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COVID-19 Travel Reimbursement FAQs

State of Mississippi Travel Policy Rules & Regulations Manual

It is the policy of the University that all reasonable and necessary expenses for official travel incurred by University employees are reimbursed according to the laws of the State of Mississippi. Penalty for presenting fraudulent claim is a fine of no more than $250.00, civil liability for the full amount received illegally, and, in addition, removal from office or position held by the person presenting such claim (Section 25-3-45, Mississippi Code 1972).

Vendor Information Required (Faculty/Staff/Student)

Employees who have not been reimbursed by Travel previously must provide their social security numbers so that we may enter them for reimbursements.  Students provide a W9. Once travelers are input, they should not provide them in the future travel. 

Travel documents are found on the Procurement website under Travel, Travel Forms and Instructions:

Travel submissions should be made via ap-travelFREEMississippi.  Before making reservations or completing travel documents, please review the following procedures.  Should you have questions, please contact Bonnie Housley @ 601-266-4038 the main office number at 601-266-4131.

Authorization for University Travel

Each employee required to travel in performance of official duties should have prior authorization from the department chair and/or other designated officials. If traveling using grant funding, approval must be obtained by the Grants Budget Office. The originating department must endeavor to submit properly completed forms with all required signatures.

Required Approvals and Procedures

  • Business trip/meeting - a meeting with other USM colleagues on a different campus, teaching or training on another USM campus, meetings with potential research clients, meetings with IHL and Department of Finance within the state of MS, meetings with external agencies to promote funded research at USM, collection of field data for research, travel between campuses, etc.
  • Organized meeting - when an organization (national, regional or local) organizes a meeting to promote professional development, present and discuss research, annual board meetings for the organization, collaboration with fellow colleagues, etc. Usually, but not always, there will be a brochure, marketing flyer, and/or a registration fee.

  • For conferences/workshops/seminars/organized association meetings, a copy of the literature showing the agenda, meals provided, and block room rates is required.  If no rates are listed, please note this on the PTT/Voucher.  If a block is unavailable, reserving another room or hotel at or below the block rate is acceptable without requiring a Waiver or additional approval.
  • A fee sheet showing the cost of registration fees and any meals included is required.
  • When booking airfare, be advised that House Bill 1488, effective July 1, 2002, allows employees to make reservations for all travel arrangements, either through one of the state contract travel agencies or by other methods. Basically, this means the employee has the option of booking their own flights if they can save money. If reservations are made over the Internet or by other methods, a receipt and itinerary shall accompany the request for reimbursement. For all flights which are NOT booked through one of the contract travel agencies, the state agency must maintain in its files cost comparisons showing a minimum of two (2) fares.  These cost comparisons must show the fare and any issuance cost and must show a savings and shall be submitted along with the employee's Travel Voucher.  Neither of these quotes should be through a travel agency if they will not be used. The least expensive routing shall be reimbursed.

State Contract Vendors - For detailed information on vendors and the contract visit: 

  • If a traveler decides to drive instead of fly, a Drive vs Fly comparison with supporting details and documentation is required.  It’s located on the Travel website under Forms. The least expensive of the Drive Vs Fly will be reimbursed.
  • Some of the state contract travel agencies provide flight insurance. Additional flight insurance will not be reimbursed. When neither of these methods are used to purchase airfare, flight insurance may be reimbursed. Employees are responsible for reading the insurance purchase agreement prior to purchase. A signed Waiver Request Form is required and should explain the need for the purchase and the likelihood of its use.
  • International Travel REQUIRES a PTT approved by all applicable signatures; chair/next higher level of expenditure authority, Dean, Vice President, and President. An International Travel Justification form is required.  Errors or incomplete forms will be returned for correction.
  • Upon receipt of required PTTs, the Travel Office will audit for compliance and sign.  
  • Once a PTT has been submitted, changes that will extend your stay, change dates or increase expenses must be approved by the budget authority.  An email will suffice.

Travel Advances

Travel advances are authorized by Section 25-1-79, Mississippi Code of 1972 and are submitted on the PTT.

USM employees will not be issued advances except as stated below.  (Please note, in lieu of an advance, reimbursements can be issued for travel expenses paid prior to the trip by following standard travel reimbursement procedures.

Advances are issued for:

  • International Travel
  • Graduate or undergraduate Student travel
  • Travel by teams or large groups

  • When the advance is serving to fund programs or research start-up operations, and is approved by the Dean, VP, Associate Dean or Senior Financial Officer.

Athletics personnel may have two outstanding advances at a time unless additional are needed. 

When faculty or staff will be traveling with a group of 6 or more students, a PO can be created for motel and airline tickets.  Please contact a buyer in Procurement.

Groups may submit a Check Request to pay registration fees through the Travel department.  Forms are on our website. 

Meals: The actual cost cannot exceed the maximum meal allowance per student. (ex. Per Diem $36.00, group of 6, actual cost cannot exceed $216.00). An original itemized meal receipt MUST be obtained from the restaurant. A list of the individuals that participated in that meal MUST accompany the receipt.

Travel Advances must be reconciled within “15 days” from trip end date. The only exception is when the second trip is within five working days of the first. In addition, a traveler must reconcile an outstanding travel advance before he or she will be issued any reimbursement, whether it be for travel or for another business-related expense.

If the employee is past due a second time, the employee will be ineligible for future advances for a period of one year. Any travel during that year will be on a “reimbursement only” basis.

If an employee has had their eligibility for advances revoked and then reinstated, any further revocation will be permanent.

Should a payroll deduction be necessary, the traveler will not receive future advances. The deduction will not exceed half of the employee's net pay but will continue until the debt is resolved.

Returned checks will disqualify a traveler for future advances.

Prior to Trip Expense (PTE)

PTEs are submitted on the travel voucher and can be submitted when travelers purchase registration/public carrier tickets/lodging prior to their trip.  Standard travel procedures and submission should be followed.


There are times when travelers must deviate from standard travel procedures and a Waiver should be submitted to prove the deviation is justified, economical or otherwise in the best interest of USM.  The university should maintain all records of deviations from state travel policy guidelines in its files for auditing purposes. 

This form should be submitted for approval prior to making any reservations or commitments. On the form, select from the following, which are a list of possible reasons a Waiver Request Form may be needed: 

  • Requesting authority to pay an amount greater than the state contract 
  • Requesting authority to rent a vehicle with a cost greater than the mid-size on state contract
  • Requesting authority to purchase vehicle rental insurance 
  • Requesting authority to rent a vehicle not on state contract 
  • Requesting authority to pay a hotel other than the conference hotel 
  • Requesting authority to pay greater than the least expensive cost comparison for airline tickets 
  • Requesting authority to pay first-class or business-class airfare (six hours or longer non-stop) 
  • Other 

Provide a clear explanation and all necessary information that proves the request to be economical or otherwise in the best interest of the State. Failure to provide adequate information will cause delay and may potentially cause rejection of the request. All applicable cost information, such as contract fare, lowest available fare, conference hotel rate, actual rate paid, etc., should be provided.

Receipt Policy

All receipts must be itemized as proof of expense for expenses over $10.

  • Gas receipts must show the price per gallon and the number of gallons. Prepaid receipts are unacceptable.
  • Missing receipts require a Missing Invoice Affidavit found on the Accounts Payable website under Forms and Instructions.

Travel Reimbursement Voucher


Travel Vouchers must have legible signatures.  The signature is a certification by the traveler that reimbursement is being requested for actual expenses that are valid business expense.  

Receipts/invoices must be attached, and emailed in ONE PDF to

Vouchers received in the Travel Office by 5 PM Wednesday will be paid within three weeks after submission UNLESS the voucher has errors or missing documentation. 

  • Proper itemized receipts are required as proof of expense, credit card statements may not be submitted in lieu of receipts/invoices.
  • Personal travel can be taken with business travel but at the traveler’s expense.
  • Reimbursement will be made for all taxes paid by the traveler.  PCard purchases and direct billing can be an exception so please verify with appropriate procurement personnel.
  • If two are more travelers are traveling together, the Accompanied By designation should be filled in and each person should submit their own expenses.  If sharing a room and one traveler doesn’t have a hotel invoice, a copy of invoice from the other traveler should be submitted. 
  • For travel in a privately-owned vehicle, the mileage between two points of travel should be made from the most direct practical route.  Any around town mileage is limited to 10 miles unless addresses for each destination is given.
  • Mileage should not be claimed from a home address unless it is their work base or is the shortest distance.
  • Should a traveler prefer to have fuel reimbursed, a gas receipt must be provided for POVs.  For rental vehicles, the rental receipt and itemized gas receipt. 
  • The State does not reimburse taxi fares for optional travel to/from restaurants or for personal use.

 International Travel

Reimbursement policy for International Travel follows the same guidelines as domestic travel. All receipts must be converted into US dollars. See the CONVERSION RATES FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL listed below.

Reimbursement for International Meals

Reimbursement for meals will be based on the US Department of State maximum travel per diem allowances for foreign areas. Please contact the Travel Office for the per diem allowed in the area you will be traveling in.

U.S. Department of State Travel Alerts and Warnings

GSA Hotel Rates

The state now utilizes GSA rates for general, business use hotel stays.  Rooms must be reserved at the In-State per diem State rate and the Out-of-State Government rate.  

 Please use the GSA Link for rates, rules, and procedures.

NOTE:  The GSA M&IE rates for meals do NOT apply to USM.  We reimburse per diem as follows:

Meals Provided

Reduce the amount of the per diem you are claiming if you were provided any meals during your travel. For example, if your trip includes meals that are already paid for by the state (such as through a registration fee for a conference, or hotel breakfast), you must not claim those meals.  

The breakdown for breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided so you can deduct any of those meals from the maximum amounts.  

The following table lists the maximum daily amount employees can receive for a single calendar day of travel when that day is neither the first nor the last day (amounts are rounded to nearest whole dollar).

The breakdown is 20% Breakfast, 30% Lunch and 50% Dinner of total allowed.

POV Mileage

Mileage Rates run January 1, 2023 - December 31, 2024. Travel will update campus and forms accordingly for any changes.

The preferred website for travel mileage information is now MapQuest.

More information can be found at:

If a fleet vehicle is available to the employee and the employee chooses not to use it but rather drive their own personal vehicle, then reimbursement will be at the lower rate of .18.  More information on mileage rates is available from the State of Mississippi Travel webpage

Rental Vehicles

Rental cars should only be reserved when they are required and must be reserved with one of USM’s state contracted agencies. 

If the State Contract Car Rental Agency does not have any rental cars available, an approved Waiver Request must be submitted with the voucher for the use of another rental car agency.  

Should the traveler feel that a vehicle larger than medium size is required, they must submit a Waiver Request for approval. A copy of the Waiver Request must be attached to the Travel Voucher.

The provisions of the approved State Contract Car Rental Agency apply only to rentals in the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii with some franchise locations exceptions. You will be advised at the time of booking if your rental is not under the contract rate and provisions. It is better, however, to always ask at the time of rental if the rental includes CDW/LDW insurance.

If you are involved in an accident while driving a rental car you should

  • Contact the police immediately
  • Contact the State Contract Car Rental Office where you rented the vehicle
  • Obtain the Officer's badge number and the phone number of where you would call to get a copy of the accident report
  • Call and request a copy of the accident report be sent to you
  • Contact the Accident Liaison (601-266-4414) and inform the representative of the accident. Once you receive a copy of the accident report, forward a copy of it to the representative. They will then file the necessary paperwork for any liability damages caused in the accident.

Parking and Other Traffic Violations -- These are the sole responsibility of the driver. The rental agency, State of Mississippi, and USM are NOT liable.

International Car Rental

Contact the State Contract Car Rental Agency to see if there is a franchise located in the country you will be traveling to. If there is not one, you may book your car rental with the agency of your choice. Be sure to purchase Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver insurance.

Van Rental for Group Travel

When a van is required for group travel, ALWAYS contact the State Contract Rental Agency at least 72 hours prior to the date needed. This will allow the Rental Agency to have the vans available for you when you need them.

If none are available:

  1. Check around for the best rental rate on the size van you need. Be sure they include Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver (CDW/LDW) in their quote. You MUST always purchase insurance if the vehicle you are renting is not on State Contract.
  2. You will need to complete a Waiver form. The Waiver and instructions are located on the Travel Forms page.

Entertainment Expense

When traveling, reimbursement for meals involving non-employees will be considered entertainment, development or business expenses and will be reimbursed. The University policy for entertainment will apply; see Entertainment Reimbursement Guidelines on the Accounts Payable website. Attach the USM Business Related Expense form to the Travel Voucher along with the original itemized receipt of the expense. The BREF is located within the Travel Voucher document. Total meal tips should not exceed 20% of the reimbursable amount of the meal (excluding the price of any alcohol purchased).

 Who do I contact in travel for assistance?



If applicable, USM General Counsel provides Student Waiver and Release Forms which may be obtained at the following link 

Required Signatures:

The Department Head, Dean and Vice-President have the authority to approve or reject a Travel Request form.  Domestic PTTs and vouchers need a minimum of three (3) signatures: the Traveler, the Next Higher Administrator or Signature Authority, and the Travel Coordinator. If travel is funded by a grant, it must also be approved by Sponsored Programs Administration.  Foreign travel requires the approval of Chair, Dean, SPA (if grant funded), VP/Provost and President.  No Employee can approve his/her own travel, next higher required.   

*Employees are encouraged to maintain copies of their completed travel forms related to any and all University Travel.

**Attach the Mileage Reimbursement form to the Travel Voucher when destinations traveled extend beyond the spaces provided on the original Travel Voucher.

Send completed travel forms to: Travel Office Box 5104 or email to

Procurement and Contract Services would like to remind all faculty, staff, and students of the current State rental car contracts for use on official business that can help reduce travel costs.  Did you know that on a day trip to the coast or to Jackson, using a state contract rental car could cut your costs nearly in half?  Of course, those savings will depend on the distance, vehicle size, and number of days your travels keep you away from your office.  Although you must purchase the fuel on your own and seek reimbursement through the Travel Office, you can pay for rental car using your USM procurement card if you have one.

* IF YOU DO NOT USE THE STATE CONTRACT PROVIDER and are involved in an accident, and are at fault, any damages to the rental car are the personal responsibility of the employee, not USM.

* Auto insurance cards are for liability only coverage while traveling on USM business in a rental car, USM vehicle, or personal vehicle.

For Current State of Mississippi Vehicle Rental Contracts and Rates:

In State Contracts and Rate Sheets

We encourage you to use our links to compare these companies’ services and offerings for your future travel needs. Our office is always available to assist you with questions regarding your travel at 601.266.4131.

If you are involved in an accident while driving a rental car you should:

  • Contact the police immediately
  • Contact the State Contract Car Rental Office where you rented the vehicle
  • Obtain the Officer's badge number and the phone number of where you would call to get a copy of the accident report
  • Call and request a copy of the accident report be sent to you

Contact the Accident Liaison (601-266-4414) and inform the representative of the accident. Once you receive a copy of the accident report, forward a copy of it to the representative. They will then file the necessary paperwork for any liability damages caused in the accident. Parking and Other Traffic Violations -- These are the sole responsibility of the driver. The rental agency, State of Mississippi, and USM are NOT liable.

Penalty for presenting fraudulent claim is a fine of no more than $250.00, civil liability for the full amount received illegally, and, in addition, removal from office or position held by the person presenting such claim (Section 25-3-45, Mississippi Code 1972).


Out-of-State Vehicle Rentals

Hertz is the primary rental company as they are the state contract vendor. Use Hertz if at all possible.

There's no need to purchase insurance as it comes with using the state contract.

If Hertz does not have an appropriate vehicle, and since Enterprise and National car rental agencies are NOT on the state contract for out-of-state vehicle rentals, until further notice, the following guidance shall apply to USM travelers for out-of-state vehicle rentals:

Use any other car rental firm as long as they will offer a price equal to or lower than the state contract pricing, but remember, if Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) insurance is not included, you should purchase these insurances since you are not using a state contract where it would normally be included in the rental price.

If an equal vehicle at an equal price is not available, follow the usual purchasing procedures.

- If you are spending a total of $5,000 of less, use any car rental firm, but remember to purchase CDW/LDW insurance since you are not using a state contract which would normally include the insurance.

- If over $5,000, get two quotes and use the lower quote with any other car rental firm, but remember to purchase CDW/LDW insurance since you are not using a state contract which would normally include the insurance.

 Click here for Travel FAQs

Procurement and Contract Services (PUR) - To view the individual Purchasing policies listed below, please visit USM Institutional Policies.

  • Accounts Payable Policies and Procedures (ADMA-PUR-001)
  • Barnes & Noble Department Purchase Policy (ADMA-PUR-006)
  • Conference Cards, Student I.D. Cards Policy (ADMA-PUR-007)
  • Fleet Management Policies and Procedures (ADMA-PUR-018)
  • Gift Card and Gift Certificate Purchase Policy (ADMA-PUR-013)
  • Hospitality Policy - Allowable Entertainment and Miscellaneous Expenditures (ADMA-PUR-002)
  • Hospitality Policy - Prohibited Entertainment and Miscellaneous Expenditures (ADMA-PUR-003)
  • Miscellaneous Purchasing Procedures (ADMA-PUR-015)
  • New Employee Moving Policy (ADMA-PUR-004)
  • Payments to Individuals - Documentation and Processing (ADMA-PUR-014)
  • Petty Cash Policy and Procedures (ADMA-PUR-016)
  • Property Accounting - Policies and Procedures (ADMA-PUR-017)
  • Purchasing Policy (ADMA-PUR-012)
  • Travel Policies (ADMA-PUR-005)
  • University Catering Policy (ADMA-PUR-008)
  • University Snack Policy (ADMA-PUR-009)
  • Vendor Maintenance Procedure (ADMA-PUR-010)

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Procurement and Contract Services
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