Allowable Expenses and Receipts

LAS Study Abroad programs work with Project Assist, a service of the Study Abroad Center that provides support and assistance with program development. For more information, contact Mercedes Serracin.

Following is a partial list of allowable expenses which may be incurred during a study abroad program. Itemized receipts are required for almost every aspect of a study abroad program. There may be times when you are not able to obtain a standard receipt from a vendor. In these cases, please use this sample receipt. You can complete the form by hand and ask the payee to sign and date. Feel free to edit the receipt form to fit your specific program. It may be duplicated for use during your trip. The complete list of allowable expenses as prepared by ISU Accounting is available here.


Most study abroad program airfare is handled pre-departure thru the ISU on-line travel system. However, if in-country air travel is required, acceptable documentation for reimbursement is the Passenger Receipt coupon or a copy of the E-ticket confirmation showing the amount paid and that payment had been received.

Receipt? Yes, regardless of cost.

Airport Shuttle

Actual expense, including gratuity.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Airport Tax

Actual expense may be claimed when not already included in the cost of the ticket. Often charged at international airports.

Receipt? Yes, if available.

ATM Fees

In-country event card cash advances via ATM (Retaining ATM receipt is requested).

Receipt? Yes, regardless of amount (If available, receipt provides documentation of charges incurred to obtain cash via event card).

Baggage Fees

Excess baggage fees if necessary for business travel.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Bus/Vehicle Rental

Actual expense, including driver gratuity if applicable.

Receipt? Yes.

Cash for Meals

When an organized group meal is not scheduled, preferred or feasible (food court, open food market), it is acceptable to give each participant a cash meal allowance for individual dining. Rather than collect individual receipts from all participants, it is suggested that the program director use the Group Meal Allotment Receipt or something similar which is then submitted as the only receipt for that meal. The Group Meal Allotment Receipt can be altered to your specific program.

Receipt? Yes, regardless of amount.

Currency Conversion Fees

Actual amount.

Receipt? Yes, if available


Charitable donations are not reimbursable unless contributions are made in exchange for tours or program assistance.

Receipt? Yes.

Exit Fees

Actual expense may be claimed when not already included in the cost of the ticket. Often charged at international airports.

Receipt? Yes, if available.

Expenses Paid on Behalf of Another ISU Faculty/Staff Member

This practice is strongly discouraged, as it makes duplicate reimbursement more likely. Nearly all travelers have personal credit cards and all faculty/staff are issued event cards as well as being eligible for travel advances so it is preferable to have each individual pay for and claim his/her own expenses separately.

Paying for another traveler’s meal is considered a Group Meal (see Group Meals).

Receipt? Yes, regardless of amount.


Actual expense if necessary for purpose of study abroad program.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Film Developing/Photo Processing

Actual expense if necessary for purpose of study abroad program.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Credit card issuers often charge an additional fee when the expense was incurred in a foreign country. This is reimbursable if documentation (e.g., a copy of the credit card statement) is provided.


For group transportation only. May not be claimed in addition to a mileage claim. Usually only claimed for rental vehicles.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.


Actual expense of a gift when it is considered customary to present a gift to a host, especially during international travel.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Gratuities (Tips)

Actual amounts paid for cabs, skycaps, bellmen, etc., will be reimbursed.

If claiming meal (and incidental expenses) per diem for international travel, tips are one of the listed incidental expenses and cannot be claimed separately.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Group Meals

Actual expense of the meal, which may include a gratuity. ALCOHOL MUST BE DEDUCTED.

Itemized receipts are required. Credit slips showing only a total are not sufficient documentation. Names of all attendees and their association with the program must be stated.

Meals for spouses (or significant others) or children are not reimbursable.

Receipt? Required for all travel and non-travel reimbursements regardless of the amount.

Laundry/Dry Cleaning

Actual expenses. Usually allowable only for extended trips (30 days or more). Not allowed when claiming meal (and incidental expenses) per diem for international travel.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Lodging (domestic or international)

Actual expense for individual or group. Itemized lodging receipt required.

Receipt? Yes, regardless of amount.

Meals, Out-of-State/International

Per diem that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and incidental expenses may be claimed in lieu of individual meals. Please contact Danette Bontrager for more information.

If a program director participates in a group meal paid elsewhere (by another individual), expenses for that meal should not be claimed on his/her employee reimbursement. We strongly encourage program directors to keep comprehensive notes regarding group meal payments vs individual expenditures so that double reimbursements will be avoided. Although LAS Study Abroad will make every effort to check this when directors submit their receipts, we must rely heavily on program directors to keep track. LAS Study Abroad is subject to future spot checks on reimbursement claims.

Gratuities may be included but total cannot exceed limits. ALCOHOL MUST BE DEDUCTED.

Must be in travel status from 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. to claim breakfast; 12 noon – 1:00 p.m. to claim lunch; and 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. to claim dinner.

Receipt? Traveler only – No; Group – Yes, regardless of amount (see Group Meals).

Mileage – Personal Vehicle

As of January 1, 2019, the default mileage rate is 29 cents/mile.

Traveler can qualify for a higher default rate of 58 cents/mile if 1) the roundtrip is less than 100 miles; 2) the traveler is based off-campus or a non-ISU employee/student; 3) the roundtrip is 100 miles or more but the traveler was unable to reserve a vehicle from ISU Transportation Services.

Receipt? No.


Actual expense.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Parking/Traffic Violations

Not reimbursable (considered personal expense).

Receipt? N/A.


Actual expense, if necessary for university travel. If a photo is taken as part of the passport application process, it can be reimbursed. Since passport applications now require a birth certificate with a raised seal, we can reimburse for a copy of the birth certificate as well.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Personal Grooming Items

Not reimbursable (no exception made for lost or re-routed luggage).

Receipt? N/A.


Actual expense if necessary for program implementation.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.


Actual expenses for materials that must be shipped while in travel status.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.


Actual expense.

Receipt? Traveler only – No; Group – Yes, regardless of amount (See Group Meals).

Taxis, Cabs, Buses, Airport Shuttle, Subways

Actual expense including tip.

Receipt? Traveler only – Yes, if $75 or more; Group – Yes, regardless of amount.


Actual expense of business-related calls. If not detailed on the hotel receipt, a copy of the traveler’s phone bill must be attached. Phone cards used for international travel also are reimbursable.

Receipt? Yes, regardless of amount.


Actual expense.

Receipt? No.

Tours, Cruises

Actual expense of program-related tours.

Receipt? Yes, regardless of amount.

Traveler’s Check Fee

Actual expense if required for university travel.

Receipt? No.

Vaccinations, Prescription Drugs

Actual expense if necessary for university travel and required by geographic area. Must claim only amount not covered by insurance.

Receipt? Yes, if $75 or more.

Adapted from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Study Abroad website