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The Graduate School, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Travel & Expenses


Student and Guest Travel

Student and Guest travel is not currently required to be booked through Direct Travel or Concur. Student and guests can book their travel as they are currently doing. However, if booking through the travel agency and online in Concur is perferred there are three options to accomplish this.

When participating in either an exchange or study abroad program, students should contact the Office of International Programs for guidance on Institute student travel requirements.

The three options when booking travel and submitting expense reports for students and/or guests are:

1. Students can be set up in the Concur system with their own profile. This option would allow the student to book their own travel with the agency or online through Concur. The booking would require pre-trip approval from a designated supervisor before the tickets would actually be issued to the student. In this option the student would also be responsible for submitting their own expense reports.

2. Students can have their travel arranged by an RPI employee as a guest. This option would not give the student the option to book their own travel. The assigned travel arranger would book the travel on behalf of the student and would also be responsible for submitting the expense report on behalf of the student.

3. Guests can only be booked as a guest in the system by an approved RPI employee. Guests will not be granted access to the Concur system. The designated arranger for the Guest will also be required to submit an expense report on behalf of the Guest.

Option 2 and Option 3 are basically handled the same way in the system. The differentiation that needs to be made with these options is whether the student or guest is going to have out-of-pocket expenses that need to be reimbursed to them. Airfare, Rail, and Hotel charges are not considered to be out-of-pocket expenses within the new process unless the guest or student actually books the travel reservations themselves.

Option 1 - Students are allowed to book their own travel arrangements with pre-trip approval and submit their own expense report.

Students that are allowed to book their own travel arrangements with pre-trip approval must have a profile in Concur. The Concur Authorization Form for Rensselaer Students must be completed, signed by the appropriate authorizer and sent to the Travel and Expense Office. Once the student is established in Concur they will receive an e-mail to access the system.

Booking a Trip Online

After a student saves their trip itinerary they will receive the following message:

Once the student has finished selecting the itinerary for their trip an e-mail will be sent to the Manager/Supervisor listed in the student’s profile.

The Manager/Supervisor must sign into Concur within 24 hours of the reservation and approve or reject the reservation.

  • If the Manager approves the trip, Direct Travel will ticket the travel arrangements.
  • If the Manager rejects the reservation, the trip is cancelled.

Submitting an Expense Report

When the student returns from their trip, they would be required to submit an expense report the same way that any Rensselaer traveler is required to do. Students who are granted this option should attend training for Concur travel and expense.

Option 2 or Option 3 (with no out-of-pocket expenses to be reimbursed) - Student or Guest travel that involves only bookings for Air/Rail/Hotel paid for by Rensselaer, no out-of-pocket expenses to be reimbursed.

With these options, all travel arrangements will be made by an RPI employee for the student or guest using the guest functionality in Concur. If you select option #2 or #3 and you are only booking airline reservations, a train reservation or a hotel reservation for a guest or student you do not need to fill out a Concur Authorization Form for that individual. It is expected that these individuals will not have any out-of-pocket expenses that will need to be reimbursed. Expenses for these type of travelers will flow into the expense account of the person booking the travel and that person will submit the expense report on behalf of the traveler.

If the guest or student traveler is expected to have out-of-pocket expenses that will need to be reimbursed then you must fill out a Concur Authorization form for that individual.

Booking a Trip Online with no out-of-pocket expenses

In order to book travel for a student or guest you will need the following information from the traveler:

  • Legal Name
  • E-mail address
  • Phone Number
  • Date of Birth (if you can obtain it)

To book the travel arrangements first choose:

“You are administering Travel/Expense for “ Guest Traveler" or Click on Travel, Click on Arrangers, and Choose “Guest Traveler”

If you do not have the option to select guest traveler you have not been given the permission to do so. You need to contract Christopher Thorne, in Travel and Expense for that permission or you will be unable to book travel for guests.

  • Next you will have to select the Funding Source. The funding choices are not going to give you the option of selecting student or Guest. The choice is between regular travel and travel on sponsored research. If you have a student or guest that is not traveling on sponsored research, please select Faculty Staff. If they will be traveling on sponsored research, please select Faculty Staff- Sponsored Research.
  • At this point you can make your trip selection and enter the required information.
  • You will at some point be prompted to choose a credit card – please leave the credit card option as “RPI-Air…” With this selection, RPI will pay for the travel arrangements on a virtual card.
  • Date of Birth – the system will ask you for the date of birth for the traveler. If you do not have the date of birth, mark it as Unknown, at which point you will receive a warning message. Click ok to this message.
  • The reservation at this point can be accessed by the travel agency. Direct Travel will contact the traveler to obtain their date of birth if you were unable to get that information. The ticket will not be fullfilled until Direct Travel is able to obtain the date of birth from the traveler. Once the reservation has been ticketed, you should receive an email with the itinerary for the traveler.

Submitting an Expense Report with no out-of-pocket expenses

  • After the arrangements are made and the charge is posted to the Rensselaer Virtual Credit Card the charge will appear in the Available Expenses of the RPI Employee who made the reservation.
  • The arranger will then be able to complete and submit an expense report on behalf of the traveler and to charge the expense to the correct FOAPAL. There is no reimbursement to the traveler in this option. All expense charges have been paid for on a Rensselaer virtual card.

Option 2 or Option 3 (with out-of-pocket expenses to be reimbursed)

In this option, the student or guest may have airfare/hotel charges that are paid by Rensselaer but will also have out-of-pocket costs that they need to be reimbursed for. The student or guest may have also booked their airfare themselves and need to be reimbursed for the cost. A RPI employee can be designated as a travel arranger and expense delegate for any guest or any student that it is determined does not need access to the Concur system. Travelers in this option will need to have a Concur profile created for them. The RPI employee will be required to submit a Concur Authorization Form for the individual needing to be reimbursed. This RPI employee will then be granted permission to book travel and/or submit an expense report on behalf of the visitor or student.