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 effectively support university travelers, Stanford requires the use of a centralized travel booking program when faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students are booking air fare, hotels, or rental cars for university-sponsored travel. The centralized booking program, Stanford Travel, automatically registers travel reservations in the university’s Travel Registry, which connects to Stanford’s provider of medical, personal, travel and security assistance. This provides the university with the ability to locate and support its travelers in the event of an emergency. More policy details are available in the Business and Travel Expense policy overview. Stanford Travel offers a booking channel, StudentUniverse, which offers unique features and benefits designed especially for students. 

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.

Last Updated: Oct 21, 2021


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