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Approval Process

Purdue's primary regulation is that all business travel must be approved before the traveler leaves for the trip and before any prepayments can be made.

Approval prior to the trip insures the traveler's supervisor and/or department head approves of the activity, funds are available for reimbursement of expenses, travel is allowable on the funds, and traveler is covered under workman's compensation insurance.

The Form 17, Request for Authority to Travel on University Business, is the University document that communicates the need to be in travel status when traveling outside Indiana (See In-State Travel and Blanket Travel), presents an estimate of expenses, and gains approval signatures. We recommend that the Form 17 be submitted for approval at least two weeks prior to travel. An explanation must be included on the Form 25, Travel Reimbursement Request, when a traveler does not comply with this policy.

An individual is in travel status when traveling on official business for Purdue whether or not expenses will be reimbursed by the University.

Business travel is defined as duties that require the traveler (Purdue employee) to be away from their regular place of business or post of duty (official station), regardless of where the family home is located. It includes the entire city or general area in which the official station is located. Travel between official station and family home is not a reimbursable expense.

Travel expense reimbursement is limited to the lesser of expenses incurred from the departure point or from the "official station". The official station is defined as the location of the permanent office. The official station is defined as the location of the permanent office including the entire city or general area in which the 'official station' is located.

If the traveler is departing from some place other than their permanent office, a comparison must be attached to the Form 25, Request for Reimbursement, indicating expenses are the lesser of the two.

Approval Delegation for Source of Fund

In accordance with Executive Vice President and Treasurer Memorandum A-35, Delegation of source of funds fiscal approval for travel has been revised as follows:

  • Authority to grant source of funds approval for domestic travel on all sources of funds is delegated to the business office.
  • Authority to grant source of funds approval for foreign travel on non-SPS funds is delegated to the business office.
  • Authority to grant source of funds approval for foreign travel on NIH, NSF, and Voluntary Support administered by SPS projects is delegated to the business office.
  • Authority to grant source of funds approval for foreign travel on SPS funds other than NIH, NSF, and Voluntary Support administered by SPS projects remains with SPS.
  • Authority to grant source of funds approval for foreign travel when funding is split with SPS funds other than NIH, NSF, and Voluntary Support administered by SPS projects remains with SPS.

Delegations to individual business officers is determined by the level of each person's existing Comptroller authorization.

When reviewing the travel request, business office staff should verify:

  1. The allowability and reasonableness of the travel
  2. The availability of funds for the trip
  3. The trip falls within the intent of the funds being used
  4. University Travel Policy is followed

The source of fund delegation does not replace the programmatic approval delegated to the deans, vice presidents and their designees.

Programmatic Approval

The Form 17 is approved at varying administrative levels of the university.  The role of these individuals is to determine whether the trip is necessary, if it will truly benefit the work of the individual traveling, and other issues related to the administration of the department.

Signature Delegation Letters
Executive Vice President & Treasurer
Associate Provost & Directors
Vice Presidents
Deans and Vice President
Vice Chancellors & Directors

If the travel is to a country with a U.S. Department of State travel warning, the waiver/informed consent form must be attached to the approved Form 17 and forwarded (prior to the trip or purchase of airfare) to the Vice Provost and Dean of International Programs, Young Hall for approval on Line 21 prior to the trip. Faculty/Staff and Grad students in work status must sign the Employee Acknowledgement of Risk form and all other students must sign the Waiver, Release and hold Harmless for Studentsform. Both forms can be found in the Decision Matrix tool. should be attached to the Form 17 and forwarded to International Program. See Line 21 of Form 17, Request for Authority to Travel on University Business.

Please contact your business office for additional information on signature delegation.

Domestic Travel

Domestic travel includes travel within and between any of the 50 States of the United States and its possessions and territories and also includes travel between the United States. For travelers who live outside the United States and it possessions, domestic travel is that travel performed within the travelers' own country.

In-State Travel

In-State travel covers all travel within the State of Indiana.

The authorization of in-state travel is delegated to the Department Head. (See President's Annual Reminder Letter)

Each department must establish written policies describing their own internal operating procedures for authorizing in-state travel.

In the academic departments, the Business Office is responsible for assuring the department has a written policy and that the department is adhering to that policy. Departments without a Business Office must develop, maintain, and assure adherence to their own in-state travel authorization policies.

Reimbursement for in-state travel must be requested on the Form 25, Request for Travel Reimbursement. For academic departments, the Business Office signature on the Form 25 attests to the fact that the travel adheres to the department's in-state travel authorization policies.

Blanket Travel

Blanket Travel is defined as any travel that does not include a common carrier ticket (air or train).  Blanket Travel does not require a “Trip Request” or any pre-trip approval or notification.

Foreign Travel Requests

All foreign travel will be reimbursed using the federal foreign travel reimbursement rates unless the source of funds requires the use of State travel reimbursement rates.  The use of gift funds and general funds no longer require an exception.

  • Gift funds may be used for foreign travel as long as the purpose of the trip is consistent with the intentions of the donor.
  • General funds may be used for foreign travel when the purpose of the trip is consistent with the purpose of the fund.
  • When foreign travel relates to research, sponsored program research funds should be used if the trip is allowable and funds are available in the project.

Foreign travel is defined as travel to, between, or within countries outside the United States and its territories and possessions.

All foreign travel requests must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the departure date to allow time for the proper review of the request. Exception requests should be either be explained on the Form 17 in Box 16 Notes & Explanations or attached to the document in memo form.

Form 17 forms involving travel to countries with travel warnings, as posted by the U.S. State Department, must be routed through the Office of International Programs for review prior to final approval. See Programmatic Approval.

The federal foreign travel (OCONUS)per diem allowance, is determined monthly by the United States Department of State and Government Accounting Office standard regulations and other federal guidelines permitted by university policy.

When an Employee's Travel is Funded by Another Department

If funding for the trip is from a department other than the home department of the traveler, the Form 17 should have approvals from both departments. One for approval to travel (traveler's department head and/or dean) and one for approval of funding (department funding the trip).

The Form 25 must be signed by the funding department denoting that funding is available & allowable and Business Office signs on Comptroller line denoting that travel adheres to policy and all signature have been obtained.

Role of the Business Office/Comptroller Approval - Form 25

The business office or person with comptroller authority has a vital role in the Form 25 approval process. In addition to facilitating the processing of the document, their role includes review of the request for:

  1. Completeness of the document (all supporting documentation is attached)
  2. Review that all appropriate approval signatures and prior approvals or quotes for the trip have been obtained
  3. Availability of funds to support the trips expenses
  4. Appropriate use of general ledger accounts on the document
  5. Proper application of reimbursement rules - per policy
  6. The trip's funding source, the individual's salary support, and coordinating the appropriate activities
  7. Use of funds is appropriate and allowable
  8. Coordinating the additional functions if the trip is funded from a Sponsored Program account, insuring the SPS review occurs
  9. Processing the HRS Form RLA if the absence will be greater than 22 days
  10. Payments of approved travel requests require a Department Head authorization and a Business Office review.
    1. Business Office review is indicating that #1 - 9 above apply.
    2. No dollar limit applies to this review signature.
    3. This authorization should appear in the Approved - Comptroller section of the Form 25.
      1. For travel reimbursements up to $500, individuals with comptroller signature delegation for travel reimbursements are approving the reimbursement on behalf of the comptroller.

Absence Greater than 22 days

Research/instructional/engagement travel and change-in-duty station leaves of 22 working days or less will require only a Form 17 (Request for Authority to Travel on University Business), and will eliminate an RLA.

If the travel is on or after July 1, 2010 and requires the staff member to be absent from campus for greater than 22 consecutive work days, the absence must be approved by the president of the university or his designee.  This approval is obtained through the HRS Form RLA (Request & Leave Action for Sabbatical, Research, Outside Activity or Change in Duty). The HRS Form RLA is not required for vacation absences.

If the travel is less than 22 days, approval will be incorporated into the travel request and approval process (Form 17).

Student Travel Issues

Regulations and Procedures for Recognized Student Organizations:
Section IV-F, which reads as follows:

  • Any trips away from campus sponsored by student organizations must be registered on a Travel Planning Form available in the Office of the Dean of Students.
  • Trips scheduled by sports clubs must follow guidelines published by the director of recreationsl sports.
  • Additional requirements must be met when a student organization is planning a trip outside of the United States.
  • AND, the following is taken from the Faculty and Staff Handbook:

Field Trips

If the travel is less than 22 days, approval will be incorporated into the travel request and approval process (Form 17).

Class field trips may be taken with approval of the school/college dean or department head.  The names of students involved in these trips and pertinent data regarding the trips must be submitted by the staff members in charge to the appropriate dean or department head prior to the trip.  Forms for this purpose should be obtained through the school/college or department.

In all cases where group absences apply, students should be directed to contact their instructors as far in advance as possible in order to arrange making up work to be missed.

Student travel for required instruction or inspection trips will be listed in Purdue University bulletins.  If students must incur lodging and meal expenses, this will be stated.  It is acceptable to have a general statement covering the requirements of a particular department.  Requests for non-required trips and permission to collect funds from trip participants should be processed two weeks in advance of the trip to the proper business administrator.  Trips involving student group travel are discussed in greater detail in Business Manager's Memorandum 102, dated October 10, 1973.

Travel arrangements for approved field trips should be made through the Transportation Service Office.  University-owned buses, vans, and cars can be scheduled to accommodate any size group for trips of a few hours or several days.  While all drivers of University vans and cars must possess a valid Unived States or Canadian driver's license, students may operate University vehicles only with an approved RM01 form signed by Risk Management.  If a privately owned vehicle is used, adequate public liability and property damage insurance must be in force.  In those situations, the insurance coverage on the driver's vehicle is considered primary coverage.