It is the policy of Texas State Technical College to pre-approve college-sponsored student travel for trips of more than twenty-five miles from the college or primary campus location of students regardless of the means of travel utilized, including use of personal vehicles, college owned motor vehicles, state owned aircraft, and public modes of transportation. Students and employees are required to comply with all applicable motor vehicle and aircraft safety operating standards (i.e. use of seat belts or other passenger seat restraints, passenger and weight limitations, cargo and luggage security, locked doors, etc.). Only employees of the college are authorized to operate state-owned motor vehicles, and employees operating state-owned motor vehicles must be eligible to be insured under the college’s motor vehicle liability insurance policy. During college-sponsored student motor vehicle trips, operators of motor vehicles shall not begin travel if fatigued, and shall take a minimum ten-minute rest break every two hours of driving to avoid driver fatigue.
Student travel is often required in order to fulfill an important part of the overall educational experience by allowing students to participate in both curricular and co-curricular activities at events that take place at off-campus locations. In order to ensure that student travel is necessary and related to TSTC activities, approval for a sanctioned trip and signed liability releases must be completed prior to any officially sanctioned student travel.
For purposes of this SOS, “Student travel” includes travel involving one or more students traveling to an event or activity that is organized or sponsored by the college and is located more than 25 miles from the college or primary campus location of the student.
The General Appropriations Act allows travel expenditures from state funds only for employees and where appropriate, prospective employees. No state funds may be expended for student travel reimbursement. Expenses for students while participating in formal academic training such as, but not limited to, clinicals, co-ops, etc. may not be reimbursed from any college funds.
International travel is not permitted.
DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
The Vice President of Academic Affairs has final authority for approval of student travel related to course curricula for educational credit, for departmental recruitment, or job placement. The Vice President of Student Development has final authority for approval of student travel for all co-curricular activities (i.e. student organizations, recreational sports, etc.).
- Student travel is considered an official activity if it is in relation to any activity required as part of a course, to assist with the recruitment of students, for the purpose of departmental job placement, or as part of activities of a recognized student organization. All applicable college policies and practices must be observed during a TSTC sponsored trip, including those regarding the use of Alcohol and Controlled Substances.
- Throughout the duration of the trip, all members must comply with all College policies and procedures. The possession or consumption of alcohol (regardless of age) and illegal drugs is strictly prohibited during student travel. Please refer to the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook.
- The faculty/staff member or student organization advisor is responsible for distribution and retrieval of the following forms prior to the travel date:
- Travel Request Form (The Travel Request should contain a description of the function or activity, location, inclusive dates and times of the travel. The names and emergency contact information of students in the party and how to contact them will be included. The purpose of the trip, how the student(s) will be representing TSTC, names of individuals in charge of the travel activity, itinerary, planned route of travel, in-route and destination contact information and an estimate of expenses to be incurred will also be stated. The appropriate Vice President will ascertain the validity of the proposed travel and availability of funds See Attachment A.
- Field Trip Release Form Students voluntarily participating in elective activities and programs requiring travel will be required to complete a waiver and release form verifying that they understand and accept the risks involved in participating in the travel activity and assume responsibility for their behavior. Students under the age of eighteen must have a release form signed by their parents or legal guardian. (Faculty/staff member or student organization advisor completes Section 1; student and/or parent/guardian signature(s) required). See Attachment B.
- The faculty/staff member or student organization advisor is responsible for the following:
- Must be on the approved list of institutional employees eligible to operate a state vehicle;
- Is responsible for reserving and operating the vehicle at all times;
- Ensures that all vehicle occupants comply with the vehicle safety operating standards (i.e. use of seat belts or other passenger seat restraints, cargo luggage secured, doors locked, etc.);
- Ensures that the total passenger and cargo load does not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended vehicle gross weight limits; and
- As the designated driver, take a minimum ten minute rest break every two hours to avoid driver fatigue. On lengthy trips, alternate drivers should be used to avoid fatigue.
- After travel is completed and expenses incurred, the faculty/staff sponsor or advisor will submit a request for reimbursement. Expenses that qualify for reimbursement are subject to the approval of the Vice President based upon guidelines in Policy 7.09 Official Travel of Employees. Expenses reimbursed may include the following:
- Mileage If transportation is provided by the College and a student elects to take his/her own vehicle, mileage will not be reimbursed. Reimbursement for mileage will conform with college policy.
- Use of state-owned vehicles. Only actual gasoline expense will be paid. Only state employees are authorized to drive state-owned vehicles. Receipts are required. If students elect to drive their personal vehicle,they do so at their own risk.
- The use of 12-15 passenger vans is not allowed.
- Lodging can be reimbursed based on actual cost not to exceed state allowable rate. Receipts are required.
Reimbursement of meals will conform to college policy.
The cost of any meals included in the registration fee is not subject to reimbursement.
Clubs and organizations reserve the right to reimburse more or less than the scheduled per diem rate depending upon the availability of club/organization funds.
- Registration fees may be reimbursed. The faculty/staff advisor or sponsor requesting the trip and the approving authority will coordinate with the Director of Student Life for maximum amounts that will be reimbursed for registration fees before the trip occurs.
- Begin the trip well rested.
- Notify a designated contact person upon departure and arrival.
- Avoid driving when conditions are hazardous (this includes but is not limited to fog, heavy rain, snow or ice conditions). Be prepared to stop the trip and check into a motel when fatigue or travel conditions warrant.
- Plan routes in advance, and carpool and caravan when possible.
- Divide the trip into segments, stopping for rest as necessary.
- Carry at least one cellular telephone or other two-way communication device in each vehicle for emergency purposes. Driver should avoid cell phone use or use a hands-free device when driving.
- Establish a reasonable departure and arrival time to and from the activity or event.
- Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Whenever possible, on extended trips using College vehicles, have at least one other approved College driver in the vehicle. It is recommended that drivers rotate every two hours. A passenger or second driver should ride in the front passenger seat and remain awake at all times to help the driver maintain alertness.
- Carry a flashlight, approved fire extinguisher and first-aid kit.
- Avoid taking medication prior to driving, especially if the label warns against operating a vehicle while taking the medication.
- All student-sponsored student travel is approved before travel has occurred.
- All student-required forms are completed before travel has occurred.
- Expense reports are promptly submitted after the travel has occurred.
OFFICE OF RESPONSIBLITY: Vice President for Student Learning Development
PRESIDENT: Dr. Cesar Maldonado, P.E.
Activity Request Form
Student Travel Request Form
Field Trip Release Form
Transportation Release Form