Jump to other news and events
Purdue signature

Sponsored Programs

Travel is allowable as a direct cost where such travel will provide direct benefit to the project. According to the organization's established travel policy, such costs for employees working on the great supported project may include associated per diem or subsistence allowances and other travel related expenses such as mileage allowances if travel is by personal automobile. Different regulations govern reimbursement procedures based on whether the trip is foreign or domestic travel.

Determining Allowability of Travel

In determining the allowability of travel expenditures on sponsored program grant or contract funds, the following items should be considered:
  • Does the travel occur within the project period of the fund/center to which it is to be charged? If the travel does not occur within the project period, do not approve the request.
  • Are funds available within the project to cover the proposed expenditure? If funds are not available in the project, do not approve the request.
  • Is the travel budget on the project restricted, and if so, will the proposed expenditure exceed the amount allowed by the sponsor for travel? If the answer to this is yes, then appropriate sponsor approval must be obtained prior to the approval of the form.
  • Are the expenses requested on the form reasonable and consistent with the university policy?
  • Foreign travel usually requires specific sponsor approval of the trip and dollar amount. If the request is for foreign travel, has the sponsor approved the trip, if appropriate, and are funds available within the foreign budget? For some agencies, prior approval has been delegated to institution.
  • Is the individual traveling paid from the project which is to pay the travel costs? If the individual is not currently receiving part of his/her salary from the proposed fund/center, then a determination needs to be made a to his/her relationship to that project and whether or not it is appropriate to pay his/her travel from the project.
  • Is the purpose of the travel related to the purpose of the project from which it is to be paid? If not, the form should not be approved.

Allowability of Travel on Industrial Fund/Centers

Form 17 review:
  1. In-state travel only, unless otherwise specified in the award.
  2. Must be paid on fund/center or have certification.
  3. 10% or less above budgeted amount - okay.
  4. Over 10% needs re-budget approval from sponsor.
  5. Travel must be during project period.
  6. Estimated expenses must be calculated correctly.
  7. Are boxes 16 and 17 signed?

State projects -- anything over 10% of each budgeted line item of the sponsor's budget requires sponsor approval.

Agreement Types:

  • Contract Support - UNRESTRICTED
    • Economic benefit to sponsor
    • Signed contract or agreement
    • No restrictions as to how funds are to be used
    • May or may not require financial reporting
  • Contract Support - RESTRICTED
    • Economic benefit to sponsor
    • Signed contract or agreement with specific sponsor guidelines
    • May or may not require financial reporting
  • Voluntary Support - RESTRICTED
    • No economic benefit to sponsor
    • Any sponsor request or requirement relating to budgetary restrictions, fiscal reporting & any unusual requests that need SPS monitoring. i.e., No foreign students
  • Voluntary Support - Unrestricted
    • No economic benefit to sponsor
    • No restrictions requiring SPS interaction / management

Form 17 review for travel on agreement types outlined above:

  1. Funds available?
  2. Is travel within project period?
  3. Is travel beneficial or relative to the research?
  4. Are all approval signatures included?
  1. Check individual project guidelines for allowability.
  1. Check individual project to see if restriction is non budgetary. if so, same as type 4.
  2. Check individual project guidelines for allowability.

U. S. Flag Air Carriers

Purdue employees are required, by the 'Fly America Act', to use US flag carrier if the trip is funded by federal funds.

The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 ('Fly America Act') as amended by the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act of 1974 requires all federal agencies and government contractors, sub contractors and grantees to use U.S. Flag Carriers for air transportation of personnel both domestic and foreign travel when using *federally appropriated funds for travel.

The Act further provides that in the absence of satisfactory proof of the necessity to use a non-U.S. Flag Carrier, any expenditure of federally appropriated funds for foreign travel on other than U.S. Flag Carrier shall not be allowable.

*Federal appropriated funds means moneys directly awarded to the University on either a contract, grant, or appropriated basis, or a subcontract in which the Federal Government is the original source of funding. It does not refer to those situations where a contract is funded by a foreign government, even if the original source of moneys to that government is the United States Government.

The expenditure of federal funds for service furnished by a non-U.S. flag carrier is allowable only when service by a U.S. flag carrier is considered to be unavailable.

Find detailed information and exception requirements on U.S. Flag Carriers under Air Travel on the Transportation page.


One of the most common adjustments to a research project involves the transferring of funds from one budget category to another to accommodate unanticipated expenditures, for example, travel. This alteration between budget categories does not change the total research dollars for the project and is referred to as a rebudget. It is normally required to be done in advance of the activity; i.e., requires prior approval.

  • Domestic travel expenditures that exceed the approved budget amount by $500 or 25%, whichever is greater, requires prior approval.
  • Foreign travel not approved in the budget requires prior approval. (Foreign travel is any travel performed outside the United States, its territories and possessions. Travel within the U.S. enroute to or from a foreign destination is considered foreign travel.)

Prior Approval (Institutional)

Some federal agencies DHHS/PHS/NIH, NSF, USDA, DOE, NASA) permit the grantee institution local authority to rebudget between budget categories when the expenditures are necessary for the successful continuation or completion of the project under the following general conditions and procedures:

  • The rebudgeting of funds must neither impair the investigator's ability to complete the project or activity as approved nor increase the total cost to the grant.
  • The rebudgeted funds may not be used for any purpose disallowed as a condition of the grant.
  • The rebudgeting request must be reviewed for scientific or program propriety in relation to the objectives of the specific project supported by the grant to which the charges will be made.
  • The request for rebudgeting is initiated by the Principal Investigator (PI) in a letter addressed to the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP).

For projects from these agencies, the rebudgeting process is initiated by the PI via a letter to the director of DSP requesting prior approval for the expenditures. The rebudget letter must be "before-the-fact" and must indicate the following:

  • PI name,
  • Award identifier (i.e., Purdue account number and sponsor name),
  • Exact nature of the expenditures,
  • Budget categories which would be altered,
  • Full explanation of the need for the budget change, including any significant effect on the general scientific direction of the project; and,
  • Travel dates (if appropriate).

The prior approval rebudget must include signatures of the PI, department head, (or director of Institute, Center, or Agricultural Experiment Station), and academic dean. The department head (or director) and dean signatures indicate academic approval of the proposed request.

Prior Approval (By Sponsor)

Other federal agencies (e.g., DOD, DE, EPA, DOT, DOI, AID) as well as state agencies, foundations, and foreign sponsors, have not given Purdue the authority to rebudget between categories and the rebudget request must be submitted to the agency for sponsor approval. With grants or contracts from these sponsors, letters requesting rebudgeting should be addressed to the sponsor's program or grants officer. These letters must be signed by the PI but do not require the department head or dean signatures. (Please note: A rebudget letter addressed to the sponsor requesting a change in personnel and/or salaries does require the signatures of the department head and academic dean.) However, most sponsors do require the signature of an institutional official before they will act upon such a request, so the letter should be sent to DSP before it leaves the university. The request will be reviewed fiscally by Sponsored Program Services and technically by DSP staff, countersigned by a DSP director recommending approval by the agency, and forwarded to the sponsor for their review/approval. The sponsor notifies DSP in writing whether the request was "approved" or "disapproved". DSP sends a copy of the sponsor's correspondence to the PI, BA, and Sponsored Program Services to inform them of the sponsor's decision.