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Travel Procedures


Travel Procedures


Guiding Principles

A.  General Travel Considerations

B.  Definitions

  1. Appropriate Expense
  2. Allowable Expense
  3. Reasonable Expense
  4. Necessary Expense
  5. Business Travel
  6. Original Receipt
  7. Travel Allowance (Per diem)
  8. Business Meals
  9. Concur
  10. Corporate Travel Planners (CTP)

C.  Travel Expenses

  1. Registration
  2. Mode of Transportation
  3. Hotel
  4. Travel Allowance (Per diem)
  5. Personal Mileage
  6. Miscellaneous

D.  Council on Excellence

E.  Concur Guidelines

  1. Workflow
  2. Concur Definitions                                                     
  3. Receipts
  4. Travel Allowance (Per diem)
  5. Personal Mileage
  6. Hotel Reservations and Payment
  7. Mobile App

F.  Corporate Travel Planners

Professional Travel-Employees



Employees are encouraged to keep abreast of the latest trends in education, to grow professionally, and to work cooperatively with other professionals both inside and outside the College District. To this end, employees may take professional trips from time to time to attend workshops, professional conferences, training and other job related events. Local travel reimbursement will continue to be processed using the local travel form.  See ________for additional information on local travel.  Student field trip travel will be processed using the Student Field Trip form until further notice.  Travel guidelines for student travel may be found in the Business Administrative section on CougarWeb.

All employees are responsible for reviewing travel guidelines prior to travel and providing required information and documentation when making a travel request and upon returning from travel when requesting reimbursement.

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  Guiding principles

  1. Support the productivity and safety of those traveling on Collin College business.
  2. Ensure compliance with external and internal procedures and policies.
  3. Use Collin College resources wisely.

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A.           General travel considerations

  1. Employees should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of business travel on behalf of Collin College. Employees will be required to disclose all payments received from a third party for speaker fees and travel expenses.
  2. Necessary approvals and travel documents should be in order prior to travel.
  3. Book airline tickets as far in advance as possible (at least 14 days) in order to obtain advance purchase discounts and optimal travel times.
  4. Adequate budget must exist to cover travel expenses.
  5. Follow the terms for externally funded (grants) guidelines for travel under such agreements.
  6. In the event of inclement weather or other extenuating circumstances beyond the employee's control, it is the employee's responsibility to obtain credits and or refunds for any advance purchases made for travel, including prepaid registration, hotel deposit, and airfare. 

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B.            Definitions

1.      Appropriate Expense

An expense that is suitable or fitting for a particular valid business purpose.

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2.      Allowable Expense

A necessary, reasonable, and appropriate expense incurred for the primary benefit of Collin College, and therefore permitted to be either reimbursed or prepaid based on the permission of employee’s managers and/or by the terms of federally or privately sponsored agreements.

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3.      Reasonable Expense

An expense that is ordinary and reflects a prudent decision to incur the expense on behalf of Collin College. It should be neither extreme nor excessive.

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4.      Necessary Expense

Minimum purchase and service required to achieve a particular business objective.

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5.      Business Travel

Travel on behalf of Collin College for the purpose of attending either professional development opportunities, training, meetings or to conduct business on behalf of and for the benefit of Collin College.

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6.      Original Receipt

The receipt or invoice issued by the vendor or service provider to document and substantiate the business transaction.

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7.     Travel Allowance (Per diem)

Per diem is an allowance determined by the U.S. government to cover meals and incidentals while traveling for business purposes. Per diem amounts are published by the General Services Administration (Domestic) and are specific to major cities. Collin College policy dictates only one rate is used for Texas cities.  Do not use Business Meals expense for travel allowance (meals per diem). 

8. Business Meals

Business Meals expense category should only be used when an employee is requesting reimbursement for meals paid for the employee and non-employees during a business meeting.  A valid business purpose for the meal, and names of non-employees (attendees) must be provided when submitting reimbursement for this expense type.  Preapproval should be obtained prior to incurring this expense type.

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9.     Concur

An electronic travel and expense system which includes features for requesting, booking, and expensing travel.

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10.     Corporate Travel Planners (CTP)

The contracted travel agency whose services integrate with Concur to accomplish the booking for all travel expenses including air, hotel, train, car rental and ground transportation.

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C.           Travel Expenses

1.   Registration

Collin College will prepay conference registration fees. Employees should select the lowest cost registration meeting their requirements at the conference. In the event the registration rate plus an association membership fee is less than the registration rate for a non-member, select the lowest cost registration choice. Business Administrative Services will maintain a current list of paid institutional memberships on CougarTravel. Employees should refer to the institutional membership list to determine which registration fee is most appropriate.  In the event an employee must cancel a trip due to unforeseen circumstances, (s)he must make every attempt to get a refund on prepaid registration.

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2.   Mode of Transportation

The mode of transportation (personal vehicle vs airline) used by the employee for professional travel should be the mode which provides the lowest TOTAL cost to the District. Additional days of leave, lodging, meals and substitute pay resulting from additional time for travel by personal vehicle must be considered when computing cost estimates.   The additional cost of airport parking, baggage fees, and transportation to and from the airport can be considered when computing the cost of flying. The exception to the rule is travel within Texas. It is at the traveler’s discretion to fly or drive when traveling within Texas, since the total costs to fly versus drive are not typically significantly different.  Utilize the comparison worksheet provided in Company Notes to  justify the mode of transportation being selected.

a.      Airfare

All airfare must be booked through Concur/CTP. Exceptions to off-line booking must be approved by the AVP-Controller, or AVP-Financial Services in Business Administrative Services.   The District pays for airfare at the time of booking when the employee books travel through Concur/CTP. The airfare selected must be the most economical to the District.

  1. Advance Ticket Purchase: Every effort must be made to book the airline ticket a minimum of 14 days prior to travel. Allow a reasonable amount of time for the travel request approval to be received when determining the 14 day window. A justification will be required for travel not booked within the 14 day window. After receiving approval for travel, the employee should book travel as soon as possible to secure the lowest fare.
  2. Lowest fare: Employees should select the lowest airfare meeting his/her schedule requirements. A justification will be required when the airfare selected exceeds the lowest fare by $100.
  3. Priority Boarding/Preferred Seating: Special seating will not be reimbursed except in extenuating circumstances; justification will be required.
  4. Agency Booking Fee: A negotiated agency booking fee is charged for each reservation made. The employee should expense the agency fee on his/her expense report.
  5. Exchange Tickets: Once ticketed and paid for, the District does not allow changes to a ticket resulting in additional costs, except in cases of inclement weather or medical emergency for the employee or the employee’s immediate family. Collin College will pay up to 50% of the original ticket cost for an exchange ticket with proper justification. Changes in flight arrangements made at the traveler’s convenience which results in additional charges must be paid by the employee.
  6. Trip Cancellation: In the event an employee has already booked travel and must cancel a trip due to circumstances outside the employee’s control, the employee must cancel the trip in Concur, allowing any credit remaining from the unused ticket to be utilized on subsequent business travel.
  7. Baggage - Reimbursement is allowed for one checked bag each travel direction.

 b.  Driving

See Mode of Transportation above for criteria used in determining the most economical mode of travel. It is at the traveler’s discretion to fly or drive when traveling within Texas, since the total costs to fly versus drive are not typically significantly different.

 c.   Ground Transportation

Includes shuttle, taxi, bus, and rental car and should be selected based on the most economical to Collin College.  Justification is required when renting a vehicle. A Car Rental Tax Exempt Form must be presented to the rental agency when renting a vehicle in Texas. Prior to returning the rental car, employees should fill up the gas tank.

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3.   Hotel

A Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate must be given to the hotel when traveling within Texas. Employees will not be reimbursed for state hotel occupancy taxes within Texas.

  1. Room and taxes will be paid by Collin College’s credit card, excluding Texas hotel occupancy tax when the reservation is made through Concur.
  2. Employees should select the conference hotel or the most economically priced lodging closest to the conference/meeting location.
  3. Allowable incidental charges incurred as part of the hotel bill may include parking, internet and phone expenses when used for business purposes.
  4. Personal expenses will not be reimbursed by Collin College and should not be submitted for reimbursement on the expense report. Personal expenses may include room service, movie rental, alcohol and personal calls. See specific information regarding booking hotel through Concur at E.6.
  5. Lodging will not be provided for employees attending seminars in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex without prior approval from the Vice President/Provost. Justification for staying at the local hotel must be provided.

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4.   Travel Allowance (Per Diem )

    • Eligible meals on the days of travel are based on the time the employee leaves from and returns home. Meals provided at the conference or meeting should be excluded from the travel allowance calculation. See table below for eligible per diem meals based on travel times.
Time Departure Return
12:01 am - 8:00 am B, L, D B
8:01 am - 5:00 pm L, D B, L
5:01 pm -Midnight D B, L, D
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner


  • When traveling in Texas, effective 10/2018, the daily per diem rate is $55 ($13-breakfast, $18-lunch, $24- dinner); daily per diem for travel outside Texas is based on USGSA rates for the destination city. No receipts are required for per diem.
  • Employees attending conferences and/or meetings in the DFW metroplex are eligible to receive per diem for lunch provided it is not included as part of the meeting or conference. Breakfast and dinner per diem is not allowed for local conferences, unless the employee is staying overnight at the conference hotel. For additional information on per diem, see E.4. below.

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5.  Personal Mileage

Reimbursement for mileage is based on the IRS mileage rates, 58.0¢ effective 1/2/2019.  The normal home-to-work mileage should be deducted from the mileage calculation when traveling during the normal work week. If traveling on a non-work day (e.g. weekend), it is not necessary to deduct miles for normal home-to-work commute.  No receipts or other documentation are required. See Concur guidelines at E.5 for additional information on personal mileage reimbursement.

  • Gasoline: The price of gasoline is factored into the mileage reimbursement rate and is therefore not an allowable expense when traveling by personal vehicle.
  • Tolls: All tolls incurred while traveling for business are allowable expenses.   Receipts are required when requesting reimbursement. An employee can access their North Texas Tollway Authority account online, download toll charges to a PDF and attach the documentation to the expense report.  
  • Parking: Parking expenses incurred for business purposes are allowable reimbursable expenses with proper documentation.

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6.  Miscellaneous

  • All travel requires approval, even when travel expenses are paid by a third party or there are no expenses incurred.
  • Employees should complete and submit an expense report within ten business days after returning from travel, regardless of whether there are expenses to be reimbursed for or not.
  • Approvals, particularly for travel including airfare expenses, by supervisors, managers, and vice-presidents/provosts should be completed in a timely manner (within 24-36 hours) since the price of the airline tickets can fluctuate from one day to the next. Approvals follow the same path as the employee’s reporting structure.
  • Receipts are required for all expenses except per diem and personal mileage.
  • All travel reimbursements to employees are made with an EFT transaction to the employee’s bank account selected by the employee for reimbursements. It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure the Business Administrative Services has correct bank routing and account information.
  • Employees must enter professional leave in TimeClockPlus (TCP) as a request using job code 390 for professional leave with pay.  Non-exempt employees traveling out of town on college business should record and be paid for time spent in traveling (except meal periods) during their normal business hours when done on their non-working days, such as Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, as well as on their regular work days (generally Monday-Friday).  For additional information on guidelines for reporting travel time for non-exempt employees, visit CougarWeb>HR>Compensation>Recording Professional Leave Travel on the Time Sheet.

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D.           Council on Excellence (COE)

Council on Excellence is a group of elected full-time faculty. One of COE’s responsibilities is to oversee the distribution of professional development and travel funds for full-time faculty. Faculty should follow the professional travel procedures described. In addition, procedures unique to faculty utilizing COE funds for travel are enumerated below.

  1. Faculty should be familiar with COE guidelines posted on the CougarWeb intranet page under Committees as they relate to travel.
  2. A COE Request for Professional Development Justification Form may be found on the Concur homepage under the Company Notes and should be completed and attached to the employee’s Request. In addition to completing the Justification form, the Request should contain the estimated expenses for the trip. See Concur Guidelines below for information on obtaining travel estimates when completing a Travel Request.
  3. Approval for travel using COE funds follows the same approval path as any other professional travel plus one additional approval; it goes to the COE treasurer for approval and fund allocation after the faculty member’s Dean and VPP approve the travel.

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E.            Concur Guidelines- Concur is used for Business Purposes ONLY

1.   Workflow

Concur Workflow
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2.   Concur Definitions

a.   Travel Groups

Travel groups are unique based on the funding source for travel and approval flows. All travel groups are Collin College funded except Agency. The Agency travel group is funded with student organization funds.

  1. Agency-student club funding
  2. Athletic Recruiting
  3. Athletic Travel
  4. Council on Excellence (COE)
  5. Grant Travel
  6. Kappa Delta Pi
  7. National Technical Honor Society
  8. Phi Theta Kappa
  9. Professional-Faculty/Staff
  10. Psi Beta
  11. QEP-SACS
  12. SAFAC
  14. SAFAC Fine Arts
  15. SAFAC Political Science
  16. SAFAC Student Activity
  17. Sigma Kappa Delta
  18. Student Field Trips

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b.     Request

All travel begins with a request containing estimated expenses for registration, transportation, hotel, per diem, mileage, etc. The request is used to obtain pre-approval for travel expenses and may include:

  1. Travel segments (airfare, car rental, hotel, and ground transportation),
  2. Other expenses (meals, baggage, personal mileage, parking, etc.),
  3. Cash advances (registration).


No matter what the funding source is for your travel, everyone should submit a travel request.

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c.      Approval

The approval flow (workflow) for requests, cash advances, and expenses is noted below:

  1. Professional- Faculty/Staff – follows the employee’s reporting structure for their default org
  2. Student Field Trip – follows the employee’s reporting structure for their default org
  3. COE – Dean/VPP/COE approver
  4. Student honorary society accounts – approval provided by designated administrative staff as determined by leadership
  5. SAFAC – approval by elected SAFAC committee and VPP
  6. Athletics - VPP

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d.     Purpose

Select the purpose of the travel that most closely relates to the reason for traveling. The options to select among include:

  1. Athletic Recruiting
  2. Athletic Travel
  3. Business Meeting
  4. Presenter (COE)
  5. Professional Development
  6. Student Field Trip

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e.      Cost Object Approver

All travel groups noted in E.2.a above, except Professional-Faculty/Staff, and Student Field Trips, have a unique approval path called cost object approver. Typically the cost object approver has been designated, assigned, or appointed by a leadership team member to oversee the approval of travel using special funds, SAFAC and PTK, for example. Within the Concur approval workflow, the requests for approvals route to those persons responsible for the specific group.

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f.       Travel

  1. A Concur booking tool works in conjunction with our contracted travel agency (Corporate Travel Planners (CTP)), to place a reservation for air, hotel, car rental, rail, and ground transportation. Booking travel can only be completed after the request has been approved. All travel segments (A segment consist of air, hotel, car rental, ground transportation) must be booked through Concur.
  2. The employee should make every effort to book air travel (when applicable) as soon after receiving approval in order to obtain the airfare that mirrors what was approved. The Request ID, initially created when submitting a travel request for approval, must be provided when booking travel.
  3. Airfare is paid by Collin College at the time of booking. In Concur language, this is considered “Company Billed, Company Paid” (CBCP).
  4. The travel agency charges a $4.75 agency booking fee when booking airfare through Concur. The agency booking fee will be included in the e-invoice and must be expensed after traveling.

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g.     Cash Advance

  1. Cash Advances are made through the Request process in Concur.
  2. Collin College will prepay registration through Concur, either by paying the registration directly to the vendor, or reimbursing the employee for out-of-pocket registration paid prior to travel. 
  3. After traveling, when the employee submits the expense report, all cash advances received are applied against actual expenses.
  4. In the event a cash advance is not fully utilized, the employee should repay the cash advance at the cashier’s office. A copy of the cash receipt should be attached to the expense report using the Cash Advance Return expense type.

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h.     Expenses

Estimated expenses are entered in Concur before travel as a request. After travel, actual expenses are entered into the expense report to document expenses for traveling, including travel segments paid directly by Collin College (airfare, hotel room and taxes) and expenses (meals, baggage, parking, etc.) paid by the employee.

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i.       Personal Mileage

Personal mileage is calculated using a Google Maps (calculate mileage) feature. It is no longer necessary to include documentation for mileage so long as the traveler uses the calculate mileage feature in Concur. Employees must deduct the normal home-to-office commute when traveling during the regular work week.

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j.       User Profile

Before utilizing Concur to request travel, employees must complete all required fields in their user profile. See the Getting Started Guide for detailed information on accessing Concur, and completing the User Profile.

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k.    Audit Rules

Audit rules set up in Concur are designed to assist employees to be in compliance with Collin College’s travel procedures. A justification is typically required for all actions that are not within Collin College travel procedures.

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l.      Required Forms

The travel group and purpose for travel will typically determine which forms are required. PDF fillable forms are available within CougarTravel and on the Concur Homepage for all forms except the Agenda and Registration Forms. The specific forms and when they are required to be attached is noted below in the table.


Travel Group

Professional Faculty/Staff








Registration Form

Employment   Training Agreement ≥ $1,000 *




Justification for Travel *



Travel Summary Report *



*PDF   fillable form found on the Concur home page under Company Notes, and on CougarTravel.

















  1. A summary Agenda must be attached to the Request prior to traveling when registering for a conference or professional development. A summary agenda should be attached after traveling to document meals provided at conference.
  2. A Registration Form must be attached to the Travel Request when requesting prepayment and to the Expense report when requesting reimbursement for registration..
  3. Justification for Travel – This form is required to be completed when requesting travel using Council on Excellence (COE) funds.
  4. A Travel Summary Report Form must be completed and attached to all expense reports after traveling for Professional faculty/staff and COE travel groups.

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3.    Receipts

A legible receipt is required to be uploaded into Concur and attached at the expense line level for all expenses except personal mileage and per diem. All attachments must be in a jpg., jpeg., png., html., pdf., tif., or tiff. format. Employees should make every effort to obtain a copy of a missing receipt, however, if a required receipt has been lost, a missing receipt affidavit must be submitted for expenses, certifying the expense being submitted for reimbursement was incurred. The missing affidavit receipt is limited to expenses not to exceed $50.

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4.   Travel Allowance (Per Diem)

Per diem is automatically calculated in Concur based on the dates of travel and the travel destination city when using the itinerary functionality. Eligible meals on the days of travel are based on the time the employee leaves and returns from his/her destination. See Travel Allowance above (at C.4.) for eligible meals and time lines. When submitting the estimated expenses in request prior to travel, calculate the per diem estimate using $55 per day for travel within Texas (effective 10/2018). 
Refer to the GSA rate chart  for travel outside of Texas.

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5.   Personal Mileage

Utilize the Google maps function in Concur to calculate mileage, checking the deduct commute box to have the normal home-to-commute miles automatically deducted.   (Note: Employees must put their home address in their user profile in Concur in order for the Google maps function to work properly.) See C.5. for additional information on personal mileage.

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6.   Hotel Reservations and Payment

When the employee reserves the hotel room through Concur, the reservation is held by a Collin College credit card. Room charges and taxes will be billed directly to the college. When the employee checks into the hotel, the employee will have to present a personal credit card to pay for incidental charges. At checkout, the employee should request an itemized bill showing all charges. The itemized bill should include payment for room and taxes being charged to the college’s credit card and a separate payment for incidentals. Allowable incidental charges will be reimbursed by Collin College when the employee submits the expense report.

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7.   Mobile App

Concur supports the smart phone app for I-Phones and androids. Employees can view their upcoming trips, and access their expense reports from the app. Attaching a receipt is made easy through the mobile app ExpenseIt Pro. The mobile app does not support either the per diem or google maps features. Those functions will have to be put into Concur through a computer.

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F.  Corporate Travel Planners

Collin College has contracted with Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) to provide travel agency services through Concur’s on-line booking tool, and when necessary, by calling the agency directly. When calling the on-line help desk for assistance, be prepared to give the agent the agency record locator generated when a travel reservation is made.  The normal agency booking fee for on-line booking is $4.75 per reservation and will be added to the cost of the airline ticket. Travel booked by calling the agency is available after normal business hours to assist travelers for serious travel emergencies. The service is called Agent 24 Afterhours. Anytime a traveler calls the Agent 24 Afterhours service, you will be required to provide the travel request ID number submitted on the original travel request, before a travel agent will be able to assist you. A $16 charge will be incurred for any call made to the Agent 24 Afterhours service.   If at all possible, please wait to make your call during normal business hours. Contact information for CTP made be found on the Travel tab.

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All travel questions should be sent to