Federal Per Diem for Travel Supported by Sponsored Programs

Printer-friendly version
Policy Code: 
Approval Authority: 
Policy Type: 
University Policy
Policy Owner: 
Administration and Finance
Responsible Office: 
Administration and Finance - 828.251.6742

I. Purpose

The State of North Carolina outlines per diem reimbursement within travel regulations as defined by the legislature. These regulations apply to most travel reimbursements sought by project directors and principle investigators engaged in University sponsored programs. This policy outlines those instances where federal meals and incidental expense (M&IE) rates apply in place of the North Carolina per diem values.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all University personnel applying for or holding federal sponsored agreements, contracts, and grants. The policy does not apply to funds originating from the federal government but managed by a non-federal entity. 

III. Definition of Terms

  1. Federal Sponsored Program. Grant, contract, or agreement initiated directly from an agency of the United States government. These programs must incorporate a budget funded by a federal entity.
  2. Investigator. The principal investigator, co-principal investigators, project director, co-projector directors and any other person at the University who is responsible for design, conduct, or reporting of research or educational activities funded or proposed funding by the sponsor. Contractors, consultants, and unpaid collaborators may also be considered as Investigators depending on their role and responsibilities.
  3. Meals and Incidental Expense (M&IE). Allowable reimbursement by the federal government to employees who travel on business. The M&IE one receives is determined by a table, which details permitted expenses based on where one is traveling and other factors.

IV. Procedure

1. Requirements

The use of Federal Meals and Incidental Expense (M&IE) rates for travel supported by sponsored awards should be limited by the University. The State of North Carolina Per Diem rates should prevail in most all cases. M&IE rates for food, lodging, or other expenses may be used when:

A. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the award requires the use of M&IE rates in budgeting;
B. The PI specifically identifies the use of M&IE rates in the budget and justifies their use in the budget narrative; and
C. The Federal Sponsored Program supports reimbursement of M&IE rates.

In situations where an investigator cost shares travel expenses, the University will only reimburse per diem as approved in the North Carolina travel regulations.

2. Procedure

A. Domestic Travel (CONUS) – Domestic travel includes travel within and between any of the 50 states within the United States and its possessions and territories.

a. Open http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877 (NOTE: See B below to find rates for Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Territories)
b. Click on the state where the city is located.
c. Use side scroll bar to locate city.
d. Per diem rate is found in the Meals & Incidental Expense Rate column.
e. If city is listed, use the applicable M&IE rate.
f. If the city is not in one of the choices, then use the Standard Rate.

B. Domestic Travel (Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Territories)

a. Go to http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm.
b. On the right-hand side of the page under “OUTSIDE CONUS, Non-Foreign Overseas and Foreign,” use the dropdown boxes to select country/state and date of travel (under Published).
c. Click on EXECUTE
d. Important: Add amount in Local Meals and Local Incidental columns to arrive at the correct per diem rate.

C. Foreign Travel

a. Go to http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp.
b. Identify country of destination by using the drop down menu.
c. Use the scroll boar to locate city.
d. If city is not located, then use the Other Rate.

3. Reimbursement Controls

Effective for travel on or after 1 July 2012, on the first and last travel day, travelers are only eligible for 75 percent of the total M&IE rate for federal sponsored program.

A. 12 but less than 24 hours – 75% of applicable M&IE rate for each calendar day you are in a travel status.

B. 24 hours or more

a. The day of departure – 75% of applicable M&IE rate.
b. Full day of travel – 100% of applicable M&IE rate.
c. The last day of travel – 75% of applicable M&IE rate.