Travel Policy

Travel Forms

Travel Funds

Travel Awards

Foreign Travel

MSU Travel Office

MSU Travel Clinic

Graduate School Travel Site

Travel Forms

Travel Authorization

Students, post-docs, and faculty must submit an MSU Travel Authorization to the Program Office before taking any MSU-funded trip. Section A and lines 1 and 2 of Section D must be completed. This form is important because it insures the individual in the event of an accident while traveling.


Any receipt must be in the individual's name requesting reimbursement and MUST show a zero balance before the travel office will approve any reimbursement. If individuals share a hotel room, they should each ask for a divided receipt in their own name at check out. Similar rules apply for airfare. Failure to follow these rules will result in unnecessary delays and possible disapproval of the reimbursement.

Room service, internet, alcohol purchases, and other miscellaneous charges are not reimbursable and will be deducted from the total.

Reservations made through online discount travel sources (Expedia, Hotwire, Priceline, etc...) will only give a receipt for the individual making the reservation. Sometimes students/faculty will make a reservation for a group of people, but only the person making the reservation will be reimbursed since the other individuals will have no proof of expenditure.

Per Diem

The MSU Travel Office assigns per diem rates for every major city in the U.S. This is a flat rate amount that is the separate allowable limit for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in the city being visited. A individual may claim the per diem rate for any or all of these meals for each day spent in that particular city. Please keep in mind that these rates are somewhat inflated, and it is probably not necessary for the individual to claim all three meals to receive a fair reimbursement for what was actually spent. For example, the rate for Chicago is $64.00 per day broken down as follows: Breakfast-$12, Lunch-$20, Dinner-$32. Individuals can save or keep a running tally of all receipts, see what the total is upon returning home, and then match the per diem for what was actually spent. It is possible to submit actual receipts for meals, but the amount cannot exceed the daily per diem limit.

Conference Agenda

It is necessary to include a copy of the agenda from the conference with the travel reimbursement. This is needed to prove to the Travel Office that no meals were included in the conference registration.


Individuals must check with the Program Office prior to deciding to drive to a conference. The Travel Office may determine that it is less expensive to fly once mileage, parking, etc... are included in the final cost of driving. If the cost of driving is more expensive than flying, and the individual still chooses to drive, s/he will only be reimbursed for the amount of the airline ticket. There are two ways to be reimbursed for driving expenses (must choose one): Only the driver can be reimbursed for driving expenses.

  • Mileage - The mileage rate is $0.54 per mile, round trip
  • Fuel - Fuel purchases can be reimbursed by submitting all receipts.

Travel Funds

New Deadline! September 8 of each year is the deadline to request travel funds to attend SfN.

All Neuroscience Program Ph.D. students are eligible for $750.00 in travel support to one scientific meeting/conference each academic year. To request access to these funds students must send the Program Director an email detailing where you want to go and the reason(s) for you to attend. The student must be a 1st author on an abstract submitted for presentation at the conference. Attach the abstract to the email. When the Program Director approves your request student can choose to access program funds in two ways (see below).

Travel reimbursement mechanisms:

  1. Students can choose to pay travel expenses up front and then submit receipts for reimbursement after the meeting. Program funds will cover up to $750 of these costs. The balance will need to come from non-program sources.
  2. Meeting registration and airfare can be direct billed to Neuroscience Program accounts. Office staff will assist with this task. Students training in East Lansing should come to the Neuroscience Program Office to register for the meeting using the Program P-card. The also need to notify Julie Delgado (, Shari Stockmeyer (  of the planned trip and they will provide Conlin Travel with the student name and the account number to be used. Students training in Grand Rapids should contact Thuy Tran ( who will assist with meeting registration and notification of ConlinTravel of the student name and account number. Students can then either call ConlinTravel (844-434-56026; there is a $37 fee for using these mechanism) or use the online booking tool (there is a $5 fee for using this mechanism) to book their trip. Keep in mind that Conlin Travel does not always provide the lowest possible fare and the program will only cover up to $750 of the travel expenses. The balance will need to come from non-program sources. If registration and airfare costs are less than $750 the remaining balance can be used to cover other travel costs.

For students traveling overseas, they should contact the MSU Travel Clinic for update on vaccinations and also contact the Graduate School for Med Ex insurance coverage.

If students obtain travel funds from other departments and none from the Neuroscience Program, the travel authorization will be issued by the other departments for processing of the reimbursement.

If students receive travel funds (from the Neuroscience Program or other departments), they will inform the person processing their travel voucher of the receipt of such funds.

Please remember that students are eligible for travel funds from the Program once per academic year and that it is the student's responsibility to make the request in time to receive the funds when they are needed, if before travel.

For additional information, please visit the Graduate School Travel site.

Travel Awards

Foreign Travel

Neuroscience Program students who plan to travel to a foreign country on Michigan State University activities should consider the following issues:

  • Contact the MSU Travel Clinic at least three months in advance of your date of departure. Travel to particular countries may require one or more vaccinations or boosters. In addition, potential health hazards, travel problems and restrictions for each country will be reviewed by the travel clinic nurse. If you are traveling for pleasure, you are welcome to use the MSU Travel Clinic.
  • If you intend to pursue a research project in another country, you should have permission from the appropriate governmental agency in that country. For some countries it may take up to one year to obtain approval.
  • If you intend to bring plant or animal tissue samples or DNA/RNA back to the United States you are likely to need approval from the Agriculture Department or from the Center for Disease Control. Be sure to obtain proper letters of authorization to bring biological samples back to the United States.
  • Obtain Michigan State University Travel Authorization from the Neuroscience Program.
  • Obtain the proper pharmaceuticals to take with you in case of an emergency. These might include, for example, small packets of dehydration salts if you have experienced excessive fluid loss, appropriate antibiotics in case of food-poisoning or an infected wound and anti-malarial/preventative medication. Be aware that in some countries possession of illegal drugs is a death sentence.
  • Request from Michigan State University through the Neuroscience Program office the free medical emergency evacuation insurance at the time you apply for Michigan State University travel authorization. This insurance will cover the cost of your evacuation to an appropriate medical facility if you are ill or have had an accident. It is also helpful to talk with other people who have spent time in the country you intend to visit to get a sense of the customs, of food related problems, of the medical care, of travel arrangements and of safe and unsafe personal activities.

Students should visit the Travel Smart website before their trip. When students appointed as TAs or RAs travel outside the U.S. to conduct required thesis or dissertation research or to collaborate with investigators conducting research abroad, the department or research grant supporting the work will be required to pay for all needed vaccinations and /or medications (e.g., anti-malarials) as determined by the MSU Travel Clinic. Students may include those costs in applications for funds from the Research Enhancement or Travel Grant programs administered by the Graduate School.