The following policies and guidelines have been developed to meet federal requirements for financial oversight of government-funded programs and to comply as closely as possible with both AAAS and government travel procedures.

                                                                                              

General Policy

AAAS will reimburse Science & Technology Policy Fellows for the actual expenses of pre-approved travel and training that are reasonable and necessary for the conduct of fellowship-related business. Caution and good judgment should be exercised by travelers when incurring business expenses. Fellows are expected to use reasonably economical lodging, meals and transportation that will meet their requirements, with due consideration to safety, comfort and scheduling.

 

AAAS will not reimburse any expenses that exceed the original travel/training allocation of the fellowship, unless the host office provides additional funds via a change to the funding instrument. A fully processed funding modification is required before the start of any fellowship-related travel or training that will exceed the amount of funding available (written or verbal approval is insufficient; documentation of the fund transfer is required). The addition of travel/training funds to a fellow's account must be initiated and processed by the fellowship host office.  All reimbursements are subject to final approval from the AAAS grants department.


Reimbursement Deadlines

Travel & Expense Reports (TERs) should be filed for all travel and training – no exceptions. TERs with all required documentation must be filed no later than 30 days from the conclusion of the trip/training activity, or within 30 days following the end of the fellowship, whichever is sooner. AAAS cannot reimburse for any expenses incurred beyond the end date of the fellowship. Fellows will be required to take financial responsibility for any fellowship-related expenses that are not submitted for reimbursement with all required documentation by the 30th calendar day following the end of each fellowship year (September 30th).  There will be no exception for reimbursement requests received after September 30th.  


Fellows who extend for a shorter period or who depart the fellowship early for any reason must submit for reimbursement with all required documentation by the 30th calendar day following the date their fellowship terminated.  There will be no exception for reimbursement requests received more than 30 days after the fellowship termination date.  Reimbursements take up to 30 business days to process.


Authorization

Fellows may not purchase or commit funds for fellowship-related travel and/or training without prior written authorization from the fellow's host office point-of-contact (POC) and AAAS. You will need to log into FellowsCentral to access the Stipend Expenditure Requests (My Financials) form and complete your request(s). We will not provide approvals for travel/training requests that arrive via email.


The agency approval is through the aforementioned system and will trigger AAAS to provide subsequent approval.   Approvals may take AAAS up to 48 business hours from the time we receive approval from the offices. The authorization must be received and approved by AAAS before incurring any expense or booking any travel or training activity. Failure to follow this stipulation will result in the fellow bearing the burden for costs not approved. 


Fellowship-related travel and training should be planned as far in advance as possible to ensure timely authorization. Upon authorization, fellows may use the AAAS-designated travel agency (Concur) to make flight arrangements or make arrangements using the internet or by direct connection with an airline. 


No travel/training will be approved for the final two weeks of the fellowship. Should a fellow resign their fellowship after approval is received, that approval may be revoked. Renewing fellows seeking travel/training or career coaching approvals in advance of the upcoming fellowship year are not permitted to submit travel/training or career coaching requests prior to August 15th. No funds should be expended without prior written approval from STPF Finance and no funds are permitted to be expended prior to August 15th.


Career Coaching Request and Approvals

Career coaching services are now being offered as part of the fellowship professional development program. Requests for career coaching are handled through FellowCentral, under the Stipend Expenditure Requests (My Financials) portal. 


Procedures are similar to traditional travel/training requests, with the addition of a few additional steps. Below are the procedures for submitting a Career Coaching travel/training request:

  • Only the vendors listed on FellowsCentral are approved to provide professional coaching services for AFPI fellows using their travel/training funds. 
  • Required Documentation: A completed Statement of Work (SOW) signed by both the fellow and the coach must be submitted to the STPF Finance on the Stipend Expenditure Request.


Travel Advances

Each advance is limited to $5000 and you may only have one advance at a time. Travel advance amounts must be round numbers (i.e. $15 and NOT $15.16). If you request an advance for multiple trips, the request should be made on one form and you will receive one lump sum payment for the requested trips. No subsequent advance will be granted until your previous advance is reconciled with the AAAS Finance office. All travel advance requests must include your travel approval. 

 

The requests will only be accepted with original signatures and via mail (no electronic advance request will be accepted). Please allow up to 15 business days to process the advance and provide the direct deposit. To learn more about advance reconciliation please contact STPF Finance by submitting a support ticket

 

No reimbursements will be made until the outstanding advance is cleared (all documentation submitted, repayment made to AAAS, if applicable, and approved by AAAS). When the travel advance covers multiple travel/training requests, the travel advancement request must specify the amount of advance sought for each specific trip.


Reimbursement Documentation

Reimbursement is limited to authorized fellowship-related expenses incurred during the fellowship. Such expenses are those incurred by the fellow in performance of authorized fellowship duties, including travel and training activities (e.g. conferences, courses, workshops) that the host office POC deems to be fellowship-related and that receive approval from AAAS. Only allowable costs will be considered for reimbursement (see allowable costs section below). To be reimbursed for an expense, the fellow must:

  • Provide documentation of advance authorization for the expense (see requirements).
  • Submit a signed expense report detailing the costs and proof of payment (document with original signature and receipts is required).
  • Provide additional documentation as outlined below.
  • Must account for all expenses on one TER (one submission per trip). If you do not claim all expenses on this submission you have forfeited the reimbursements. No addendums or additional TER submissions will be accepted.
  • The travel/training must be completed before reimbursement is requested and made.

 

To avoid delays in processing expense reports, fellows must follow these protocols:

  • Use the Excel TER document provided by AAAS. This allows the expenses to be calculated by the spreadsheet.  Hand written forms will be returned.  
  • Maintain a personal log of expenses while traveling.
  • Attach receipts to an 8 ½ X 11 sheet of paper.  Attach all sheets to the Travel & Expense Report.
  • Receipts and documentation from international travel must be converted to U.S. dollars. The U.S. dollar amount should be written on each receipt.  
  • Documentation of the exchange rate used must be provided with the travel reimbursement form.  Acceptable documentation includes ATM/currency exchange receipt and/or an on-line exchange rate for the travel date in question.
  • Double-check totals.

 

Proof of Expense

All expenses must be fully explained and supported by original itemized receipts. These requirements include:

  • Rail, bus and airline ticket and/or boarding stubs. If an electronic boarding pass is used on a PDA or cell phone note you MUST save a screen shot of the boarding pass that must be printed and attached to your TER submission. 
  • Itemized receipts for all purchases, excluding meals.
  • Proof of payment, as evidenced by cash receipt, credit card billing statement or copy of cancelled check.
  • Explanation for unusual items or costs that may not be self-explanatory.
  • If original receipts are not available, fax or photocopies may be acceptable; however, an explanation for the missing receipts must be provided. AAAS may decline to accept non-original receipt documentation.

If an original receipt is unusual or not self-explanatory, the traveler must provide a brief note of explanation and details of the expense. If original receipts cannot be obtained (acceptable only in rare cases) the fellow must provide an itemized list of expenses with the reimbursement form.


Internet Purchases

Internet purchases should be treated as any other purchase; the same documentation requirements apply. When making a purchase via the Internet, be sure to print the receipt for the item purchased and provide it along with proof of receiving the item or service, and proof of payment.


Conference/Event Registrations

  • Name of attendee 
  • Name of conference 
  • Amount paid and list of items purchased (e.g., registration, meals, pre-conference workshop)
  • Dates 
  • Proof of payment (bank or credit card statement, receipt, or front and back copy of cancelled check) 

 

Other miscellaneous non-travel purchases

  • Name and address of vendor 
  • Name of purchaser
  • Date purchased 
  • Itemization 
  • Amount paid
  • Proof of payment (bank or credit card statement, receipt, or front and back of cancelled check)


Allowable Ancillary Travel Expenses

The following expenses will be reimbursed if reasonable and necessary for travel:

  • Cost of obtaining travelers' checks or foreign currency
  • Laundry/dry cleaning while on business travel – only if travel extends beyond 8 days. You must provide an itemized receipt.
  • International calls – will reimburse for any one of the following: an international calling card, international SIM card, or international cellular provider data/voice/text plan, up to $10/day
  • Internet access/use of computers, facsimile or scanning charges, and mailing/shipping expenses for fellowship-related activities while on travel
  • Parking charges at hotels in cases where use of a rental car has been approved in advance, or when personal car is used for business travel
  • Checked baggage fees (not applicable for carry-on fees)
  • Immunizations and certain required medications (e.g. malaria pills) – detailed receipt of services provided is required along with a receipt of payment
  • Visas 
  • Passports – only in cases when the fellow does not already hold a passport and is required to travel internationally for fellowship-related business


Non-Reimbursable Expenses

The following types of expenses are considered personal in nature and therefore are non-reimbursable (not allowable). This list is illustrative but not exhaustive; it is intended to help provide clarification.

  • Alcohol (plus the associated taxes and tip)
  • Books and other reference materials (unless required by an approved course, workshop or trip)
  • Software (unless required for an approved course or workshop)
  • Personal amusement, recreation, or entertainment 
  • Theft or loss of personal property and money while traveling 
  • Sightseeing tours
  • Medication and other personal care items not required for international travel
  • Haircut, manicure, shoe shine
  • Use of gym, sauna, steam bath, massage and similar facilities
  • Hotel and in-flight movies
  • Rental or purchase of clothing items or other equipment
  • Traffic violations/parking tickets
  • Childcare 
  • Boarding of animals
  • Lost or stolen travel advances
  • Costs incurred by spouse or personal guests
  • Laundered garments not related to professional use
  • Professional coaching services
  • Add-on Fees such cleaning fees for home share services like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, FlipKey
  • Add-on Fees such as seat reservation or carry-on luggage fees are not reimbursable
  • Convenience such as seat upgrades/selection


Helpful Hints

To ensure a smooth and quick reimbursement process, follow these tips and detailed instructions below:

  • Sign the form with a pen. Electronic signatures are not permitted.
  • Attach the Concur invoice (the PDF, not the basic email itinerary) which shows airfare cost and booking fee.
  • Include paper boarding passes - do not use electronic boarding passes.
  • Receipts must be original and itemized 
  • If claiming mileage, print out a Google map showing start and end points, along with the total mileage.
  • On the TER, use one row per day for expenses. Let Excel do the addition for you!  
  • Use the daily form and travel expense report checklist (found on FellowCentral) for better organization
  • Mail the form and all supporting documentation to AAAS. Mailing instructions are in the upper right corner of the Travel Expense Report (TER).


See Travel Procedures and Required Documentation for further information.

 

 

For more information contact the STPF Finance staff:

202.326.6700 or by submitting a support ticket via Freshdesk