Research Student Travel
The Office of Medical Student Research (OMSR) has limited travel funds available for eligible students to present research. If you meet criteria listed under “Student Eligibility,” you must follow the “Travel Approval and Reimbursement Process” detailed below to receive reimbursement.
Please note 2 important changes: The School of Medicine recently updated its reimbursement process. Changes went into effect on July 1, 2019. Please be aware that
- the OMSR no longer reimburses for meals;
- the OMSR cannot accept Venmo receipts;
- the submission process and corresponding deadlines have changed. This shortens the time for you to submit paperwork for reimbursement. Here are the new deadlines:
- Within 1 week of your return travel, you must upload all receipts to OMSR.
- Within 1 week of receiving your approval email from OMSR, you must upload and submit your receipts through Oracle.
Please find more details below under “Travel Reimbursement.”
You are eligible for up to $850 if
- you are an enrolled 3rd- or 4th-year MD student and
- you will present first-authored research accomplished during your Research Immersion at a conference or scholarly meeting before you graduate.
You are eligible for up to $1500 if
- you are a current or prior Medical Scholar and
- you will present first-authored Medical Scholar’s research at a conference or scholarly meeting before you graduate.
The OMSR does not reimburse student travel for MSTP, MIDP, 1st- and 2nd-year MD students, or SCRIPS Scholars. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about your eligibility.
Travel Approval and Reimbursement Process
CONGRATULATIONS! After you receive formal acceptance to present your research at a conference or scholarly meeting, follow these steps to receive reimbursement. If at any time in this process you have questions, please email email@example.com.
- Request to miss any class session(s) or clinical responsibilities at least four weeks in advance of the start of the course. Follow the absence request policy in the current School of Medicine Catalog. You will find the Immersion Phase Absence Request Form on the MD Gateway Forms page. Note: If you find out about a conference opportunity less than four weeks before the course starts, discuss with your course director as soon as possible.
- If your projected travel expenses exceed your anticipated OMSR reimbursement amount, approach your mentor to inquire about any funds that might help cover your expenses. If you think you might receive funds from your mentor or any other source, you must share details with the OMSR before you travel.
- After reviewing the “Approved Expenses Guidelines” (below), complete and submit the REDCap Travel and Poster Reimbursement Preapproval Form. You will be able to access this form after you answer several questions on the REDCap “Office of Medical Student Research Landing Page.” Please save your unique REDCap survey queue as you will need it to upload your receipts. You will also need it if you travel again.
- OMSR will email you with follow-up questions about your travel or with a pre-travel reimbursement approval letter, typically within 1-2 business days. Do not delete your pre-travel approval! After travel, you must upload this approval letter with your receipts.
DO NOT PROCEED TO STEPS 5-9 UNTIL YOU HAVE RECEIVED AN APPROVAL EMAIL. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE APPROVAL BEFORE YOU TRAVEL, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT.
- Follow the instructions in your approval email. Note: you must book your flight through Concur with the lowest available coach airfare that meets your travel needs. If you do not book through Concur, you will not be reimbursed for your flight. This is an institutional VU policy. VU recommends booking your lodging through Concur for your benefit. If you find a lower rate booking (e.g., through a conference-sponsored hotel), our office will still reimburse.
- During travel, keep all original, itemized, final receipts. See below for complete details.
- No later than 1 week after the date of your return travel, upload your receipts for OMSR review using the Post-travel Receipt Submission Form (available on your REDCap survey queue). If you do not submit this form within one week, OMSR has the right to refuse your reimbursement.
- OMSR will review your receipts to ensure that they are ready for Oracle submission. We will respond to you within 3-4 business days to request clarification or to approve your receipts for Oracle submission (with detailed directions).
- Within 1 week of receiving your receipt submission approval e-mail, upload and submit your receipts through Oracle. If you do not, OMSR may refuse reimbursement.
Approved Expenses Guidelines
The following are general guidelines you must follow to qualify for OMSR reimbursement. Please refer to the Vanderbilt University Travel & Business Expense Policy for complete details. If you will receive additional funding from your mentor’s department or another entity, it is your responsibility to follow any additional policies or procedures. Note: Expenses for meals, alcohol, and personal entertainment will not be reimbursed by OMSR.
Original, itemized, separate, final receipts for all expenditures are required. Appropriate receipts should include transaction amount, itemization of goods or services purchased, method of payment (e.g., last 4 digits of card), date, and merchant name. We cannot reimburse for expenses without proof that you paid. We cannot reimburse for Venmo receipts. For electronic receipts (e.g., Uber, Lyft), PDF the email in its entirety and attach it to your expense report.
Only flights from and to Nashville will be reimbursed. OMSR can make exceptions for curricular reasons (e.g., an away rotation), but you must discuss this with us before you book any flight. OMSR does not reimburse non-conference related stops (e.g., side trips).
If you drive instead of fly, mileage costs will be calculated based on the VU Finance mileage rate. You will need to upload a copy of a Google Maps’ (or a comparable version) mileage calculation for reimbursement. If your travel exceeds 1000 miles, you must provide a round-trip airfare cost comparison. Vanderbilt will reimburse the less expensive option.
If you plan to split expenses with others, get separate receipts. Do not charge the entire expense to one student’s card and have the other student pay his/her portion in cash. In order for you to be reimbursed for your portion, there must be a record of payment. This is true for all expenses.
If you use your mileage or hotel points, ride sharing credits, etc., you will not be reimbursed.
You may stay at a hotel as long as you would like (provided that you have received formal approval for your absence), but we will not reimburse for non-conference related hotel nights. Any additional nights must be billed separately or clearly divided on your bill.
Circumstances may vary for students who are off-campus for curricular reasons. Please contact OMSR to make arrangements.
VU requires students traveling abroad to register their trip. For details and further requirements regarding international travel, please visit the Global Education Office website. Note: all expenses must be converted to US dollars for your Oracle submission.
Information for Financial Administrators
If you are a faculty member who has received mentor support funds from our office, you are under no obligation to use those funds for student travel. However, if you wish to do so, we are happy to work with you in the process. We also require students to provide information about other funding sources, and we will reach out to you if a student indicated that he/she expects support from your department. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 615-936-6806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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