How To Take a Trip Without Going for a Ride

August 3, 2011 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

As this post is published, I will be on vacation relaxing on a beach, soaking in the warm sun and trying to escape reality. Trying to forget the day-to-day responsibilities is one of the joys of traveling. However, when it comes to traveling under grant programs — obviously for work purposes and not vacations — one must be anything but carefree.

Grantees should be aware of the requirements in each of the Office of Management and Budget cost principle circulars and realize the subtle differences in each. While all three circulars — A-21 for colleges and universities, A-87 for state and local governments, and A-133 for nonprofit organizations — explain that travel costs are allowable for employees, there are restrictions on traveling first-class (albeit there are some exceptions). These are discussed in ¶422 and App. I of the Federal Grants Management Handbook.

The language in the circulars related to travel, both for lodging and airfare, can be open for interpretation. This further emphasizes the need for grantee organizations to know the provisions in the cost principle circular applicable to them and to have up-to-date and effective travel policies — and to actually follow them. I’ll let you give that some thought while I apply my latest coat of sunscreen.

Have you had any problems understanding OMB’s requirements concerning travel? What provisions have you implemented to make travel easier for your employees?


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