All our travel costs in grad school were reimbursements. That meant at times poor grad students with $1000++ sitting on a credit card for months earning interest. It was stressful trying to figure out the latest moment you could book and pay a reasonable rate. In fact it probably led to a lot of expensive flights and COST the department money…
I didn’t really realize how much it sucked until I got into a department with a competent administrator and a DEPARTMENT CREDIT CARD!! The only requirement is that you have a legit grant and you fill out the form before you go. Luxury.
One would hope that hiring more paper-pushers would free up some faculty time. Instead, it has caused them to push more paperwork for us to do and give to them so they can send us another form asking for a clarification.
Although I don’t travel much, our system is fairly reasonable, at least after doing it a few times. We use a major business travel management system for booking travel on the institution’s account. What’s funny is that if one goes to the information page for this system, one of the alleged advantages to a company is “Leverage visual guilt to drive employees towards lower cost option”. So that’s why they show pictures of other faculty members shrugging with their pockets inside out next to the more expensive flights. (BTW, love the bird poop in the drawing!)
We have to fill out forms that the staff uses to fill out other forms. It’s crazy!
A great reason for a small group is having to carry the students’ travel costs, oh yeah, and when stipends are low, the ‘loans’ (Eli still has a small pile of IOUs to fund his retirement years)
Yup, I concur with you too. What pisses me off is that now we are not allowed to buy our flight tickets using the corporate credit card. Instead we have to use this fancy management system that automatically sends booking requests to two flight booking companies. The quotes they send are supposed to be the least expensive. But guess what happens in reality? Their quotes are almost always 25% higher that what I can find on web myself. So then I have to spend a precious few hours on the phone to convince the booking guys to get me the cheapest option — all this hassle just so that I can spend my taxpayer given research money in a most efficient manner.
I wonder how many higher ups in the administration (or, more likely, their secretaries) really bother to do a due diligence? And who is making money out of this?
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