500.00 Travel

500.10 Introduction

This provides the requirements for how Great Falls College MSU should conduct travel for official College business.

500.20 Forms

510.00 Chrome River

Great Falls College utilizes software called Chrome River to process all travel expenses.

  • Any official travel expenses paid for with a Pcard must be processed on an expense report in Chrome River within 10 days after the trip as ended.
  • Travel reimbursement requests (like per diem) must be submitted within 10 days after the trip has ended. Failure to do so may lead to denial of reimbursement. Original, itemized receipts must accompany the expense report with detailed information for all allowable expenditures over $25.
  • If the traveler misplaces receipts for reimbursable expenses, they can document this in Chrome River.

510.10 Travel Authorization

The Chrome River Travel Preapproval is required for all Great Falls College employees who wish to travel out-of-state.

It is important that the traveler apply for the authorization as soon as possible since the travel preapproval must be on record before any travel advance, Chrome River Pcard Expense Report, Requisition Order, or Chrome River Travel Expense Report is processed. 

Even though policy does not require employees to have a travel preapproval for in-state travel, if any of the following conditions are met then a travel preapproval is required.

  1. Personally-owned vehicle will be driven. This must first be approved by the supervisor and the rate at which reimbursement will be owed. There is a low rate and high rate.
  2. If lodging is higher than the approved destination state-rate. Actual cost must be justified.

See section 540.00 for Travel Authorization for non-employees.

510.20 Travel Advances

Travel advances may be obtained by Great Falls College employees to avoid hardship or undue strain on personal finances. Requests for travel advances are completed in Chrome River and can include any expected reimbursable out of pocket expenditures for travel. Travelers need to allow the process at least 10 working days in advance of the departure date and should not be for less than $100. Only unanticipated travel advances will be considered outside of the Chrome River system. A travel advance may be denied to anyone abusing this privilege or who has not followed the designated time schedules for application or filing dates.  A travel advance is for the convenience of the traveler and is an advance expenditure of travel. 

Upon return, a travel expense report must be completed in Chrome River (with receipts if applicable). If the travel advance exceeded the expenditures, a deposit reimbursing the college MUST submitted to the Business Office.

If a trip is canceled after an advance is received, the advance must be repaid in full to the Business Office within 10 days after cancellation.

520.00 Domestic Travel

520.10 Transportation-Mode of Travel

State Owned Vehicles

GREAT FALLS COLLEGE owns cars for employees to use for official travel. Employees must acknowledge the MUS Vehicle Policy via Banner Web/MyInfo, found under the MyApps tab. All drivers of college owned vehicles must abide by the Administrative Rules of the state of Montana 2.6.2 State Vehicle Use and Montana Board of Regents Policy 1002.2 Vehicle Policy and Procedures.

Requests to use a campus vehicle should be made through the college’s event coordinator. If a campus vehicle is not available, employees are encouraged to reserve a rental car through Enterprise Rental Cars.  State and rental vehicles are to be used for official business only. When using a college-owned vehicle, a gas card is provided.

Employees are encouraged to use college-owned or rental vehicles while on college business.

Personal Vehicles

Great Falls College employees may use their personal vehicle and receive mileage reimbursement at the approved rate if a campus vehicle is not available, rental cars are not available, or if it meets the needs of the college. Great Falls College employees will not be compensated for driving their own vehicle unless it is used for college business.

The request to drive a personally owned vehicle is done on a travel preapproval in Chrome River regardless of in-state or out-of-state travel.


The guidelines related to travel reimbursement are authorized by Section 2‐18‐503, MCA and are made in conjunction with the official guidelines of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

When a college driver is authorized to travel by motor vehicle and chooses to use a privately owned motor vehicle even though a college‐owned or rental vehicle is available, the officer or employee may be reimbursed only at the rate of 48.15% of the mileage rate allowed by the United States Internal Revenue Service for the current year.

When a privately owned motor vehicle is used because a College‐owned or rental vehicle is not available or because the use is in the best interest of the College, then a rate equal to the mileage allotment allowed by the United States internal revenue service for the current year must be paid for the first 1,000 miles and 3 cents less per mile for all additional miles traveled within a given calendar month.

Chrome River uses a map function to calculate miles driven. It is the responsibility of the traveler to enter the travel destinations on the Chrome River Travel Expense Report. Reimbursement will be from the work location if travel begins or ends during the travel shift and from the home residence if the travel begins or ends outside the travel shift.

Commercial Airfare--State travel policy requires travelers to use the Purchasing card for individual employee airfare purchases, unless another method is documented to be in the best interest of the College. This applies to ticket purchases made through a travel agent, purchased directly from an airline, or purchased from an online travel source

IN LIEU OF AIRFARE, an employee may wish to use other than the most economical and expeditious mode of transportation to complete a travel-oriented work assignment. For example, an employee may prefer to drive a vehicle to a particular destination rather than fly. To drive might require more travel time and cost more than airfare. Justification for the alternative method of travel must be provide to your supervisor or, if travel is grant related, to the Business Office.

When other than the least expensive class service is used, a full explanation of the justifying circumstances MUST be included with the claim.  Travel/trip insurance, baggage fees, and seat selection fees are allowable expenses.

It is the responsibility of the traveler to cancel flights and request refunds.

Employees may join frequent flyer programs and any other frequent travel programs offered by airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, or other travel vendors. However, participation in programs must not influence an employee’s flight selection that would result in failing to utilize the most economically available option.

If an employee is involuntarily bumped by an airline, any expenses related to that are reimbursable, unless the airline pays those expenses, such as a hotel room, or offers the traveler a free airline ticket or cash.

520.20 Meals

The following travel allowance schedule is used to reimburse GREAT FALLS COLLEGE Employees in accordance with State policy. Rates for in-state and out-of-state meal allowance can be found on the Department of Administration website.

 “Travel Shift” is defined as beginning one hour before and ending one hour after an employee’s regular scheduled work shift. An employee may claim only one meal (midday) if travel takes place within their assigned travel shift. An employee is entitled to two meal allowances during a 24-hour calendar day if they depart within their travel shift but return outside the travel shift; or depart before their assigned travel shift and return during the travel shift.

When travel is totally outside of the employee’s travel shift, eligibility for meal allowance is governed by the time ranges for that meal. To be eligible for a meal reimbursement while traveling on official business, the employee must have been in a "travel status" for more than three (3) hours within the meal time frame and be a distance of at least 15 miles from campus or home, whichever is closer. In the event that meals are included in a registration fee, no meal allowance should be claimed for that meal, unless a justifiable reason is document otherwise.




12:01 am - 10:00am


10:01am -3:00 pm


3:01 pm - 12:00 am


Because the college pays per diem, a receipt for meals is not necessary to obtain reimbursement

Travel by air is considered to be out-of-state with a destination outside Montana, or returning from outside Montana. When using other modes of transportation, the geographical location will determine in-state and out-of-state meal reimbursement allowances.

If registration includes meals provided, then the employee cannot, without justification, request per diem of meals. A traveler using federal grant funds must provide an agenda that shows whether or not meals were provided.

520.30 Lodging

Lodging reimbursements rates used by Great Falls College employees can on the Department of Administration website.

Reimbursement for out-of-state lodging is based on General Services Administration (GSA) per diem schedules and is actual cost should not exceed the prescribed maximum standard rate for the location plus taxes. A number of locations have been assigned a higher maximum lodging rate.

A traveler must verify on the travel preapproval in Chrome River that they attempted to obtain the government rate.

In some instances, lodging will be more than the standard rate.  The travel preapproval in Chrome River is where a traveler can state that the actual cost for lodging is higher than the standard rate and provide the justification.

Board of Regents policy allows for reimbursement of actual cost of out-of-state lodging if the purpose of the travel is to attend a conference, career fair, recruitment fair, or similar event and the event is either being held at the lodging site or the lodging site has been designated as the recommended lodging site for the event.  Preapproval through Chrome River is required.

In order to claim lodging reimbursement, an itemized receipt/folio from the lodging facility MUST be attached to the Chrome River travel expense voucher. Other receipts, such as credit card receipts, canceled checks, etc. are not acceptable. Great Falls College needs proof that only room and taxes are being paid.

In some instances, lodging is provided to the employee but no charge is assessed. Therefore, no expense can be claimed.

520.40 Miscellaneous Expenses

Miscellaneous business expenses associated with travel are reimbursable. Examples of allowable miscellaneous expenses include: needed work supplies purchased on an emergency basis; taxi fares with a reasonable tip; airline baggage and seat fees not due to upgrades; airline insurance that solely protects against trip cancellation or re-booking fees; parking fees excluding parking tickets issued for non-compliance with city/county/airport authority rules, unless the agency director, or designated approving authority, authorizes reimbursement of parking tickets issued as a result of extenuating circumstances that the employee could not avoid; etc.

Each reimbursable expense more than $25.00 per day must be supported by paid receipts.

When a traveler incurs any expense of more than $25.00 per day, an original receipt must be filed to assure reimbursement. Any exceptions must be approved by the designated supervisor and the Business Office.

It is usually necessary to begin traveling prior to the time established for a meeting appointment, a conference, etc. Business activities may terminate late in the day and because of bad weather, fatigue, and the unavailability of transportation, it may not be feasible for the employee to return promptly to campus. In such cases, travel expenses are allowed for a reasonable amount of time preceding and following the actual business activities that necessitate travel. Because circumstances vary, the "reasonable" criterion will have to be applied on an individual basis.

530.00 International Travel

All travel to a location outside of the United States is managed by MSU Bozeman’s Office of International Programs.  Employees and students must work with the executive director of operations and MSU prior to making any travel plans.  Full policy and procedure can be found on MSU’s website: http://www.montana.edu/international/studyabroad/healthandsafety.html

540.00 Non-State Employees Travel

Non-state employees must still abide by all applicable rules regarding travel. Reimbursement for non-state employees is limited to:

  1. Job Applicants
  2. Honoraria
  3. Visiting Lecturers
  4. Consultants
  5. Workshop Personnel
  6. Students
  7. Other non-state employee travel may be approved on an individual basis.


550.00 Student Travel

The college encourages field experiences and opportunities for students to travel for academic, scholarly, engagement and outreach activities. Student travel and field experiences can enhance the student learning experience.

The types of activities and events covered by this procedure include academically related travel, such as field trips, meetings and conferences of academic organizations where a student is attending/ participating due to their affiliation with the college, co-curricular travel, and registered student organization trips.

This procedure applies to travel that is sponsored by a unit of the college, a registered student organization or financed by college funds (including grant funding) and will apply to all such trips whether occurring during the academic year, during the summer or on college holidays and breaks.

This procedure does not apply to travel undertaken by students to a clinical site or internships with non-college entities. Travel undertaken by students who are employees in their capacity as employees working for the college is not covered by this procedure and will be handled in the same manner as employee travel.

550.10 Forms

550.20 Procedure

Faculty must receive approval from their division director prior to any travel.  The trip approval form must be completed and approved by the Executibve Director of Student Services.  Each students traveling as part of the trip must complete the student travel acknowledgement of risk form.

For required field trips related to classes, transportation to the site(s) should be made available. Students may take their own transportation, but faculty may require that students utilize the provided transportation where vehicular travel space is limited or to reduce environmental impact.

Vehicles operated by any Montana University System (MUS) employee, student, or other authorized person for MUS/State business must comply with State of Montana Vehicle Use Policy and Policy 1000.2, Vehicle Policy and Procedures. Under Board of Regents policy, the lease or rental of full-size passenger vans (those larger than 10 passengers, including the driver) for college sponsored travel is prohibited.

Great Falls College has no source of insurance which provides medical coverage for student travelers. Any student who is traveling is required to have their own medical insurance. College employees are covered by the MUS workers' compensation program if injured in the course and scope of employment.