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Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy

The Board of Directors of the African Studies Association recognizes that board members, officers, and the Secretariat of the ASA may be required to travel or incur other expenses from time to time, to conduct organizational business and to further the mission of this non-profit organization. The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that (a) adequate cost controls are in place; (b) travel and other expenditures are appropriate; and (c) to provide a uniform and consistent approach for the timely reimbursement of authorized expenses incurred by Individual. It is the policy of the African Studies Association to reimburse only reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by individuals. When incurring business expenses, the African Studies Association expects individuals to:

• Exercise discretion and good business judgment with respect to those expenses.
• Be cost-conscious and spend African Studies Association’s money as carefully and judiciously as the individual would spend his or her own funds.
• Report expenses, supported by required documentation, as they were spent.


Expenses will not be reimbursed unless the individual requesting reimbursement submits an Expense Report. The Expense Report, which shall be submitted at least monthly or within two weeks of the completion of travel, if travel expense reimbursement is requested, must include:

• The individual’s name.
• If reimbursement for travel is requested, the date, origin, destination, and purpose of the trip, including a description of each African Studies Association-related activity during the trip.
• The name and affiliation of all people for whom expenses are claimed (i.e., people on whom money is spent to conduct the African Studies Association’s business).
• An itemized list of all expenses for which reimbursement is requested.


Receipts are required for all expenditures billed directly to the African Studies Association, such as airfare and hotel charges. No expense of more than $25.00 will be reimbursed to an individual unless the individual requesting reimbursement submits with the Expense Report receipts from each vendor (not a credit card receipt or statement) showing the vendor’s name, a description of the services provided (if not otherwise obvious), the date, and the total expenses, including tips (if applicable).

General Travel Requirements

A. Advance Approval. All trips involving air travel or at least one overnight stay must be approved in advance by the ED; however, any out-of-state travel must be approved by African Studies Association’s President and/ or the Executive Director.

B. Necessity of Travel. In determining the reasonableness and necessity of travel expenses. The individual and the person authorizing the travel shall consider the ways in which the African Studies Association will benefit from the travel and weigh those benefits against the anticipated costs of the travel. The same considerations shall be considered in deciding whether a particular individual’s presence on a trip is necessary. In determining whether the benefits to the African Studies Association outweigh the costs, less expensive alternatives, such as participation by video conferencing.

C. Personal and Spousal Travel Expenses. Individuals traveling for the African Studies Association may incorporate personal travel or business with their the African Studies Association-related trips; however, individuals shall not arrange the African Studies Association travel at a time that is less advantageous to the African Studies Association or involving greater expense to the African Studies Association to accommodate personal travel plans. Any additional expenses incurred because of personal travel, including but not limited to extra hotel nights, additional stopovers, meals or transportation, are the sole responsibility of the individual and will not be reimbursed by the African Studies Association’s Expenses associated with travel of an individual’s spouse, family or friends will not be reimbursed by African Studies Association’s

Air Travel

A. General. Air travel reservations should be made as far in advance (min of 30 days)as possible to take advantage of reduced fares. The African Studies Association will reimburse or pay only the cost of the lowest coach/economy class fare available for direct, non-stop flights from the airport nearest the individual’s home or office to the airport nearest the destination.

B. Saturday Stays. Individuals traveling for the African Studies Association are not required to stay over Saturday nights to reduce the price of an airline ticket. An individual who chooses to stay over a Saturday night shall be reimbursed for reasonable lodging and meal expenses incurred over the weekend to the extent the expenses incurred do not exceed the difference between the price of the Saturday night stay ticket and the price of the lowest price available ticket that would not include a Saturday night stay. To receive reimbursement for such lodging and meal expenses, the individual must supply, along with the Expense Report, documentation of the amount of the difference between the price of the Saturday stay and non-Saturday stay airline tickets.

C. Frequent Flyer Miles and Compensation for Denied Boarding. Individuals traveling for the African Studies Association may accept and retain frequent flyer miles and compensation for denied boarding for their personal use. Individuals may not deliberately patronize a single airline to accumulate frequent flyer miles if less expensive comparable tickets are available on another airline.


Individuals traveling for the African Studies Association may be reimbursed at the single room rate for the reasonable cost of hotel accommodations. Convenience, the cost of staying in the city in which the hotel is located, and proximity to other venues on the individual’s itinerary shall be considered in determining reasonableness. An individual shall make use of available corporate and discount rates for hotels. “Deluxe” or “luxury” hotel rates will not be reimbursed.

Out-Of-Town Meals

Individuals traveling for the African Studies Association are reimbursed for the reasonable and actual cost of meals (including tips) subject to a maximum per diem meal allowance of $60 per day and the terms and conditions established by the African Studies Association on the per diem meal allowance. Also, reasonable and necessary gratuities that are not covered under meals may be reimbursed.

Ground Transportation

Employees are expected to use the most economical ground transportation appropriate under the circumstances and should generally use the following, in this order of desirability:

· Courtesy Cars: many hotels have courtesy cars, which will take you to, and from the airport at no charge. The hotel will generally have a well-marked courtesy phone at the airport if this service is available. Employees should take advantage of this free service whenever possible.
· Airport Shuttle or Bus: airport shuttles or buses generally travel to and from all major hotels for a small fee. At major airports, such services are as quick as a taxi and considerably less expensive. Airport shuttle or bus services are generally located near the airport’s baggage claim area.
· Lyft/Uber: when courtesy cars and airport shuttles are not available, a car service is often the next most economical and convenient form of transportation when the trip is for a limited time and minimal mileage is involved. A car service may also be the most economical mode of transportation between an individual’s home and the airport.

 Personal Cars

Individuals are compensated for using their personal cars when used for the African Studies Association business. When individuals use their personal car for such travel, including travel to and from the airport, mileage will be allowed at the currently approved IRS rate per mile. In the case of individuals using their personal cars to take a trip that would normally be made by air, e.g., Minneapolis-to-Milwaukee, mileage will be allowed at the currently approved rate; however, the total mileage reimbursement will not exceed the sum of the lowest available round-trip coach airfare.


Parking and toll expenses, including charges for hotel parking, incurred by individuals traveling on the African Studies Association business, will be reimbursed. The costs of parking tickets, fines, car washes, valet service, etc., are the responsibility of the employee and will not be reimbursed. On-airport parking is permitted for short business trips. For extended trips, individuals should use off-airport facilities.

Entertainment and Business Meetings

Reasonable expenses incurred for business meetings or other types of business-related entertainment will be reimbursed only if the expenditures are approved in advance by [designated Board Member or Executive Director] of the African Studies Association and qualify as tax-deductible expenses. Detailed documentation for any such expense must be provided, including:
• date and place of entertainment.
• nature of the expense.
• names, titles, and corporate affiliations of those entertained.
• a complete description of the business purpose for the activity including the specific business matter discussed.
• Vendor receipts (not credit card receipts or statements) showing the vendor’s name; a description of the services provided, the date, and the total expenses, including tips (if applicable).

Non-Reimbursable Expenditures

The African Studies Association maintains a strict policy that expenses in any category that could be perceived as lavish or excessive will not be reimbursed, as such expenses are inappropriate for reimbursement by a nonprofit, charitable organization. Expenses that are not reimbursable include, but are not limited to:

• Travel insurance.
• First class tickets or upgrades.
• When lodging accommodations have been arranged by the African Studies Association and the individual elects to stay elsewhere, reimbursement is made at the amount no higher than the rate negotiated by the ASA. Reimbursement shall not be made for transportation between the alternate lodging and the meeting site.
• Spa or exercise charges.
• Clothing purchases.
• Business conferences and entertainment which are not approved by a [Treasurer or Executive Director] of the ASA
• Toiletry articles.
• Expenses for spouses, friends or relatives. If a spouse, friend or relative accompanies an Individual on a trip, it is the responsibility of the Individual to determine any added cost for double occupancy and related expenses and to make the appropriate adjustment in the reimbursement request.
• Overnight retreats without the prior approval of the board or the ED.


This policy will be reviewed at least every two years and recommendations for amendments will be approved by the board.