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

Date: 03/13/2012 Status: Final
Last Revised: 04/18/2018
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President for Finance
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 use of the University Travel and Expense Card.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Authorizer:

    An individual assigned to approve travel and expense card applications, changes to card limits, and cardholder purchases. This individual is the applicant's or cardholder's supervisor; for non-employees, this is a University department sponsor. A supervisor can designate someone else to approve on his/her behalf. The individual should not be the cardholder and, in general, should not be asked to approve for an individual to whom they report.

  • 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.

  • Employee (4):

    Faculty, staff, and others (including students) identified as an employee in the University’s Human Resource system. Also known as the Expense Owner.

  • 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 Operating Agreement Organizations (FOAs), and Special Status and Agency groups.

  • University Travel and Expense Card (T&E Card):

    A credit card issued to an authorized individual to make official purchases of goods and services, travel, meals, and entertainment (that do not require competitive bidding) quickly and directly.

Policy Statement:

The University Travel and Expense Card (T&E Card) may be used only for official purchases. The T&E Card may not be used for personal expenditures or to obtain store credit; it may only be used to conduct University of Virginia business. All items 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. 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. Eligibility for a T&E Card:
    To obtain a T&E Card:
    • an Academic Division employee must secure his/her supervisor's or Authorizer's (as documented and filed with PSDS) approval.
    • 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 obtain a University T&E Card, follow the procedure on the PSDS website.

  2. 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.

  3. Types of Purchases:
    The T&E Card should be used for eVA-excluded purchases. [See list of eVA exclusions.]

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

    • The purchase is from a vendor not listed in the University's vendor file and it is for a one-time purchase from this vendor.
    • The purchase is necessary to the mission of the department and 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 vendors, taking into account all costs (eVA fees, shipping costs, etc.), the T & 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, and all purchases are subject to the Guidelines for Competition. Regardless of competition requirements, it is expected that cardholders will make prudent and necessary purchases.

  4. Spending Limits and Restrictions:
    Cardholders must comply with the University procurement, payment, and travel regulations.
    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: adjustments to spending limits; changes in legal name of the cardholder; status changes (e.g., to reflect a leave of absence); cancellation of the card; or authorization to obtain a cash advance on the T&E Card. Such requests must be authorized by the Authorizer and should be made by completing the "Card Change Request" web form. This and other T&E Card procedures are available at the University of Virginia Travel and Expense Card Program page.

      T&E Card spending limits should be reviewed at least annually by departments to ensure they are appropriate.

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

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

      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.

  5. Merchandise Returns:
    When a cardholder returns merchandise, the original receipt must be provided and the vendor requested to credit the return to the T&E Card. "Store credit" must not be accepted for returned items. If a vendor refuses to credit the T&E Card for returned items, the cardholder must notify the University's T&E Card Administrator.

  6. T&E Card Security:
    The T&E Card may only be used by the person to whom the T&E Card has been assigned. A cardholder may not lend his/her T&E Card to another person.

    A Cardholder must not:

    • 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; and
    • place orders over the Internet unless the security of the vendor's website can be verified. [See Responsible Computing at the University.]

    Cardholders should consult Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services' website for guidance.

  7. T&E Card Reconciliation and Documentation:
    T&E Card purchases must be expensed through the University's Expense Management System (ExpenseUVA). See the PSDS website for instruction on reconciling and documenting purchases.

  8. Exemption from Virginia Sales Tax:
    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. Also, University purchases are not subject to some Federal excise, Communications (e.g., wireless and cellular phone services), and transportation taxes. If a vendor 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 exceptions with other states, see the State Tax Exemption Certificate database on the University Controller’s website to determine the University’s exemption status. The cardholder is responsible for claiming an exemption when using the Travel and Expense Card.

  9. Compliance with Policy:
    Cardholders who violate University Travel and Expense Card policy and procedures may have their cardholder privileges suspended or permanently revoked. In addition, failure to comply with the requirements of this policy and/or associated procedures 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 Contact Office.


Using the Travel and Expense Card
T&E Card Procedure for Expensing Transactions

Travel and Expense Card Application
Card Change Request
Commonwealth of Virginia Certificate of Exemption Forms

Related Information:

Guidelines for Competition – describe when a purchase requires competition, other processing by Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services, or may be ordered directly.
Recon@UVa, the University's on-line financial reconciliation system.
Travel and Expense website – contains links to TravelUVA, ExpenseUVA, forms, training materials, and other resources.
FIN-004, Travel, Meals, and Entertainment Expenses Incurred on Behalf of the University
IRM-008, University Information Technology Accessibility

Major Category: Finance and Business Operations
Next Scheduled Review: 04/18/2021
Approved by, Date: Policy Review Committee, 03/13/2012
Revision History: Updated 4/8/18; 8/29/17, 8/12/16, 1/7/16.
Supersedes (previous policy):
FIN-017, University Travel Card Program; VII.C.3, Use of the University Purchasing Card