Travel Expense Claims

Graduate Studies Research Travel Assistantship

Full-time students are eligible for these assistantships if they are presenting the results of research they conducted while at the University of Waterloo at professional or academic meetings. Students are normally expected to be first or second author of the paper or poster and must present the paper or poster at the conference. Confirmation of presentation and abstract do not need to be submitted prior to handing in the application. Applications must be received by the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) by the following deadlines to be considered for the funding:

  • Spring: April 1
  • Fall: August 1
  • Winter: December 1

Please ensure that you submit to the Graduate Program Administrator (Alan Anthony - EV1 123) a minimum of 10 days before these deadlines.

Graduate travel assistantships are cost shared by the student's supervisor (if possible), the school/department, the Faculty of Environment, and the GSPA. GSPA will normally pay expenses up to the total amount paid within the faculty, with a maximum of $500. These dollar amounts may be adjusted from time to time depending on the budget available and the number of travel requests. Please note that a student will not normally receive funds more than once per fiscal year.

Application procedures:

  • Submit the Graduate Studies Research Travel Assistantship application form (signed by the student and advisor) to the Graduate Program Administrator (EV1 123 a minimum of 10 days before the above deadline. Applications after the conference will not be considered.
  • The Graduate Program Administrator will circulate the form for department, faculty, and university approvals.
  • Once approval has been received from the GSPA, the Graduate Program Administrator will provide an electronic copy of the approved form to the student prior to the conference. It is the students' responsibility to follow-up if they do not receive a copy of the approved form within a reasonable amount of time.
  • two weeks prior to the expiry date on the form which is normally one month after the return from the conference, students must submit an expense form with the required information listed below to the GEM Administrative Manager.

Travel claims and expense reimbursements:

NOTE: the following information is sent to all graduate students  in the department via email each term.

The Travel Advance and Settlement Form and Request for Payment Form for students and visitors has been replaced with a new Excel-based expense claim form on the Finance website. The old forms are no longer be accepted effective May 1, 2017.

Please take the time to review and familiarize yourself with the University of Waterloo's Policy 31 - Travel.

Two weeks prior to the expiry date on your form you will need to submit the following to the GEM Administrative Manager at EV1 113:

  • UWaterloo Excel-based expense claim form from the Finance website
  • Research Travel Claim Information (PDF)
    The purpose must describe how the travel is directly related to the grant-funded research and should state the circumstances for the travel and provide the reason(s) why the travel was necessary for the research funded by the grant. For example, “To attend the research conference on ABC (circumstance) which is relevant to the grant funded research on XYZ because… (the reason)”.
  • Conference agenda and abstract or meeting agenda
  • ENV Travel Expense Spreadsheet (XLS)
    • If your claim has less than five receipts and is paid in CAD currency, the ENV Travel Expense Spreadsheet is not required.
    • If your claim has more than five receipts and/or includes expenses paid in a different currency, then the spreadsheet is required with proof of currency conversion used (please ensure the currency rate is the same date as when the expense was incurred or an average for travel dates).
    • Proof of currency can be either a print out from OANDA or a copy of bank/visa statement showing the cost paid (please black out personal information).
    • If you are using the ENV Travel Expense Spreadsheet please don't enter the expenses on the UWaterloo expense claim form, please indicate "See attached spreadsheet".
  • Original receipts
    Detailed (showing itemized list of purchases) and receipt must include proof of payment:
    • $0 balance on receipt; or
    • Payment information on receipt; or
    • “Paid” noted on receipt; or
    • Credit / debit card statement (confidential information removed); or
    • PayPal details; or
    • Wire transfer details
  • Boarding passes/airfare receipt (if applicable)
    • All boarding passes and travel invoices must accompany the reimbursement request. If you are using the e-boarding passes make sure to take a screenshot so that you can print later. Boarding passes are required, not optional!
    • If you plan on extending your trip for personal days please ensure that you get a quote for price comparison at the time of booking your flights showing the cost of flights the days you should be travelling for the conference and then submit the price comparison with the actual receipts of the flights booked. Normally, you are allowed only one day before and one day after the conference to be claimed. Price comparisons cannot be done when you return from the conference so make sure this is done at the time you book your flight.
  • Meals
    • Per diems are now accepted on most research accounts but you must confirm with your supervisor before your travel on their preference, actual cost (itemized meal receipts) or per diems. Some faculty members still require itemized actual meal receipts so please ensure you confirm with your supervisor.
    • If per diems are claimed, the per diem rates will be reimbursed regardless of the actual meal costs. Receipts are not required to be submitted or retained for per diem meal claims. Note that a single claim cannot include both per diems and receipted business meals.
    • If claiming per diems, users must indicate how they derived the number of days/meals claimed by attaching the per diem calculator .
    • Each per diem is allocated to individual meals as follows:
      • for breakfast
      • for lunch
      • for dinner
    • Partial per diems can be used where a full per diem is not eligible; for example:
      • When breakfast was provided by a hotel
      • When lunch was provided by a conference
      • When a dinner banquet was provided by a conference
      • When someone traveled only part of the day:
        • E.g., evening flight to go to conference (breakfast and lunch are ineligible)
        • E.g., arriving home in morning after a conference (dinner is ineligible)
      • When someone does not eat a meal that was provided to them, they must claim the actual cost of the meal they purchased (supported by a receipt):
        • E.g., when someone does not eat the conference meals because of a dietary restriction
      • Meals cannot be excluded from a hotel bill and replaced with a higher per diem
  • Gas expenses
    To ensure the eligibility of the fuel purchased and to ensure the completeness of the documentation, please specify which vehicle or equipment this fuel was purchased for (i.e. UWaterloo owned vehicle or rental). Gas for personal vehicle is not eligible.
  • Mileage expenses (claiming KM's) for personal vehicle
    Please ensure to include a Google Map print out showing kilometers driven from points A to B. Mileage may be claimed for transportation in a private car at the rate of $0.45/km up to a maximum of a 500 km radius. Gas receipts are not eligible for private cars.

Please submit all forms and all documentation together as one package to the GEM Administrative Manager at EV1 113.

Note: If you fail to submit your expense claim within 30 days upon returning from a conference with the appropriate receipts and documentation your Research Travel Assistantship funding may become void.

Susie Castela
GEM Administrative Manager