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Business Services Office
Deputy Hall, 2nd Floor
1500 Birchmont Drive NE 
Bemidji, MN  56601-2699

Business Services Hours
School Year - 8:00am-4:30pm
Summer - 7:30am-4:00pm


Cashier Window Hours
School Year - 9:30am-3:00pm
Summer - 10:00am-3:00pm

 

 

General information on traveling for BSU

This page is intended to advise you of the procedures for undertaking official Bemidji State University travel.

We hope to answer the usual questions regarding State of Minnesota travel rules. For more detailed instructions, refer to the travel desk in the Business Services office at 755-2850, Deputy 203.

As a traveling employee you must realize that BSU attempts to secure a fair and reasonable reimbursement for most, but not necessarily all expenses, which you incur on official university business trips. Also, please note that bsu does not make all the rules. Most regulations must be done through negotiations of collective bargaining agreements and legislative process.

The official BSU travel request and authorization form must be filed with the employees immediate supervisor for each trip.

Airplane Expenses

Do I have to use my own funds or a travel advance to purchase airplane tickets?
No, you may charge your airplane ticket to BSU. You must have an approved Travel and Vehicle Request form on file with the travel office.  Reservations must be made in the travel office and Travel desk staff will use a BSU travel credit card to pay for your ticket.

Can I pay my own fare and be reimbursed on my travel claim?
Yes, you must attach receipts for the airfare and any applicable baggage fee.  Remember to seek reimbursement of the ticket within the 60 day business expense window to avoid tax implications.

Airplane Frequent Flier Policy

MnSCU requires any credits or other benefits issued by an airline to a public employee who uses public funds to pay for airline travel to accrue to the benefit of the public body providing the funding. This includes hotels that may provide free lodging after staying a specified number of days. Employees or board trustees who frequently fly and have airline frequent flyer programs for their personal travel shall obtain a separate airline frequent flyer program number to record and report receipt of credits or other benefits when using state funds. Employees must certify that they have not claimed frequent flyer mileage for personal use when applying for travel reimbursement. Any benefits received belong to the state.

Automobile Expenses

Is there a vehicle services operation at Bemidji State University?
Yes, the Vehicle Services Office (2859) is operated by the Travel Department, and all employees are urged to use the facility whenever feasible. There are vans available with that office. When requesting a BSU vehicle, complete a BSU Travel and Vehicle Request Form and send it to Vehicle Services: Box 5

If renting a car, it is the traveling employee's responsibility to call the appropriate car rental agency to reserve a car and make specific arrangements.  An authorization will be faxed to the rental company based on the information supplied on the Travel and Vehicle Request Form.  A BSU ID and a valid drivers license will be required at the car rental offices at the Bemidji Airport. The local car rental offices are Enterprise (759-9960) and National (751-1880) These charges will be directly billed to BSU.

Can I be reimbursed for using my personal car on official University business, and what is the rate of reimbursement?
Yes, you can be reimbursed for using your personal car. For each trip actual odometer readings must be kept in order to claim any mileage in addition to official trip miles as specified in the official mileage table book in the travel office. Remember, trip miles (official mileage between Bemidji and destination) and local miles (miles driven to accomplish your objective after reaching destination) must be separated on your expense report.

State owned vehicle NOT available : 56 cents per mile. (All bargaining units)
State owned vehicle available  : 49 cents per mile. (All bargaining units)
Use of motorcycle : 15 cents per mile. (All bargaining units)

Can I rent a car while out of town on official business trips?
Yes, but the University requires a written justification statement along with the approval of the BSU TRAVEL AND VEHICLE REQUEST FORM prior to travel. Although the alternatives to a rental car are not as convenient or as attractively advertised, we would urge you to use good judgment and discretion prior to approving or using a rental car.  Non BSU/NTC employees or family members are not allowed to ride in rental cars paid for with BSU/NTC funds.  (See Travel Management procedure 5:19:3 quoted at the end of this section).

For local rentals the Business Office will now fax an approval authorization to the appropriate Rental Agency that includes the faculty or staff member renting the car with the dates of approved business travel. The Travel and Vehicle Request form has been revised to include the choice of Enterprise or National Car Rental.  We do want to stress that the Rental Agency will be looking for these authorizations from the business office and you will not be able to make reservations until they receive one.

An employee will not be reimbursed for any of the following expenses: LDW- which is loss/collision damage waiver, PAI-personal accident insurance, or PEI/PEP-personal effects property protection. This is considered a personal expense.

Procedure 5.19.3 Travel Management
State-owned, rented or leased vehicles are to be used for official state business only.  A driver shall have a valid state driver’s license, complete a Vehicle Use Agreement Consent to Obtain Driving Record form, and observe all ordinances and laws pertaining to the operation of motor vehicles, System Guideline 5.19.3.1 Driver’s License Record Check, and Consent Form – Vehicle Use Agreement and Consent to Obtain Driving Record(s).

Authorized drivers are:
•    State employees;
•    Contractor’s employees or independent contractors, if authorization to drive a state vehicle is specifically mentioned;
•    Students who have been given permission by college or university administration;
•    An individual assisting an employee with a disability, if approved by the employee’s supervisor;
•    An individual assisting a student with a disability, if approved by college or university administration

Only authorized person are permitted to ride in state vehicles.  A spouse or other individual may accompany a traveler, including students, on a business trip at the traveler’s expense.  However, personal guests, including spouses, are not allowed to travel in a state-owned, rented, or leased vehicle.
Authorized persons include:
•    State employees;
•    Other persons participating in related state programs;
•    Volunteers as provided in System Procedure 4.0.1;
•    An individual assisting an employee with a disability, if approved by the employee’s supervisor
•    An individual assisting a student with a disability, if approved by the college of university administration

 

Food And Lodging

How are the meal allowances established?
Employees are to claim actual expenses for meals, but reimbursement cannot exceed the maximums. Maximum rates are now set by labor negotiations and Dept. of Employee Relations. These rates may change for any or all of the different Unions each time the contracts are re-negotiated.

What are the maximum meal allowances?
The maximum meal allowances for all bargaining units that have been set as of January 2014 are:

In State and Out State
B-$9
L-$11
D-$16

High Cost meals:
For all bargaining units certain major out-of-state metro areas are reimbursed at a higher rate.

B-$11
L-$13
D-$20

List of High Cost Meal Cities

The MnSCU Administrator and MSCF plans provides for higher meal reimbursement rates for Hennepin and Ramsey counties in Minnesota as well.

 

The breakfast meal is allowed when your trip begins before 6:00 a.m.

The dinner meal is allowed when your trip ends after 7:00 p.m.

The noon meal is allowed when the employee is 35 or more miles from his/her work station providing that the assignment extends through the normal lunch period.

Special meals, such as banquet meals exceeding the maximums, require the filing of a SPECIAL EXPENSE FORM in advance of the event. This form is available online and is text enterable on the BSU homepage.

What are the maximum lodging allowances?
For both In/Out state, no schedule of rates has been suggested. Employees are asked to use their discretion in selecting reasonably priced accommodations. Remember to ask for the Government Rate, many motel/hotels in MN have cheaper rates for State Employees.

Do I need lodging receipts to claim reimbursement?
Yes, original receipts are required for all types of lodging, this includes campground fees.

What if I share accommodations with another BSU employee?
If the lodging costs were shared between employees, it should be so noted on the expense report. One employee should use the original receipt for reimbursement the other should use a copy.

What amount of lodging reimbursement will I be allowed to claim if my spouse accompanies me on an overnight trip?
The State of Minnesota allows reimbursement at the single rate. The employee should have the establishment certify single rate on the receipt.

Will I be reimbursed if I spend the night with friends or relatives?
No, the State of Minnesota does not allow reimbursement when lodging with friends or relatives.

International Travel

What is the rate I can receive for international travel?
You will be reimbursed at the current high cost out-of-country travel rate.

Do I need prior approval for international travel?
Yes, you must follow the same request procedures as in-state or out-of-state travel. International travel must be approved by the University President.

Are receipts required for reimbursement of international travel expenses?
Yes, receipts are required for all lodging, transportation expenses, conference registration fees and currency exchange expenses.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Can I get my registration prepaid?
Yes, you may request an advance for registration fees following the steps listed below under the travel advance section. This registration advance would need to be settled before another one could be issued for the rest of the expenses.  If the registration can be paid on-line, you may come to the travel office and the registration can be put on the BSU travel credit card.

Which miscellaneous expenses are reimbursed?
Reimbursable expenses include, but are not limited to: taxi, parking fees, airline baggage fee, ferry and bridge tolls.

Do I need receipts to claim a miscellaneous expense on my travel claim?
Receipts are required for all expenses except meals, taxi services, baggage handling assistance in the form of gratuity or tip, and parking meters.

What miscellaneous expenses are not reimbursed?
Non-reimbursable expenses include, but are not limited to: entertainment expenses, video and television rental, tips and gratuities. Laundry or valet service is only reimbursed at the actual cost not to exceed $16.00 per week for each week after the first 5 consecutive days that the employee is in travel status without returning home.

The preferred method to initiate payment for memberships and subscriptions is with a purchase order rather than reimbursement.

Will BSU reimburse me for telephone calls to my home while I'm away on official business?
Actual documented personal phone calls will be reimbursed in the following manner: Maximum reimbursement for each trip shall be the result of multiplying number of nights away from home by $3.00. Council 6 is $2.00.

Routing

Employee > Immediate Supervisor > Department Chair, Director or Dean, Vice President > Special Accounts Coordinator (PDF,PIF,PIG), President (for international travel). The form is then sent to the Travel office.

Special Expense Approval & Reimbursement Procedure

Special expenses include but are not limited to; conference registration fees over $1000, banquet meals that exceed the State maximum meal allowances, special expenses for the handicapped employee who is in travel status, expenses incurred for international travel when expenses exceed out-of-state maximum reimbursement limits.

Except in emergency situations, prior approval is required before any special expense is incurred and commitments are made.

The following have delegation to sign under 'Agency Approval':
         For BSU:    Dr. James Parker for Student Development and Enrollment
                             Dean of Each College for Academic Affairs
                             Belinda Lindell for Finance and Administration
         For NTC:    The Deans or the Provost

  1. Registration for conference, seminars, workshops, etc. for single participant per program if over $1000.00
  2. Special expenses for banquet meals exceeding the maximum reimbursement limits.

The following expenses are subject to approval at the University and to review by the Chancellor's Office prior to the event.

  1. Registration fee for conference, seminars, workshops, etc. for single participant per program when amount exceeds $1000.00.
  2. Registration fee for conference, etc. when more than three employees from BSU will be attending, regardless of cost of the registration.
  3. All international travel expenses when the expenses incurred will exceed the maximum out-of-state reimbursement limits.

Travel Advance

Am I eligible for a travel advance?
Yes, if you are a BSU employee.

How can I obtain a travel advance?
Employees seeking an advance will need to submit an approved travel request and authorization form along with a SEMA4 employee expense report at least two weeks prior to the start of the travel.  Check the box on the form "Short Term Advance" and fill the form out with the estimated amounts needed for all of the expenses.  The advance will be obtained through the employee bi-weekly paycheck.  Only one outstanding advance is allowed at a time.

How do I figure how much money I can receive as an advance for a trip?
Travel advances can not exceed anticipated actual lodging, meals, and commercial transportation costs.

Is there a minimum travel advance?
$50.00 is the minimum travel advance. Business trips which cost less than $50.00 are reimbursed after your trip.

What is the procedure for re-payment of a travel advance?
Travel advances will now be deducted from the employee paychecks automatically at the time of reimbursement.  The advance must be submitted with an employee expense report with the appropriate receipts and documentaiton within 28 days of the trip.  Advances not settled within 28 days of return date will be deducted in their entirety from the employee's paycheck.

A travel credit card has been set up for use at the Travel office.  Employees can book flights and on-line conference registrations.  The expenses will be charged directly to the cost center listed on your Travel and Vehicle Request Form.  When submitting your expenses for reimbursement, anything paid for on the BSU travel credit card should not be included on your expense report.

Travel Expense Reports

Are there some general instructions I should know about submitting a travel expense report?
Remember:

  • Complete travel expense report and sign in ink.
  • Business expenses are to be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days after the expense was incurred.  If not submitted within 60 days, the reimbursement becomes taxable for federal, state, FICA and Medicare: and withholding must be taken.  Example: If you purchase an airline ticket, pay a registration fee, or incur any other expense related to your travel more than 60 days prior to your trip date, you must submit your paid receipts along with an expense report before the 60 day deadline in order to avoid tax implications.  You will be reimbursed for those 'pre-trip' expenses and then you will follow up with the remainder of your expenses at the end of your trip.
  • You should complete a travel expense report after each trip.  If you requested an advance through payroll you need to submit that report within 28 days.
  • Your expense report should be filled out in its entirety; including name, home address, bargaining unit, Payroll employee ID #, etc. All receipts must be originals. All forms of cancelled checks and copies of credit card bills do not substitute for original receipts. Remember, the time that your trip started and ended must be on your report.
  • If any part of your total expense was billed directly to BSU, such as airfare, lodging, conference registration fee, etc., this must be indicated on your expense report, not as a line item but as an explanation on the face of the report. Please indicate the $ amount in your explanation.
  • Submit an approved original to the Accounting Services Office for payment.
  • At the close of the fiscal year all travel expense reports must be submitted to the Accounting Services Office by July 10 or the expenses will be charged against the next fiscal year budget.
  • The travel clerk in the Accounting Services Office has a complete set of travel regulations and is always happy to supply you with any information to assist with travel problems. Please feel free to call the Travel Desk at 755-2850.