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Meal & Incidental Expense Per Diem

Texas State travelers may receive meals & incidental expenses (M&IE) per diem on overnight trips for the days that the traveler conducts University business outside of his or her designated headquarters. Travelers may also receive M&IE per diem for the day before and after official business begins and ends if it is reasonable and necessary. M&IE per diems are intended to supplement, not fully compensate, the meal costs and personal incidental expenses incurred while traveling on official University business. 

Criteria

  • Must have an overnight stay outside of designated headquarters
  • Requires no receipts

Basis of Per Diem Rates 

Travelers may receive a M&IE per diem based upon U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rates for both in-state and out-of-state travel. Specific GSA maximum M&IE per diem rates are assigned to designated primary destinations within each state. Rates may vary between GSA primary destinations and even within the same primary destination based on seasonal adjustments. For cities and counties not listed as primary destinations, the standard GSA lodging reimbursement rate (continental U.S. (CONUS) rate), will be the maximum rate. GSA rates are updated annually on October 1st.
For foreign travel, including Mexico and Canada, travelers may receive a M&IE per diem based on the U.S. Department of State (DOS) per diem rates. For areas not listed, refer to the country’s “Other” per diem rate. DOS rates are updated frequently.

Maximum Per Diem Rates

Travelers may receive a M&IE per diem amount not to exceed the applicable GSA or DOS rates for in-state, out-of-state, or foreign travel. However, the first and last days of travel may only be paid up to 75% of the applicable rates.

Account managers may choose to apply more conservative per diem rates. Account managers must notify travelers of the department's per diem policies prior to the traveler's departure.
GSA regulations assign the M&IE per diem on a meal-by-meal basis. M&IE per diem must be adjusted by deducting the appropriate amount for meals furnished by the university through other forms of direct payment such as registration or conference fees.

Adjusting M&IE for Meals Provided

  • A meal provided to an employee, either directly from Texas State or as a result of Texas State paying a registration fee or other cost which allows the employee to attend a conference or other event, must be deducted from the daily M&IE per diem when filing the travel expense reimbursement form.  The current meal-by-meal rates are provided on the M&IE breakdown page.

  • A meal provided by a common carrier or a complimentary meal provided by a hotel/motel does not affect the daily M&IE per diem.

  • An employee may claim the full daily M&IE per diem allowed under Texas State travel policy if:

    • Specific approval to claim the full M&IE allowance because of medical requirements or religious beliefs was obtained from the account manager prior to departure; and

    • Reasonable efforts to make alternative meal arrangements were attempted, but were unable to do so.

    • These requirements must be documented and included with your Expense Report.

  • An employee may claim the full M&IE per diem if unable to take part in the Texas State-furnished meal due to the conduct of official Texas State business.  Official business must be documented and included in the Expense Report.

Maximum Reimbursement Rates - State Appropriated Funds

Travelers will be reimbursed for actual meal expenses incurred, not to exceed the GSA rates for primary destinations listed. For in-state travel, locations not listed have a rate not to exceed the state of Texas maximum. For out-of-state travel, the maximum rate for locations not listed is the standard GSA M&IE per diem.
For foreign travel, travelers will be reimbursed for actual expenses not to exceed the U.S. DOS rates.

Personal Incidental Expenses Per Diem

The M&IE per diem rates include a nominal amount for personal incidental expenses, such as snacks, tips, laundry, dry cleaning, etc.

Note: Business incidental expenses, such as parking and tolls, are reimbursable in addition to the M&IE per diem. For reimbursement guidelines, please refer to the Business Incidental Expenses Procedures.

Exceptions

  • For a faculty or staff sponsor traveling with a student group, refer to Student Group Travel Procedures for policies regarding group travel reimbursement.
  • Refer to Meal Allowances for Non-Overnight Travel Procedures for procedures when frequent travelers do not have an overnight stay while conducting official business.
  • Refer to Business Meal Reimbursements Procedures for eligibility of actual meal reimbursements when conducting official business. Eligibility for business meal reimbursements must include a list of non-university guests and a description of the business purpose. One or more university officials dining together does not constitute a business meeting.
  • Meals and Incidentals Expenses (M&IE) per diem rates may not be decreased to increase allowable lodging rates.