Accounts Payable Services

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Our top priority at NIU is the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. If you have had to change or cancel university-related travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic and you have questions about recovering the travel-related costs, please feel free to reach out to us. We'll provide you with the information and services you need.

Check this site regularly for updates. If you have any questions, please contact us at AccountsPayableSrvs@niu.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Travel Impacted by COVID-19

My conference or other meeting is canceled due to coronavirus – is the travel still reimbursable?

Yes – If travel has been impacted because of coronavirus, please contact the airline, hotel, and other travel vendors to cancel any corresponding arrangements and request refunds and credits where applicable. Be sure to inform your respective units or departments once that has been completed. If you are having trouble securing a refund or credit, please note this when you submit documents for reimbursement to NIU.

My conference or other meeting is not canceled, but I do not feel safe traveling. Is travel still reimbursable if I choose not to travel?

Yes – If travel has been impacted because of coronavirus, please contact the airline, hotel, and other travel vendors to cancel any corresponding arrangements and request refunds and credits where applicable. Be sure to inform your respective units or departments once that has been completed. If you are having trouble securing a refund or credit, please note this when you submit documents for reimbursement to NIU.

What documents do I need to submit to request a reimbursement from NIU for travel impacted by coronavirus?

If you are no longer traveling because of coronavirus, please submit a Travel Voucher, copies of all required receipts, and a written statement via email certifying that:

  • You requested a refund or credit from the airline, hotel and other travel vendors for all unused travel, where applicable.
  • The refund received will reduce the amount of the reimbursement request or be returned to NIU.
  • If you subsequently received a credit or travel points, it will be applied to future NIU business travel and you will not seek additional reimbursement for the credit or travel points when eventually used. If the credit or travel points are used for personal travel, you will reimburse NIU for the amount of the credit used for personal travel.
  • The written statement should include approval from your dean or VP on the statement. The approval could be a signature, DocuSign, or approval via Email. Deans or VPs should submit their own reimbursement requests to the Controller's Office at controlleroffice@niu.edu for approval. Approval may also be delegated to their respective assistant deans or associate/assistant vice presidents.
Can the Travel Voucher be submitted electronically?

All Travel Vouchers that are submitted via email to AccountsPayableSrvs@niu.edu. Be sure to include verification that the Travel Voucher has been approved by your dean, vice president or an appropriate delegate in the body of the email when you submit to Accounts Payable Services. The email must also include all supporting documentation, including receipts and invoices. The department is responsible for maintaining the original Travel Voucher and any original receipts.

Travel Vouchers for grant-funded travel should be submitted to the Grants and Contracts Associate or Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) at grantsfiscal@niu.edu for approval. SPA will forward the appropriate documents to AccountsPayableSvc@niu.edu once approved.

Travel Vouchers paid out of 04 Funds (materials and fees) should be submitted to the business manager in your unit or department. If your business manager is unavailable, please submit the Travel Voucher to your Dean, Provost, or AVP for ultimate approval.

When does the Travel Voucher need to be submitted?

Travel Vouchers should be submitted within 30 days of the date that the travel would have taken place. If the voucher cannot be submitted within the required timeframe due to the impacts of coronavirus, please provide an explanation when submitting the voucher so it can be documented. Please be aware that if the voucher is not submitted within 60 days, the IRS may consider the reimbursement as taxable income. However, NIU will consider requests submitted beyond 60 days in these extenuating circumstances.

What if I receive a refund from a travel vendor after NIU has already reimbursed me for the travel expense?

The refund must be returned to NIU, as soon as practical. You will need to complete a departmental deposit slip, using the same funding source as the original charge. Please provide the deposit slip, along with a check made out to NIU and a copy of the original Travel Voucher, to Accounts Payable Services in Lowden Hall 208.

What if the vendor will only issue credit or travel points for future travel?

The credit or travel points must be used for future NIU business purposes. If you do not have any other business travel needs within the next 12 months, and the credit points expire, you are not required to reimburse the university for the unused amount. However, if you use the credit or travel points for personal travel, you will need to reimburse NIU for the amount of credit or travel points. Please provide the deposit slip, along with a check made out to NIU and a copy of the original Travel Voucher, to Accounts Payable Services in Lowden Hall 208.

Do I need to do anything if my canceled trip was booked on a university Commercial Card? Yes – If travel has been canceled because of coronavirus, please contact the airline, hotel, and other travel vendors to request refunds and credits where applicable. Any refunds received should be credited to the original commercial card used. Please be sure to use the same funding source and travel information when accounting for the refund in the JPMC PaymentNet system.

If a travel credit or travel points are is received, the credit must be used for future NIU business purposes. If you do not have any other business travel needs within the next 12 months, and the credit/points expires, you are not required to reimburse the University for the unused credit. However, if you use the credit or travel points for personal travel, you will need to reimburse NIU for the amount of the credit/points used. Please provide the deposit slip, along with a check made out to NIU and a copy of the original Travel Voucher, to Accounts Payable Services in Lowden Hall 208.

Impacted travel plans can be canceled for a credit if a rebooking/change fee is paid. Should I pay the rebooking/change fee and is it reimbursable?

Maybe – Many airlines are currently waiving cancellation and/or change fees for new airfare purchases., so tThis option should be considered before purchasing an upgraded or refundable flight.

If cancellation and/or change fees will not be waived, please work with your departments to determine whether the costs of the rebooking fee are justified based on the credit to be received and the likelihood of the future university business travel. Please remember that any travel credits or travel points received from the vendor must be used for future NIU business purposes.

A department needs to book future travel but is concerned about future travel plans being impacted by coronavirus. Can departments purchase travel insurance?

No – Travel insurance is not a reimbursable expense. Most basic travel insurance policies do not cover trip cancellations due to an epidemic or pandemic. Also, the insurance industry considers coronavirus a known event as of January 22, 2020.

A department is looking to book future travel but is concerned about future travel plans being impacted by coronavirus. Can departments book refundable flights?

Maybe – Many airlines are currently waiving cancellation and/or change fees for new airfare purchases. This option should be considered before purchasing an upgraded or refundable flight.

If cancellation and/or change fees will not be waived, given the high risk of cancellation due to coronavirus, an upgraded or refundable airfare can be purchased. If purchased, please provide an explanation in the "business purpose" section of the Travel Voucher.

A department sent a letter of invitation to a non-NIU employee or guest to attend an event or meeting, and the event or meeting was canceled due to coronavirus. Is the invited guest's nonrefundable travel expense reimbursable?

Yes – Non-employee traveler should contact the airline, hotel, and other travel vendors to cancel any corresponding arrangements and request refunds and credits where applicable. If the travel vendors do not provide a refund or credit, NIU will reimburse non-employee travelers if that was originally agreed upon when the non-employee traveler accepted the invitation from NIU.

Any amounts refunded or credited to the non-employee traveler will be deducted from the amount reimbursed from NIU. Departments should submit a Check Request, along with the letter of invitation, receipts for travel expenses, and documents that show the amount of any refunds (or the non-employee travelers' attempts to get a refund or credit) to Accounts Payable Services at AccountsPayableSrvs@niu.edu. The department is responsible for maintaining the original check requests and receipts.

Contact Us

Accounts Payable Services
Lowden Hall 208
815-753-1514
815-753-2007 (fax)
AccountsPayableSrvs@niu.edu

Campus Hours

Wednesday/Friday
8 a.m. - 1 p.m.