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Frequently Asked Questions

Travel Authorizations through CUNYfirst - Questions from a Department Chairperson

  1. Does approving travel authorizations encumber funds from my budget?

    Yes, Travel Authorizations encumber funds. Even if they are not approved, they will have to be deleted as they will become "stale" and CUNY Central will go into CUNYfirst and delete them. If the travel authorization is not approved before the trip, it becomes invalid. The traveler must then upload a long distance application form to show prior approval of trip. CUNY Central will audit to see if there are prior approvals for expense reports that do not have travel authorizations.

  2. When I approve travel authorizations, I am not approving actual payment, right? That ONLY comes at the end of the process via expense report and approval.

    Correct, once an expense report is submitted and approved by the supervisor, Accounts Payable will then issue a payment voucher.

  3. Travelers who are submitting travel authorizations will not yet have all receipts, e.g., lodging. How complete does documentation need to be for a supervisor's approval?

    Travel authorizations require the following: upload copies of estimates for lodging, airfare, etc. Upload invitation to Conference or Conference Agenda. A comment must be added to the comment field in the upper right hand portion of the travel authorization detailing what the trip is for, example: "Presenting a paper at MWBE Conference, Denver, CO on dates 10/31-11/3/17". When the traveler comes back from the trip, s/he will create an expense report and must upload the following: Conference agenda, hotel receipt, airplane paid ticket with boarding pass, train ticket, and any other related receipts.

  4. Can we provide payment for the conference registration fee as part of this approval? It seems that doing this might trigger the release of the PSC travel funds to the College for our department. Also, might OAA directly cover the conference registration fee, thus leaving my travel budget intact for other expenses travelers will incur throughout the year?

    If the Conference registration fees are paid via a requisition, they must modify the *payment type and *billing type in the travel authorization to non-reimbursable or CUNY card so those funds can be released. The University Budget Office releases PSC travel funds to the college based on a number of factors, and paying for conference registrations earlier in the fiscal year supports the College's request for PSC travel funds. Regarding the budget, unless OAA agrees to cover the registration fees, theses expenses will be charged to the requesting department.


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