The following are policies related to business travel for Calvin College staff and faculty.
- Purpose and principles
Purpose of the travel policy
This travel policy exists primarily for three reasons. The first is to ensure that Calvin’s budgeted travel dollars are spent as effectively as possible. To accomplish this end, various procedures are prescribed through which Calvin can utilize its buying power to secure preferred rates and optimal arrangements. Calvin’s policy to use just one travel agency, for example, enables that agency to compile Calvin’s travel statistics and use that information to secure for us preferred status with various travel service providers. Our policies also equip our travel agency staff with the parameters they need to ensure that Calvin’s travel dollars are spent consistently campus-wide.
A second important purpose for having a college travel policy is to ensure institutional compliance with federal regulations regarding what the Internal Revenue Service prescribes under their “accountable plan” rules. The IRS requires that accountable plans include all three of the following elements:
- expenses must have a business purpose;
- there must be an adequate accounting by the employee to the employer for these expenses;
- excess cash advances or reimbursements must be returned within a reasonable period of time.
Failure to comply with these requirements will result in an employee having to claim as personal income the costs incurred by the college for his or her business-related travel. While this may appear to be burdensome and bureaucratic, this process is nonetheless a requisite for compliance with federal income tax regulations. For more information regarding accountable plan rules, please view the IRS Publication 463 and refer to Chapter 6 of that document.
Finally, the most important purpose for having a college travel policy is to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Requiring driver safety training, paying attention to travel warnings in different countries, and setting standards for conduct while traveling will help us protect lives and uphold the college’s reputation.
Principles for establishing college travel policy
Calvin’s travel policies are designed:
- to reflect the college’s mission and culture. Therefore, keeping in mind Proverbs 30:7 –9—“Give me neither poverty nor riches...” and the theology of John Calvin—“Give me neither asceticism nor self-indulgence”, college personnel should travel with cheerful moderation. Choose meals, accommodations and other travel necessities that fall in the responsible middle between threadbare and opulent. In short, use good judgment.
- to be cognizant of the conflict that sometimes exists between the use of the traveler’s personal/family time and the most cost-effective options for spending college funds;
- to be guidelines for the effective stewardship of Calvin’s budgeted travel dollars;
- with a presumption that travel is for legitimate business purposes—the responsibility for validating legitimacy of travel rests upon the individual and his/her supervisor/chair;
- to be consistent with the Rules of Conduct and Working Relationships as written in the Employee Handbook for Non-Faculty.
Expense reports/cash advances
In order for Calvin’s travel policy to satisfy Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements for accountable plans, travelers must complete a business Travel Expense Report and also a Cash Advance Form if necessary. If inappropriate documentation is given for travel expenses, such expenses must be reported by Calvin as taxable income to the employee on his/her W-2 form at year-end.
Expense Report (travel reimbursement)
All travelers must fill out an Expense Report to report expenses incurred while traveling and to document all reimbursements requested due to travel. The traveler and his/her department chair/supervisor must sign the report. This report must be submitted to the Financial Services Office within 30 working days after completion of the trip. Please attach original receipts or customer copies identifying the name/address of the business, the date, itemized properly signed or stamped, if appropriate, to indicate that payment has been made for the service or products purchased. If same receipts are needed to document expenses on your college American Express Statement, attach originals to credit card statement and make copies for the Expense Report. All expenses must be stated in U.S. dollars.
Cash Advance Form
Cash Advances can be obtained by completing a Cash Advance Form and submitting it to a Financial Services teller. The repayment of cash advances is the responsibility of the traveler and he/she should complete the bottom portion of the Cash Advance Form and return to Financial Services. Repayment of Cash Advances can be made with either a personal check or with the remaining cash. Do not send cash remittances through ICM—hand deliver them to Financial Services Office. All Cash Advances must be reconciled within 30 days of being issued.
Reimbursable expenses (all require receipts)
- Lodging: A copy of the original hotel bill itemizing all charges;
- Meals: Receipts are required for all meal expenses and should reflect amount of the tip;
- Car rental: If arrangements have not been made through either Carlson Wagonlit or Calvin Physical Plant, a copy of the car rental agreement is required;
- Taxi/bus/limo/shuttle: A receipt, if available, is required for all forms of private transportation;
- City bus/subway: No receipt is required;
- Parking/tolls: Provide a receipt for all individual amounts, when available;
- Entertainment expenses: A receipt is required for the expense regardless of amount and explanation is required on Expense Report.
- Phone calls: Necessary long distance telephone calls and messages made while traveling are reimbursable. One personal call, of reasonable length, per day is reimbursable.
- Other expenses: A receipt for all other expenses is required regardless of amount.
- Expense without required documentation;
- Mileage reimbursement requests which do not document the starting and ending locations;
- Demonstrate no clear, college business purpose;
- Unreasonable amount spent;
- Incremental expenses associated with spouse/family travel unrelated to business;
- Personal expenses such as personal services, entertainment (including in-room movies), travel risk insurance, parking tickets and traffic violations, personal vehicle repairs, or personal credit card membership fees and charges.
Forms and Excel documents
Group health insurance
Calvin’s group health insurance and/or worker’s compensation is in force whenever you travel for college business. Travelers should carry their health insurance identification cards with them at all times. When traveling outside the U.S. for more than 90 days (sabbaticals, Off Campus Program Directors), please contact Human Resources so that additional coverage can be purchased.
When travel services have been purchased with a PNC Visa Card $200,000 in accidental death is provided. Therefore, the purchase of additional flight insurance is a personal expense to the traveler and is not reimbursable.
Personal property loss and damaged luggage
While the traveler is on college business, Calvin is generally not responsible for personal property damage or loss. It is presumed that travelers carry insurance on their personal property. In addition, charging transportation expenses to the PNC card activates lost luggage locator service. Any additional luggage insurance purchased is a personal expense to the traveler and is not reimbursable. Damaged luggage must be brought to the attention of the responsible airline within 24 hours of flight arrival at the particular airport location. Typically, the airline repairs the luggage or compensates you to have it repaired. Airline liability is limited to $1,250. In the event you file a luggage claim with an airline, please notify Carlson Wagonlit so they may follow-up on your behalf.
The airline is liable for certain expenses incurred by a passenger due to delayed or lost luggage. Notify Calvin Travel Office at extension 6-6810 or check with the responsible airline before incurring costs for items such as toiletries, clothing, equipment and rental.
- Spouse/friend travel
Spouses, family members, or friends may accompany Calvin faculty or staff members on business trips. However, any additional costs incurred because of these additional travelers are non-reimbursable. Fees normally assessed by Carlson Wagonlit for personal travel arrangements are waived for one individual who accompanies a Calvin faculty or staff member on a Calvin business trip.
When personal travel is combined with college business travel, Calvin cannot assume any additional costs associated with the non-business portion of the trip. Unless they are an integral part of a larger college business charge, these additional expenses are not to be paid by the college. Additional expenses should be paid directly by the faculty or staff member or by the individual(s) accompanying them on the trip. Should the college pay any of these costs, it should be reimbursed promptly.
- Travel reservations
All Calvin College faculty and staff are to use the services of Carlson Wagonlit to make all reservations for air travel, lodging, Amtrak and rental cars.
If you do not have a personal travel profile, which gives Carlson Wagonlit necessary personal travel information, please contact Cristi at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will create a basic travel profile for you, which will auto-generate a message to your Calvin email with instructions on where to go online to register your travel account.
Carlson Wagonlit provides a full range of travel agency services including, but not limited to:
- Scheduling air travel on commercial airlines and rail travel on Amtrak with consideration given to the traveler’s convenience balanced with cost-effectiveness to the college;
- Making reservations for motels/hotels and rental cars that are respectable and satisfactory to the traveler and within the guidelines established by the college;
- Providing the traveler with an itinerary including electronic tickets, confirmations and schedules;
- Providing group transportation.
Travelers may retain any travel incentive awards resulting from Calvin business trips. However, options that would entail a higher expense in order to attain personal travel awards (e.g. frequent flyer miles) may not be used.
Flexibility in booking
Carlson Wagonlit recommends the lowest reasonable fare, regardless of carrier. “Lowest reasonable fare” takes into consideration the fare, length of layover, and shortest possible route. The traveler must choose the most appropriate and cost-effective option.
- Airfares within two hours prior and two hours following requested departure and arrival time are quoted. If your schedule allows you to be more flexible than this, please advise the agent.
- When relevant, travelers are presented with air travel options that entail a Saturday night stay-over, which is usually significantly lower in cost. The decision for selecting this option must be made by the traveler and his/her department chair/supervisor.
- On occasions where ten (10) or more travelers plan to leave and arrive at the same destination, savings can be obtained by entering into a group contract. For information on making these arrangements, please see the Group Travel dropdown below.
- Chartering of non-commercial aircraft by Calvin College faculty and staff must be coordinated through Financial Services to ensure use of operators who meet commercial safety standards.
Making arrangements in advance
Every effort should be made to secure travel arrangements as far in advance as possible. At a minimum, tickets should be purchased at least seven days prior to the travel date. Making reservation 21 or more days in advance provides the best opportunity to obtain the lowest possible cost.
Types of airline tickets
- First Class travel is not allowed. Coach Class must be used for domestic travel—which includes 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In the case of international travel—when documented quotations are obtained that show business class costs are the same or lower than coach class, business class is allowed.
- Non-refundable tickets provide significant cost savings and should be used whenever possible.
- If a weekend is spent on the road to save the college money, costs for additional weekend meals and hotel are reimbursed as long as these costs do not exceed the airfare savings.
Changing tickets/unused tickets
- Changing tickets: when you are traveling and you find it necessary to change any portion of your airline ticket, contact Carlson Wagonlit Travel. During normal business hours contact Cristi at email@example.com or 888-534-6810 and outside regular business hours call the after-hours emergency at 800-448-3097. If you are at the airport, an airline agent can also make changes.
- Unused tickets: Should you be unable to take an airline trip as scheduled, please contact Carlson Wagonlit to ensure any potential refund may be secured on your behalf. A refund may be offered for non-refundable tickets when the carrier cannot fulfil its obligation to operate as scheduled due to weather, maintenance, or other factors. If you need to cancel ahead of your trip, nonrefundable tickets will be tracked for reuse to minimize any loss to the college. Refundable tickets will be credited to the card used for the purchase.
Travelers must use the most economical parking facilities available within reason. This is normally the airport long-term lot. Travelers will be personally responsible for use of premium parking services, e.g., airport valet parking.
The major airlines have special service club rooms in many of the larger airports. Membership in travel club may be purchased at the personal expense of the traveler and is not reimbursable by the college.
Phone usage on airplanes
Airtime and roam charges for calls related specifically to Calvin College business are reimbursable, when other telephone communications are unavailable. Due to the expense of airplane telephone charges, this service should only be used if absolutely necessary.
Carlson Wagonlit travel services
Calvin College has selected Carlson Wagonlit to provide travel services to those who travel on behalf of Calvin College . This company was selected by a team of Calvin faculty and staff through a thorough evaluation process. Calvin has elected to consolidate all travel reservations through Carlson Wagonlit for the following reasons:
- solid, established and proven travel management program;
- desire to position a travel agent on campus;
- ability to facilitate for the college preferred cost contracts with travel service providers;
- standardization of travel services;
- consistency of service;
- maximization of savings opportunities via consolidation;
- savings opportunities continuously evaluated based on total travel volume.
The performance of Calvin’s selected travel management company is reviewed on an annual basis.
To better serve you, a Carlson Wagonlit office has been established on campus in office #369 of the Spoelhof Center. You may communicate with Travel Services via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by dialing x6-6810 on campus or 616-526-6810 (or toll free at 888-534-6810) from off campus. The after-hours emergency number is 1-800-448-3097.
- Internet reservations
Internet reservations for Calvin business should only be made via www.mycwt.com.
No reservations should be made with any other travel website. All reservations should be made through Carlson Wagonlit as:
- Calvin tracks all travel arrangements made and costs incurred. Travel itineraries and destinations are obtained for safety purposes.
- Airlines continually modify their prices both from day to day and throughout each day. Thus, prices for any given itinerary may be reduced more than once between the time of the purchase and the departure time. Carlson Wagonlit’s system continuously monitors its bookings from the time of purchase and rebooks any and all bookings whenever the price goes down and a net savings can be achieved. Calvin receives a credit voucher for the difference without any penalties. Internet services do not provide this service, nor is it reasonably possible for individuals to either perform this monitoring function on a continuous basis, or to do what would be necessary to receive the full credits for such savings. Calvin has saved thousands of dollars through the use of this monitoring system.
- Carlson Wagonlit’s travel agent is able to inform you about details regarding cheaper flights, for example, double connections or layovers, that you either didn’t know or notice.
- Calvin receives the full commission for any business flights booked by Carlson Wagonlit. When flights are booked elsewhere, that commission is lost; the net cost of tickets not booked through Carlson Wagonlit is approximately 9% more expensive. These commissions are used to offset the cost of having a Carlson Wagonlit staff person in-house.
- When airline tickets are purchased through Carlson Wagonlit, Calvin earns points with a number of airlines and those points are redeemed for dozens of free tickets each year.
- Should you encounter any problems whatsoever with your reservations, Carlson Wagonlit is always no more than a telephone call away. It is uncertain as to what options are available to those who have purchased tickets via the internet, particularly when the need is urgent.
- This policy is not to be construed in any way as an unfair trade practice. The software systems used by travel agencies is obtained from independent, third party vendors, which could very well indeed be producing software systems being used by many of the internet-based airline ticket vendors. Carlson Wagonlit is committed to providing Calvin with the lowest possible travel costs and is working with these vendors for solutions that ensure our cognizance of the lowest possible airline rates every time.
When someone is aware of a less expensive flight itinerary than is offered through Carlson Wagonlit system, the information for that flight—dates, airline and flight details—are to be conveyed to Cristi so she can check on availability and price through her reservation system.
Periodically you may see a lower ticket price being offered online and it is likely a basic economy fare. Due to the very restrictive nature of the basic economy fare, Calvin does not want these fares being purchased and therefore has opted out of having basic economy fares provided as an option through Calvin travel services. A Basic Economy fare is highly restrictive and typically carries the following rules:
- pre-assigned seats not allowed (not even for purchase)
- No carry-on bag but only a small personal item to fit under seat
- Ticket changes not allowed. Ticket is completely non-changeable with no exceptions, meaning there is no value if not used exactly as booked
- Loyalty privileges do not apply
- Limit on mileage points earned
Exceptions to these guidelines prohibiting on-line reservations must be discussed in advance and receive specific approval from the Director of Financial Services or Vice President for Administration, Finance and Information Services.
Should there be any comments or questions regarding this policy, please do not hesitate to contact Sally Vander Ploeg by calling x67112 or by email (email@example.com).
To maximize savings opportunities and provide accurate reporting, lodging reservations must be made through CWT. Reservations can be made three ways:
- MyCWT online www.mycwt.com/ and on the main page click on EXPRESS HOTEL BOOKING*
- MyCWT mobile app CWT’s To Go™ app
- Calvin's on-site travel
*A feature we’d like to highlight is the EXPRESS HOTEL BOOKING tool which gives the best selection and pricing on hotels. In addition to any special Calvin and CWT rates, we’ve also partnered with aggregator websites (expedia.com and booking.com) to offer, where possible, expanded content such as hostels and apartments. Some special rates are nonrefundable, so please verify penalties carefully The express hotel booking tool is available to you on MyCWT online and also on the My CWT mobile app. You are welcome to book hotels for business or leisure purposes.
When special rates for air travel and lodging are provided for a conference, call Carlson Wagonlit to confirm that the conference pricing is the best option available. Should it not be, Carlson Wagonlit will make the arrangements. Should the conference pricing be the best option, Carlson Wagonlit advises you to make the arrangements as noted on the registration form, alternatively, they can make the reservation for you.
A single room with a private bath in a suitable, moderately priced hotel is the college standard – balancing quality, price and security. Examples of moderately priced hotels the college recommends are: Marriott Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Holiday Inn, and Hampton Inn.
Laundry and dry cleaning
The cost of laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing services utilized away from home is reimbursable when the business trip exceeds five days.
Necessary long distance phone calls and messages incurred while traveling is reimbursable. Allowable calls include those that are necessary for college-related business and one personal call, of reasonable length, per day. Do not charge phone calls on your American Express Card. Please use a Qwest Card available through CIT when making long distance phone calls from hotel rooms.
The following gratuities are recommended: $1 for doormen, $1/bag for bellman/skycaps, and $2/day for housekeeping.
In room movies, theater, and other forms of personal entertainment expenses are not reimbursed. Health club charges are also not reimbursed.
Canceling a hotel reservation
If travel plans change and it becomes necessary for you to cancel a hotel reservation, if you made the reservation on the CWT’s online booking tool or the CWT To Go™ app, you can cancel the reservation in the same way you made the reservation. During normal business hours, you can also contact our CWT onsite travel agent to make the changes. If it is after hours, please contact emergency services at 800-448-3097. You may also contact the hotel directly to cancel your reservation and make sure to ask for a cancellation number.
Staying with friends, family or alumni
At various times you may have the opportunity to meet with and stay with friends, family, or alumni in conjunction with college travel. If you are a guest for dinner, you may offer a gift of a Calvin insignia item or something else which can be purchased at the Campus Store, the value of which not to exceed $25. Should their hospitality include overnight accommodations, the value of this gift may be increased, but is not to exceed $50. Please note that all gifts require a receipt, regardless of amount.
Read Calvin’s recently updated meal policy.
Necessary, reasonable, and properly documented meal expenses are reimbursable. The cost of college business meals is reimbursable. However, meals should occur in surroundings conducive to college business discussions and for the primary purpose of fostering college relations. The meals must not be for personal or social purposes, nor merely reciprocal. A college business meal may occur in the home of a faculty or staff member provided it serves a specific college business purpose.
- The per diem limit for meal expenses is $31.00. If a person exceeds this amount, you may be required to show why this level of spending was justified or part of the expense may be considered personal. Please check the per diem rates in other cities and countries by accessing this information at the beginning of the Travel Website.
- Meals are paid by the college only if they are “directly related” or “associated” with the active conduct of college business and must be shown as such on the Expense Report. “Directly related” refers to meals when the principal purpose is the promotion of Calvin College and/or fostering positive college relations. “Associated” refers to a meal to develop goodwill or foster college business discussion and is only deductible if it precedes or follows a substantial and bona fide college business discussion and if they occur on the same day.
- Receipts are required for all meal expenses.
- IRS Reporting Requirements: The Internal Revenue Code requires specific details for business meal expenses. These details must be provided with the Expense Report in order to obtain reimbursement.
- People, place and purpose
The college recommends a 15% gratuity for groups of 1 – 5 and 18% for groups of 6 or more. Gratuity amounts beyond the recommended 18%, regardless of reason, are the responsibility of the individual diner/traveler.
- Ground transport/car rental
A mid-size sedan is the college standard; a full-size vehicle is booked only when three or more travelers are traveling together in the same vehicle. Larger vehicles, such as vans, are booked only when there is a specific need.
Defensive driver’s training course required
Calvin College has been mandated to require all operators of any (including your own) motor vehicles used for Calvin business/activities to complete a defensive driver’s training course. Every driver (instructors and students) must submit a completed Motor Vehicle Driving Release Form to the Physical Plant office in order to be registered for the online training course. The release form is included in the Instructor’s Packet on the Web site. Additional online courses are required if you need authorization to drive a van. Please mark the driver’s release accordingly.
Once enrolled, you will receive an email from a company called AlertDriving. They will give you a user name and password to use at their website to take the courses and pass the tests. The physical plant office will be notified of your successful completion of the course and will send you an endorsement sticker to put on the back of your Calvin ID card authorizing you to drive for Calvin College. The college’s Transportation Policy may be found on the Physical Plant Web page under “Policies”.
Renting vehicles for use in the U.S.
- All persons driving rented vehicles in the U.S. need to have a copy of Calvin’s insurance and accident report form with them when traveling. Copies are available from the physical plant office.
- Arrangements for vehicle rentals or bus requests for groups departing from Grand Rapids must be made via Calvin’s Physical Plant at (616) 526-6843.
- Arrangements for “non-local” rentals (vehicles to be available at your destination—not in Grand Rapids) should be made by contacting the Calvin travel service office.
- In Canada or U.S. territories or possessions, do not pay additional fees for any type of insurance coverage. Be sure to carry the insurance and accident report forms with you while traveling.
- Do not refuel a rental vehicle before returning it to Calvin’s Physical Plant service building. Calvin can refuel the vehicle at a lower cost than retail.
Renting vehicles and insurance for outside the U.S.
- In countries other than the U.S., primary liability coverage must be purchased from the rental agency. Collision damage insurance is triggered by the use of a Calvin-issued credit card. If you have questions regarding this policy, please contact Calvin’s Physical Plant at (616) 526-6843.
- Use your Calvin-issued credit card to pay the rental fees for all international rentals.
- Rental companies are increasingly asking for the names of drivers and driver’s license numbers that will be driving the vehicle.
- Refuel a rental vehicle before returning it to a rental agency. Rental agency refueling fees are significantly higher than retail cost.
The cost of taxi, bus, or airport shuttle service incurred by travelers when traveling on college business is reimbursable. Travelers are expected to choose the most cost-effective mode of transportation available. A 10% tip is recommended for taxi drivers or shuttle drivers. Receipts should be obtained for this expense.
Rail travel is considered a viable travel option.
Driving personal car
Airline transportation should be used for long distance travel, except when suitable arrangements cannot be made, there is substantial cost savings, and/or the traveler wishes to drive. If a traveler elects to drive for long-distance college travel, the mileage/car rental reimbursement should not exceed the average cost of an airline ticket to that destination.
- Travelers are strongly encouraged to use a college fleet car or a rental car for trips that can exceed the day and mileage limits as shown in the accompanying chart, as it is more cost-effective for the college. If you use your personal vehicle, mileage for college travel is reimbursed at the prevailing Internal Revenue Service rate. This information must be submitted for reimbursement on an approved Travel Expense Report.
Renting a vehicle is the most cost-effective option for the college if the number of days traveling and the total mileage is at least:
Days Miles 1 125 2 251 3 377 4 502 5 628 6 753 7 879 8 1,004 9 1,130 10 1,255 11 1,381 12 1,506 13 1,631
- All receipts as well as beginning and ending locations must be documented for all mileage reimbursements and attached to the Expense Report.
- In addition to mileage, travelers are reimbursed for parking fees, road tolls and any other expenses directly related to the trip. Travelers are not reimbursed for car repairs, parking tickets, traffic violations or insurance claims.
- Anyone using a personal vehicle at any time for college-related travel must carry the following as minimum insurance coverage on their personal vehicles:
- Liability: $100,000 per person, $300,000 per occurrence, and
- Collision: standard, with $500 deductible liability insurance on their personal vehicles.
The above are minimum levels you must have on your policy. Since you have primary responsibility in case of an accident, you may wish to review your coverage with your insurance agent and consider having a higher liability with a broad form deductible. Calvin maintains only secondary liability coverage to protect the college in case of accidents involving faculty and staff members traveling on college business.
- Group travel
This section outlines policies and guidelines related to the travel of any Calvin-sponsored group. Additional information regarding group travel for off-campus programs can be found on the off-campus program website.
Making group travel arrangements
For travel with Calvin groups, please utilize Carlson Wagonlit which is Calvin’s travel agent. They can help arrange flights for groups of 10 or more.
If you would like to arrange any trip that involves a tour guide or tour group, contact Witte Travel. Witte Travel is the college authorized travel agent and has managed many Calvin trips over the years.
Group airline reservations
- You may reserve a block of seats (10 or more) as much as 11 months prior to departure) and we recommend you do this. Reserving a block of seats locks in the price. However, taxes and surcharges may change. January is a popular travel month, so book your flights early! A deposit per person, varying in amount, and depending on whether you are booking domestic or international flights, will be required to hold group inventory. This amount is not applied to the cost of the trip but is held until the trip is completed and then refunded. You do not lose your deposit unless you break your contract, fall below minimum number, cancel outside of deadlines, etc. If one or more of these situations occur, you will lose the deposit made for the entire group.
- Groups are defined as 10 people traveling together from the same place to the same destination and all returning to the same departure city. If you allow students to leave from another city and join the group en route, your group rate may be in jeopardy. Also, such students will pay a fee for not following the group itinerary and may find that the ticket is significantly more expensive. Make sure you check with the travel agent—Witte and Carlson Wagonlit are often able to arrange for a larger number of deviations for groups on KLM/NWA flights. Their only qualification is that the group travel on at least one of the air segments together to still qualify for the group discount.
- With most airlines, you do not need to know exactly how many will be in your group until approximately 90 days before departure. Names are needed 45 – 60 days prior, depending on the airline. Check out the best options for your group based on schedule, price, rules and restrictions as early as possible.
- You must travel with your group for departure and return, and you must accompany your group at all transition points (airport, train station, etc.). Any exception must be approved by the director of off-campus programs.
- Do avoid departing or returning to the US on a Sunday (out of respect for Sabbath observance). Avoid Sunday travel if possible when planning your interim itinerary. Mid-week flights are often cheaper.
- Plan for a semester break (at least two working days after your return) so that you and your students can prepare for second semester.
- Check your airlines regulations regarding check-in time, luggage weight allowance, etc. It is also a good idea to check your reservations a few days prior to departure, to be sure there are no changes in departure times (your travel agent should alert you of any, but the holidays sometimes interfere with timely communication).
Groups at the airport
Meet and greet services
- A Calvin representative must be present at least two hours before time of group departure. In those rare instances where the leader cannot be present, arrangements must be made for someone to be there in his/her place.
- PNC VISA
Using your PNC VISA for travel
Travel expenses are consolidated via the PNC credit card. The PNC payment system benefits the college by reducing cash use, improving documentation, streamlining administration, and providing reports to help manage travel expenses. The PNC card is to be used only for college business expenses; use of your college PNC Card for personal purposes is absolutely forbidden. Also included in the PNC payment system are:
- 24-hour college business travel accident insurance protection with benefits of $200,000. Coverage is in effect from the time you leave home until you return.
- Charging transportation expenses to the PNC card activates lost luggage locator service. This plan provides help arranging shipment of replacement items if an airline or common carrier loses your checked luggage.
- Medical or legal referrals, medical or legal appointments, assistance in the event of a language barrier, and urgent messages sent to family, friends or business associates.
If your position requires the use of an PNC card for college-related expenses, including travel or other business-related purchasing, and you do not have a card; contact your department chair/supervisor.
Questions or comments
Please notify Sally Vander Ploeg by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (526-7112) for any of the following:
- Observations regarding this handbook—its content, format or clarity
- Situations or issues that should be addressed in this handbook
- Any other questions, comments or concerns about travel services.
Use of college funds for meal expenses
Based on feedback from the campus community, the president’s Cabinet proposes this new policy on the use of college funds for meal expenses, including lunch, to be effective following approval by PPC and notification of Faculty Senate.
Approved September 8, 2009 by President’s Cabinet.
Approved September 17, 2009 by Planning and Priorities Committee.
College funds (including grant, contract and restricted funds) may be used to pay meal expenses, including lunch, for employees, student employees and guests only in the following four situations.
The meal occurs during travel for college business beyond the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. (For example, travel to professional conferences, college activities such as Admission or Development, athletic team travel, music group tours, etc.)
Local events sponsored by others
The meal occurs during a meeting or program within the Grand Rapids metropolitan area, AND that program is sponsored by an organization outside of Calvin. (For example, meetings at other area colleges, businesses, or institutions; local conferences; local off-campus professional development sessions; etc.)
Local events sponsored by Calvin
There is a clear business purpose that requires a meal to be included in a meeting or program within the Grand Rapids metropolitan area and that event is hosted by Calvin, i.e., a Calvin department, center, institute, organization, or employee, AND that meal is purchased on campus from Creative Dining Services (including the Prince Conference Center) from the dining halls, retail food venues, or Calvin Catering Services.
Situations that would require a meal to purchased off-campus or to be held at an off-campus location in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area, provided the divisional Vice-President has given prior permission. (For example, faculty/staff recruiting, hospitality for distinguished guests, etc.)
Note: The practical implications of this policy clarification are three-fold:
- All catered meals, box lunches, etc. that are served on campus and paid for with college funds must be provided by Creative Dining Services rather than off-campus vendors.
- Overall expenses for meals should be reduced because of generally lower on-campus prices and exclusion of sales tax and gratuity.
- Almost all meals that will be purchased with college funds will occur on campus so that the dollars spent for meals will “stay on campus.”
Note: These guidelines apply primarily to meals. Departments should consult with their divisional vice president for guidance on the use of college funds for other food expenditures (refreshments at seminars, pizza/snacks at meetings with students, student organization meetings, etc.).
Note: For all off-campus meals, the guidance for the costs of meals is based on the Meal and Incidental Expenses Rates found in the GSA Domestic Per Diem Rates appropriate to the location.
Please contact your divisional vice president if you have any questions.×