Authority: Business Affairs
Date Enacted or Revised: November 16, 2015; Revised April 2016; January 2020; March 18, 2022
The purpose of this policy is to provide information relating to McNeese State University and Louisiana travel-related policies and procedures, including PPM 49.
Policy and Procedure Memorandum 49
By state law, McNeese State University, like other state agencies, must comply with PPM 49, the state’s mandatory travel regulations. In accordance with Louisiana Revised Statute 39:231B, the commissioner of administration prescribes the conditions under which state employees may travel, and the commissioner amends PPM 49 annually. Policy changes become effective on July 1 of each year. PPM 49 is considered official University policy, and employees are expected to abide by its provisions. Employees may obtain updated regulations from the Office of Administrative Accounting or from the Division of Administration website.
This policy and PPM 49, together, should be considered the University’s official travel policy. In any case, in which University policy and PPM 49 conflict, PPM 49 prevails.
Before employees may travel on University business, employees must receive official authorization from the president or the president’s designee(s). The president’s designees for approving travel authorization forms are vice presidents, associate vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, deans (both academic and non-academic), athletics director, and senior associate athletics directors for all employees under their supervision. This authorization is accomplished with the preparation and approval of the Request for Travel Form. The Request for Travel Form may be found under Employee Forms under the Employee tab on MyMcNeese. Travelers must submit a completed and approved Request for Travel Form to the Office of Administrative Accounting no later than one week prior to the scheduled date of departure.
The state of Louisiana contracts with a private travel agency for air travel-related services. All airline reservations must be made through the state’s contractor, Shorts Travel Management. If a traveler can obtain a rate lower than what Shorts Travel Management can provide, the traveler must first secure a written exception from the Office of State Procurement, Travel Section, before the traveler may book an air travel reservation outside Shorts Travel Management. For additional information concerning air travel, contact the Office of Purchasing and Property Control or contact the State Office of Procurement, Travel Section. See PPM 49 for more detailed information.
The state of Louisiana has contracted with a private contractor for reserving hotel rooms. State travelers may use HotelPlanner, the state’s contractor, for all in-state and out-of-state hotel/motel reservations or may use other means to minimize costs (per commissioner of administration memorandum dated January 12, 2016). Reimbursement cost limits apply. Additional mandatory rules and guidance concerning lodging, including guidance related to conference travel, may be found in PPM 49.
PPM 49 only allows reimbursement for meals for overnight travel away from the official domicile. PPM 49 also imposes limits on meal reimbursements based upon time of departure and arrival and based upon geographical location. See PPM 49 for details.
Employees may use rented, University-owned, or personal vehicles for University business transportation. Each type has its own specific policy provisions.
Employees must receive prior approval from the president or the assistant comptroller, the president’s designee, before renting a vehicle. Annual approval may be available for employees who rent vehicles on a regular basis. The state of Louisiana has contracted with certain private contractors for vehicle rentals, and employees must use these contracted vehicle rental companies when renting a vehicle. Other restrictions also apply. See PPM 49 for details.
University-owned vehicles are available to traveling employees who do not wish to rent a vehicle. The terms and conditions of using a University-owned vehicle may be found in the Vehicle Use Policy.
Employees who do not wish to use a rented vehicle or a University-owned vehicle may use their personal vehicle. Employees should be aware that PPM 49 will limit cost reimbursement to a maximum of 99 miles. Other terms and conditions of using a personal vehicle may be found in the Vehicle Use Policy and PPM 49.
PPM 49 allows limited travel related reimbursements for baggage, parking, and other incidental expenses. Receipts are generally required. See PPM 49 for details.
LaCarte Travel Card and Controlled Billed Account (CBA)
All group/team high-cost expenditures (airfare, lodging, vehicle rentals, and registration) must be placed on the LaCarte Travel Card or the University CBA program unless prior approval is granted from the commissioner of administration.
LaCarte Purchasing Card
The LaCarte Purchasing Card is a credit account issued in an employee’s name. The account is the direct liability of the state and is paid by McNeese. The LaCarte Purchasing Card enables employees to purchase items with the convenience of a credit card while providing a means of maintaining control over purchases. The use of the LaCarte Purchasing Card can improve efficiency and effectiveness by reducing costs associated with processing purchases and payments and will allow for the receipt of goods on a timely basis. Employees issued the LaCarte Purchasing Card for travel must use the card responsibly within the LaCarte Purchasing Card policy.
The following are allowable travel charges for the LaCarte Purchasing Card. Travel charges not listed below should not be placed on the card:
- State-contracted travel agency fees;
- Registration for conferences/workshops;
- Rental car;
- Parking (only with hotel stay and combined on invoice as well as Park-N-Fly parking);
- Internet services (only with hotel stay and combined on invoice);
- Gasoline for rental car and University-owned car only;
- Shuttle service (only when pre-paid prior to trip; not for individual ground transportation);
- Meals for group travel only; and
- Baggage fees for group travel only.
Controlled Billed Account (CBA)
The CBA is a credit account issued in in the name of McNeese State University (no plastic card issued), and charges are direct liabilities of the state and charges are paid by McNeese. The CBA is issued to the Office of Purchasing and Property Control. The CBA may be used for airfare, registration, rental cars, prepaid shuttle charges, lodging, any allowable lodging-associated charges such as parking and internet charges, and any other charges listed in the CBA Policy through the Office of Purchasing and Property Control.
Employees may obtain more detailed information regarding the appropriate use of the LaCarte Purchasing Card and the CBA from the Office of Administrative Accounting or from the Division of Administration website.
To be eligible for international travel, employees must complete the International Travel Approval Form and submit the form to the president for approval no less than 30 days before departure. The International Travel Approval Form may be found under Employee Forms under the Employee tab on the MyMcNeese Portal. International travel is not allowed without the president’s approval.
Within ten business days upon return from international travel, employees must itemize the costs of the international travel and submit the information to the Office of the President. The employee must also provide additional information as directed on the form. See PPM 49 for reimbursement limitations and other information relating to international travel.
Travel Expense Account Form
The University uses the Travel Expense Account Form (Form BA-12) for employee travel accounting and reimbursement. A Travel Expense Account Form must be completed and submitted to the Office of Administrative Accounting upon completion of travel unless the only expense incurred is the usage of a University automobile, in which case, the Office of Administrative Accounting should be notified in writing.
All claims for reimbursement for travel shall be submitted on Form BA-12 (which can be found under Employee Forms under the Employee tab on the MyMcNeese Portal) and shall include all expenses related to the trip whether paid by PO, LaCarte Purchasing Card, or personal funds. Notate on the form if expense was paid with a PO or LaCarte Purchasing Card. All receipts for lodging, taxi, rental vehicles, parking, tolls, airfare, etc. must be attached. If travel is for a conference or convention, a program agenda must be attached. Claims shall be submitted within the month following travel.
Funds for Travel Expenses
Persons traveling on official business are expected to provide themselves with sufficient funds for all routine travel expenses that cannot be covered by the LaCarte Purchasing Card.
Cash advances for business travel are available under limited circumstances as listed below. Advances should be punctually repaid when submitting the Form BA-12 covering the related travel no later than the fifteenth day of the month following the completion of travel. Employees who have not returned and reconciled prior outstanding advances will not be provided with additional advances until they have done so. Disregarding the 15-day policy may result in disallowing of any advances in the future. Cash advances must be picked up in person at the Office of Administrative Accounting.
At the discretion of the University, cash advances may be allowed in the following circumstances:
- Employees whose salary is less than $30,000/year;
- Employees who accompany and/or are responsible for students on group/client travel;
- New employees who are infrequent travelers or have not had time to apply for and receive a LaCarte Purchasing Card;
- Employees traveling for extended periods, defined as 31 or more consecutive days;
- Employees traveling to remote destinations in foreign countries;
- Advanced ticket/lodging purchase; and
- Registration for seminars, conferences and conventions.
Traveling expenses shall be limited to those expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of a public purpose authorized by law to be performed by the University and must be within the limitations prescribed within University policy.
Travel Without Cost
There will be no reimbursement when no cost is incurred by the traveler. This includes but is not limited to reimbursements for any lodging and/or meals furnished at a state institution or other state agency, or furnished by any other party at no cost to the traveler. In no case will a traveler be allowed mileage or transportation when they are gratuitously transported by another person.
Employees who receive complimentary admission, registration, lodging, and/or transportation from outside vendors must report information according to La. R.S. 42:1123 (41) on the Complimentary Admission, Registration, Lodging, and/or Transportation Request Form. The form must be completed with the travel request. For more information, see the Complimentary Admission, Registration, Lodging and/or Transportation Policy.
This policy is distributed via the Administrative Advisory Council and the University Policies webpage.