(as of April 4, 2012)
The following policies shall apply to NCATE payment of approved travel expenses, whether for NCATE staff travel or for volunteers serving on governance boards, the Board of Examiners ("BOE"), committee members, contractors and sub-contractors, and participants in grant-funded meetings subject to additional policies of grantors including but not limited to federal government grants. These policies shall apply whether NCATE or an institution pays the expenses directly, is direct-billed, or reimburses the staff member or volunteer ("traveler").
NCATE will provide travelers with a travel reimbursement voucher form that bears the name of the meeting or event, the dates and location of the event, and the appropriate charge codes. All original receipts must be stapled to the back of the voucher. Travelers are asked to assist in the clarity of the reimbursement process by adding up and clearly marking the "Grand Total" that documents and highlights the traveler's expectation of the amount to be reimbursed.
Reimbursements are normally made by NCATE within one week of receipt at the NCATE office.
Effective Fall 2008, all travelers must book transportation through the NCATE travel agency, Gant Travel Management and have the charge direct-billed to NCATE. The only exception to this requirement is if travel is being split between CAEP/NCATE and one or more other organizations. Advance approval for the exception must be obtained from NCATE’s Director of Finance and Administration. There are two methods of booking through Gant. In both cases the traveler will be required to provide the travel code assigned by the NCATE staff member responsible for the meeting or event. Individuals approved for travel will receive instructions on booking travel through Gant. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
NCATE recognizes that circumstances and personal emergencies sometimes require the change of travel plans. However, the change of nonrefundable or advance-purchase airline tickets can significantly increase the expense of the fare. Therefore, NCATE is willing to pay up to one service fee for ticket changes per trip, up to a maximum of $150.00. Changes that result in fare increases, more than $150.00 over the originally booked fare, will be the responsibility of the traveler or institution or organization requesting the change, unless approved in advance by the Director of Finance and Administration or the Vice-President of the applicable NCATE department.
Recognizing the trend in the airline industry to charge for checked baggage, NCATE will reimburse travelers for the first bag checked if an airline charges a fee. Efforts should be made to obtain a receipt for this cost. Fees for additional checked bags are the responsibility of the traveler.
In the event that air transportation is unavailable or impractical, reimbursement will be made for train fare, or automobile travel at the rate of $0.60 per mile, plus tolls, parking, lodging and meals. If air or other public transportation is available and practical, but an individual elects to travel by private automobile, reimbursement will be provided to a maximum of round trip coach class airfare between the point of origin and destination. Drivers are asked to contact the NCATE Finance Office before their trip so a base fare can determined at that time.
Costs of travel by taxi or other local transportation will be reimbursed if accompanied by appropriate documentation (receipt or note if the receipt should be lost). Unusual or excessive charges must be explained.
Housing and Meals
NCATE will have hotels direct billed when possible. Hotel bills must be signed to indicate the traveler’s approval of charges. If the traveler pays for lodging and meals, a paid hotel bill must be included with request for reimbursement.
NCATE now follows the per diem rates established for Federal Employees. Meals will be reimbursed at actual cost (attach original receipts), bearing in mind the individual meal guidelines which are listed on the front of the voucher: $12.00 breakfast, $18.00 lunch, $36.00 dinner, $5.00 tips/day and incidentals. The $5.00 tips/day are intended to be for skycaps, maids at hotels, etc. and not tips on meals. At sponsored conferences and events, NCATE or the institution being visited provides many meals as noted (blocked) on the voucher; reimbursement will not be made for those meals if consumed elsewhere.
Accreditation Visits by BOE Members
The voucher for the on-site accreditation visit is sent to BOE members prior to the visit in a package that includes the cover letter with the travel code, return envelope(s), and instructions to retrieve other visit materials from the NCATE website. All NCATE travel expense reimbursement policies apply to accreditation visits; in addition, if the institution has not arranged for direct billing of the hotel bill, team members are reimbursed for the hotel as well.
NCATE does not reimburse team state consultants or NEA/AFT representatives. Either the state agency responsible for program approval, or the NEA/AFT affiliate, will reimburse consultants. BOE members are encouraged to assist in keeping the reimbursement processes separate by refraining from combining meal and other charges.
NCATE appreciates the service of members of the BOE and is committed to reimbursing their expenses as quickly as possible to reduce the financial and logistical inconvenience to these vitally needed volunteers. Although NCATE now bills the institutions a set fee for these visits rather than the actual cost, BOE Members are still asked to submit their expenses promptly. BOE Members are asked to assist in completing this cycle by:
Submitting their vouchers and receipts on a timely basis, preferably within 10 days of the end of the visit. Vouchers will be considered late, and may not be reimbursed, by February 1 for fall accreditation visits, and June 15 for spring accreditation visits.
Notifying the Finance Department if a voucher was sent but reimbursement not received within two weeks, so that it can be assumed lost in the mail and replicated for payment.
Notifying the Finance Department, by e-mail if possible, immediately after the visit if there are no expenses to reimburse.
Including the original air ticket and/or printed itinerary with the voucher, even though it was booked through Gant.
Expenses That Will Not Be Reimbursed by NCATE
Personal expenses incurred during an NCATE hotel stay are the traveler's sole responsibility and must be paid at time of check-out from the hotel, even when the main charges are direct-billed to NCATE or an institution during an accreditation visit. Examples include bar bills, newspapers, telephone calls unrelated to NCATE business other than reasonable ‘safe arrival’ calls, movie charges, dry cleaning or laundry, charges to use a hotel’s spa or health club, and gift shop charges. Internet connection charges by hotels will be paid or reimbursed only for pre-approved NCATE use (ie. access to the Accreditation Information Management System [AIMS]). Childcare, house-sitting, and pet boarding expenses during the traveler’s absence while on NCATE travel are the traveler's sole responsibility. Fees to obtain or renew a passport are the traveler's sole responsibility.
Substitute Teacher Pay
School districts in many instances pay the costs of substitute teachers to replace NCATE volunteers. NCATE will reimburse the school or school district employers only of NEA or AFT-appointed volunteers serving on governance boards, the Board of Examiners ("BOE"), and committees, and be itself reimbursed by funds provided by the NEA or AFT for that purpose. Grant-funded meetings may reimburse the school or school district employers of their volunteers, for the substitute teacher pay, subject to further policies stated by grantors. NEA or AFT-appointed volunteers should obtain an Application for Substitute Teacher Pay form from NCATE’s website.
Download the form:
Expense Voucher Form (MS Excel)
Print out the applicable per diem rates from the GSA website:
These per diem rate schedules must be retained with the travel expense reports to document the per diems used.
In the event that the daily overnight stay would reasonably exceed the stipulated government per diem rate, NCATE must be notified before the trip so that we may obtain advance approval to exceed the government per diem from the grants officer. Else, amounts exceeding the per diem rates will not be reimbursed to staff, subcontractors, or consultants.
Questions or requests for clarification of these guidelines may be addressed to the NCATE Finance Department at (202) 466-7496.