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Travel Guidelines from the Business Office

All travel and expense processing for employees are done through CUNYfirst’s Travel and Expense module.

If you do not have an active account in CUNYfirst, you will need to visit the CUNY Login website, click "new user", and then follow the instructions. Please ensure that you have access to the travel and expense module as well. The Travel-Expense Security Access Form can be found on the business office website.

Because York College-CUNY is an agency of NYS, we follow the policies and procedures of the Office of the NYS Comptroller.  When traveling on official college business, individuals will be reimbursed for ordinary, necessary, and reasonable expenses incurred during the course of conducting college business.

All employees should follow the guidelines as they appear in the New York State Travel Manual.

Also, the Travel FAQ’s

The Process

Employees should follow this step-by-step process when preparing to travel on official college business:

  1. Have a discussion with your department head/supervisor.
  2. Fill out a purchase requisition for any conference fees/registration well in advance of the event. (Remember it takes at least 10 days to process a purchase order).
  3. Fill out a pre-travel authorization in CUNY first, researching the U.S. General Services Administration’s website for applicable Per Diem Rates for the area in which you are traveling.
  4. Should the hotel/lodging found be greater than the allowable Per Diem Rates listed on the GSA’s website, you should obtain fiscal approval prior to making your lodging arrangements. An overage approval letter can be obtained from the business office.
  5. Make reservations.
  6. Have a wonderful trip!  Please be sure to keep all original receipts and boarding passes for submission when you return.
  7. Fill out travel expense reimbursement form in CUNYfirst.  Please note that the travel authorization can just be copied into the expense reimbursement form.  No need to start all over.  Your travel expense reimbursement form should be completed and submitted within 10 days after returning from your trip.  Please also include AC-132S when submitting your travel and expense reimbursement in CUNY first.
  8. Attach all related receipts, boarding passes, conference agenda, itinerary (if applicable), and overage approval letter (if applicable) to your travel and expense reimbursement form in CUNYfirst.

Determining Travel Status

  • Travel status is determined when you are more than 35 miles away from your official workstation and your home. All other travel is considered commuting and will not be reimbursed. 
  • When you are assigned to an alternate work location, less than 35 miles from either work or home, you are considered in proximity to the official station or home.  Reimbursement is entitled in the following scenarios:
    1. From home to an alternate work location
    2. Between the official station and an alternate work location
    3. Between alternate work locations
    4. From an alternate work location to the employee’s home

*An example of when you may be the proximity of official station or home is when you are attending a meeting at an alternate location on behalf of the college.

Some points to remember

  • All employees must complete a pre-travel authorization in CUNY first. It should be approved by your department head as well as the business office prior to the first date of travel. 
  • Acela and business class seats on Amtrak are not allowed.
  • First class, business class, extra leg room, and obtaining travel insurance are also disallowable cost. If extra leg room is needed for medical reasons, a doctor’s note should be attached to your travel expense reimbursement report.
  • Rentals of SUV’s are not allowed.
  • Valet parking is only allowed if it is the only parking provided by the hotel.
  • A conference agenda/itinerary, airline boarding passes, and receipts must be submitted along with your travel expense report.
  • When using a personal vehicle to travel to and from a conference, Google maps must be included.  It should clearly detail the route used to and from your destination.  Please also include form AC-160S to record mileage.

Per Diems

A breakdown of per diem rates across the continental United States can be found in the Per Diem Rates page of the GSA Portal.

This website should be used as a reference any and every time you are preparing to travel on official college business.  Per diems for lodging and meals are based on location.  For example, a daily meal allowance for San Francisco, CA is $74, while St. Louis Missouri has a daily allowance of $54.  A breakdown of the current meal allowances are found below:

Total Meal Allowance Breakfast Dinner
$74 $15 $59


$14 $57
$69 $14 $55
$66 $13 $53
$64 $13 $51
$61 $12 $49
$59 $12 $47
$56 $11 $45
$54 $11 $43

Please feel free to contact the Business Office with any additional questions.

Thank you.