Travel information: budgeting and reimbursements

A page within Undergraduate Research & Creativity

This page is available to provide information on the policies and procedures for travel expenses related to Undergraduate Research & Creativity Grants. This information will be kept as current as possible in partnership with Business Services and UW System Travel to assist students, their mentors, and department ADAs in successfully navigating the UW System travel reimbursement process.

Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creativity (URC) if you have any questions that are not covered here or need additional assistance.

Important note

If you are budgeting for travel, preparing to travel, or returning from travel, be sure to read the information provided here. Student travel policies must be followed for you to be reimbursed. 

You may request travel for both domestic and international projects; however, you are responsible for contacting URC as soon as possible if your travel plans need to change for any reason, including COVID. Failure do to so may result in expenses that cannot be reimbursed.

Important Budgeting Information expanding section
  • All expenses are subject to UW-System travel policies.
  • Airfare - UWL is required to use select vendors when booking flights. Ideally, you should obtain price quotes from an approved provider. Check with your mentor or ADA for assistance in obtaining an estimate.
  • Lodging and meals - the calculator must be used to obtain quotes for the maximum amount allowed for specific locations. Check with your mentor or ADA for assistance in obtaining an estimate. Lodging quotes for several Wisconsin cities and select other cities are also available the UW TravelWise hotel directory; however, the hotels must be booked via processes outlined in "lodging". Please see "lodging" below for more information on approved lodging options and booking your accommodations. 
  • For other costs, including car rentals - see the information below or check with your ADA, mentor, or URC for assistance. You are following the same standards as UWL employees.
Airfare expanding section
  • DO NOT book your own flight. You will NOT be reimbursed for your trip if you do not book via the UW System approved site.
  • Once you are funded, contact URC ( or 608.785.8040) to schedule a meeting to book your flight(s). Airfare will be direct billed to URC and will be deducted from your available travel budget.
  • If the cost of your ticket(s) exceed your grant award, you will need to reimburse URC for the excess cost.
  • If you fail to make your flights, you will be required to reimburse URC the cost of your ticket(s).
Lodging expanding section


  • DO NOT book your own hotels or you will not be reimbursed for your travel. 
  • Once you are funded, contact URC ( or 608.785.8040) to schedule a meeting to book your hotel or discuss lodging options.
  • You may need a major credit card to complete the booking. Debit cards are not recommended for holding a room. Contact URC with any questions or concerns.
  • To be reimbursed for your travel you will need to submit:
    • Travel Incorporated booking confirmation
    • Hotel receipt or paid invoice


  • Hostels are allowed if needed to make your research project affordable or for longer term lodging.
  • While we do not endorse any particular site, many students have found a useful resource in locating acceptable options; however, you may not use that site to book your room.
  • To be reimbursed for your travel you must:
    • Contact the individual hostel directly to book your room.
    • Request a copy of their certificate of insurance, which you must submit with your reimbursement paperwork.

Research Centers / Remote Sites / Homestays

  • For some research or project locations, you may have limited housing options. In these circumstances, you are able to stay in facilities provided or organized by the site managers or partners. 
  • These include, by are not limited to, research centers, apartments, dormitories, camps, private homes, and Airbnb.  If you have questions whether a particular housing arrangement and its cost will be allowed, contact URC when you are developing your grant budget.
  • Contact URC for prior approval and to discuss receipt requirements prior to travel.


  • Camping is allowable if it is the only lodging that is available within a reasonable distance from your research site, participants, or field equipment.
  • Contact URC for prior approval and to discuss receipt requirements prior to travel.
Car Rental expanding section
  • DO NOT book your own car rentals or you will not be reimbursed for your travel. 
  • Once you are funded, contact URC ( or 608.785.8040) to schedule a meeting to book a car rental.
  • You will need to use your credit card to secure the reservation and pay for the rental. Debit cards are not recommended for holding a reservation. Contact URC with any questions or concerns.

Note: you will need to have your driver authorization application on file in URC at least 4 weeks prior to your trip.

Mileage Reimbursement expanding section

If you are making shorter trips within Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Iowa, you may be able to drive your own car and be reimbursed for mileage. 

  • Essentially, UWL will reimburse the most economical form of transportation. Check with your mentor, ADA, or URC regarding the allowability of using your own vehicle instead of a car rental. 
  • You will need to keep a mileage log and/or provide Google Map or MapQuest documentation for the length of your trip(s).
  • Mileage rates are inclusive of gas, maintenance, insurance, and service. 
  • If two or more people ride in a vehicle, only the driver (car owner) may claim the reimbursement.
  • The current rate is $0.625 per mile. Last updated 07/01/2022.

Note: you will need to have your driver authorization application on file in URC at least 4 weeks prior to your trip.

Driver Authorization for Car Rental or Mileage Reimbursements expanding section

You are required to complete a Vehicle Use Agreement 4 weeks prior to your trip. If you have an out of state driver's license, you must also complete a Notarized Statement of Driving Record. Both forms are available on the Driver Authorization webpage on the "Forms" tab.

  • If you do not have the appropriate form(s) completed, you will not be able to be reimbursed for car rental & gas or mileage.
  • If you completed this form for another office on campus, please be aware that students must complete this form annually. You will need to include the month/year that you last submitted the form and the name of the office through which it was submitted in the Notes section of your reimbursement form.

Directions for submitting the form via URC:

  • Most fields on the electronic Vehicle Use Agreement form are self explanatory, but some headings might be challenging.
    • Supervisor's Name / Email -- Chandra Hawkins,
    • Use Undergraduate Research for your department. code: UE020800
    • Out of state drivers, or drivers with less than two years of WI driving history must provide additional information. See portal for details. 
  • If you have an out of state driver's license, you must also complete a Notarized Statement of Driving Record.
    • The signing of the completed form must be done in the presence of a Notary Public. Do not sign your form until the notary tells you to.
    • For your notary appointment, bring your completed and unsigned form along with a photo ID (driver's license, military ID, passport, or UWL student ID). The photo ID must be current (not expired) to be valid for the notary to verify your identity.
    • Notary Publics on campus:
      • Ingrid Iverson in Murphy Library, 8 am to 4:30 pm - appointments are not required, but you are encouraged to call 608.785.8520 or email to confirm availability.
      • Kathryn Oleson in Student Affairs, 149 Graff Main Hall - call 608.785.8929 or email to schedule an appointment.
    • This form can be uploaded to your electronic form. 
    • Out of state drivers must complete this process on an annual basis. 
Sales Tax Exemption expanding section

When you are traveling, be advised that UWL may be unable to reimburse you for sales tax that is charged to you. It will depend upon the state/territory/country in which you incurred the expense.

  • Wisconsin - we cannot reimburse for Wisconsin sales tax. Booking your airfare, hotels and car rentals via URC provided resources will assist with tax-exempt status being applied to the appropriate receipts. Please attempt to use your student ID as proof; if it is not accepted, note that on your expense log.
  • Other states and US territories - the state of Wisconsin has tax-exempt agreements with several other states and will not reimburse for sales tax paid to those states. 
    • Booking your airfare, hotels and car rentals via URC provided resources will assist with tax-exempt status being applied to the appropriate receipts. Please attempt to use your student ID as proof; if it is not accepted, note that on your expense log.
    • If you are booking independently because you are using alternative lodging (i.e., not a hotel), contact URC for help in determining whether tax-exempt status should apply to your lodging. URC will assist by providing the appropriate documentation via fax or email to the lodging provider.
  • Internationally - do not worry about tax exemptions. Wisconsin does not have agreements with other countries.
While You Are Traveling expanding section
  • Keep a research itinerary/diary, which is a brief daily "diary" of travel or research activities. Acceptable formats include tables or daily narratives a few sentences in length. Clarity is key. Questions to think about when writing each daily entry:
    • Where did you travel and for what purpose?
    • What did you do to advance your project? 
  • Keep all receipts to document your expenses. See the "Do I Need a Receipt?" and "Obtaining Good Receipts" below for information that covers many of the common types of travel expenses. Additional information is available from the UWL Business Services travel page.
  • Complete appropriate tracking forms to make your reimbursement process easier.
    • Mileage Log - for travel reimbursements involving more than two trips for mileage reimbursement
    • Travel Expense Log - required for trips longer than 5 days
  • If applicable, you will need to retain a copy of the travel itinerary you received via email from Travel Incorporated as it contains ticket information that is required in the travel reconciliation and reimbursement process
Once You Return expanding section
  • Complete a URC Travel Grant Reimbursement Form. Completed form and receipt deadlines are based on when your return from your trip, not when you return to campus. 
    • If you return May 11th through May 31st, the form is due June 3rd, or the next business day if June 3rd falls on a weekend.
    • Otherwise, the form is due within 15 business days of the end of your trip.
  • If your form is submitted late, we may be unable to reimburse you. Extensions may be granted, but they must be requested prior to the deadline listed and are subject to budgetary availability. See FAQs for more information.
  • See below for instructions to assist you in completing the form. 
  • Take the completed reimbursement form, other required forms, receipts, and research itinerary/diary to Undergraduate Research & Creativity (URC).
Reimbursement Form Instructions expanding section

URC Grant Travel Reimbursement Form

  • Name - the name with which you are registered as a student at UWL
  • Mailing address - your current residence to where the check will be mailed. If this will change in the next 30 days, please note this on the form, and we will contact you to determine the best timing to send your check.
  • Phone and email address - both are required in case we need additional information to process your reimbursement
  • Student ID# - it's the ID # you use to log into WINGS
  • Grant awarded - check the boxes for the semester and year in which your grant was awarded
  • Residence status - if you are a legal resident of a country other than the US, you will be contacted to provide some additional information so that your reimbursement can be processed in accordance with US government regulations
  • Travel location - place(s) you went - list specific city/state or city/country
  • Departure date and return date - if you made one trip, list the specific dates. If you made multiple trips, list the first date you departed and the last return date, and check the box to indicate there is additional information. In the "Notes" section describe the dates of each trip and the destination if the trips where to different locations.
  • Did URC (or another UWL office/department) purchase a plane ticket on your behalf? If yes, you must include a copy of your ticket that shows the airline(s), amount paid, and the ticket number. This will be required to match up the reimbursement with the ticket purchase and substantiate your travel.

Your expenses:

  • If you had more than 5 days of travel attach Travel Expense Log pages, as appropriate, for the additional days. 
  • Hotel / lodging - list the amount that you paid for yourself
  • Meals - circle the meals for which you paid. Do not include meals that were covered by someone else.
  • Transportation (not airfare or mileage) - taxi, subway, rail pass, parking, and baggage fees. Also car rental and gas, but note that you need prior approval (see car rental section above). Attach a copy of your approval email that you should have received.
  • Transportation (mileage) - list the number of miles driven daily. Keeping a Mileage Log is required for reimbursement of more than two trips. Use Mapquest/GoogleMaps to show miles to and from the location. Note prior approval is required (see driving your own vehicle above). 
  • Entrance fees / copying fees / IEE fees - museum or exhibit charges, document access or copying fees, IEE fees for international travel. 
  • Other - anything that doesn't fit into one of the other categories. Provide a description in the "Notes" section. 

Attach your receipts, logs, and research itinerary to the form. See "Do I Need a Receipt?" and "While You Are Traveling" for more information.

Submit your form and receipts no later than 15 business days from the end of your trip (not your return to campus). Note: students with trips ending May 11th thorugh May 31st must submit their forms by June 3rd.

Do I Need a Receipt? expanding section
  • Hotel / lodging -- yes
  • Meals, personal -- no, but subject to daily per diem limits
  • Meals, hosted -- yes, require prior approval from URC and completion of a form at least 2 weeks prior to the meal
  • Airfare -- yes *** note: while you will not be receiving reimbursement because URC already paid for your airfare, you still need to provide a copy of the pdf confirmation you received from Travel Incorporated.
  • Baggage fees -- yes *** note: these fees may require additional information
  • Car rental + gas -- yes for both *** note: you may claim car rental + gas OR mileage, not both
  • Mileage from driving your own car -- no receipt, but keep a mileage log or provide MapQuest / Google Map / etc. to show miles to and from the location(s). Note: you may claim car rental + gas OR mileage, not both
  • Parking fees -- if over $25 in a day, yes; if less than $25, describe in the "Notes" section of the reimbursement form
  • Taxi / bus / subway -- if over $25 in a day, yes; if less than $25, describe in the "Notes" section of the reimbursement form
  • Museum, exhibit, archive entrance fees -- yes
  • Internet / telephone / calling card -- yes *** note: these are only reimbursable if they were necessary for your research and not used for your personal communication 
  • IEE fees -- yes, documentation showing that you were charged those fees is required; see URC grants for reimbursement caps
    • application fee -- IEE fee summary
    • emergency contingency fee -- IEE fee summary or student bill
    • insurance -- IEE fee summary or student bill
  • "Other" items -- yes - but these are subject to review for appropriateness before they will be covered
Obtaining Good Receipts expanding section
  • A good travel receipt is one that details
    • what was purchased (or rented) with an itemized list of the services or items
    • where it was purchased (vendor name and address)
    • why it was purchased (if not easily identifiable based on the approved budget justification)
    • when it was purchased
    • over what time period or day(s) a service was provided, if applicable
    • payment method and, if international, the currency used
    • final amount due and evidence that it was paid
  • A good lodging receipt should include
    • name and address of the lodging provider
    • dates of stay
    • daily rate (weekly and/or monthly may be substituted as appropriate for longer term agreements)
    • room type or description of what was rented
    • taxes, fees, and other costs should be listed separately
    • proof or documentation of payment
  • If you cannot obtain a good receipt (this happens most often on international trips)
    • obtain the best receipt that you can - one that contains as much of the information listed above as possible
    • obtain a typed or handwritten receipt that is signed by the vendor or service provider
    • if you think that this might happen to you, please contact URC. We can share some nonstandard receipt examples to assist you in making sure that you end up with usable documentation
  • International receipts may require translation. Reach out to URC for assistance with creating a translated copy of the receipt in English using Google Translate. Note: both the original and the translated versions of the receipt are required for reimbursement.
Forms expanding section


FAQs expanding section

The value of my receipts exceeds the amount I will be reimbursed. Do I still need to provide all of my receipts?

  • Yes. Unfortunately, if you do not submit all of your receipts, UW System policy may require that your reimbursement be denied. 

I have funding for my project from my department, college, or another campus program. How do I coordinate those different travel reimbursement requirements?

  • Prior to arranging your travel, notify URC and the other office/program that you have two or more ways that your expenses will be covered. An email to URC and the other program(s) would be ideal. We will work together to let you know the best way to arrange your travel and submit your receipts to make sure that you receive the appropriate reimbursement using your multiple funding sources.

What if I can't get my form to the URC office within 15 business days of my return (or by June 3rd for travel ending May 11th-May 31st)?

  • Contact URC for an extension. You must ask for the extension prior to the deadline for submitting your form.  
  • If your form is late, it is possible that we may be unable to reimburse your expenses.
  • If you discover that your deadline has passed, contact URC immediately. We can work with you to see if UW System policy will permit us to still submit your receipts for reimbursement.

Can I just stop by for assistance?

  • Absolutely, but you may want to call first or make an appointment to be sure someone is available. To request an appointment, you can email some available days/times to Chandra Hawkins at or call 608.785.8040.

Still have questions?