Yes, provided that prior sponsor approval has been obtained in writing.
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Institutional policy does allow the cost of passports, and federal regulations allow us to follow our own travel policy, so it would appear that this cost would be allowable if it is necessary for a particular award. If it is applicable to multiple awards and/or non-sponsored award activity, the cost should be allocated to each benefiting award/activity on some reasonable basis (e.g., the individual's FTE allocation).
If the traveler was a presenter, ideally a copy of the agenda that lists the traveler and the name of their presentation would be provided. This can be obtained from the traveler, a conference website, or other source. Alternative documentation would be a copy of the presentation (or at least the cover sheet, if the presentation is long) that includes the presentation title and the name of the presenter.
If no formal presentation was made, or the traveler was only attending the conference/workshop, written documentation should include the business purpose of the travel, which includes the benefit to the Award, and a copy of the agenda or schedule as available.
The conference registration fee is allowable only if the reason for the cancellation meets the criteria for “reasonable” as part of the four cost principles. Criteria to use for “reasonable” would include that the PI could not travel due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g., sudden illness, death of a family member) and that every attempt was made to obtain a full or partial refund from the conference organizers. The department also needs to ensure that such refunds and expenses are treated consistently on sponsored awards as well as non-sponsored funding sources.
For airfare, if the sponsored award was not a federal award, then the same reasonable principles listed above would apply.
If it was a federal award, federal regulations require that the airfare ticket purchased be refundable and thus, the ticket can be refunded in the event of a cancellation. If there is an associated refund or cancellation fee, that amount would be allowable. If a non-refundable ticket was purchased, then the cost of the ticket would not be an allowable expense, as federal regulations require that only refundable tickets be purchased. Visit the PAFC travel web page for more information on airfare purchases on federal awards.
Federally-contracted reduced fares and room rates are negotiated with the airlines and hotels by the federal government for use by federal employees on federal travel. Federal employees pay for travel using a federally issued credit card so vendors can be assured that travel is being paid for by the federal government. State employees, however, may be traveling on any number of funding sources. It is up to each individual hotel or airline to decide if they will extend the federally-contracted reduced rate to state employees.
For lodging, UW employees can explain to the hotel that the UW complies with the federal per diem guidelines and request that the hotel accept the reduced rate. It is at the hotel’s discretion whether or not to extend the reduced rate to the UW employee.
No, the conference registration fee is unallowable on the Award that ends October 2016. The conference occurs after the end date of the Award and would not directly benefit the Award. If the continuation Award allows for pre-Award expenditures, the fee could be paid in October and charged to the continuation Award. In the absence of a continuation Award, the department may request an No-Cost Extension.
No, the PI cannot be reimbursed for an expense that was not actually incurred. As the PI did not purchase the ticket, they cannot be reimbursed for the cost. This is a UW policy and more information can be found on the UW Travel website.
It is recommended that written sponsor approval be obtained for Travel. Travel expenses are allowed provided that:
There is documentation describing how the travel benefited the Award, if the specific travel was not included in the Award budget.
The length of the trip coincides with the travel objectives.
The trip takes place during the Award period.
Per diem amounts are within limits; follow UW guidelines for any excess amounts.
Lump sum amounts (lodging, meals, conferences) are broken out and documented to be within the per diem limitation.