As a matter of University policy, Columbia requires the presentation of receipts for reimbursement of actual expenses; per diem payments are not permitted. There are two exceptions, described below, to this policy. The first permits a per diem payment if it is specifically required by contract. The second allows limited per diem payments to selected international visitors.
1. Required by Contract: The University does not approve per diem allowances unless they are stipulated by a granting agency.
When a grant or contract specifies per diem allowances, University policy permits a daily payment, not exceeding the maximum per diem rate established by the Federal Register, to cover lodging and meals. Reimbursement for expenses other than lodging and meals (such as cab fare, laundry expenses on trips lasting more than five days, etc.), hereafter referred to as incidental expenses, requires itemization of actual expenses. In addition to itemization, reimbursement requests for incidental expenses must include receipts for those expenses exceeding $50. When a traveler is being paid a per diem, he or she cannot be reimbursed for lodging (including tax) or meals. When including per diem rates on an Expense Report, attach a copy of the granting agency's letter or contract.
Questions as to what travel or related business expenditures are reimbursable under a particular grant or contract should be directed to the Office of Projects and Grants for the Morningside Campus and the Office of Grants and Contracts for the Health Science campus.
2. Non-Resident Payments: To determine a non-resident's eligibility for payments from Columbia based on his or her INS Status, refer to the Eligibility for Payments/Salary by Columbia University Based on INS and IRS Guidelines.