Student Travel

Students who travel may be subject to additional departmental, unit, funding source, college policies and procedures, and limits on reimbursement amounts. Processing requirements vary based on the type of student travel. The travel rules for students should conform to all the same rules required for employees except where explicitly stated differently.

See International Travel for specific requirements when traveling abroad.

See Group Travel for details on traveling in groups.

See Student Expense Reporting for how to submit expenses on behalf of students.

Reimbursable Student Travel

Cornell will pay for student travel only under the following circumstances:

Student Business Travel

Student travel is considered business travel when any of the following conditions exist:

  • The activity's primary purpose and original intent is for the university to obtain useful results from the project/research.
  • The university will use the results or research from the activity.
  • The research is performed to fulfill the university's obligations to an outside funding entity.
  • The student is presenting or actively participating in a conference on behalf of the university.
  • The travel is associated with a sponsored research award.

Mission-Related or Educational Travel

Student travel is considered mission-related or educational travel when any of the following conditions exist:

  • The activity is required for a degree or credit.
  • The trip impacts the student's grade.
  • All students in a particular course undertake the travel.
  • The travel is on behalf of a university academic or athletic team (consult the Department of Athletics and Physical Education for special athletic reimbursement procedures).

Financial Aid or Similar Travel Awards

Student travel awards reported through financial aid are reportable on IRS form 1098-T as scholarships or grants and may be considered taxable income. These types of payments to non-resident students are subject to U.S. tax withholding. See Student Expense Reporting for information on processing these expenses.

Student travel is considered related to financial aid or a similar travel award when any of the following conditions exist:

  • The research is student-led.
  • The project/research's primary purpose and original intent is to further the student's education or training.
  • The activities are performed to contribute to the development of the skills needed in the student's studies.
  • Funds are being provided as an outright cash grant to support student travel.
  • The travel is associated with a sponsored fellowship without benefit to the university.

Air Travel for Students

Students are not eligible for university-paid upgrades and must travel in economy class regardless of the duration or length of the flight unless they wish to upgrade with their own funds.

See Air Travel for more information.

Safety Considerations for Lodging

Students traveling abroad and staying with host families should work with their departments to review potential safety, health, and security issues.

See Hotels and Lodging for more information.


Colleges, units, or departments may reduce per diems for faculty and staff members, students, or athletes. In such cases, before your trip, the unit must inform you of the reduction.

See Meals for more information.