The University of Iowa

Federal Travel Policy

  1. General. Travel costs are the expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items incurred by employees who are in travel status on official business of the institution. Such costs may be charged on an actual basis, on a per diem or mileage basis in lieu of actual costs incurred, or on a combination of the two, provided the method used is applied to an entire trip and not to selected days of the trip, results in reasonable charges, and is in accordance with the institution's travel policy and practices consistently applied to all institutional travel activities.
  2. Lodging and subsistence. Costs incurred by employees and officers for travel, including costs of lodging, other subsistence, and incidental expenses, shall be considered reasonable and allowable only to the extent such costs do not exceed charges normally allowed by the institution in its regular operations as a result of an institutional policy and the amounts claimed under sponsored agreements represent reasonable and allocable costs. In the absence of an acceptable institutional policy regarding travel costs, the rates and amounts established under subchapter I of Chapter 57 of Title 5, United States Code, or by the Administrator of General Services, or the President (or his or her designee) pursuant to any provisions of such subchapter shall apply to sponsored agreements (41 U.S.C. 420).
  3. Commercial air travel. Airfare costs in excess of the lowest available commercial discount airfare, Federal Government contract airfare (where authorized and available), or customary standard (coach or equivalent) airfare, are unallowable except when such accommodations would: require circuitous routing; require travel during unreasonable hours; excessively prolong travel; greatly increase the duration of the flight; result in increased costs that would offset transportation savings; or offer accommodations not reasonably adequate for the medical needs of the traveler. Where an institution can reasonably demonstrate to the sponsoring agency either the nonavailability of discount airfare or Federal contract airfare for individual trips or, on an overall basis, that it is the institution's practice to make routine use of such airfare, specific determinations of nonavailability will generally not be questioned by the Federal Government, unless a pattern of avoidance is detected. However, in order for airfare costs in excess of the customary standard commercial airfare to be allowable, e.g., use of first-class airfare, the institution must justify and document on a case-by-case basis the applicable condition(s) set forth above.
  4. Air travel by other than commercial carrier. "Cost of travel by institution-owned, -leased, or -chartered aircraft," as used in this subsection, includes the cost of lease, charter, operation (including personnel costs), maintenance, depreciation, insurance, and other related costs. Costs of travel via institution-owned, -leased, or -chartered aircraft shall not exceed the cost of allowable commercial air travel, as provided for in subsection c.