Student Travel

The University pays reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for degree or program-related student travel, such as attending a conference or visiting a field site or laboratory facility. Such travel must be certified as degree-related by a faculty member.

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Approval Authority

Authority and responsibility for approving travel by students of the University rests with the person responsible for the account (PTA) to which the expense will be charged. Travel expenses are payable only when all required approvals, including any required approval from government agencies or other project sponsors, are obtained before incurring the expense.

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Stanford Travel is the University's preferred travel management service for travelers and arrangers. Special Stanford-negotiated rates for air travel, car rental, and lodging can all be found on Stanford's online booking tool.

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Stanford Travel Card is the University's preferred method of payment for student travel that is certified as degree or program related by a faculty member.

Student travel that cannot be certified as a University business expense cannot be paid as University Business expenses.

  • For undergraduate and graduate students, un-certifiable travel expenses should be added to the student's University account and paid through the normal student refund process.
  • For post-doctoral students, un-certifiable travel expenses may be tax reportable and should be paid through Graduate Financial Services (GFS) as a fellowship payment.
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Undergraduate, Graduate and Post-Doctoral Student Travel

To be considered as University business travel, travel by students must be officially certified by a faculty member as:

  • In direct support of a faculty member's project, research, or academic program
  • Related to presenting at a conference or attending an event as an official Stanford representative
  • An integral part of the student's degree work
  • Related directly to the student's employment at the University
  • Being in support of University business

See Student Certificate for Authorized Expenses.

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Non-Business Days

Weekends, holidays, and other necessary standby days may only be counted as business days if they fall between business travel days. If a traveler chooses to arrive early or to stay longer for non-business reasons, the University does not pay for expenses during additional personal days. The only exception is when travel is at a lower total cost if the traveler stays over a weekend or holiday, with department approval. The traveler must document the total cost savings in order to support the non-business-day payment.

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Documentation of Expenses

Expense reports with relevant supporting documents attached must be completed for all travel expenses paid by the University.

The University does not require receipts for expenditures under $75; however, schools and departments may require receipts for expenditures.

Specific to student travel, the expense report must also include the Student Certificate for Authorized Expenses and, if travel involved a conference, a copy of the conference agenda.

See also the Policy Notes: Required Documentation for Travel Expense Reimbursement.

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