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FIN-044: Use of the University Travel and Expense Card

Date: 03/13/2012 Status: Final
Last Revised: 06/22/2022
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Applies To:

Academic Division and the College at Wise.

Reason for Policy:

The University Travel and Expense Card (T&E card) provides a means for authorized individuals to make official purchases of goods and services and travel. This policy establishes the standards for the proper use of the University Travel and Expense Card to minimize unnecessary expenses and reduce misuse of the card.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Authorizer:An individual assigned to approve travel and expense card applications and changes to card limits. This individual is the applicant's or cardholder's Procurement to Pay (P2P) Approver and/or Senior Department Finance Approver in the University’s Finance system.
  • Card Administrator (Program Administrator):A University employee registered with the Card Provider and the Virginia Department of Accounts (DOA) as the only person authorized to make changes (e.g., add or cancel cards, change card controls, etc.) to the card program.
  • Cardholder:An individual who holds the University Travel and Expense Card.
  • Cash Advance:University funds provided to an employee solely for the purpose of paying for official purchases. (Referred to as a Cash Withdrawal in the University Finance System.)
  • Employee 4:Faculty, staff, and others (including students) identified as an employee in the University’s human resource management system. Also known as the initiator or worker in the finance system.
  • eVA:The Commonwealth of Virginia's electronic purchasing system.
  • Official Purchase:All purchases of goods, services, and travel expenses made with University funds which are necessary, reasonable, and directly related to the goals and mission of the University.
  • Student Organization:A general term that refers to all Contracted Independent Organizations (CIOs), Fraternal Organizations (FOs), Special Status Organizations, and Agency groups.
  • Supplier:Any entity that provides goods or services. (Previously referred to as a vendor.) For credit card transactions, commonly referred to as a merchant.
  • University Travel and Expense Card (T&E Card):A University credit card issued to an authorized individual to make official purchases of goods and services (that do not require competitive bidding), travel, meals, and entertainment quickly and directly.
Policy Statement:

The University Travel and Expense Card (T&E Card) may be used only for official purchases on behalf of the University of Virginia. The T&E Card may not be used for personal expenditures or to obtain store credit directly or through the return of previously purchased goods. All goods purchased with University funds remain the property of the institution.

The University offers a "one-card" solution that allows the cardholder to make purchases of goods and services, and pay for travel, meals, and entertainment expenses. T&E Cards belong to, and bills are paid directly by, the University so a cardholder’s personal credit history is not a criterion for receiving a card. Similarly, issuance and use of a T&E Card will not affect a cardholder’s personal credit. Cardholders are responsible for following all rules governing the use of the T&E Card.

The University Travel and Expense Card Program is managed by Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services (PSDS).

  1. Obtaining a T&E Card:
    Prior to applying for a T&E card:

    • An Academic Division employee must obtain the approval of their supervisor or authorizer (as documented through the Travel & Expense Card application process).
    • A Medical Center employee, University student acting on behalf of a student organization, and a non-University employee must be sponsored by a University department.

    To request a T&E Card, follow the procedure on the PSDS website and submit the completed application form (requires Netbadge).

  2. Employee Transfers or Terminations:
    Internal Transfer: An employee who is moving between jobs in the Academic Division and will need a T&E Card in their new role, must follow the Procedures for Academic Employee T&E Cardholder when transferring departments. If the change request is not approved by the new department within 30 days, the T&E Card will be cancelled.

    Termination or Resignation: On or before their last day of employment with the Academic Division, the departing employee and their supervisor must complete all Offboarding requirements (see, University policy SEC-037: Networks, Systems, and Facilities Access & Revocation and the Issue & Return of Tangible Personal Property, UVA HR Onboarding and Offboarding web page and Provost’s Office Faculty Resources web page for links to related resources).

  3. Training Requirements:
    New cardholders must complete training and agree to the program’s terms and conditions before receiving a T&E Card. Cardholder training is required annually to retain the T&E Card.

  4. Types of Purchases:
    The T&E Card must only be used to make Official Purchases of eVA excluded goods and services. [See list of eVA exclusions.]

    The T&E Card may be used for purchases that are not eVA-excluded under any of the following three conditions:

    • A one-time purchase from a supplier not listed in the University's supplier file.
    • There is no other reasonable means to purchase (e.g., the purchase can only be made on the internet).
    • After comparison shopping with UVA Marketplace suppliers, considering all costs (eVA fees, shipping costs, etc.), the T&E Card is the least expensive way to purchase.

    (See the PSDS website for purchases that require payment by the T&E Card and other allowable and restricted purchases.)

    Requirements for competition prior to purchasing with the T&E Card are generally based on the dollar value of the order; all purchases are subject to the Guidelines for Competition. Regardless of competition requirements, it is expected that cardholders will only make prudent and necessary purchases to conduct University business.

  5. Spending Limits and Restrictions:
    When using the T&E Card, cardholders must be aware of and comply with University procurement, payment, and travel regulations (refer to the PSDS website and FIN-004: Travel, Meals, and Entertainment Expenses Incurred on Behalf of the University for more details.)

    1. Spending Limits:
      The University has established standard limits of $10,000 per transaction and $25,000 per month for the T&E Card.

      A cardholder may NOT make purchases that exceed the established transaction and monthly spending limit for their T&E Card. Splitting orders among multiple smaller orders for the purpose of circumventing transaction limits is NOT allowed.

      The cardholder may request: (i) an adjustment to the spending limit; (ii) a change to the legal name of the cardholder; (iii) a status change (e.g., to reflect a leave of absence); (iv) the cancellation of the card; or (v) authorization to obtain a cash withdrawal on the T&E Card. Such requests must be approved by the Authorizer and must be made by completing the "Card Change Request" web form. (See T&E Card procedures available on the University of Virginia Travel and Expense Card Program page.)

    2. Spending Restrictions:
      The T&E Card has certain restrictions that must be adhered to as detailed on the University Travel and Expense Card -- Restricted Purchases web page.

    3. Departmental Restrictions:
      Additional restrictions may be placed on the T&E Card depending on the cardholder's status. For example, additional restrictions may be established at the departmental level or as part of the terms of a grant. Resident Assistants are subject to additional restriction established by the University's Housing and Residence Life Office.

  6. Merchandise Returns:
    When a cardholder returns goods, the supplier must be instructed to credit the return to the T&E Card used to make the purchase. "Store credit" must not be accepted for returned goods. If a supplier refuses to credit the T&E Card, the cardholder must notify the University's Card Administrator. The original purchase receipt must be provided as documentation during T&E Card reconciliation.

  7. Cash Advances:
    Employees may use the T&E Card to obtain a cash advance/withdrawal for official purchases and expenses that cannot be readily or most economically processed through normal purchasing/accounts payable procedures. Cash advance funds cannot be used to pay for any services performed by individuals, other than payments for services performed by foreign individuals conducting these services in a foreign country.

    Settlement of the cash advance in the University’s finance system must be completed within 30 days from, depending on the reason for the cash advance, the last day of employee travel or the last date of the last transaction conducted for the purpose of the advance. Residual funds are retained by the employee and itemized and marked as personal to be deducted from the employee’s paycheck.

  8. T&E Card Security:
    To maintain security of the T&E Card, a cardholder must not:

    • lend their T&E Card or provide the card number to another person;
    • fax or e-mail the complete T&E Card number (more than the last 4 digits), or include it in an email or email attachment; or
    • place orders over the internet unless the security of the supplier's website can be verified. [See Responsible Computing at the University.]
  9. T&E Card Reconciliation and Documentation:
    T&E Card purchases must be expensed through the University's Finance System. Expenses reconciliation of T&E Card purchases must be completed in a timely manner not to exceed 30 days from date of purchase. (See the PSDS website for instruction on reconciling and documenting purchases.)

  10. Exemption from Taxes:
    As an agency of the Commonwealth, the University is exempt from Virginia sales and use tax on all goods and services except for purchases of lodging if: (i) the goods and services further the mission of the University; (ii) payment comes directly from the University rather than from an individual reimbursed by the University; and (iii) for meals only, the University determines the place, time, and recipients of the meal.

    University purchases are not subject to some Federal excise, communications (e.g., wireless and cellular phone services), and transportation taxes.

    If a supplier requires proof of exemption, the Commonwealth of Virginia Sales and Use Tax Exemption Form and Communications Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption Form are located on the PSDS website. For tax exemptions with other states, see the State Tax Exemption Certificate database on the Financial Reporting & Operations website to determine the University’s exemption status.

    The cardholder is responsible for claiming any applicable exemptions when using the T&E Card.

  11. Compliance with Policy:
    Cardholders who violate University Travel and Expense Card policy or associated procedures may have their cardholder privileges suspended or permanently revoked.

    Failure to repay the cash advance will result in collection activities as required by University policy FIN-005: Extension and Collection of Credit. Collection of outstanding balances may be referred to collection agencies and credit bureaus and may be included as taxable income for the employee. Collection efforts, including payroll deduction, to obtain repayment from the employee begins thirty-five (35) days after the due date.

    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Card Administrator in Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services.

Major Category:
Finance and Business Operations
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Policy Review Committee, 03/13/2012
Revision History:

Added Section 7 and modified Section 11 6/22/22; Updated 4/13/22; Updated links 3/6/20; Updated 2/21/20; Updated links 12/17/19; Updated 5/29/19; 4/18/18; 8/29/17, 8/12/16, 1/7/16.

Supersedes (previous policy):

FIN-039: Obtaining a Cash Advance; FIN-017: University Travel Card Program; VII.C.3, Use of the University Purchasing Card