The WSU Travel office is here to provide oversight and facilitation of travel processes, policies, and procedures to ensure integrity, economy, efficiency, and accountability.

The IRS requires employee business expenses to be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days after the expense is incurred; otherwise, the reimbursement will be taxed by federal, state, FICA, and Medicare.

 WSU does not reimburse airfare that is purchased with personal funds. 

Useful Form Links:

Persons traveling by air on State business should select the lowest cost transportation available to their destination city.

Purchasing Airfare

To purchase airfare, please use your university issued credit card, have an office assistant/manager use their university issued credit card, or reach out to the Travel Office at to setup an appointment. Please do not use your personal credit card to book airfare as it is a non-reimbursable expense. If you do not possess a university issued credit card, you may apply for one by filling out a Credit Card Application

  • Make reservations early enough to take advantage of advance purchase discounts
  • Secure the lowest available airfare using Basic Economy or Main Cabin class of service
  • WSU allows for seat selection for main cabin and main cabin equivalent seats. WSU will not pay for upgrades, seats that provide extra services or legroom, exit row seats, or priority boarding. 
  • Add-ons such as upgrades, trip insurance, etc., are not approved University travel expenses, but you may purchase these extra services using personal funds that will not be reimbursed.
  • If your travel plans change and you are no longer able to attend the scheduled event, please work with the airline to be reimbursed for the airfare. Please be aware of the airline's cancellation policies that govern the purchase. If you are having difficulties obtaining the receipt or have questions about a cancellation, please reach out to the Travel Office at

Purchasing Conference/Registration Fees

Conference registration fees can either be paid with a university credit card or with personal funds that will be reimbursed after the conference has concluded.

How to Apply for Credit Cards 

US Bank credit cards will need to be requested through the Credit Card Application in WarriorSpace.

Faculty members need to have an approved US Bank credit card in order to receive a Merchants credit card.

The Study Abroad Office will email the Travel Office to request the Merchants credit cards be ordered for the faculty leading faculty-led programs. The faculty members will be cc'd on the email from the Study Abroad Office.

Merchants credit cards are to only be issued to the faculty-led programs that have a need for cash while on the trip.

One to two weeks prior to the program's departure, the Study Abroad Office will let the Travel Office know the limit of the Merchants credit card and any US Bank credit card limit changes to the Purchasing Department.

When to Use Which Card

US Bank

US Bank credit cards are to be used for credit purchases whenever possible (i.e., lodging, group meals, museum tickets, etc.).

NOTE: If a US Bank credit card is declined on a transaction...

  • Please call the number on the back of your US Bank credit card.
  • Inside the US: +1 (800) 344-5696
  • Outside of the US: +1 (701) 461-2010

Merchants Bank

Merchants credit cards are to be used for cash advances and/or in the case of an emergency.

NOTE: If a Merchants card is declined on transaction...

  • If it is during business hours, please call +1 (507) 457-1114. Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8-5pm CST. 
  • If it is not during business hours, please call the number on the back of the credit cards: +1(800) 423-7503.

Any receipts from the Merchants Bank credit cards will need to be reconciled alongside the cash advance receipts.

All Merchants credit card and cash advance receipts need to be physical copies.

If you are distributing cash to your students for meals, please use a roster to how much the student was given and have the student sign next to the amount.

If you are concerned with losing the physical receipts required, you may take pictures or copies of the receipts. Please note that when you reconcile the Merchants credit card, you will need to have physical versions of those copies or the original receipts. Electronic receipts will not be accepted.

Travel Request and Reimbursement for Employees 

Employees will need to have approved Travel Requests for their faculty-led programs before they can receive their Merchants credit card.

Employees will need to submit an Employee Expense Reports in WarriorSpace in order to be reimbursed for approved purchases made on their personal credit card while traveling.

Please note that Employee Expense Reports for travel during fiscal year 2023 will need to be completed and fully approved by July 7, 2023.

Other Information

Regarding the purchase of goods or services, credit card holders must make every effort to obtain an itemized receipt or have the vendor sign one in the paper receipt book issued. If this was impossible, please email the Travel Office to get more information about the receipt affidavit process.

If your receipts do not fully convert to the amount charged to your credit card, please discuss with the Study Abroad Office as they will approve if the difference in amount is acceptable.

If you have questions about these procedures, please contact the Travel Office or the Study Abroad Office.

International travel is defined as travel to all destinations outside the United States or its territories.

Prior written approval is required by submitting a Faculty and Staff Travel Request Form for employees or a Student Travel Request Form for students traveling abroad. Study Abroad and Travel Study trips are managed under the Center for Global Education, and a Student Travel Request Form is not required for participating students.

Travel to locations with a US Department of State Travel Advisory of a level 2 or higher shall require additional information that is captured on the Travel Request Form.

Travelers must report any changes in status to the level of Travel Advisory to the University immediately upon notification before and during the trip. International travelers are also responsible for meeting any requirements as published on Travel.State.Gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites prior to undertaking international travel.

The University President is authorized, under System Procedure 5.19.3, Part 10 Subp.F, to suspend system-related International travel at any time, including while it is in progress, if significant health or safety concerns arise.

Individuals who are authorized to travel internationally are responsible for maintaining contact with appropriate system officials to permit communication in the event of such a situation.

Department of State registration will be required to facilitate the official communication about safety and conditions abroad by enrolling in the Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Important Travel Reminders

  • A travel request must be fully approved before travel may begin and before expenses may be incurred
  • Itemized receipts or invoices are required for all purchases
  • Make sure to convert your reimbursement amounts to US dollars.



When traveling on behalf of Winona State, employees are asked to select the most reasonably priced accommodations. Reimbursements for lodging are limited to the lowest cost single occupancy rate. 

If overnight lodging is required, it is limited to the single occupancy rate at a reasonably priced licensed lodging facility. The use of Airbnb, VRBOs, bed and breakfasts, or other short-term rental properties are discouraged, unless cost saving and certification of license can be determined. Airbnb, VRBOs, bed and breakfasts and other short-term rental properties will need to be approved by the Director of Business Services and the Chief Financial Officer at Winona State University. Request the government rate whenever possible.

Personal Travel

WSU funds are not allowed to be spent on non-WSU individuals while traveling.

Lodging expense is limited to the single occupancy rate. Request the lodging facility to certify the single rate was applied on the receipt. 

When traveling on behalf of Winona State, employees are asked to select the most reasonably priced accommodations. Reimbursements for lodging are limited to the lowest cost, single occupancy rate.

Purchasing Meals while Traveling

This expense is reimbursable only. Receipts are not required for employees. Students and contractors must submit itemized meal receipts. Please note that per IRS, meals for any trips that do not require overnight travel will be taxed. Meals for overnight trips are not taxed.

Meals are not to be treated as a per diem arrangement. Submit actual costs (including tax and gratuity) not to exceed the bargaining unit allowable amounts.

Times of departure and return must be recorded on the expense report for all meal reimbursement requests.

If meals are provided by the conference, hotel, or included in other costs while traveling, those meals are not eligible for reimbursement.

AFSCME, MAPE, Managerial Plan, Commissioner’s Plan, Administrator’s Plan, MMA, MNA, IFO, & MSUAASF

Low-Cost Areas
High-Cost Areas
Breakfast $11
Lunch $13
Dinner $19

Professional development for IFO & ASF

Low-Cost Areas
High-Cost Areas
Breakfast $13.75
Lunch $16.25
Dinner $23.75

University Credit Card Allowable Purchases

The more common purchases that are allowable with the university credit card are for airfare, hotel, car rentals, and Ubers/Lyfts/taxis. For purchases not listed above or on the website, please reach out to for clarification if the university credit card may be used. Meals are a reimbursable expense; please do not use your university credit card to purchase meals. An itemized receipt is required for all credit card purchases.

Booking Airfare

If you have a university credit card, please use that to obtain your airfare. If you do not have a university credit card, please contact your office support staff to have them assist you with obtaining your airfare. If your office support staff is unable to assist you, please reach out to to set up an appointment to obtain your airfare.

Personal Days

You will need to split out the costs for your personal days as WSU cannot pay for them or reimburse them. 
WSU will pay for your airfare to and from the location even if you are flying out early or later. You will need to provide proof of the cost. If the cost is less than then the airfare would have been without the personal days, then WSU can cover the whole amount. If the cost is more than the airfare would have been without personal days, you will need to cover the overage amount. If you have any questions about using personal days while traveling on behalf of WSU, please contact

Submitting Expense Report

You will need to submit your expense report after your travel has been completed. You may include appropriate purchases that were made with your personal credit card, meal reimbursement and mileage.

Please do not use your personal credit card for airfare as WSU does not reimburse for this expense, and do not include any purchases made with the university credit card on the expense report.

University Credit Card Purchases While Traveling

You will receive a WarriorSpace form called a Credit Card Charge Review for each transaction that was made. The forms are sent out every other week on Wednesday. You will have 10 days to complete the form and submit it before the form is locked for editing. This means you will not be able to change the cost center or object code after the lock out date. If the lock out occurs, you will need to complete a Credit Card Charge Correction to correct the cost center and object code.

WSU does not reimburse for personal expenses. 

Reimbursements are included in the employee’s paycheck and follow the payroll cycle. Please allow three to four weeks for processing.

Student reimbursements are paid according to the information listed on the Student Reimbursement Form.

Maximum rates are set by collective bargaining agreements and the Department of Employee Relations and may change for any or all of the various bargaining units each time the contracts are renegotiated.

Expense Reimbursement Allowances by Collective Bargaining Agreements/Compensation Plans (PDF)

Submitting for Reimbursement

Employees, or their office support staff, are able to submit Employee Expense Reports for reimbursements.

Follow the instructions on the form.

Students will use the Student Reimbursement Form.

Itemized paid receipts are required for all purchases except meals. Students and contractors are required to submit itemized receipts for all purchases, including meals.

Reimbursements are paid to the individual who incurred the expense. This includes expenses when traveling as part of a group. An employee may not assume the expenses of another employee and submit for reimbursement. Each employee will be reimbursed for their own expenses only.

Deadlines for Submitting Reimbursements

It is recommended to submit expense reports promptly after making a purchase or upon completion of your business travel. The IRS requires employee business expenses to be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days after the expense is incurred.

If that deadline passes, the reimbursement becomes taxable for federal, state, FICA and Medicare. Withholding tax must be taken, and the agency is required to match FICA and Medicare tax paid by the employee causing additional cost for the University.

Be aware of fiscal year-end deadlines for submitting business expense reimbursements by the established due dates (usually the first days of July).

If reimbursements are sent after a posted deadline (email with deadline is sent at the end of May or early June), then the reimbursements may be subject to presidential approval and, if approved applied against the next fiscal year's funds. 

If you will be leaving employment, make sure you have submitted all reimbursements prior to separation.

Hotels, airlines and retailers may offer benefits that include (but not limited to) cash payments, discount coupons, frequent flier miles, free future travel and rebates as either compensation to customers who have been dissatisfied or as loyalty rewards.

If an employee is awarded pointed or compensation as a result of a business purchase those points must be used for a future business purchase. Refer to Minnesota Statues 43A.38 subdivision 2, and Code of Ethics subpart B policies. 

If you would like to create an account to accrue these benefits offered by the companies, you may; however, they can only be used for travel on behalf of WSU.

Any student requesting assistance with travel must be sure the budget or cash balance of the cost center account is sufficient to cover the expenses of the trip. Funds must be in the account before the Business Office can assist with making any financial commitments or payments.

Information About Funding

You must provide the cost center number(s) and the estimated expense amount that will be charged to WSU. If you are not sure which cost center(s) to list, ask the advisor of your club or organization.

If you are receiving WSU financial assistance for travel, the budget or cash balance in the cost center account must be sufficient to cover the expenses of the trip. Funds must be in the account before any travel purchases are made.

Post-trip Requirements

Complete the WSU Clery Act Student Travel Form with names of accommodations, their addresses, and the room numbers used by each member of your group. The completed form is due 7 days after you return from the trip.

Reimbursement for approved expenses must be submitted within five business days of trip completion on the Student Reimbursement Form. Attach itemized paid receipts for all expenses.

WSU provides credit cards to approved staff and faculty members who demonstrate a continued need to make purchases for University business including supplies and trip related expenses.

Learn more about using a University Credit Card.

Using a University Credit Card Program

Once the Faculty or Staff Travel Request Form is approved, a cardholder may begin making pre-purchase for airfare, conference registration fees and hotel/lodging expenses for themselves. in some situations, it is allowable to purchase for other staff and faculty. Please contact if you have questions about that process

Students should contact their Club Advisor or Faculty Leader for guidance and assistance options with their travel purchases.

Please review the State of Minnesota Minimum Fleet Safety Standards for more detailed information regarding vehicle use.

Motor Pool or Enterprise/National Car Rental is recommended whenever transporting additional passengers. 15 passenger vans (HOV) cannot be purchased, rented or leased. Non-State individuals are not allowed to travel in a State rental or Motor Pool without a bona fide business purpose. 

Motor Pool Fleet

WSU maintains a fleet of vehicles to be used for business travel. Employees are encouraged to use this fleet whenever practical. Driver approval is required.

Learn more about reserving a vehicle.

Renting a Vehicle

Yes, a rental car may be considered if business travel is required and public transportation is clearly not adequate or expected to be more expensive.

Travelers are expected to choose the least costly method of transportation that meets the traveler's schedule and business needs.

The State of Minnesota has entered into a nationwide contract with Enterprise/National Car Rental to be used for business travel only.

If Enterprise or National is not available, another vendor may be considered. The employee is required to purchase the liability and physical damage insurance coverage offered by the alternate rental company. No other operational coverages or expenses is considered business expense.

When renting a car:

  • You must be driver approved and an employee of the State of Minnesota to rent under the State contract with Enterprise/National Car Rental
  • You must be 18 years of age or older to rent a vehicle and at least 21 to operate a 10-12 passenger vehicle. Some states require drivers to be 25 years of age in order to rent a vehicle. Please be mindful of other states' requirements when renting a car
  • Rentals are limited to compact/standard/intermediate vehicle classes unless there are business needs that require larger classes of vehicles. Claims for this expense beyond compact/standard/intermediate vehicle classes (i.e. trucks, vans, etc.) for reasons such as transporting extra passengers, carrying cargo or bulky equipment, etc., should be explained
  • Add-on features such as GPS devices cannot be expensed to the State
  • Please view the Enterprise contract under the Rental Vehicle section on the Travel Request to obtain the codes needed to make a reservation for the contract rate

In the event of an accident, no renter shall be asked for any money at the time of the accident. All renters will cooperate with the rental company by completing accident reports and giving any information to the proper authorities. Please also notify Erin Paulson, WSU Safety Administrator, at if an accident occurs with a rental vehicle or motor pool vehicle.

Paying for Rental Vehicle

To start a rental in Minnesota, contact 507.454.4462 and identify yourself as a WSU employee.

If you begin the rental at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car located in Winona, you can process payment with a purchase order through Marketplace, pay with a personal credit card (and seek reimbursement) or charge it to your University Issued Credit Card.

To rent a car when you are in another state, call 1.800.736.8222 or Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The renter will pay for these rentals at the time the vehicle is obtained with either a personal credit card (and seek reimbursement) or charged to your University issued Credit Card. Purchase order is not accepted.


Personal Vehicle

Yes, the use of a personal vehicles for University business is allowed but the primary liability risk falls on your personal insurance.

Reimbursement is paid the shortest distance from your origin (primary work/school location or your residence) to your destination. Commute miles to work are not reimbursable.

Long distance driving (instead of flying to your destination) is reimbursed at the lowest airfare, which is determined when you are completing your travel request. You will need to select the flight that you would take if you were going to flu to your destination. 

The following rates are effective for travel:

  • 60 cents per mile driven Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2024 when traveler elects to use a personal vehicle 
  • 67 cents per mile driven Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2024 when a motor pool vehicle was requested and denied based on vehicle availability. 

Consult the Mileage Tables (PDF) for frequent destinations in the Midwest. 

If there are no motor pool vehicles available, record this fact on your reimbursement form when submitting the higher rate.

Types of Transportation

Taxi (Uber, Lyft and similar transportation services),bus, train, tram and subway are options available for business transportation. Be sure to obtain itemized receipts for these expenses.