Undergraduate Research and Creativity (URC)

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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 to assist students, their mentors, and department ADAs in successfully navigating the UW System travel reimbursement process.

Any student completing a grant application or receiving new funding after September 1, 2017 will be required to follow the policies and procedures referenced on this page. 

Students funded prior to May 31, 2017 should contact URC for specific guidance regarding requirements for each expense category. 

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.

Important Budgeting Information expanding section
  • All expenses are subject to UW-System travel policies.
  • Airfare - UWL is required to use Concur when booking flights. Use their site to obtain price quotes. Check with your mentor or ADA for assistance in obtaining an estimate.
  • Lodging and meals - the calculator can be used to obtain quotes for the maximum amount allowed for specific locations. 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 accomodations. 
  • 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 (urc@uwlax.edu 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

Hotels

  • DO NOT book your own hotels or you will not be reimbursed for your travel. 
  • Once you are funded, contact URC (urc@uwlax.edu or 608.785.8040) to schedule a meeting to submit a hotel booking request.
  • After that meeting, you will be contacted by someone from the dedicated travel booking team to assist you in making your reservations. You will need a major credit card to book with the representative that contacts you.
  • To be reimbursed for your travel you will need to submit:
    • FoxWorld booking confirmation
    • Hotel receipt or paid invoice

Hostels

  • 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 hostelworld.com 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, and private homes. If you have questions whether a particular housing arrangement and its cost will be allowed, contact URC when you are developing your grant budget.

Camping

  • 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 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 (urc@uwlax.edu or 608.785.8040) to schedule a meeting to submit a car rental booking request for car rental originating or ending outside of La Crosse.
  • After that meeting, you will be contacted by someone from the dedicated travel booking team to assist you in making your reservations. You will need to use your credit card to secure the reservation and pay for the rental. 
  • For car rentals originating and ending in La Crosse, we will assist you in contacting a local provider. You will need to use your credit card to secure the reservation and pay for the rental. 

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 $0.545 per mile. Last updated 01/01/2018.

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 "Procedures" 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, chawkins@uwlax.edu
    • 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:
      • Preferred student contact - Kathryn Oleson in Student Affairs, 149 Graff Main Hall - call 608.785.8929 or email koleson@uwlax.edu to schedule an appointment.
      • Alternate - Ashley Dzurko in Human Resources, 144 Graff Main Hall - please use Outlook calendar to schedule a 15-minute appointment. Put "Notary request - " followed by your first and last name in the subject of the meeting invitation.
    • 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 ensure that tax is not charged on your receipts.
  • 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 ensure that tax-exempt status is applied to the appropriate receipts. 
    • 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 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.
  • If applicable, you will need to turn in a copy of the itinerary you received via email from Fox World 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 form and receipts 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 and it works to just copy the expense box, please do so. Otherwise, just note which expenses you did have in the Day 1 column as "yes" or "no", then describe the details in the "Notes" section.
  • 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 best, but you may also use mapquest / google maps 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. 

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 -- no, but subject to daily per diem limits
  • 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 Fox World.
  • 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, a copy of your student bill showing that you were charged those fees; see URC grants for reimbursement caps
  • "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)
    • where it was purchased (vendor name and address)
    • when it was purchased
    • payment method and, if international, the currency used
    • over what time period or days a service was provided, if applicable
  • 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
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 mulitple 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 chawkins@uwlax.edu or call 608.785.8040.

Still have questions?