1501 - Policy on Business Travel



This policy was created to:

  • ensure compliance with State of North Carolina and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ("University" or "UNC-Chapel Hill") regulations;
  • establish guidelines for approval, control, and accounting for Employees and others who travel on University business; and
  • ensure fairness for both the traveler and the University.


This policy applies to all University Employees (Employed Students, Faculty, Staff, and Senior University Administrators) and Non-Employees (University Affiliates, Contractors, Guests, and Non-Employed Students).


Policy Statement

UNC-Chapel Hill is a public institution governed by the State of North Carolina.

All business travel must:

  • support the University's mission;
  • receive the appropriate approvals; and
  • be carefully planned to ensure that expenses are necessary and prudent, and that costs are held to a minimum.

A University Employee traveling on official business is expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a reasonable person would exercise if traveling on personal business and expending personal funds. Excess costs, circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodations and services unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official business are not acceptable under this standard.

Employees may have their travel expenses reimbursed by the University, subject to the limitations contained in these regulations. Employees must obtain pre-travel authorization by submitting a Travel Request in Concur for all overnight travel, regardless of the destination or funding source of the trip.  In addition, a Travel Request must be submitted for day travel which includes airfare. Employees should submit an expense report in Concur within 30 days after the travel period ends for which reimbursement is being requested.

Students traveling for University business may be reimbursed subject to these limitations, provided approval by the department head (or designee) was obtained in advance. The department and students must obtain pre-travel authorization and should submit an expense report in Web Travel within 30 days after the travel period ends for which reimbursement is being requested. Student travel which is deemed to be financial-aid applicable must utilize GradStar for payment of travel expenses.

Non-Employees traveling on University business whose expenses are paid or reimbursed by University funds are subject to all University travel regulations, including statutory subsistence allowances. The department must obtain pre-travel authorization and should submit reimbursement requests via Web Travel or Campus Voucher.

Booking Travel

The University has a managed travel program that includes the Concur Travel booking tool for online domestic/international bookings, World Travel, Inc. (WTI) for domestic/international bookings, and Anthony Travel for Athletics bookings. All University travel sourcing agreements are available through these resources.

Employee airfare purchases must be made using the University travel program unless an exception applies as outlined in Finance Procedure 1501.3 on Air Travel.

Employee travelers are strongly encouraged to procure rental car services using the University travel program, except under limited circumstances when procurement of rental car services from a non-contracted agency is necessary. Additional information is available in Finance Procedure 1501.4 on Ground Transportation Expenses including Mileage Rates.

Employee travelers are strongly encouraged to procure commercial lodging reservations using the University travel program. Exceptions are allowable when the traveler is attending an event which provides them access to negotiated lodging rates not available through the University travel program. Additional information is available in Finance Procedure 1501.6 on Lodging Expenses.

Personal Travel

The traveler must pay for all:

  • costs of personal travel before or after days of business travel;
  • excess costs;
  • indirect routes; and
  • services unnecessary, unjustified, or for the convenience or personal preference of the Employee in the performance of official University business.

The University is prohibited from reimbursing the traveler for any such costs.

Employee Certification

To comply with auditing guidelines, all University pre-travel authorization/Travel Advance/reimbursement requests must be certified as true and accurate by the traveler. To accomplish this, Employees are required to submit their own Requests and Expense Reports in Concur. Upon submission, Employees will be required to acknowledge their acceptance of a User Submit Agreement. Students are required to personally sign/date a Travel Acknowledgement page when requesting a Travel Advance or reimbursement via Web Travel.


Travel expenses to be reimbursed by a third-party organization are not subject to UNC-Chapel Hill regulations.

When Senior University Administrators travel on official business on behalf of a third party (e.g., AAU, NACUBO, NCAA, etc.), travel expenses may be funded by this third-party organization. Senior University Administrators must still obtain pre-travel authorization to document the travel and accompanying approvals.


Concur - Web-based software solution for submitting Employee travel pre-approval requests, booking travel, and submitting expense reports. More information is available on the University's Concur webpage.

CONUS - Continental United States

Domestic Travel - Travel within the continental United States (CONUS), Alaska, Hawaii, and the non-contiguous U.S. locations of American Samoa, Guam, Midway Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island.

Duty Station - An Employee’s official Duty Station is where the Employee regularly works, as determined by the University.

Employee - A person employed for wages or salary.

  • Types of Employees:
    • Employed Student - Undergraduate or graduate students employed by the University.
    • Faculty - Any Employee whose primary appointment is one of the specified faculty ranks:
      • Professor
      • Associate Professor
      • Assistant Professor
      • Instructor
      • Professor of the Practice
      • Teaching Professor
    • Senior University Administrator
      • Chancellor and direct reports to Chancellor
      • Deans
      • Members of Cabinet who report directly to the Chancellor, except for the President of the General Alumni Association
      • Vice Chancellors
    • Staff - Non-faculty Employees, excluding students.

Federal Funds - Funds received from federal government agencies for support of programs on the state level. Federal Funds are received through block grants, entitlement programs, and specific grants.

GradStar - A ConnectCarolina Student Administration application designed to collect and report all non-service funds given to a student in support of their attendance at the University. For more information, please visit the University's GradStar webpage.

Group Travel - In travel, a "group" is usually defined as three or more University students, Employees, or Non-Employees traveling together on the same itinerary.

Intercontinental Travel - Travel between continents such as travel from North America to Europe. The continent of North America includes the United States, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.

International Travel - Travel to any country (including Mexico and Canada) or territory outside the CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, and the non-contiguous U.S. locations of American Samoa, Guam, Midway Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island.

Itemized Receipt - A Receipt that shows all the items, fees, and taxes that were purchased on a Receipt.

Non-Employee - All persons other than Employees.

  • Types of Non-Employees:
    • Affiliate - Anyone who is working in collaboration with the University, requiring University Services, and is not a student and not paid by UNC-Chapel Hill Payroll. Affiliates have a UNC-Chapel Hill PID. They include, but are not limited to:
      • Visiting Scholar
      • Research Collaborator
      • Contractors and temporary employees (not paid by UNC-Chapel Hill Payroll)
      • Summer Groups
      • UNC Retirees
      • Volunteers
    • Contractor - A vendor or independent contractor who is engaged by the University to provide a service.
    • Guest - Includes, but not limited to:
      • Speakers
      • Student recruits (athletic or academic)
      • Job candidates
      • Study subjects
      • Family of other customer types
    • Non-employed Student - Undergraduate or graduate students who are not employed by the University.

OCONUS - Outside the contiguous United States: includes Alaska, Hawaii, and the US Territories

Per-Diem - Literally meaning "per day" - is a daily reimbursement rate the University is allowed to refund UNC-Chapel Hill travelers for meals and minor items during business trips. More information is available on the University's Travel Allowances webpage.

Personal Travel - Travel for personal reasons not associated employment or education abroad activities with the University.  Travel before or after university-related business travel or education abroad programs for visiting friends or family, independent cultural exploration and sightseeing, volunteer opportunities, and other interests is considered personal travel.

Receipt - A bill of sale confirming that the seller received money from the purchaser. The receipt typically includes the date and a description of the item the purchaser bought. It also includes a description of the item the buyer purchased

Tips and Gratuity - A sum of money customarily given by a client or customer without obligation to a service worker in addition to the basic price for some service rendered.

Third-Party Lodging - An establishment rented out by a third party (an agency other than UNC-Chapel Hill or a designated business hotel - such as Airbnb or VRBO) or an establishment treated as an apartment building by state or local law.

Travel Advance - Funds given to students before a trip to help with out-of-pocket expenses. Travel Advances can also be given to faculty/staff who are traveling internationally to help with out-of-pocket expenses.

Web Travel - Web-based software solution for submitting student travel expenses for reimbursement as well as requesting student Travel Advances. Using the airfare option, Web Travel is also used to reserve, ticket, and pay for airline tickets for students and guest travelers. More information is available on the University's Travel Services webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Subject: Travel Policy

  • Contact: Travel Services
  • Telephone: 919-962-0210
  • Fax: 919-962-2356
  • Emailtravel_team@unc.edu

Subject: Concur

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Article ID: 131466
Thu 4/8/21 9:09 PM
Mon 2/26/24 1:55 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Travel and Payment Card Services Manager
Next Review
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07/01/2024 12:00 AM
Last Review
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11/05/2023 9:54 AM
Last Revised
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11/05/2023 3:26 PM
Effective Date
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02/01/2023 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
08/02/2019 12:00 AM