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Home > Policies and Procedures > Maximum Rates

Maximum Rates (updated 04/01/2013)

The university's maximum rates for reimbursement and payment of expenses are itemized below. Exceptions to maximum rates must be approved by a Vice President or Dean. Note that these are the maximum rates allowed by the university. Lower rates and additional constraints may be imposed on expenditures by a Senior Vice President, Dean, or Director within his or her organizational unit. These constraints should be monitored by internal control within the organizational unit.

  • The university prefers that actual expenses be claimed whenever possible.
  • Because rates are subject to change, please bookmark and refer to this page periodically (instead of printing).
Actual Meal and Lodging Limit = $450 Per Day

Actual expenses for meals and lodging may not exceed $450 per day, including gratuities and taxes. Actual expenses must be supported by applicable receipts.

Actual Meal Limit = $100 Per Meal

An actual expense for a single meal may not exceed $100, including gratuities and taxes. Actual expenses must be supported by applicable receipts.

Domestic Meal Allowance = $46 Per Day

Domestic meals will be reimbursed at a per day allowance rate without receipts, up to $46 per day. The maximum allowance rate includes any incurred meal gratuities.

International Meal Allowance = Based on State Department Meal Per Diem

International meals will be reimbursed at a per day allowance without receipts at the maximum meal per diem rate established by Department of State. A copy of the applicable government rate must be attached to the request for reimbursement. The maximum meal per diem includes any incurred meal gratuities. If the international meal allowance/per diem is used, the maximum $350 per day applies only to the lodging portion.

Per Diem for Domestic Meals + Lodging = $140 Per Day

Domestic lodging and meals will be reimbursed at a per diem without receipts up to a maximum of $140 per day. The maximum domestic lodging and meal per diem includes any incurred taxes and meal gratuities. To qualify for a domestic per diem, travel must include an overnight stay and may not exceed 30 days.

Per Diem for International Meals and Lodging = State Department Rates

International meals and lodging will be reimbursed without receipts at the maximum per day rate established by Department of State. The maximum international lodging and meal per diem includes any incurred taxes and meal gratuities. A copy of the applicable government rate must be attached to the request for reimbursement. To qualify for an international meal and lodging per diem, travel may not exceed 30 days.

Personal Vehicle Mileage Limit = $0.56 Per Mile

Use of a personal vehicle (car, van, truck, motorcycle, etc.) for USC business is reimbursable at the per mileage rates listed below. 

  • $0.565 per mile for trips between January 1 - December 31, 2013
  • $0.55 per mile for trips between January 1 - December 31, 2012
  • $0.55 per mile for trips between July 1 - December 31, 2011

Use of a personal vehicle when relocating is reimbursable at the university's current mileage rate. However, the IRS has determined that only a portion of the university's reimbursable mileage rate is considered non-taxable. 

  • Non-taxable amount for relocation: $0.24 / miles (relocation on or after January 2013)

Mileage reimbursement is not permitted on university vehicles and rental cars. For these vehicles, gas receipts must either be retained (if transaction was incurred on the Procurement Card or USCard) or submitted for reimbursement.

Gifts/Decorations Limit = $100 Per Person

The purchase of a gift or decoration may not exceed $100 per person, including tax and delivery charges. Gifts and decorations are not allowed on externally sponsored projects.

Petty Cash Limit = $500

The maximum limit to establish and replenish a petty cash fund is $500. Petty cash requires Senior Business Officer approval. Please reference the SBO Table for a list of Senior Business Officers authorized to approve petty cash.

Cash Advance for Trips: Per day limit = $350 Per Trip Maximum > $10,000

The maximum cash advance limit for a business trip is $350 per day and may not exceed $10,000 per trip. Cash advances will be issued on a limited basis only. Cash advances require Senior Business Officer approval. Please reference the SBO Table for a list of Senior Business Officers authorized to approve cash advances.

Cash Advance for Events: Per person limit = $75 Per event limit > $7,000

The maximum cash advance limit for a university-sponsored event is $75 per person and may not exceed $7,000 per event. Cash advances will be issued on a limited basis only. Travel Cards and P-Cards should be used in lieu of cash advances. Cash advances require Senior Business Officer approval. Please reference the SBO Table for a list of Senior Business Officers authorized to approve cash advances.