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 Overview: Travel Process 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 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.

In order to be able to more effectively support university travelers, Stanford requires the use of a centralized travel booking program (Stanford Travel) when faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students are booking airfare for university-sponsored travel unless it is specifically exempted from the booking policy. Travelers may also use Stanford Travel when booking hotels and rental cars for university-sponsored travel. 

Stanford Travel automatically sends booking updates to the registry when itineraries change, supports compliance with reimbursement policies and procedures and offers discounts, waivers, and perks to travelers. Considering these benefits, booking a hotel through Stanford Travel remains the preferred booking option wherever possible.

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 Business and Travel Expense Policies overview. Learn more about traveling for Stanford on the Travel Process page. 

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 the Topic Overview: Business and Travel Expense Policies 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.

Last Updated: Feb 7, 2023