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Changes to UC Travel Policy

October 11, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

On Sept. 13, new UC policy changes were announced that would become effective Sunday, Oct. 15. These changes are responsive to the state audit recommendations and the result of many consultations with internal stakeholder groups, including campus representatives. 

To summarize the policy changes that will have the most impact to our campus:

  • Reimbursements are reduced for lodging and meals for those traveling on UC business. The final policy has not been published, but early drafts indicate that the lodging caps will decrease from unlimited today to a maximum of $275 per night before taxes and mandatory hotel fees. If a traveler is unable to secure lodging at that rate in proximity to the meeting, an explanation must be provided that includes printouts of pricing comparisons at the time of booking. The daily meal cap will be reduced from $75 to $62 for all travel within the continental United States that is less than 30 days in length. The numbers cited may change when the policy is published on UCOP’s website, so these amounts are unofficial and tentative at best. 
  • A traveler who is required to attend a conference where the prearranged conference lodging rate exceeds the $275 per night cap may stay at the conference hotel without exceptional approval.
  • Travelers who currently have lodging reservations that exceed $275 for travel on or after Oct. 15, 2017, are encouraged to change their reservations to meet the new limits if changes can be made without penalties. If changes cannot be made to existing hotel reservations, we will apply the previous policy; however, please document this along with the reasons why the reservation cannot be changed in the explanation field to ensure a smooth processing experience.
  • Cash relocation allowances are eliminated for senior management group and management and senior professional level employees. Under the new practice, we will only reimburse employees for limited, documented eligible transaction costs associated with the sale of a primary residence. 

Travelers will be expected to follow the guidelines and will only be eligible for reimbursement up to the maximum amounts allowed unless they can meet the additional requirements for lodging as stated above.  

The Travel Services department has been communicating that these changes are forthcoming to your travel proxies and business officers via their normal monthly meetings with the campus. Once the policy is published, Travel Services will inform your travel proxies, MSOs and business officers of the changes as information becomes available and more specific details are known.

If you have any questions, please reach out directly or to our Travel Services department.


Michael Riley, CPA

Controller, UC Merced

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Business & Financial Services