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Policies and Procedures

This page is being updated regularly. More policies coming soon.

Table of Contents

ASE Requests and Approvals for Time Off
ASE Time Tracking
Budget Reconciliation
Cost Sharing
Cost Transfers
Faculty Buyout
Financial Resources for MSE Faculty Advisers
Grant & Contract Certification Reports (GCCRs)
Grant Closeout
Grant Submissions
Grants: Office Supplies & Unallowable Expenses
Indirect Costs Recovery (ICR)
Key Personnel Effort Certification (eFECS)


It is rare that a budget will allow the purchase of alcohol for hosting. Alcohol is only paid for by the department under the following circumstances, and only with prior approval:

  • Faculty recruitment
  • Department sponsored events: This is defined as an event the department is hosting and has invited all members of the department to attend. For example: annual department retreat.
  • Other pre-approved events: Some events have been given pre-approval from the Chair or Administrator for alcohol to be paid or reimbursed. These are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Include approval email with purchase or reimbursement documentation.

If an event falls outside of the circumstances noted above, please contact the Administrator to discuss prior to purchasing alcohol.

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ASE Requests and Approvals for Time Off

Requests to use sick time off and the personal holiday must be submitted in Workday for approval by the faculty supervisor in Workday. The MSE department has no additional policies regarding ASE time off.

View the full HR policy

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ASE Time Tracking

As per negotiations with the academic student employee (ASE) union, ASEs (aka TAs and RAs) will receive sick leave, holidays, and a personal holiday beginning with the fall 2022 quarter.

  1. ASEs must enter the requests in Workday.
  2. The faculty supervisor must approve. The process is the same for faculty who approve leave for post-docs and staff.

MSE faculty must plan their hiring for the full academic year. The system is set up so that the sick leave and personal holiday will be preloaded into Workday along with the appointment – but only if the appointment is for the full academic year. Payroll and the ISC do not have a process in place for ASEs who only have a one quarter appointment.

The MSE department will send out letters in the fall that cover all three academic year quarters. MSE faculty should work with MSE staff and advisors to plan graduate student hiring.

View the full HR policy

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Budget Reconciliation

Budget reconciliation is the process of 1. reconciling and reviewing all budget transactions and supporting documents to ensure all transactions are valid and appropriate and to resolve any discrepancies; and 2. a high level review and analysis by a person responsible for the budget. In MSE, fiscal staff and grants managers perform 1. For 2. PIs approve for their sponsored projects, gifts, RCR and startup and the MSE Administrator for department budgets. 

  • Fiscal staff will reconcile transactions in MyFD
  • Grants managers will review
  • Fiscal staff and grants managers will work in tandem to resolve discrepancies
  • PIs will receive transaction information to approve via email
  • The transaction information and the PI’s approval will be retained for records retention and audit purposes

For more information on the reconciliation process, visit the UW's budget reconciliation website.

Reconciliation should be completed monthly, within 45 days of month-end close. Keep in mind that special situations such as biennium close (June-July every odd year) may take longer to finish than “regular” months.

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Cost Sharing

If a grant submission proposes cost share, the PI ought to consult with the Chair and Administrator in advance of the submission. They will consider numerous factors:

  • They cannot 'cost-share' effort if the work takes place when they are being paid on external funding. The only time cost-sharing effort can be done is during the academic year, since the UW is committing these funds. Therefore, the department must look into the faculty candidate's appointment (9 month, 12 month) and how much effort they are dedicating to their other grants. 
  • Overcommitting time/effort. 
  • Grants managers will be consulted because they need to account for the total faculty effort being committed to all their grants to ensure that it is consistent with their other responsibilities (teaching, service, research). 

In general this should be a rarely used form of cost-sharing and it should be kept to a minimum amount of effort.

If Cost Share is Funded:

If an agreement is reached to include cost share in a grant proposal, Cost Share Addendum and other UW and sponsor requirements to document must be completed to ensure that the items in the Cost Share Commitment are identified and correctly valued.

Grant support staff will work with faculty to provide assistance during the process.

If Cost Share is part of a Subaward, the Subaward Cost Share Commitment and Contributions should be reported to Grant & Contract Accounting (GCA) so that it can be entered into the Cost Share Summary and Tracking system.

More on cost share:

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Cost Transfers

Cost Transfers should only be done for the following reasons:

  • To correct an error (e.g., an expense was erroneously charged to the incorrect budget or object code)
  • To correct an error when the value of the transaction is greater than $10.00 (See GIM 15)
  • To re-allocate expenses where the expense can only be initially coded to one or a few budgets (e.g., rent)

A Cost Transfer is not:

  • A financial management tool to be used to move costs for budgetary convenience
  • A means to temporarily post costs on a sponsored budget until a budget number becomes available

Cost transfers into a sponsored program budget must be made within 90 days of when the error is discovered. If, however, the transfer is requested more than 120 days after the transaction date, there are additional requirements to explain why a cost transfer was not made within 90 days. The 120 days starts from the original transaction posting date to when the transfer is submitted.

When it is necessary to correct these errors, departments must provide convincing evidence that the goods and/or services are properly allocable and that the budget receiving the transferred cost actually received a benefit from the goods and/or services involved.

A single cost is not to be transferred more than once.

More on Cost Transfers:

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It is the PI’s responsibility to resolve the deficit.

  1. Fiscal staff will send a monthly notification about deficits.
  2. PIs must respond within 10 business days to notify fiscal staff about how to eliminate the deficit.
  3. The deficit should be cleared within 30 days of notification of non-payment.
  4. If the deficit cannot be cleared within 30 days, provide GCA with a deficit resolution plan as per the PI’s communications with the grants manager.
  5. If the deficit is not cleared or an approved deficit resolution plan is not in place, GCA will contact the Dean’s Office for assistance in clearing the deficit.
  6. If the deficit is not cleared within 90 days of the budget end date or GCA has not received an approved deficit resolution plan, GCA will contact the Dean’s Office for assistance in clearing the deficit. The PI, Chair, Administrator, and the Office of Planning & Budgeting will be copied.

More on deficits:

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Faculty Buyout

A faculty may request from the Chair a one-quarter (3 months) buyout of their total salary (both A & B salary if applicable) at 40% of their salary. A buyout is always subject to Chair's approval.


  1. Faculty submits the request in writing to the Chair by the end of winter quarter for AY 2023-2024. The faculty should cc in their grants manager and Lucien Brush.
  2. The Chair will review and approve according to academic policies.


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Financial Resources for MSE Faculty Advisers

Undergraduate: MSE faculty advisers receive $500 for each MSE undergraduate student whose senior research project (SRP) they supervise. The faculty adviser and the student complete the SRP Agreement Form and return it to the Undergraduate Program Adviser.

Applied Master’s Program (AMP): MSE faculty advisers receive $1,500 for each MSE AMP student they supervise. The faculty adviser and the student complete the AMP Project Agreement Form and return it to the Graduate Program Adviser.

MSE faculty can immediately use the funds after returning the form to the Advising Staff. To make a purchase, MSE faculty should follow the process on MSE’s Ordering and Purchasing page.

Advising Staff upload the completed forms to the Admin Team’s drive.

The Admin Team transfers the funds to the MSE faculty advisor's RCR budget. The funds will not be transferred to another faculty adviser, especially not a faculty adviser in another department.

The transfers are made about two times per quarter to the MSE faculty adviser's RCR budget, but the funds are immediately available to MSE faculty upon return of the form since the transfer is a given.  

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Under certain criteria, University and Washington State policies allow for the purchase of meals and light refreshments for employees, students and official guests. Examples include:

  • Recognition events
  • Training events, including student orientations
  • Business meetings to conduct UW Business where a meal or light refreshment is an integral part of the official meeting

For all lab and PI events:

Faculty should choose an appropriate source for food expenses, for instance, RCR. If any gifts or grants support food for training events, those are options as well. Expenses will need to fall within per diem limits. 

RCR budgets (75- prefix) and budgets with 06- prefix are NOT preapproved for food. Faculty and organizers must complete the food approval form in advance of the event. 

Some gifts and grants allow for food purchases, but none of them are approved for over per diem rates or alcohol. In addition, the majority require a food approval form completed in advance. If in doubt check with

A UW food approval form must be filled out and submitted prior to your event. The food approval form is used for one-time or recurring events requiring food purchases, which must meet the criteria (see above). In addition, a list of attendees is required when submitting a food reimbursement.

If your meal cost is over per diem and you use one budget to pay for up to per diem, you may not use another per-diem-only budget to pay for the remainder. 

Food purchases are generally not allowed for employees working remotely. Virtual attendance at any event where food is served in itself is not a permissible event for providing food items for remote attendees.

It is the responsibility of faculty to ensure all best practices are followed. They should consult with their grants manager and/or the Administrator if they have questions regarding what budget to use.

For more detailed information, see UW’s food approval policy.

For All Department Events:

This includes hosting seminar guests and faculty searches. These are paid on department budgets and over per diem will be allowed. The department will take care of filling out and filing the food forms and alert faculty who are hosting seminar guests and faculty candidates of the budgets. The department will provide a completed food form for the faculty host to submit with receipts and the budget numbers. There will be one budget number for up to per diem amount per person and another for any food charges over that and alcohol.

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When faculty receive notice of a gift, they should request the sponsor complete and send in the gift letter; send the sponsor information on where to send funds (see below); and send the Administrator and the grants manager the completed gift letter and any supporting documentation. Staff will handle intake of the funds.

Make all checks payable to University of Washington
Send to: 4333 Brooklyn Ave. N.E. Box 359505 | Seattle, WA 98195-9505

Standard Automated Clearing House (ACH) Instructions for Domestic Transactions Only

Company Name: University of Washington
Bank Name: Bank of America, Washington, Seattle, WA
Account Number: 13651708
ABA Number: 125000024

Standard Incoming Wire Transfer Instructions for Domestic and Foreign Transactions

Company Name: University of Washington, Development Sweep Account
Bank Name: Bank of America, Washington, Seattle, WA
Account Number: 13651708
ABA Number: 0260-0959-3

Please include a note in the wire with the following information:

  • Legal donor name
  • Department and department contact name
  • Budget number and allocation (please provide)
  • If donor/funder requires a receipt from a 501(c)3, "UW FOUNDATION" must be specified in the wire note.

If the financial institution of the donor requires an address for Bank of America, please use:

BOFAUS3N (US dollars)
Bank of America, NA
222 Broadway
New York, New York 10038

BOFAUS6S (foreign currency)
Bank of America, NA
555 California St
San Francisco, CA 94104

Download the COE gift letter template

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Grant & Contract Certification Reports (GCCRs)

Grant & Contract Certification Reports are quarterly. MSE Staff or student employees will send the GCCR to the PI to review, sign and date. MSE Staff sets a return-by date based on University and sponsor deadlines. If the GCCR is not returned by that date, the matter will escalate to the Administrator, and then to the Chair. More on GCCRs:

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Grant Closeout

The UW Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will not review and submit new proposals on behalf of a PI if OSP is made aware that the PI is more than 120 days delinquent with their final performance report submission (e.g. 120 days past the award end date).

OSP reserves the right to place a hold on future funding or other administrative actions if the PI has not supplied necessary information to other University offices to complete required final closeout documentation, until such time as the PI is no longer delinquent.

MSE Staff are dedicated to assisting the PI with grant closeout to prevent a hold on future funding by beginning the process before the grant closes and completing the closeout ahead of sponsor deadlines. A month before it closes, PIs and staff ought to start the closeout process by looking at the current status of the budget. Waiting until after the close and until the final action date (FAD) may mean that a budget is not fully expended.

If the budget has open balances and encumbrances and it is in deficit- please try to avoid using it - despite the temptation of ignoring the encumbrances. It just means that when the budget closes we need to do many transfers and sometimes transfer the salaries which UW does not like and require extra paperwork/explanations. Transferring salaries in particular raises concerns and issues (see Rebudgeting).

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Grant Submissions

MSE Administration utilizes a form to alert grants managers to a pending application (new, extension, supplement, resubmission, etc.). Please submit the submission form one month before a grant submission is due. It will route directly to your grants manager but also allow us to cover when a grants manager is out and gather information to process.

We ask for one month advance notice from PIs so that we can give your application the best attention and chance of success. If we have less than two weeks advance notice, we cannot guarantee that your application will reach OSP in time, nor can we guarantee accuracy (formatting or budget for instance). However, we make every attempt to accommodate and understand if a PI receives notice of an opportunity less time in advance.

PIs can ensure their success by reading the RFP and the submission guidelines carefully so they know what is required of the application by the sponsor. As they process the submission, MSE staff may ask the same questions of PI each grant application because rules and regulations change often – bear that in mind.

OSP requires that a grant marked ready-to-submit (RTS) reaches their office three business days before the application is due, however, best practice to have it reach OSP five business days in advance because they may require changes. This can delay and potentially prevent the application to the sponsor on time if we do not allow OSP proper time to review.

Bear in mind that once MSE staff submits, multiple departments must approve. If the department submits at 4 PM, then it routes for approvals and only reaches OSP at 5:01 PM on the due date, then they will require the GIM 19. GIM 19 is a huge administrative paperwork for faculty and we rarely have a scenario in which GIM 19 applies.

Grant submission form

Advised timeline

Email mse-grants of new application 1 month before sponsor deadline
Submit business and administrative elements of eGC1 for routing 7 business days before sponsor deadline (optional)
Submit RTS eGC1 for approvals 5 business days before sponsor deadline


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Grants: Office Supplies & Unallowable Expenses

MSE frequently analyzes budgets for potential audit issues. One is office supplies which rarely are allowed on grants. If a PI grant has office supplies (such as printers, copy paper, all under 05-64 account code), the grants manager will reach out to identify an appropriate budget in their portfolio such as RCR/ICR, startup or an endowment. If startup or endowment is not available, MSE fiscal staff will transfer to the PI's RCR/ICR budget.

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Academic Student Employees: See ASE Time Tracking for information on quarterly vs. yearly offer letters. If a student has accepted an offer for a year in MSE that is a combination of TA and RA appointments, then the ASE union contract requires hiring departments to send quarterly assignments at least three weeks prior to the start of the quarter. Faculty should respond to staff requests for yearly and quarterly information by the due date in order to comply with the union contract. Failure to do so may jeopardize the RCR/ICR distribution.

Hourlies: Notify the administrator of a new hourly appointment at least two weeks in advance of projected start date to allow the HR checks such as the sexual misconduct disclosure to be processed. It is illegal to hire someone without these checks. Needless to say, it is illegal for someone to start work until an offer letter email has been sent to and accepted by the hourly.

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Indirect Costs Recovery (ICR)

Grants generate ICR, which returns to the UW and trickles down to the College before reaching the department. MSE has decided to use the total amount a PI’s grants generate and not the final amount that comes to the department. Of the total amount a PI’s grants generate, we take 5% from the department’s portion and give to their individual RCR (research costs recovery).

Example: If a grant generates $100,000 in ICR, the faculty member will receive $5,000. 

Faculty who have responded to staff requests for information and signatures for high-risk, high-importance processes by the deadlines will receive ICR. For those faculty who have had issues meeting deadlines, the administrator will reach out about steps to rectify issues and qualify at a later date for the 5% return. 

What is a high-risk, high-importance process? GCCR: we expect sign-off by the MSE deadline for two GCCR deadlines in a row. Payroll Spreadsheets: we send out spreadsheets for quarterly updates and expect a response by the MSE deadline from the faculty. Thank you for prompt attention to requests with deadlines.

ICR/RCR may be used for food within per diem along with the food form, office supplies (which are not covered on grants), and student support.

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Key Personnel Effort Certification (eFECS)

PIs must certify faculty effort and non-faculty effort prior to the deadline.

eFECS sends an email notification to department personnel who are set up in ASTRA as FEC Coordinators when the FECs are ready for review and certification.

  1. MSE Staff will confirm with PIs that the eFEC is accurate or if any salary transfers need to be completed.
  2. eFECs are reviewed and certified by faculty within 60 days from the day they are released to departments. The "Complete By" date is noted on the left side of the FEC beneath the faculty member's name.
  3. Departments access FECs one of three ways:
  4. eFECS sends automatic notifications to departments throughout the 60 day review window.

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To request physical keys and CAAMS access, please fill out the appropriate key form for students or for faculty/staff and then send the completed form to Carter Beamish at He will set up an appointment to pick the keys up from the MSE front office (302 Roberts). After being granted access in the Campus Automated Access Management System (CAAMS), you can tap your Husky card on a card reader and enter the building.

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All hires and new appointments must have offer letters, acceptance, and/or written authorizations on file. Changes to appointment type, FTE and cost center must be supported by written authorizations. Verbal authorizations do not suffice and will not be processed in payroll.

Graduate research assistants, teaching assistants and staff assistants may be offered a full year of funding with details of each quarter’s work to follow if the PI has the funding to support this. This funding must be confirmed by the grants manager or administrator. However, according to their union contract, they must be notified of their exact duties at least three weeks in advance of the individual quarter’s appointment start date. Consequently, MSE Staff will send out messages about quarterly payroll appointments to faculty, and faculty must respond within the MSE-set deadlines to ensure the union contract is fulfilled.

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See the Ordering & Purchasing webpage. 

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Significant rebudgeting occurs when expenditures in a single direct cost budget category deviate (increase or decrease) from the categorical commitment level established for the budget period by 25 percent or more of the total costs awarded. See the most up-to-date information on rebudgeting

In general, if you and your grants manager determine your budget meets the rebudgeting criteria, determine first if the sponsor of the grant or contract requires approval, and work with the grants manager who will submit forms and interface with OSP if necessary. However, if there are any changes to personnel effort (faculty, post-doc, student) then we need to reach out to the sponsor in advance. For example, a grad research assistant is hired instead of a post-doc. This needs to be cleared with the sponsor in advance.

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To send a parcel with UPS:

  1. Obtain a UPS shipping form from the mail room, and fill it out as described here.
  2. Hand to fiscal staff (Kris, Caroli, or Yun) who will confirm the details are good.
  3. Staff makes a copy to keep.
  4. Shipper takes the original and attaches to the package.
  5. Shipper drops their parcel in any UPS dropbox around campus or takes it to a UPS store. They can leave it in the office with students to give to the UPS driver when he drops something off, but do not schedule an official pickup. There is a charge to call for a pickup.
  6. When the paper UPS bill comes in, staff work to match itemized charges to UPS form - this is why the budget number on the UPS label is so important.


MSE reimburses MSE faculty, staff and students for travel but there are several guidelines for travelers to be aware of in advance of making travel arrangements.

Prior to arranging travel:

  1. Read the policies below.
  2. Consult UW Travel Services for more detailed guidelines.
  3. If the travel will be paid on a grant or contract, the grant and contract sponsors may have more rigid regulations, and they supersede the UW policy. Travelers and PIs ought to consult their sponsors.
  4. UW Policy does not require preapproval for in-state travel but MSE does require Preapproval for any PNNL-related travel even if it is in-state because of PNNL reporting requirements (this is related to 3. above about specific sponsor requirements).
  5. Note that international travel has additional requirements, detailed below.

Please use our travel preapproval template when emailing your PI for preapproval to travel.

For students/researchers paid on a PI’s budget: Preapproval is required for all out-of-state and international travel in the form of an email from the traveler to the PI and the PI’s concurrence. The UW does not require preapproval for in-state travel but many sponsors do - and their requirements supersede the UW's policies. Most sponsor require it. For instance, PNNL-funded travel requires preapproval even if it for in-state travel. Otherwise, PNNL may disallow the charges.

The preapproval is saved as a PDF and submitted along with the traveler’s receipts. It must have a clear date and timestamp in it that show the preapproval was obtained prior to any travel expenses including registration were incurred.

Preapproval must include these elements:

  • Name of traveler
  • Purpose of trip
    • Link to conference website if purpose is to attend a conference
  • Travel destination
  • Dates
  • Budget number/source
  • Items to reimburse (for instance: registration, airfare, ground transport, hotel)
  • Whether an exception to UW Travel Services' maximum lodging rates will be approved
  • The PI’s concurrence as a reply

For faculty: Prior approvals for faculty for a specific trip are not required as this has been delegated to them by Chair via blanket approval. Although it is preferred for faculty to attach a copy of the Chair's blanket approval message to their reimbursement request, MSE staff will attach the chair’s approval if the faculty member does not.

For non-UW guests or visitors: Their letter of invitation may fulfill the prior approval requirement. It should include the preapproval elements above.

  • It is not recommended to pay for someone else’s flights because it entails extra documentation to provide approvals and proof of payment. 
  • Business or first class travel is allowable only under very special circumstances and with prior approval from the Dean of Engineering. Contact the MSE Administrator for more information.

If you are sharing a room, it is recommended that you let the hotel know so the hotel can split the bill when you check out and pay separately. You must also add that information into the comments section on the reimbursement form for continuity and audit purposes.


It is left to the discretion of the PI whether or not the traveler receives per diem or will be reimbursed for actual meal costs as allowable on the funding source. Any banquets or prepaid meals at a conference will be deducted from a per diem. See UW Travel Services for more on meal per diem and limits.

For those that reimburse for actual meal costs based on receipts:

  • Alcohol: it is highly unlikely that your funding source will pay for alcohol. If your meal receipts include alcohol, it will be deducted from the receipt total.
  • It varies whether or not meals for others can be reimbursed. Check with your grants manager about the funding source.
  • Whenever you are requesting meal reimbursement, make sure you attach your flight or travel itinerary so staff can enter dates/times correctly.
Personal Time

If you will take personal time, you are required to attach a PDF of sample airfares/itinerary as if you did not take personal time. You must submit that with your reimbursement and you will be reimbursed for whichever is cheaper.

Special Guidelines for International Travel

All graduate and undergraduate students are required to register international travel itineraries with the Office of Global Affairs. The UW Office of Global Travel facilitates safe and successful travel for UW faculty, staff, and students. Students are also required to obtain UW Student Abroad Insurance. This provides major medical insurance benefits while overseas and evacuation services for medical, security, and natural disaster emergencies, which is not provided by regular GAIP insurance.

International travel supported by Federal funds must use a U.S.-based air carrier (e.g., Alaska or American instead of British Airways; United instead of Air Canada; Delta instead of KLM).

Please see the UW Office of Global Affairs website for more information.


  • All travel reimbursements should be submitted within 30 days of completion of travel.
  • Remember that MSE requires receipts for all expense reimbursements. This includes all parking, gas, ground transport, and other receipts, even if under the UW Travel Services threshold of $75.
  • The reimbursee is responsible for confirming they have not received the reimbursement already, whether through another source or through MSE on a different travel reimbursement request. If you suspect MSE has already reimbursed you and you receive a notice from Ariba to approve a duplicate reimbursement, you should deny the reimbursement in Ariba with a note that this may be a duplicate.

Exceptions to any travel policies due to mitigating circumstances may be considered and approved by the Chair and/or Administrator on a case by case basis, and only with sufficient and justifiable reason.

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