Travel Support, Policies & Procedures

Prior to making travel arrangements, please review these Northwestern policies.

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Travel Support for Faculty and Postdocs/Research Staff

 Faculty, Postdocs and Research Staff are encouraged to contact Wynante Charles to assist with making travel arrangements to minimize out of pocket expenses. Wynante can use her NU PCard to pay for conference registration costs. Faculty, postdocs and research staff can use Egencia to make flight reservations using a chartstring.

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Travel Support for Students

TGS Conference Travel Grants are available to assist PhD students attending virtual (remote) conferences or traveling to/attending in-person conferences on behalf of Northwestern University. Conference Travel Grants are also available to undergraduate students through the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Computer Science offers additional funds for students who are presenting an accepted paper or poster at a conference. Applications to the CS Conference Travel Grants should be submitted before to the conference. To be eligible, students must first apply for a TGS or Undergraduate Research funding. Students may request CS funds for subsequent conferences after other funding is exhausted.

PhD student may receive up to $500 in supplemental funding for domestic conferences and $700 in supplemental funding for international conferences. CS undergraduate and master's students may receive up to $500.

Students are encouraged to contact Bella Barrios to assist with making travel arrangements to minimize out of pocket expenses.

Upon your return from travel, submit the online Reimbursement Request Form within 30days.

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Travel Receipts to Submit

The University’s reimbursement policy is based on documentation of reasonable and actual expenses, supported by original itemized receipts. Original itemized receipts must be submitted for all travel expenses. Monthly credit card statements and/or travel agency invoices and statements alone are not acceptable as backup documentation. Receipts are not required for meals and incidental expenses if the per diem reimbursement method is selected. Please consult the Per Diem section for details.

For more detail about travel reimbursements, go to the Reimbursement page.


  • Airfare: E-ticket receipt and boarding passes
    • When traveling internationally on a sponsored award, a domestic airline must be used
    • Only economy class is allowed
  • Ground transportation: taxi, rail, shuttle service, and parking
  • Personal auto use: Google map showing route origin, destination and mileage


  • Hotel: Final bill showing number of nights and amount paid

Conference Registration

  • Registration receipt showing conference fee payment and the name and dates of conference
    • Membership fees are not allowed on sponsored awards. While many conferences offer a discount when a membership is bundled with the registration, consult with your advisor before choosing this registration option.


  • Restaurants: Itemized receipt listing the items purchased
    • Cost of meals should be reasonable and in-line with federal per diem rates, GSA website.
    • Alcohol is not reimbursable on sponsored awards and will only be reimbursed on other funds with approval
  • Tips are reimbursable. Submit the receipt showing the tip amount that was included with the meal.
  • You must pay for only your portion of a group meal and identify your portion on the receipt. Do not pay for other traveler's meals.

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If you are requesting to be reimbursed for travel more than 90 days after your return, or you are requesting reimbursement for an expense that falls outside of the travel policy guidelines, you will be required to complete the Reimbursement Exception & 90-Day Exception Form.

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Per Diem

An alternative to submitting receipts is the use of per diem. Per diem is a method of reimbursement for travel expenses that allows a set dollar amount per day. The maximum rate is determined by the government and varies by city. Northwestern University has instituted the use of per diem for M&IE (Meals and Incidental Expenses) only. Partial per diem is allowable. The first and last day of travel are charged at 75% of the daily rate.

Use of per diem must be established before the trip commences. If you are traveling courtesy of the funding of your advisor or PI, you must obtain his or her authorization in advance in order to use per diem.

When submitting your expense report with per diem, print the table showing the rate for the city you visited from the GSA website.

Expenses Included in the Per Diem M&IE Rate

  • Meals
  • Snacks
  • Tips and fees

Receipts Required When Using Per Diem

  • Airfare
  • Hotel
  • Conference registration
  • Parking
  • Transportation between your home and origin airport and between the destination airport and conference site.
  • Transportation between your hotel and places where meals are taken.

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Personal Automobile Mileage

Travel using privately owned vehicles may be desirable to save time, transport equipment, or reduce cost when a number of persons are traveling together. Effective January 1, 2023, the rate for mileage reimbursement is 65.5 cents per mile. This rate is based on U.S.. Federal Government reimbursement rates. This reimbursement covers all fuel, maintenance, insurance, transportation, and operating costs. Fuel costs are included in the per-mile reimbursement rate and are not reimbursed separately for use of privately owned vehicles. Tolls and reasonable parking charges will be reimbursed in addition to the mileage allowance.

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Rental Vehicles

Commercial rental vehicles should not be used if less expensive transportation is available. The University's designated vehicle rental agency should be used whenever possible and midsize, economy, compact or subcompact vehicles should always be rented. Travelers should not purchase a collision damage waiver (CDW) from the rental agency if the rental is in the U.S. or Canada; coverage should only be purchased for international rentals. Travelers must report all accidents to the Office of Risk Management within 24 hours, and immediately when any accident results in any personal injury or towing of a vehicle. The traveler should follow the rental agency accident report instructions, in addition to forwarding a copy of the report to the Office of Risk Management.

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Foreign Travel

Use of foreign-based carriers is restricted on sponsored programs. Use of foreign carriers is allowed on non - sponsored sources of funds. See the "Fly America Act" for more information.

For a transaction in a foreign currency, the original itemized receipt plus documentation of the exchange rate is required in the form of:

  • a credit card statement, or
  • a calculated U.S. dollar equivalent on the date of the transaction. For currency conversion please use Oanda.

Faculty, staff, and students should register with GeoBlue to ensure health insurance coverage while abroad.

For more info, please view the McCormick Global Initiatives website for Travel Tips & Resources:

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