University of Nebraska faculty and staff are invited to a series of presentations next week to learn about a proposed new university-wide travel policy developed as part of NU’s ongoing efforts to reduce costs.
The draft policy, available in full here, was developed by the Travel Budget Response Team, comprising staff from business and finance, procurement and other areas from all four campuses. It standardizes travel protocol across the university, ensuring that the same requirements for booking, expenses and other travel-related areas apply to all employees.
Members of the Travel BRT will visit each campus to review the proposed policy, answer questions and solicit feedback. A recording of the presentation will be available later this month at www.nebraska.edu/BRT. In addition to providing input in person, faculty and staff may also submit feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presentation dates, times and locations are:
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Tuesday, Jan. 16, 4-5 p.m., Nebraska Union Colonial A&B
- University of Nebraska Omaha: Wednesday, Jan. 17, 4-5 p.m., Mammel Hall Auditorium
- University of Nebraska Medical Center: Thursday, Jan. 18, 4-5 p.m., Durham Research Center I, Room 1002. (Livestream will be available here.)
- University of Nebraska at Kearney: Friday, Jan. 19, 3-4 p.m., Copeland Hall Room 142
The new policy is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2018, following feedback from faculty and staff. Highlights include the following:
- All travel will be required to be processed through the new Concur software system, approved for purchase by the Board of Regents last August. The Concur system was one of the Travel BRT’s recommendations for cost savings and is expected to significantly reduce paperwork and labor by creating a standard, streamlined digital process for submitting travel expense reports.
Not only are we establishing a unified travel process for our employees, but we’ll create meaningful efficiencies that will help the university make the most of our limited resources.
- David Lechner, NU senior vice president of business and finance and chief financial officer
Concur will be implemented on July 1; training sessions will take place on each campus prior to that date.
- Pre-trip requests will be required prior to all travel bookings or expenses.
- All travel expenses must be submitted no more than 60 days after an employee’s final day of travel in order to be reimbursed.
- Air, hotel and car rentals will be booked and processed through Concur and the university’s travel management company, Travel & Transport. Outside bookings and reimbursement will not be permitted unless Travel & Transport’s services are unavailable.
- All airfare paid by the university will be limited to coach, with an emphasis on booking the cheapest listed price at the time of the booking. Upgrades will be the responsibility of the employee.
- Lodging rates will be capped at conference rates when applicable, or up to the federal per diem rate plus 50 percent based on the location of the lodging.
- Up to three meals a day will be permitted during travel, with the total cost of the meals not exceeding the federal per diem rate of the destination city. Meal allowances will be reduced if meals are included in conference rates, lodging offerings or other registrations.
"This is an important step forward for the University of Nebraska," said David Lechner, NU senior vice president of business and finance and chief financial officer, who has chaired the Travel BRT. "Not only are we establishing a unified travel process for our employees, but we’ll create meaningful efficiencies that will help the university make the most of our limited resources. I’m proud of the work our colleagues on the Travel Budget Response Team have done to get us to this point and we look forward to hearing the ideas of faculty and staff for whom we want to make travel as enjoyable and efficient as possible."
Complete information on the Budget Response Team process, including cost-savings strategies in procurement, human resources, energy and facilities, information technology, printing, finance and communications, is available at www.nebraska.edu/BRT.