Are travel cancellation costs due to COVID-19 allowable as direct charges to sponsored projects?

Travel cancellations

Regardless of funding organization, the individual's first priority should be to work with the airline/hotel, as many are waiving change fees or are offering full refunds for trips that you wish to change. Duke University Employee Travel & Reimbursement (ET&R) has provided updates for miscellaneous business practices during the response to COVID-19. Per these updates and underlying University guidance, travelers who are assessed change/cancellation fees are able to submit these for reimbursement. The NIH provided a notice (NOT-OD-20-03), the NSF has released guidance regarding the implementation of OMB authority, and the DOE issued a memo allowing for the direct charging of these costs to grants. We think it is likely that sponsors will allow reasonable cancellation costs as direct charges to grants and contracts in this set of circumstances. In order to be allowable, it is reasonable to assume that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund, and that documentation of such a request is retained in the department. We also ask that you keep track of such transactions to allow for corrections in the event that funding agencies issue guidance that is in contradiction to this practice.