Travelers wishing to be reimbursed for both meals and lodging must be in official travel status (i.e., at a distance greater than 35 miles from both the traveler's official station and place of residence). Travelers may be reimbursed for lodging and meals on weekends and holidays while in travel status.

Methods of reimbursement :  Please keep and submit all receipts.  Any documentation should be attached to the Travel Form.

There are two methods to reimburse travelers for the cost of overnight meals and lodging.

  • Method I: a per diem allowance, which reimburses lodging, meals, and incidental expenses without use of receipts
  • Method II: a modified per diem allowance, which requires receipts for lodging reimbursements. Receipts are not required for meals and incidental expenses (M & IE) when giving a per diem.

Travelers should choose one of these two methods. In some instances it is necessary to use both methods. In both methods, lunch is not reimbursable. The per diems include expenses such as tips to bellmen, hotel maids, etc.

Method II (receipted lodging)  This section describes the Research Foundation (RF) method of maximum reimbursement for lodging and meals by requiring lodging receipts.
To be eligible for Method II rates, these two criteria must be met:

  • the traveler must be in overnight status, and
  • the traveler must save and submit valid receipts for lodging expenses.


Original receipts: Use of receipts to document lodging expenses is required. When a traveler is in overnight travel status, lodging will be reimbursed at the actual cost, up to the maximum federal allowance (see the GSA Web site). Meal receipts are not required for meal reimbursements. All meals associated with overnight travel will be reimbursed at the federal per diem rate for the area of assignment.

Travel Payment Request Form: Travel expenses must be documented on the Travel Form.  Do not use SUNY travel forms.  When the PI is also the traveler, there must be a counter-signature from PI's chair, dean, or Associate Provost for Research to attest to the fact that the travel was appropriate. 

Tax Exemption Forms and Certificates: The Research Foundation is exempt from sales and use taxes for NYS and New York City (NYC), as well as California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. For travel within these areas, travelers should use the RF tax exempt certificate, "Exempt Organization Certification". Please contact ORSP for this form.

Full meal allowance: To be allowed a full meal per diem, these two criteria must be met:

  • the traveler must be eligible for both a breakfast and dinner as described in Meal Eligibility, and
  • the traveler must be in overnight status.

When the traveler is in overnight travel status but is not entitled to the full meal per diem because of the meal eligibility requirements, the traveler will receive the amount for the meal that is not part of the per diem (i.e., breakfast or dinner). These rates are provided in Schedule 2, in the section "Method II (Receipted Lodging) or Non-overnight Receipted Meal Expenses." Also, see examples in the example section.

Federal per diem rates
A per diem is the allowance for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses.

Destinations within the Continental United States are referred to as "CONUS" rates or limits. The Research Foundation uses the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rates to establish maximum reimbursement. These rates

  • differ from state to state and city to city (destination determines a traveler's reimbursement rate).
  • include all applicable incidental expenses, such as tips to hotel maids and bellhops.
  • are updated annually and provided online by GSA.

Rates for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico

  • are established by the Department of Defense. Official DoD Per Diem Rates are available online from the Defense Technical Information Center but can also be accessed from the GSA web site related to Travel and Transportation Management Policy. These rates are subject to change monthly.

Any amounts over the federal per diem rates must be approved by ORSP and must be documented PRIOR to the travel event as to why the rate is over the maximum.

We fully appreciate that situations exist when abiding strictly to CONUS lodging limits is not possible or feasible when you travel for activities related to your sponsored program.
For example, an August 2015 conference you may want to attend in New York City is being held at the meeting hotel with rooms averaging $350 per night, but the CONUS limit for lodging in August 2015 is only $235 per day.

Effective Monday, 03-August-2015 SUNY Oswego faculty/staff members seeking reimbursement above the CONUS limit for lodging MUST provide a very DETAILED justification PRIOR to travel relating to sponsored research activity. ORSP will systematically track, review, and document such requests so that these justifications of above-CONUS reimbursements are readily retrievable during a potential audit.  If the justification is not sufficiently detailed, the above-CONUS request can be denied by the campus RF Operations Manager.

Please note that this new policy applies to potential allowances for LODGING EXPENSES ONLY. CONUS limits will continue to be enforced on meals and incidental expenses.

The new Above-CONUS request form can be filled out, signed, and distributed electronically prior to a future trip.

Travel within New York state

The Research Foundation is exempt from NYS and New York City (NYC) sales and use taxes.
For travel within NYS, travelers should use the RF tax exempt certificate, "Exempt Organization Certification", to get exemption for all applicable taxes, including the NYC Hotel Room Occupancy Tax.

Note: A separate tax exempt certificate and letter are no longer required for NYC. Use the "Exempt Organization Certification" to claim all tax exemptions.
Although it is RF policy not to reimburse travelers for New York taxes, operating locations may use their discretion as to whether or not taxes will be reimbursed. Operations managers or designees must document the reason for this reimbursement.

Last Updated: Monday, August 28, 2017 - 12:28pm