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Departmental travel grants (Driving)


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This might seem like an esoteric question, but I'm sure it comes up.


I know that at most departments, the process of submitting applications to reimburse travel costs for conferences/symposiums is rather straightforward: get itemized quotes of airfare/hotel/shuttle/taxi/etc. But what if the destination is more easier and practical to just drive to? What is the best etiquette and protocol for submitting the "itemized" costs? I know that the IRS and some companies have a standard per-mile reimbursement for roadtrips, covering gas and "wear-and-tear" of the automobile, but is it proper etiquette and protocol to find one of these rates and use it in my proposal? (This is assuming the university/department does not publish its own mileage reimbursement rate, which I don't think mine does.)

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Maybe I'm just stating something overly obvious -- but I think the best thing to do is to just ask your department admin staff! From my experience, I've found that many schools have very detailed references that explain how they compute things like this for reimbursements. Sometimes you might be able to find it by searching for it on your University's Financial Department's webpage. But if you ask the all-knowing admin staff, they usually already know it (since they likely process this for many people) or they know exactly where to look! I think the standard is something on the order of 50 cents per mile?


If you are just putting together an estimate though, then it's probably okay to use some standard published by e.g. the AAA or IRS. But it would look better, possibly, if you used the real University rate (which might not be published in an easy to find place). Again, sorry for stating the obvious if you already tried to ask someone!

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