ORISE may cover participants’ travel costs for conferences, training events, sampling expeditions, and other travel that will promote the educational goals of the appointment, provided that the mentor and program officer approve the trip’s destination, purpose and estimated cost. Please check with your EPA project officer/ORISE program coordinator to learn about the types of travel that your program may fund. Participant travel will be in accordance with the ORAU/ORISE Travel Policy.
Planning your trip
As soon as a trip is planned and has been verbally approved by your mentor, you should complete the online Travel Authorization Request form (TAR). Make your cost estimates as complete and accurate as possible to avoid unnecessary complications in the approval process. Print the final page of this form, and have it signed by your project officer. Scan the completed form to SEPTravel@orau.org. (An email from the project officer to SEPTravel@orau.org approving the trip may be substituted for the signature.)
For foreign travel, you should fill out both the TAR and the Request for Approval of Foreign Travel (RAFT). Participants must notify ORISE at least 35 days in advance of all foreign travel related to their appointment, even if ORISE will not be paying the cost of the travel. The Department of Energy must approve all ORISE foreign travel. This is a lengthy process. Please note that not all EPA offices will fund foreign travel. Check with your project officer to learn the policies for your office.
Once ORISE has received your TAR and the project officer’s approval, we will begin processing your travel request. If you choose, we can purchase your airfare for you directly. Our travel agent will locate the best-priced itinerary that meets your scheduling needs, and e-mail the itinerary to you for your approval. No tickets will be purchased until you have approved them.
Rental vehicles will be approved only if there is a business justification, and other modes of transportation are not available. We strongly recommend that you allow ORISE to reserve the rental vehicle for you, so the vehicle will be covered under our corporate insurance policy. Insurance policies purchased through the rental company are not reimbursable. More information on approved expenses may be found in the ORISE Travel Manual.
If you pay your own registration fee (for conferences, training sessions, etc.), ORISE can reimburse you that cost before the trip has been completed. Please submit proof of payment and indicate the cost of the registration in the cash advance section of the TAR. You will receive this advance shortly after we have processed your TAR.
You may also request a cash advance up to the amount of your per diem. This advance will be direct deposited into your account shortly before your departure. To find per diem rates for various localities, visit the GSA website or contact SEPTravel@orau.org.
If you receive a cash advance, and your trip is cancelled or the costs are less than estimated, you will be required to return the advance to ORISE.
ORISE cannot prepay hotel costs.
Within ten days of the completion of your trip, please complete the Travel Expense Statement (TES). Mail the completed TES and all necessary receipts to:
PO Box 117, MS-36
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117
Original receipts are required; we will not be able to process your reimbursement until they have arrived in the mail.
Once we have received all of the necessary documents, you can expect to receive your reimbursement in approximately two weeks. It will be direct deposited into the same account where you receive your stipend payments.
Participants are permitted to add personal travel days in conjunction with business travel provided that it is approved by the mentor and project officer. The SEP Travel team (SEPTravel@orau.org) will do a cost comparison for business-only travel versus business-with-personal travel. The participant will be responsible for all costs that exceed the business-only travel estimate.