Graduate Student Travel FAQs

To get a better sense of what is needed to travel, please read over the following FAQ and review the travel forms.

Is there support for graduate student travel?

Yes, the department may provide help with reimbursement of eligible expenses to support doctoral students who present original research at professional or academic conferences. For additional information, see the guidelines.

Who is most likely to travel and receive funds?

Year 4 and Year 5 students are most likely to be presenting at conferences and therefore receiving travel funds. Occasionally, a student in Year 3 has a paper accepted and is therefore eligible to receive funds. 

Can you give examples of conferences that students have previously attended?

  • AEA Annual Meeting / Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Conference (January)
  • Missouri Valley Economics Association Annual Meeting (October or early November)
  • Women in Statistics & Data Sciences Conference (October)
  • Southern Economic Association Annual Meeting (November)
  • Midwest Economics Association Annual Meeting (March)

What is the process? Start this process 6-8 weeks prior to travel.

  • Step 1: Talk with your advisor. Determine which conferences to submit your research to. Get a talk or poster accepted. 
  • Step 2: Submit the Department's Travel Fund Request form.
    • If you have not travelled before or if your address has changed, you will need to fill out a W-9 (domestic students) or a W8BEN (international). Once complete this form should be delivered to the department’s financial contact (currently Andy Anderson). Depending on the time of year, processing this form may take up to three weeks. In order to be compliant with KU travel policies, processing must be completed prior to your travel.
  • Step 3: Review the first-time checklist in Concur:
    • You will need to add your personal credit card to Concur. 
  • Step 4: Submit a Travel Request in Concur. See:
  • Step 5: Once your Concur Travel Request is approved, book travel.
  • Step 6: Travel and keep receipts. Please note that meal receipts are not needed, as KU used per diem. 
  • Step 7: Within 2 weeks of your return, submit itemized receipts using the Finance Shared Service Center Service Request portal. We are no longer using the Post-Travel Reimbursement form. You will sign-into the portal with your KU credentials, scroll down and click on "Finance Shared Service Center Service Request", click on "SSC Finance Request" on the next screen, and then click on "Submit an SSC Finance Request" on the right side of the next screen. On the next screen, you will enter all your request information. 
  • Step 8: Await your reimbursement. Email Andy Anderson if you are waiting longer than 8 weeks. Please note the ticketing # you received for your request, as this will help Andy find your request and answer any questions you may have. 

What is booked in Concur?

  • Flights. Airfare must be booked in Concur. If you need an exception, email Lori Gutsch ( If you book your flight before receiving an exception, you risk losing flight reimbursement.
  • Car rentals. Anyone interested in renting a vehicle, you must contact Andy Anderson for pre-approval. There are many rules that must be followed in order to get reimbursed for car rentals. Proceed with caution when considering this option.
  • Hotels. All hotel accommodation should be booked in Concur; however, there is more flexibility with hotels. For example, conference goers often receive discounted rates. If the conference room rate is lower than Concur, then you can book directly with the hotel. Please take a screenshot and save this documentation. Similarly, if you find a lower rate outside of Concur, then you can book outside of Concur--but document the cost savings with screenshots.
  • Trains. Amtrak trains can be booked via Concur. Be sure to consult Andy Anderson before booking a train.

How will I be notified if the request is approved?

If you have submitted the department's conference travel request form and a Travel Request (TR) in Concur, you will learn of approval once the TR is approved via an automated email. You can also check with the department's Graduate Coordinator. In addition, if the department's travel fund is exhausted, an announcement will be made that the fund is closed until the next fiscal year.

Can I share accommodation costs with another student by booking a place together?

Accommodation can be shared, but KU travel rules affect how the expense can be reimbursed. Only the amount that you have paid can be reimbursed to you. If you share accommodation with someone else, you can pay your portion directly to the hotel or to the person who paid. If paying an individual for your portion of the bill, be mindful to get appropriate documentation. For example, in Venmo you can include a "payment note". This note should include what the payment is for and the name of the payer and recipient.

Do I need to submit my meal receipts? 

No, it is no longer necessary because meals are reimbursed per diem. To look up M&IE per diem rates for Continental United States, visit the Federal CONUS site. 

Can I rent a car?

Perhaps, but first contact the department’s financial contact (currently Andy Anderson). There are many details that must be discussed prior to renting a vehicle in order to ensure the expense is reimbursable.

Can I drive my own car?

Driving your own car is permissible, but the total cost of driving must be compared to the cost of flying, and only the lesser of the two amounts will be reimbursed. It is the responsibility of the traveler to document this with screenshots of an airfare search. Only the owner of the car can be reimbursed for mileage. Gas receipts do not need to be collected, as the mileage rate is considered to include the cost of gasoline.

Some locations are considered “border cities” in that they are sufficiently close so air travel is not considered practical. Some examples are Omaha, NE, St. Louis, MO or Wichita, KS. For these cities, travelers are expected to drive and no additional cost-comparison documentation is needed.

On occasion, driving can be cost-effective even to non-border cities. For example, two students sharing a car may be cheaper than the cost of two plane tickets. However, it is generally cheaper for an individual to fly, especially when airfare is purchased far enough in advance of travel.  However, it is generally cheaper for an individual to fly, especially when airfare is purchased far enough in advance of travel.

Can I stay at an Airbnb, VRBO, or similar non-hotel rental?

It's not recommended. KU has a policy in-place that requires you to get a booking exception for this type of accommodation. See a snapshot of the steps involved.

I noticed that students are eligible to receive funds for two trips, can I choose which amount—$250 or $750—I’d like to receive first?

No, the role of the first conference and second conference cannot be interchanged. Students should plan applications for reimbursement accordingly.

-    Eligible expenses for the first conference are reimbursed up to $750

-    Eligible expenses for the second conference are reimbursed up to $250

What's needed post-travel?

Please turn in your receipts within two weeks of your return from travel using the Post-Travel Reimbursement form. Please do not upload receipts directly to Concur.

Are there other KU funding opportunities for graduate student travel?

Yes, the Graduate Student Travel Fund provides support for graduate students traveling to conferences and/or professional meetings at which they are presenting their research or creative works. Graduate students are eligible to receive one (1) award during the academic year, with priority given to those who have not been funded previously.