Stanford students and postdoctoral scholars (postdocs) may have occasion to travel in support of their course of study or research. An administrator in their school or department is usually available to assist with travel arrangements and the travel expense reimbursement process. Refer to Topic Overview: Travel Process for more information.  

Reimbursement payments to students and postdocs who incur a business or travel expense will be tax-reportable unless the expense is certified as related to university business by the appropriate signatory. 

The preparer of the reimbursement request must certify student travel expenses within the Expense Requests System meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Directly support a faculty member's project or research program (attach program) 
  • Are an integral part of the student's degree work (does not apply to postdocs)
  • Are directly related to the student's employment at the university

A paper form is available for schools and units to facilitate this certification, but it is not required as an attachment to the reimbursement request. Refer to the Student Certificate for Authorized Expenses.

In June 2020, the university implemented a new travel policy that states that university funds may only be used to purchase or reimburse new university-sponsored travel expenses when booked through one of the Stanford Travel booking channels: Casto, Egencia, United Corporate Direct, and Anthony Travel (used exclusively by Athletics). This policy applies to Stanford faculty, staff and students booking airfare, hotel, and/or car rentals. Read the complete policy in the Business and Travel Expense policy overview.

Stanford Travel is the university's travel management service for travelers and arrangers. Per Administrative Guide Policy 5.4.2: Business and Travel Expenses, use of Stanford Travel booking channels is expected, as it supports the guiding principle to spend appropriately, eliminates the administrative requirement to provide documentation demonstrating the expense is reasonable and also connects travel reservations to International SOS.  

Learn more about traveling for Stanford on the Travel Process page. 

The Stanford Travel Cards (TCards) Program is the preferred payment method for travel costs. Alternatively, personal funds may be used, and a request for reimbursement can be submitted after the trip. The same policies and guidelines must be followed regardless of payment or reimbursement method. Learn more about these methods on the Travel Process page.

  • For undergraduate and graduate students, uncertifiable travel expenses should be added to the student's university account and paid through the student refund process.
  • For postdoctoral students, uncertifiable travel expenses may be tax-reportable and should be paid through Graduate Financial Services (GFS) as a fellowship payment.

As described in Business and Travel Expense fundamentals, reimbursement requests must include sufficient documentation to support the business purpose and alignment to the purpose of the funds. Departments and units may have more restrictive requirements for receipts and documentation at their local discretion.


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