format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Student Travel

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: Planning and Booking Travel for more information. 

Student and postdoc travel expenses may be certified as business travel if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Directly support a faculty member's project or research program (attach program) 
  • Are related to presenting at a conference (a photocopy of the conference program indicating the traveler as a speaker/presenter is required)
  • 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

The Student Certificate for Authorized Expenses form is available for schools and units to facilitate this certification.

  • If the student or postdoc is added as a payee, the Student Certification process is completed directly within the Expense Requests System and this form does not need to be attached to the reimbursement request. If a payee has student affiliation in Oracle, the student certification process applies, even if the student is also an employee of the university.
  • If the student or postdoc is added as a beneficiary to the Expense Request System, this form must be completed and attached to the Expense Request transaction. 

Support for student and postdoc travel that falls outside of these guidelines may be entered as fellowship/stipend in the Graduate Financial Support (GFS) system. In these circumstances, the support may be taxable to the individual.

It is highly encouraged that Stanford travelers use Stanford Travel booking channels when booking flights, hotels, and rental cars for university-sponsored travel. Stanford Travel booking channels automatically register itineraries and any booking updates to the Travel Registry, streamline the reimbursement process, and offer discounts, benefits, and perks to travelers. In addition, the Stanford Travel team can provide specialized assistance as needed to travelers who book through Stanford Travel.

Stanford Travel offers a booking channel, StudentUniverse, which offers unique features and benefits designed especially for students. More booking policy details are available in the Topic Overview: Business and Travel Expense Policies.  For information on the booking processes for various types of travelers, see Topic Overview: Planning and Booking Travel.

The Stanford Travel Card (TCard) is the recommended payment option for any travel costs that will not be reimbursed through the per diem method. 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. For more information on reimbursement methods, see Topic Overview: Business and Travel Expense Policies

  • 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.

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2024