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Student Travel

Guidelines

Limited travel reimbursement funding is available for traditional MD students to present their scholarly research as first author of either a poster or an oral presentation at a conference or meeting. The School of Medicine will reimburse up to $850 of the total approved expenses for individual eligible students, provided the student secures approval on the appropriate forms prior to traveling. As per VU policies, students must obtain approval and complete the necessary requirement prior to traveling to a conference/meeting. Students should not make reservations prior to receiving approval from OMSR. Students can utilize their allotted funds throughout their time in Medical School; budget-conscious students may find ways to spread these funds across multiple trips.

Administrative staff or mentors see below for more details.

Student Eligibility

Reimbursement funds are only available to students who are currently enrolled in the traditional MD program at Vanderbilt SOM, or students participating in the Medical Scholars Program. Our office does not support student travel for MSTP students. If you have questions about your eligibility please contact vms.research@vanderbilt.edu.

The research travel funding is only available for presentations of work accomplished through Research Immersion.  Therefore, it is not available to 1st & 2nd year students or to students who do not complete the Research Immersion.  Vanderbilt Medical Scholars are eligible for funding through that program and should continue with the process outlined on this page.


Travel Process

Prior to travel
CONGRATULATIONS! Once you have been accepted to present at a conference or meeting, please follow these steps to book and be reimbursed for your travel.

1 – Before submitting a request for funding from the Office of Medical Student Research, the student should approach his or her mentor, and/or the department under which the student is working to seek sources of funding to cover expenses that may exceed the amount approved by OMSR. (Note: you should have already sought your mentor’s approval to present your research as they are likely an author on your project).

2 – Ensure proper arrangements are made with each of your course directors regarding missed classroom or clinical responsibilities.

3 – Complete and Save the Student Travel Preliminary Budget. This worksheet will be submitted with the request form.

4 – Complete and Submit the Student Pre-Travel Approval Form – Office of Medical Student Research to begin the approval process. Review the Approved Expenses Guidelines (below) prior to submitting.

5 – Within 1-2 business days, you will receive further questions on your travel or notice of your approval from OMSR via email. Do NOT delete your approval email as it will need to be uploaded with your receipts later for reimbursement.

DO NOT GO FURTHER UNTIL YOU HAVE RECEIVED AN APPROVAL EMAIL FROM OUR OFFICE!

6 – Arrange your travel! The university wants all students representing research at Vanderbilt to utilize the Concur travel tool for booking their travel. The travel agency connected offers the lowest priced deals available so there should be no reason to use outside airline tools.  You may book your accommodation outside Concur if you wish to utilize less expensive options like Airbnb, etc. that may not be included in the Concur tool.

If at anytime in this process you have questions or concerns, please contact vms.research@vanderbilt.edu for assistance!

Poster Printing 

If you need a poster printed follow the additional poster printing process.

During Travel

7 – We recommend you keep all original itemized receipts in an envelope and take photos of your receipts immediately in case you lose the hard copy.

While traveling please keep in mind:

  • Only flights to and from Nashville will be reimbursed
  • Only itemized receipts will be reimbursed
  • $50/day maximum for food reimbursements
  • No alcohol or personal entertainment will be reimbursed
  • If you are splitting costs, ask for separate bills
  • … and always follow the Approved Expenses Guidelines (below)

Photos 

Plan on capturing your experience? We are always looking for photos of our students participating in the research experience.

After Travel

8 – Receipts must be submitted through the SkyVU (Oracle) online system for reimbursement within 30 days of the end of your travel.  Reimbursement will not be approved unless you include your approval email from our office sent when you applied for funding.

9 – Please utilize this handout to walk you through the process. This handout was provided by the university.  We realize it is a bit “busy” but just follow the numbers and it should make sense.  If you have any difficulty, please contact us and we can assist.

Receiving Your Reimbursement

Once you have completed the online process, we will review and approve your reimbursement (if there is any issue with the information you have submitted, it will be returned to you for correction).

Once approved by our office, Finance will process your reimbursement and contact you when your check is ready to be picked up.  (If this is your first time going through the new process, a paper check will be created and you will need to pick it up in the Baker building.  When you pick up your paper check, you will fill out a direct deposit form for all future reimbursements).

You should expect your check(s) within 2-3 weeks of approval for reimbursement. If you do not receive your reimbursement within this period, please contact our office.


Approved Expenses Guidelines

The following are general guidelines that students must follow in order to qualify for reimbursement. If students do not follow these guidelines they may not qualify for reimbursement. For all VU travel polices refer to the Travel & Business Expense Policy. If the student is receiving additional funding from a mentor/department, it is the student’s responsibility to follow any additional policies or procedures set forth by that mentor/department.

Acceptable Receipts

Original itemized receipts for all expenditures are required. Appropriate receipts should include transaction amount, itemization of goods or services purchased, method of payment (e.g., receipt showing last 4 digits of card number or cash), date, and merchant name. If sponsor or departmental requirements are more restrictive, this will take precedence. We cannot reimburse for expenses without proof that you paid. If expenses are paid for by someone other than you, we cannot reimburse that expense.

  • Note: confirmations do not qualify as receipts.

Flights

Only flights from and to Nashville will be reimbursed. Exceptions will only be made for students who are “off campus” for curricular reasons (e.g., away rotations). Non-conference related stops will not be reimbursed (e.g., “side trips”).

Mileage

Mileage costs will be calculated based on the VU Finance mileage rate. A copy of Google maps mileage calculation is acceptable documentation for mileage reimbursement.

Splitting Costs

If you plan to “split” expenses with other individuals it is important to discuss this with us prior to your trip. Due to the VU guideline for appropriate receipts, it is always best to ask for SEPARATE RECEIPTS. Do not charge the entire expense to one student’s card and have the other student pay his/her portion to the first student in cash. In order for each student to be reimbursed their portion, there must be a record of payment. This is true for all expenses.

Using Credits

If you use your mileage or hotel points, ride sharing credits, etc., you will not be reimbursed.

Alcohol

Expenses for alcohol or personal entertainment are not reimbursable. If possible, ask for a separate receipt if ordering alcohol with your meal.

Gratuity

Reasonable tips are reimbursable (e.g., 15%-20%).

Hotels

You can stay at a hotel as long as you would like, but we cannot reimburse for non-conference related hotel stays. Your additional nights must be billed separately or clearly divided on your bill. Your added adventures are on your own tab.


Additional Information

Off-Campus Students

Circumstances may vary for students who are off-campus for curricular reasons. Contact OMSR to make arrangements to complete the Student Travel Process.

International Travel

VU requires students traveling abroad to register their trip with the Global Education Office (GEO). For details on this process and further requirements regarding international travel visit their website. Please also consult the GEO’s safety tips.

Information for Administrators

Our office coordinates the student travel reimbursements for students who are utilizing funds from our center. If a student receives additional funding from your faculty member or department, we will work with you to complete the submission process. If your center is a VUMC center, we will identify the best way to process the reimbursement. Mentor support funds provided to mentors from our office are not required to be used as additional travel funds for students; however, if you wish to use these funds in this manner, we will assist you in the process. If you have any questions please contact our office at vms.research@vanderbilt.edu.