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Changes in travel policy (lodging and meal caps)

September 21, 2017

Dear Colleagues

On September 13, new UC policy changes were announced that would become effective October 15 next month. These changes are responsive to the state audit recommendations and the result of many consultations with internal stakeholder groups, including campus representatives.

To summarize the policy changes that will have the most impact to our campus, the new policies will

  • Reduce reimbursement for lodging and meals for those traveling on UC Business. The final policy has not been published but early drafts indicate that the lodging caps will decrease from unlimited today to a maximum of $275 per night before taxes and mandatory hotel fees. If a traveler is unable to secure lodging at that rate in proximity to the meeting, an explanation must be provided that includes print-outs of pricing comparisons at the time of booking. The daily meal cap will be reduced from $75 to $62 for all travel within the continental United States that is less than 30 days in length. The numbers quoted may change when the policy is published on UCOP’s website so these amounts are unofficial and tentative at this time.
  • Eliminate cash relocation allowances for senior management group and management and senior professional level employees. Under the new practice, we will only reimburse employees for limited, documented eligible transaction costs associated with the sale of a primary residence.

Overall, travelers will be expected to follow the guidelines and will only be eligible for reimbursement up to the maximum amounts allowed unless they can meet the additional requirements for lodging (i.e. provide printouts at the time of booking and an explanation in the travel reimbursement form).

The Travel Services department within BFS has been communicating that these changes are forthcoming to your travel proxies and business officers via their normal monthly meetings with the campus but in addition to this e-mail, we will also be sending out a communication through Panorama sometime next week. Lastly, once the policy is published, we will inform your travel proxies, MSOs and business officers of the changes as they become finalized and more specific details are known.

If you have any questions please reach out to me directly or to our Travel Services department.



Michael Riley, CPA
Controller – UC Merced Assistant Vice Chancellor, Business & Financial Services
(209) 228-4073