Financial Affairs Policies


UMB Policy on Business Travel for UMB Employees and Nonemployees

Financial Affairs   |   Approved February 24, 2023

Responsible VP/AVP

Dawn M. Rhodes, DBA, MBA

Revision History

Signed December 14, 2017, effective January 1, 2018.

Signed February 20, 2023, effective February 20, 2023.



  1. To further define and support the University System of Maryland Policy on University System Travel.
  2. To establish requirements for authorization of travel and travel Safety and Security for those engaged in UMB Business Travel.
  3. To allow the use of UMB funds to pay for authorized allowable Business Travel expenses.
  4. To establish requirements and payment guidelines for Business Travel expenses.
  5. To meet the Internal Revenue Code requirements for an IRS Accountable Plan, thereby allowing payments made to, or on behalf of the traveler, to be excluded from taxable income.
  6. To meet federal cost regulations under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards from the Office of Management and Budget (Uniform Guidance) to satisfy requirements for reasonableness, allowability, allocability.


Policy Statement

In the course of UMB business, UMB Employees and Nonemployees may engage in Business Travel on behalf of UMB.  UMB resources (e.g. procedures, travel administrators, Global Hub, Enterprise Risk Management) are available to facilitate travel and travel arrangements to protect travelers from harm and against the risk of loss, while maintaining controls for accountability, Safety and Security.  UMB Funds may be used for authorized allowable expenses that are directly related to the business purpose of the trip, evidenced by receipts and/or other supporting documentation, and fall within the guidelines set forth in this Policy and .  Travel arrangements or payments that do not comply with this Policy and Related Policies and Procedures may result in denial of payment, return of any payments to UMB that were made to, or on behalf of, the traveler, and/or disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Planning and Booking

Airfare must be booked using the UMB Travel and Expense System, except under either of the following conditions:

  • Purchasing airfare for regional travel between two or more foreign countries (i.e. where the countries of departure, transit (as applicable), and destination do not include the U.S.). All legs of flight travel departing from, transiting through, or arriving to the U.S. must be purchased through the UMB Travel and Expense System.

In cases when international travel satisfies one of the above conditions and is not booked through the UMB Travel and Expense System, the traveler is required to manually input the entire itinerary into the international travel registry.

Whenever possible, individuals should book their flights well in advance of travel and use discount rates available to UMB through the UMB Travel and Expense System to obtain the least expensive logical fares and rates for expenses such as airfare, hotel, and transportation services as described in the Office of the Controller (“OOTC”) Procedure on Business Travel.

Under extraordinary circumstances (e.g. health-related requirements, severe weather conditions), travel arrangements that result in higher costs may be allowable, and payments for costs normally disallowed may be approved. 

Individuals should also be aware of travel advisories and take necessary precautions to mitigate risks to travelers.  In the case of International Travel, and as applicable according to UMB procedures, the traveler must complete all required UMB Safety and Security briefings and training prior to travel.


  1. Approval of Business Travel is required prior to booking and commencement of all Business Travel, as described in the Procedure on Business Travel.
  2. Approval for International Travel must follow the steps described on the Global Hub website and the Procedure on Business Travel. Approval of travel to destinations identified as high risk must be obtained from the International Operations department prior to booking in the UMB Travel and Expense System.
  3. Travel authorization requests and payments must be approved by (a) the traveler’s supervisor (for UMB Employee travelers) in accordance with UMB Policy VIII-14.00 (A) Policy on Approval, Payment and Reimbursement of Personal Business-Related Expenses of UMB Employees, and (b) by a trained travel administrator, and (c) by a person with fiscal authority for each funding source identified on the payment request (for all travelers). Approvers are responsible for compliance and must only approve requests and payments that are in compliance.
  4. Students must also obtain approval to travel according to the academic policies (e.g. attendance) of the school in which the student is enrolled.
  5. Operational Units have the right to reject all or part of payments at the discretion of the Operational Unit’s approvers. 
  6. A travel expense payment processed in the Travel and Expense System is not considered fully approved until the final approver in the system workflow has approved it.

Types of Expenses

Business Travel expenses charged to UMB funds must be reasonable, necessary, allowable, and incurred to fulfill a bona fide business purpose of UMB.  The reasonableness of an expense depends upon many relevant factors, including the business purpose of the travel, the destination, and the duration of travel.  Allowable and unallowable expenses are listed in the Procedure on Business Travel


  1. Payments for Business Travel expenses must comply with IRS regulations and are subject to the guidelines, restrictions, and requirements described in this Policy and related OOTC Procedure on Business Travel.  Within these guidelines Business Travel expenses may be an allowable use of UMB Funds.
  2. UMB has established procedures to conform to the IRS Accountable Plan To qualify for payment, Business Travel expenses must satisfy the IRS requirements for deductible expenses and must be UMB allowable expenses.
  3. UMB payments for lodging expenses are based on the standard room rate as evidenced on submitted receipts. Federal per diem rates are used as guidelines to determine reasonableness.
  4. Travel meals are reimbursed using per diem rates established by federal agencies. Maximum rates are not entitlements. The maximum amount allowable for travel meals is established by:

    a. the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for domestic travel

    b. the U.S. Department of State for international travel

    c. the U.S. Department of Defense for Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories, and Possessions 

  5. Mileage driven is reimbursed using standard rates established by USM.
  6. UMB payments for other allowable travel expenses paid by an individual are based on actual costs paid, as evidenced on submitted receipts as described in the Procedure on Business Travel.
  7. Insurance requirements are described in the Procedure on Business Travel.
  8. Operational Units have the authority to reduce or prohibit payments based on limited availability of funds, availability of lower cost alternatives, specific requirements of funding sources, or determinations that requests for payment include unreasonable expenses.
  9. Business Travel authorization requests and travel expense payments must include sufficient documentation to support the purpose and cost of the trip.
  10. Travel expense advances are prohibited except for limited circumstances related to international travel.
  11. Business Travel funded by a sponsor must comply with the terms set forth in the sponsor’s grant or contract with UMB. However, payments of Business Travel expenses cannot exceed the limits set forth in this Policy and related Procedures on Business Travel.

Applies to:

  1. UMB Employees and Nonemployees traveling on behalf of UMB
  2. UMB Employees and Authorized Affiliate Employees with travel or payment approval responsibilities



Academic Travel – A trip undertaken by a student for academic study or other UMB academic purposes.  Examples include field trips, study abroad, trips sponsored by student organizations, and trips funded by student fees.  Academic Travel is not directly funded by UMB.

Authorized Affiliate Employee - Person employed by an entity that has a relationship with UMB authorized by the Board of Regents or by law, e.g., faculty practice plan organizations, University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation (UMBF) and other affiliated foundations, recognized incorporated alumni associations, recognized affiliated business entities, University of Maryland Medical System/University of Maryland Medical Center, and other University System of Maryland institutions.  An Authorized Affiliate Employee is responsible for the administration and reporting of UMB resources. 

Business Travel – A trip undertaken for UMB business purposes or UMB Employee work-related business.  Business Travel includes travel of UMB Employees who participate in Academic Travel as part of their job functions.  It also includes travel by UMB Employees that is not paid for by UMB Funds.  Business Travel excludes an Employee’s regular commute between home and the workplace.

Domestic Travel – Travel solely within the U.S. and U.S. territories.

Employee –Includes (but is not limited to) all types (regular, contingent I and contingent II) and classes (faculty, staff, students, post-doctoral fellows) of individuals who receive compensation from UMB through the State of Maryland Central Payroll Bureau.

International Travel – Travel with a departure from, transit through, or destination outside the U.S. and U.S. Territories.

IRS Accountable Plan- A method for making payments to Employees, or on behalf of Employees, for business expenses that complies with IRS regulations.  If the IRS rules for an IRS Accountable Plan are followed, then payments made to Employees or to a third party on behalf of the Employee, are not required to be treated as taxable income.

Nonemployee – An individual who does not receive wages through the UMB payroll system and whose travel counts as UMB business travel, and some, or all, of their travel is charged to UMB Funds. Examples include job applicants, lecturers, consultants, researchers, and students. 

Operational Unit – Schools, divisions, departments, etc.

Safety and Security – Safety is primarily concerned with unintentional, natural, or accidental acts or events. Security is primarily concerned with intentional acts of violence and other harm.

UMB Funds – All funds administered by UMB, regardless of fund source.  UMB Funds include State-appropriated general funds, tuition, fees, other income, auxiliary funds, revolving/discretionary funds, Designated Research Initiative Funds, gifts, contract or grant revenues, and other restricted funds.

Scope and Exceptions


This Policy applies to all UMB Business Travel, whether Domestic or International, for day trips, overnight trips, in-state, out-of-state, and international trips.  Business Travel includes planning and booking, safety and security, travel approvals, and the authorization and payment of travel expenses for transportation, lodging, meals, and other expenses described in Procedures on Business Travel.


  1. This Policy does not apply to student Academic Travel.
  2. This Policy does not apply to business food/meal purchases. See UMB Policy VIII-99.00 (A) – Food and Business Meals Expense.
  3. This Policy does not apply to payments to research study participants. See UMB Policy VIII-99.00 (B) – Research Study Participant Payments.
  4. This Policy does not apply to travel expenses related to Employee relocations. See UMB Policy VIII – 16.00 (A) – UMB Policy on Payment of Moving and Relocation Expenses.
  5. Employees who are expatriates may be subject to travel provisions specific to the Operational Unit authorizing the travel. Please consult your appropriate Travel Administrator.
  6. UMB will not pay for Business Travel expenses that were not actually incurred. For example, an individual may not seek reimbursement for the cost of airfare if the cost was covered by frequent flyer miles.  Similarly, an individual may not seek reimbursement by per diem or by reimbursement claim for complimentary transportation, lodging, meals, or any other miscellaneous expenses paid by a third party (e.g., a host institution, another agency).
  7. UMB will not pay for expenses incurred for personal convenience or preference, or otherwise not required to fulfill the business purpose of the travel. Examples include, but are not limited to, U.S. Trusted Traveler programs and airport lounge access.

Exceptions/Request Process:

Exceptions to this Policy must be approved in writing by the Chief Business and Finance Officer (CBFO) or designee.   Requests must be submitted to the University Controller using the Policy Exception Form available on the Office of the Controller website.  Requests must be signed by the Dean/Vice President or Associate Dean/AVP.

Roles and Responsibilities

International Operations (IO)

Under the direction of the CBFO, is responsible for establishing procedures to promote the Safety and Security of UMB international travelers and to promote compliance with the portions of this Policy related to International Travel.

Office of the Controller (OOTC)

Under the direction of the CBFO, is responsible for establishing procedures to promote compliance with this Policy and to adhere to proper taxation under IRS regulations.

All Employees and Authorized Affiliate Employees involved in initiating, approving, or processing travel authorization requests or travel expense payments are required to follow the rules set forth in travel and related policies and procedures. Individuals who travel without proper authorization, improperly authorize travel, or improperly submit travel expense payment claims may be subject to disciplinary action and may be referred for criminal investigation and possible prosecution. Travel that is not in accordance with this Policy that has been charged to UMB Funds must be reimbursed to UMB from personal funds or by authorized transfer of funds held by an affiliated organization.  Funds not properly reimbursed may be recovered by UMB through any available, lawful means, including referral of debt to the State Central Collection Unit.


See UMB Financial Services Procedure - Business Travel

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