Student Organization Travel

Students who are interested in traveling as a part of a student organization (such as an honors society, professional society, club, or competitive team) should read the instructions on this page for important information and how to get started. (Printable version of instructions.)

Students should begin making arrangements for travel no less than six weeks prior to their trip. Waiting can result in significant delays in getting reimbursed for travel expenses and increased costs. While the College of Engineering can often help to cover student organization travel costs, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to cover costs entirely, so we strongly encourage you to begin the process of coordinating travel as soon as possible. The sooner we are able to book flights and overnight accommodation, the less expensive it will be, and the more likely the College will be able to cover the costs in full.

Getting Travel Authorization prior to your trip is absolutely necessary regardless of who is paying for it. Even if your student organization chooses to fundraise for the trip to pay for it alone, Travel Authorization is still necessary, as you will be representing the university and this will insure you as a traveler.

The first step in making travel arrangements is completing the Student Organization Travel form. After you have completed it, please reach out to Brenda Nipper to schedule a meeting to discuss your travel. She will go over the process with you in further detail and help you with figuring out what to expect.

Either before or after your meeting with Brenda, you will be asked to complete this spreadsheet with detailed information about your trip. (You are encouraged to begin completing it before the meeting, but it does not have to be finished at the time of the meeting.) Brenda will use the information from this spreadsheet to submit Travel Authorization forms for your party. This spreadsheet will also help you figure out anticipated expenses for the trip.

Figure out where you are getting funding for your travel. Typically, students will ask department chairs to contribute funds. The Dean’s Office is sometimes also able to contribute funding to student organization travel. We cannot guarantee any funding, but you are encouraged to ask.

After we have determined where funding will come from, Brenda will submit Travel Authorization forms for every person in your party.

Once the Travel Authorization forms have been approved and funding has been secured, we will begin booking hotels, flights, and registrations. In many cases, if the College is going to be covering the costs of travel, this can be done with a university purchasing card. In rare cases, students will have to cover the costs of travel to be reimbursed later.

When you are traveling, please be sure to save receipts for any transactions for which you wish to be reimbursed. Please reach out to Brenda to ask questions about what can and cannot be reimbursed later if you are unsure.

After returning from the trip. you will need to schedule another meeting with Brenda to discuss Travel Reimbursement. Be sure to scan and email all receipts for transactions for which you wish to be reimbursed to Brenda. Alternatively, you can drop the receipts off in her office (Duke 310). Brenda will compile receips and submit a TRER (Travel Reimbursement and Expense Report) for all of the members of your party. After the TRERs have been processed by the Travel Office, you will be reimbursed for your expenses.

The W.S. Lee College of Engineering may be able to help with paying for the following expenses in advance. Please check with us before spending any of your own money on these expenses:

  • Flights and air travel fees
  • Hotels and other overnight accommodation
  • Registration fees

Students will have to pay for the following expenses and ask for reimbursement later on their own:

  • Taxis, Ubers, buses, and other ground transportation
  • Meals (a table that includes standard meal reimbursement rates according to location is available if desired)
  • Unexpected travel costs

Please remember to:

  • Get Authorization before making any bookings or reservations related to your travel.
  • Save receipts from every transaction for which you wish to be reimbursed. Receipts should include the date and time of the transaction, exact cost, payment method, and last four digits of any debit or credit cards that are used.
  • Ask questions when you are unsure about a step in the process or if you are doing something correctly. Not following the proper procedure for travel authorization, payment, and reimbursement can cause significant delays in your travel being authorized or reimbursed. Being sure that you are completing each step correctly will prevent these delays.

Please be sure NOT to:

  • Make any bookings, reservations, or spend any money before you have received confirmation that your Travel Authorization has been approved.
  • Pay for another student’s expenses.
  • Book accommodation to stay overnight in lodging other than a hotel (such as an AirBnb or VRBO) without first filing a Third Party Lodging Authorization form and getting approval.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Dean’s Office with any questions. You can call or email Brenda Nipper (704-687-8244,