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SECTION 25: Field Trips

Last updated: March 2023
  1. General
  2. University Transportation
  3. Initial Arrangements
  4. Funding
  5. Responsibility
  6. Private Automobiles

I. General

  1. This section sets forth procedures for instructors of organized groups of students to schedule transportation for field trips in connection with a University program.
  2. The cost of field trips, including the travel expenses of the instructor, can be funded from departmental funds, including general funds, or where the cost of the field trip exceeds the unit's ability to support the trip, from the participating students.
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II. University Transportation

  1. Buses, sedans, vans, station wagons and other vehicles are available for transportation.
  2. Qualifications of drivers must be in accordance with all laws and regulations of the Federal government, and  the State of Michigan, and the stipulations of the Office of Risk Management and Insurance and the University Travel Regulations (see Section 35 and Section 70).
  3. Employees (including graduate assistants) may drive University vehicles (except buses) on authorized University trips.  Students may drive only under conditions specified by the Office of Risk Management and Insurance (see Section 35).
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III. Initial Arrangements

  1. The first step in scheduling a field trip is to furnish the Automotive Services Office (Motor Pool 353-5280) with the following information (see Section 245):
    1. Type of vehicle(s) required
    2. Date and time of departure
    3. Destination
    4. Date of return
    5. Name of person to whom vehicle is to be assigned and/or person responsible for coordinating the field trip
    6. Account number to be charged (see Item IV below)
  2. When University Motor Pool vehicles are not available for the date(s) requested, the customer will be offered the choice between leasing a vehicle from an off-campus source or using their personal automobile.  The Motor Pool Office arranges off-campus leases.  Transportation estimates will be provided upon request.
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IV. Funding

  1. Field Trip cost funded by department

    The unit should use good judgment as to the academic value of the exercise and the unit's ability to fund.

    If the cost of a field trip will be covered by departmental funds, the department should provide their account number to the Motor Pool Office when reserving the vehicle(s).  This account will be charged by the Motor Pool Office after the completion of the trip.  There is no need to contact the Field Trip Section of the Cashier's Office.

  2. Field Trip cost funded by students

    1. When students will be required to pay for some or all of the estimated cost of the field trip, the Receivables Department is available to facilitate the collection of deposits from the student participants and can be reached at (517) 355-3313 or
    2. The department should furnish to the Receivables Department the information noted below after making transportation arrangements with the Motor Pool Office.
      1. Name and department of person in charge of the trip
      2. Date of departure and return
      3. Destination
      4. The number and type of vehicles
      5. Estimated total cost given by Motor Pool
      6. Total number of students expected to participate in the trip
      7. The amount to be paid by each student participant.
    3. Field Trips should be planned far enough in advance of the departure date to enable the students to have their portion of the field trip paid three (3) working days prior to the departure date.
    4. Field trip costs include transportation costs and travel expenses of the instructor(s).  If there are additional costs that are being shared by students, the Field Trip Section should be consulted to determine if it is appropriate to collect by the Receivables Department.
    5. After the field trip has been established, students should be asked to make their payment for their portion of the cost of the field trip in one of three ways:
      • Pay online at and select the Field Trip button.
      • Mail their payment to Michigan State University, Attn: Receivables Department, 426 Auditorium Road Rm. 110, East Lansing, MI 48824. Students should include their name and the field trip name and date with their payment.
      • Drop off their payment in the dropbox outside of the Cashier’s Office in the Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road Rm. 110, East Lansing, MI 48824. Students should include their name and the field trip name and date with their payment.
      1. The amount collected from all students should be sufficient to cover the estimated total cost of the trip (unless there will be a co-pay arrangement with the department).
      2. Upon payment of the fee, the Receivables Department will account for the students that have paid for the field trip.
      3. The Field Trip payments made by students are to be used for payment of costs listed under Item IV.B only. Expenses such as meals, lodging, etc., must be paid as incurred by participating students.
    6. The Receivables Department will notify the department or instructor three (3) working days prior to the departure if there are insufficient funds on deposit to cover the estimated cost of the trip.  An additional one (1) working day will be allowed for students to pay the sufficient funds.  If there are still not enough funds on deposit two (2) working days prior to departure, the department will be asked to cancel the trip unless the department chooses to make up the difference.  In the event of cancellation, the department will notify the Motor Pool Office.  If applicable, the Motor Pool Office will notify the commercial company.
    7. When the actual cost of a field trip is less than the estimated cost, refunds will automatically be made to the students for overcharges of $2.00 or more per student.  Amounts under $2.00 per student will not be refunded.
      1. Refunds will be credited to the students’ accounts within thirty (30) days from the date all charges are determined to have been received and the Receivables Department has computed the amount due each student.
      2. The instructor must notify the Receivables Department in writing within fifteen (15) days of the announced field trip departure date, regarding any students entitled to a full refund because of an excused absence.
      3. Instructors should contact the Receivables Department for instructions and procedures regarding refunds.
    8. Departments will be responsible for paying field trip expenses incurred in excess of field trip deposits made.
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V. Responsibility

  1. The person to whom the vehicle is assigned is responsible for the conduct of the participants during the field trip.
  2. The responsible person should terminate the trip at any time when in his or her opinion the conduct of the participants will detract from the public image of the University.
  3. Departments may be held responsible for costs incurred to repair damaged vehicles.  Further information may be obtained from Motor Pool regarding the limit on the department's financial responsibility.

VI. Private Automobiles

  1. Faculty and staff members may transport students on field trips in private vehicles and be reimbursed for car mileage from funds collected from the participants.
  2. Those individuals who use privately owned vehicles on University business are responsible for obtaining adequate insurance in an amount that will cover their legal responsibility. (see Section 35, Guidelines for Automobile Use)

    The University does not carry physical damage insurance on a privately owned vehicle.  The University Auto Liability insurance is excess of the owner's personal coverage.

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