round-trip
  • Overland Park to KCI: 68 miles round-trip
  • Overland Park to Wichita: 362 miles round-trip
  • Overland Park to Topeka: 148 miles round-trip
  • Baldwin City to School of Nursing: 89 miles round-trip

Mileage reimbursements for a traveler who chooses to drive rather than fly should not exceed the lowest round trip coach airfare available at the time of travel. The traveler must supply documentation to support what the lowest airfare rate would have been greater than 21 days in advance of the travel date.


University employees are expected to take advantage of the lowest airfare available and to obtain the lowest possible fare by booking travel tickets well in advance of planned travel times. Upgrades or early bird check-ins will not be reimbursed.

If the traveler takes an indirect route or interrupts a direct route for other than University business, reimbursement for airfare will be at either the actual charge or the charge that would have been incurred by traveling the direct route by the most economical means, whichever is less.

Car Rentals 

Car rentals will be made for a compact vehicle and only permissible when other means of transportation is not available. The cost of premium, luxury or four-wheel drive, etc vehicles will not be reimbursed.

An employee's use of a rental car for University business is covered by the University's insurance. Car rental agency insurance should be declined.

Any personal portion of the cost of a rental car must be subtracted from the total rental bill before requesting reimbursement. The personal portion is calculated by prorating the cost of the rental over the number of days for personal use and number of days for business use.

Retail Purchases

Retail purchases of offices supplies and other low-cost items required for business purposes will be reimbursed when the request is accompanied by proper documentation. However, employees will not be reimbursed for sales tax. As a non-profit organization, Baker University is exempt from sales tax.

Charge accounts have been set up at various retail stores to facilitate use of our tax-exempt status and to the limit the need for employee reimbursements. It is encouraged to purchase supplies at one of these vendors or at the Mail and Copy Center as much as possible. Please contact Accounts Payable with any questions concerning the charge accounts.

Reimbursable expenses:

  1. Lodging expenses (see limitation)
  2. Travel expenses including airfare, train fare, bus, taxi and related tips
  3. Meals including tips up to 20% (See limitation)
  4. Business telephone calls
  5. Personal mileage (35 cents per mile)
  6. Gasoline for University owed vehicles and leased vans
  7. Tolls
  8. Business entertainment expenses
  9. Parking
  10. Computer access charges for laptops
  11. Business fax and copy charges
  12. Other reasonable and necessary business expenses

Nonreimbursable expenses:

  • Airline upgrades or early-bird check-ins
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Bookstore purchases (all bookstore purchases should be charged to the University account and a purchase order must be obtained prior to the purchase)
  • Car rental agency insurance
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Commuting expenses between an employee’s residence and the University
  • Expenses more than 30 days old
  • Floral arrangements (These are purchased through the President’s Office)
  • Gasoline for personal vehicles
  • Gifts to students and employees
  • Greeting cards
  • Gym memberships
  • Hotel room movies and other forms of personal entertainment, including mini-bar refreshments
  • In-flight movies/refreshments
  • Internet user fees (unless pre-approved by the chief operating officer)
  • Lost/stolen cash or personal property
  • Monthly charge for cellular phone service
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Personal entertainment expenses
  • Personal items and services such as toiletries, luggage, clothing, gum, beverages (unless it is with a meal), medication, etc.
  • Personal meals within 50 miles from the traveler’s primary work assignment.
  • Recreational activities and other similar activities
  • Sales tax from which the University is exempt
  • Spouse or family member’s meals, fees or travel costs
  • Telephone or Internet costs that are not University related
  • Tips in excess of 20%
  • Tobacco products
  • Towing services (except for University vehicles)
  • Traffic citations, parking tickets and other fines 

No policy can anticipate every situation that might give rise to legitimate business expenses. Reasonable and necessary expenses, which are not listed above may be incurred. Each employee must use his/her best professional judgment in determining if an expense is reasonable and necessary for University business.

The final determination of whether an item is reasonable and necessary will be made by the University Controller or the Executive Vice President for Administrative Services.