UMass Boston

Business Travel & Expense Guidelines

Preapproval Guidelines

New policy and standards released by UPST for Business & Travel Expenses across all campuses reflect the maximum flexibility allowed by the Board of Trustees and President.  Some expenses in the areas of Travel, Gifts, and Alcohol still require pre-approval by campus management.  Below are the campus requirements for pre-approval of these expenses.

Alcohol at Events 

The purchase of alcoholic beverages is highly discouraged due to the expense and potential liabilities involved and must be approved prior to the event.  All preapproval requests are submitted to the Chancellor’s Office and, if the event is to be held on campus, additional approval will be required by Public Safety and must follow the campus alcohol policy. 

Campus Alcohol Policy (

Events in Excess of $500


Gifts or Awards to Employees 

Gifts to University employees other than those provided through official recognition programs authorized by the Human Resource Department should not be purchased with university funds.

The following official recognition programs are authorized by the Office of Human Resources: 

  • Years of Service Awards. Such programs are considered official when organized by the Office of Human Resources.  
  • Department Employee Recognition. Departments are delegated the authority to recognize an employee in regard to outstanding work-related accomplishments at a cost of up to $100/award (such as with a plaque or book). For purposes of this guideline, gift cards are not allowed. 
  • Retirement. When an employee retires from UMass Boston, the employee receives the gift of a personalized university chair. The employee may choose instead to donate the cost of the chair to a UMass Boston scholarship fund or UMass Boston departmental fund.  
  • Memorials. In the event of the death of a UMass Boston employee, the Office of Human Resources will send flowers from the chancellor. If the deceased employee’s family requests donations in lieu of flowers to a bona fide charity, the university may make such contribution to the designated charity in an amount not to exceed the cost of flowers.  

Gifts or Awards provided to an external Organization 

Contributions and gifts to external organizations are strongly discouraged and must be approved by the Chancellor’s Office.

Gift Cards 

The purchase of gift cards is allowed for research related activities only.  They must be purchased using the University’s declining balance credit card, a process coordinated and approved by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. See the following link for additional details about the process.

UMB Gift Card Procedure (

Cell Phones 

Mobile Devices (IPhones and other smartphones) are purchased and managed by the IT Telecom Department.  Purchases made by any other department are not allowable and will not be reimbursed if purchased by an individual.  For those approved or required to have a university issued phone, the following link Telecom Mobile Request should be used to request a device.

IT Telecom offers a variety of services, including providing a loaner program for those in need of a phone for a short period of time.  More about Mobile Devices can be found at Telecom Mobile

International Travel 

Pre-travel authorization is required for ALL travel and registered in the university’s travel registry (Terra Dotta) if international or overnight, out-of-state domestic.  Forms must be signed by the traveler’s direct supervisor and uploaded into the university’s travel registry.  Additional requirements must be met when traveling to high-risk areas, as determined by the U.S. State Department to be level 3 or 4, or student group travel.  Additional guidelines can be found on the Controller’s website University Travel Approval along with the required  22.11.09_CON-03_Pre-Travel_Authorization_Form.pdf

Controller's Office

UMass Boston
Quinn Administration Building
3rd Floor

p | 617.287.5120
f | 617.287.5193