Saint Paul College Policies & Procedures - Travel Management and Special Expense Procedure


Special expenses are extraordinary expenses incurred in connection with work-related responsibilities or official functions not generally supported with public funds and are not reimbursable through the regular expense regulations (payroll). Most of the special expenses at this school are concerned with the acquisition of food or meals when not in travel status. See a comprehensive list below of the expenses that are covered by this provision.

Also see Minnesota State Board Policy 5.20.1 http://www.Minnesota


Except in emergency situations, approval is required before any special expense is incurred and before commitments involving special expenses are made or the payment may be denied. Requests received after the event or too late to provide a proper review must include an explanation of why the request was not provided in a timely manner.

Completion and Processing of Special Expense form

Prior to completing a purchase requisition, placing an order with a caterer/our school’s cafeteria or transacting a purchase with your purchasing card, a Special Expense form must be completed and approved by your supervisor. See Request for Approval of Special Expenses (Saint Paul College’s Intranet-Document Center-Business Office-Special Expenses). Retain a copy for your records and attach the original to either the cafeteria order form (Food Function Request), your purchase requisition or the approved Transaction Log that is submitted with your purchasing card statement to the Business Office.

Expenses Covered

The following expenses are covered where the benefits of the employee's attendance or participation will accrue primarily to the state:

  1. Full cost of a meal when it is part of the structured agenda of a conference, workshop, seminar, or meeting which the president has authorized the employee to attend, whether or not the employee is in travel status. (Not to be confused with Employee Expense Reimbursements at a per diem rate through Payroll for reimbursement of meals not included in events when in travel status.)
  2. Meals and related expenses, or non-alcoholic refreshments and food served when conducting business with citizens; members of boards, commissions, task forces, or workgroups; foreign, federal, state, or local governmental officials and/or employees.
  3. Registration and tuition fees for conferences, seminars, workshops, or education courses. Education courses provided through a tuition waiver are not special expenses. Prior approval is required only if the cost exceeds $1,000 per participant.
  4. Non-alcoholic refreshments and food for system, board, or college sponsored meetings, receptions for speakers, performers, and commencements; conferences; workshops; and other similar system or college sponsored meetings or activities that have predominantly non-state employees.
  5. Non-alcoholic refreshments, food and other conference costs for system or college sponsored events where registration fees are charged and the majority of the participants are non-state employees.
  6. Non-alcoholic refreshments and food for meetings that consist primarily of state employees when the non-alcoholic refreshments and/food are an integral part of the event and are necessary to sustain the flow of the meeting and to retain captive audience and meet one of the following criteria:
    1. a meeting with participants from many geographic locations where the majority of the participants are in travel status
    2. a department-wide or division-wide annual/quarterly/semester staff meeting for all employees
    3. a department or division senior management planning or organizational meeting
    4. a department, division, college, or system wide meeting regarding a topic(s) with department, division, college, or system wide impact 
    5. a structured training session, available to employees generally and conducted by persons outside the Minnesota State College and University System, provided it has been approved by the college. With the exception of campus visits, and other official functions, including but not limited to committee meetings, the above meetings shall be scheduled to minimize the inclusion of meals.
  7. Lodging if an employee is not in travel status: 
    1. when weather conditions or other unforeseen occurrences warrant lodging;
    2. when college business or contract negotiations prevent the employee from returning home; or
    3. when the president authorized overnight participation in an approved event. Authorization should be based on the benefit of such participation to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
  8. Expense reimbursement for lodging, travel, and meals for one attendant for an employee with a disability that requires daily assistance in performing various personal tasks or who has special mobility needs.
  9. Expenses as follows for employees assigned to work at the State Fair:
    1. Fees and admission to the fairgrounds;
    2. One meal during each shift of fewer than ten hours or two meals during each shift of ten hours or more, subject to the meal allowances for in-state travel collective bargaining agreements or compensation plans;
    3. Taxi fare for employees with a disability who are unable to drive or use other means of public transportation between their normal work station and the fairgrounds.
  10. Expenses as follows for individual employees at system or college recognition events:
    1. Awards for individual or group achievements, which are limited to non-cash/non-negotiable items of nominal value as, provided for under IRS guidelines. Items of nominal value are those that have no market or retail value such as promotional or advertising items.
    2. Up to 100% food and non-alcoholic refreshment reimbursement for employees being recognized at annual employee recognition events. Reimbursement for travel in accordance with System Procedure 5.19.3. Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages is prohibited.

Subpart D. Expenses Not Covered.

  1. Refreshments or meals for routine staff meetings.
  2. Private club memberships.
  3. Alcoholic beverages.
  4. Entertainment.
  5. Employee parties (including holiday parties).


Review Date


Policy Status