Travel and Reimbursements

As in years past, there will be funding available to help subsidize the cost of fellows attending the symposium. Due to the vast complexities of university accounting rules (reportedly only slightly less complicated than relativistic magnetohydrodynamics!) there are some rules that may differ from years past (and some that are the same or quite similar). Please read ALL OF the details below, lest you make the reimbursement harder on yourself (and us).

All (well, almost all - more on that below) NSF Fellows and Invited Speakers/Participants are eligible for reimbursement of the following expenses:

  • One night's lodging

  • meals and incidentals for the two days of the Symposium

***IMPORTANT POLICY CHANGE FROM LAST YEAR***: Note that, unlike last year, due to University of California (UC) accounting rules we cannot simply issue per-diems to cover meals and incidentals. All participants will be required to keep receipts showing the actual costs they incurred for these expenses, with proof of payment. You'll be reimbursed for whatever costs you incur (up to a maximum of $64/day for meals).

In addition, invited speakers and panelists are eligible for:

  • Travel costs to/from the Long Beach area

Travel costs means airfare for those flying, or mileage and parking costs for locals.
If you are unsure if you qualify for travel costs, contact Marshall Perrin or Rachel Kuzio de Naray.

The 50-mile rule: We wrote above that "almost" all participants are eligible for reimbursement of lodging and meals. Unfortunately for some of you it's not quite that simple. If you live within 50 miles of Long Beach, IRS and UC accounting rules prevent us from covering your lodging costs. So those joining us from the greater Los Angeles area will unfortunately be stuck dealing with traffic. (But you like traffic, right? It's one of the best parts about living in LA, right? Or maybe not. Sorry!) The 50-mile rule also makes it somewhat harder to reimburse meal costs for locals as well, but we believe we have worked out a solution to this. We intend to treat everyone as equally as we can for reimbursements, subject to obeying the letter of the law. Marshall Perrin will be contacting locals to discuss how we're going to handle your meal reimbursements.

Arranging Air Travel

Those speakers and participants who are eligible for airfare should make their own travel arrangements and we will reimburse you, as follows.

  • Book your own air travel (coach-class restricted fares, please, and as you surely know by now it must be with a US-flag air carrier)

  • Be sure to get a proper receipt! A proper receipt (according to the UC) shows that payment has been made and that there is a zero remaining balance. Note that a printout of your itinerary is usually not sufficient. Best is something that shows e.g. the last 4 digits of your credit card with the word "PAID" somewhere nearby.
  • After the meeting, submit this receipt along with your other receipts to Laurie Liles at UCLA

Getting Reimbursements for All Non-Airfare expenses

As noted above, UC policy is to reimburse only for actual expenses. Thus we must request that you please keep itemized receipts for all expenses. For lodging, receipts MUST be itemized, showing the room cost per day, and must show a zero balance and include proof of payment (e.g. the last 4 digits of your credit card with the word "PAID" somewhere nearby) Most hotels give you such a receipt and can print out extra copies, so this usually isn't a problem. Submitting a receipt without proof of payment will delay your reimbursement significantly! We expect most/all of you will submit receipts showing a multi-night hotel stay, which is fine so long as it is itemized and we can see the cost for Saturday night specifically marked.

For shared meals, copies of receipts are OK; please circle or highlight whichever items were your own, and also note the amount of any tip that was left. We cannot reimburse for any alcoholic beverages; if you have a drink please subtract its cost from your total expense. We regret all this paperwork - it's a pain in the neck, and we wish we could somehow eliminate it (like sweeping Pluto away off the list of planets), but unfortunately it seems we're stuck with it.

For anyone traveling by car, we'll need to know the license plate number of your automobile to reimburse you for mileage costs. For parking, try to get receipts if at all possible.

All reimbursements will be handled by Laurie Liles, the astronomy department adminstrator at UCLA:

  • Laurie Liles

  • 310 825 4434
  • fax: 410 206 2096

  • 475 Portola Plaza
  • Box 951547
  • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1547

In order to process reimbursements, we will need the following information from each of you:

  • Your name
  • Place of employment, including full address and academic job title.

  • Contact information (mailing address, email, and phone number)
  • Citizenship

We will have forms you can fill out with this information at the symposium, along with preprinted envelopes for mailing in your receipts to Laurie.

Non US Citizens If you are not a US Citizen, we ask that you also fill out this form. Thanks very much.

Symposium Dinner

The banquet dinner will be on Saturday night 7 pm at Utopia restaurant, just a few blocks walk from the Convention Center.

It now appears that we will be able to pay for the banquet dinner directly, thus avoiding the need for any of you to pay for that meal and then be reimbursed.