1501.5 - Procedure on Per Diem Rates



This procedure ensures compliance with State of North Carolina travel regulations as defined by the legislature and communicates current rates as set by the NC Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), US General Services Administration (GSA), US Department of State, and Department of Defense as applicable.

Scope of Applicability

This procedure applies to all employees (faculty, staff, employed students, and senior University administrators) and non-employees (non-employed students, independent contractors, and University affiliates).


University faculty, staff, students, affiliates, and independent contractors may be reimbursed for subsistence expenses incurred while traveling on University business. Subsistence is an allowance related to lodging and meal costs (including gratuities). For the purposes of determining eligibility for allowances, travel status means being at least 35 miles from the employee's normal duty station or home and, while traveling, the employee must be acting in his/her official capacity as required by his/her work activities. Reimbursements will be made at the amount authorized by State regulations, unless a higher allowance (excess subsistence) has been specifically approved by the sponsoring agency.

Standard North Carolina Subsistence Rates are located on the UNC Finance Travel Allowances website.  OSBM revises the subsistence rates on July 1 of each odd-numbered year based on the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. 

University travelers are only eligible for reimbursement of meals when they make an overnight trip. Partial day reimbursement is possible when the partial day is the day of departure or return for a trip, but it must be in conjunction with an overnight trip taken. No excess reimbursement will be allowed for meals unless there are predetermined charges, or the meals were for out-of-country travel. Concur will populate the correct subsistence rate based on the trip type, dates of travel, and meals selected by the employee.

University travelers may claim reimbursement for the following meals, if:

  • Breakfast: depart duty station prior to 6 a.m.
  • Lunch: depart duty station prior to Noon (day of departure) or return to duty station after 2:00 p.m. (day of return).
  • Dinner: depart duty station prior to 5:00 p.m. (day of departure) or return to duty station after 8:00 p.m. (day of return).

Reimbursement of meals outside of overnight travel is not permitted.

Tips for meals are included in the meal allowance. The cost of meals included in other related activities (registration fees, conference costs, hotel registration, etc.) may not be duplicated in reimbursement requests.  An employee may be reimbursed, if requested, for breakfast even if their lodging establishment offers a free breakfast. 

Federal Rates and International Rates

When traveling internationally and using federal funds, travelers may use the US Department of State's Foreign per diem rates. Rates are established monthly for Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE).

When traveling within the Continental United States (CONUS) and using federal funds, travelers may use the US General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rates

Rates are updated on an annual basis for Meals & Incidental Expense (M&IE).

When traveling to Hawaii, Alaska, or the US Territories and Possessions and using federal funds, travelers may use the Department of Defense's per diem rates. Rates are updated at least once a year for Local Meals and Local Incidentals.

All rates are loaded in Concur and will populate based on the dates and location of travel, and the meals selected by the traveler for reimbursement. First and last day of travel, including incidentals, will automatically be calculated at 75% of the day's total rate.


Please refer to Finance Policy 1501 - Policy on Business Travel for a list of common definitions.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contacts
Subject Contact Telephone Fax Email
Travel Policy Travel Services 919-962-0210 919-962-2356 travel_team@unc.edu
Concur Travel Services 919-962-0210 919-962-2356 concur@unc.edu


Article ID: 131467
Thu 4/8/21 9:09 PM
Fri 7/30/21 11:40 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
08/03/2021 12:00 AM
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
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
07/30/2021 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/30/2021 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
07/01/2023 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
08/02/2019 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget