Subject: Student Success
Policy: Student Travel
Revised: April 3, 2013
Effective Date: July 1, 2013
Review Date: June 30, 2016
Responsible Party: Vice President for Student Success and Provost
  • Table of Contents
  • 100.00 Introduction and Purpose 
  • 200.00 Definitions 
  • 300.00 Requirements for Class Related Field Experiences and other Student Travel 
  • 400.00 Transportation 
  • 500.00 Accommodations of Students with a Disability 
  • 600.00 Compliance with University Policies and Trip Requirements 
  • 700.00 Property loss 
  • 800.00 Expectations for Sponsoring Units 
  • 900.00 Guidelines for Minimizing Risks 
  • 1000.00 Expectations for Travelers 
  • 1100.00 Important Phone numbers

100.00 Introduction and Purpose

Montana State University encourages field experiences and opportunities for students to travel for academic, research and engagement activities. Student travel and field experiences will enhance the student learning experience. This policy provides the framework for planning and executing student travel and managing the risks associated with travel. This policy does not apply to assignments to a clinical site when the student resides in the location of the clinical site; athletic team travel for teams in the MSU Athletic Department; routine or regular travel to Agricultural Research Centers; or travel as a student employee. International travel must meet the requirements of the MSU Affiliated Campuses International Travel Policy.


200.00 Definitions

  1. Class Related Field Experience: A credit bearing field trip or experience offered off campus as part of the regular curriculum of an academic unit for which credit is awarded. For purposes of this policy, there are two types of these experiences: One day or less and Short Term.
    • One day or less: Off campus experiences in which students leave and return to campus on the same day.
    • Short-Term: Off campus experiences in which students leave the campus and remain engaged in the experience for 1-3 days and nights.
      Class related field experiences that exceed 3 days away from campus are subject to the additional requirements of Domestic Travel.
  2. International Travel: Any student travel sponsored by a unit of the university, a registered student organization or financed by university funds that involves travel outside the United States as further defined in the MSU Affiliated Campuses International Travel Policy.
  3. Domestic Travel: Any student travel sponsored by a unit of the university, a registered student organization or financed by university funds that involves travel within the United States.
  4. Trip Coordinator: Any group student travel (4 or more students) for the university must have a trip coordinator who is responsible for compliance with the requirements of this policy. The trip coordinator, which may be a registered student, faculty or staff, must be in attendance on the entire trip.
  5. Sponsoring Unit: Any college, department, registered student organization, or other entity using university which sponsors a program that results in student travel or any entity which uses university funds to pay for MSU students to travel.
  6. Sponsoring Unit Contact Person: A person designated by the sponsoring unit who remains on campus but acts as a point of contact for the trip coordinator, faculty or students who are traveling.
  7. Student Group Travel: Travel that will involve 4 or more students in one trip.

300.00 Requirements for Class Related Field Experiences and other Student Travel

301.00 Step 1. Before the trip:

301.01Trips of one day or less: Field experiences offered in connection with a class should be listed in the syllabus. Any charge related to the experience is a student fee that must be approved in advance by the Board of Regents. The faculty member must provide the academic dean or applicable director's office the Participation List [Form 1] [DOCX].

301.02 Short Term: The faculty member must submit the Short Term Trip Form [Form 2] [DOCX] to the academic dean or applicable director.

301.03Domestic Travel Requirements: Units sponsoring domestic travel must follow the requirements of Section 301.01, 301.02 and must submit the Domestic and Short Term Travel Form [Form 2] [DOCX].

301.04International Student Travel: The requirements for International Travel are found in the MSU Affiliated Campuses International Travel Policy.

Faculty who are leading international student group travel are subject to the requirements of the MSU Affiliated Campuses International Travel Policy.

302.00 Step 2: Trip Orientation and Expectations: The Trip Coordinator and the sponsoring unit shall provide the participants with some form of orientation prior to departure. The orientation will vary based upon the nature of the trip. Orientation should include the trip destination and purpose, a travel itinerary, route, rest and meal stops, lodging and transportation, appropriate clothing or gear, discussion of risks associated with the trip and the established rules and protocols for the trip. See the sample Participant Agreement [Form 3] [DOCX] with sample rules and protocols.

303.00Step 3: Records and Documentation. Trip Coordinators and the sponsoring unit should maintain records of the forms submitted for Step 1 and 2.

304.00Step 4: On the Trip. The Trip Coordinator is responsible for the following:

  1. Account for all students on a daily basis.
  2. In case of emergency or incident of injury, criminal activity, property loss, disruptive participant, violation of trip rules or other unusual activity, the Trip Coordinator will contact the sponsoring unit contact person and report the activity. In case of emergency, the Trip Coordinator may call the University Police dispatcher (406) 994-2121.

400.00 Transportation:

401.00 Automobile: Any driver of a vehicle used for a student trip must agree that he/she will:

  • Have a valid driver's license.
  • Use and require all passengers to use seat belts or other available occupant restraints and require all occupants to do likewise in accordance with state laws. (The number of passengers may not exceed the number of seat belts.)
  • Operate the vehicle in accordance with applicable university and Board of Regents policies, know and observe all applicable traffic laws, ordinances and regulations, and use safe driving practices at all times. MUS adheres to the State Vehicle Use Policy with certain additions set forth in this policy.  All drivers who drive vehicles for MUS business must sign a Vehicle Use Form.
  • Assume all responsibility for any and all fines or traffic violations associated with his/her use of the vehicles.
  • Take a 30 minute break every 4 hours.
  • Driving should generally not take place between the hours of 1:00 am and 5 am. Exceptions can be granted by the sponsoring unit if appropriate.
  • Not allow the use of alcohol or drug use by anyone in the vehicle.
  • Not use electronic devices while driving.
  • Not transport unauthorized passengers such as hitchhikers, family members, or friends.
  • Turn off the vehicle, remove the keys, and lock the vehicle when it is left unattended.
  • Drive the vehicle at speeds appropriate for road conditions.
  • Immediately report all accidents or violations to the police and the sponsoring unit. The sponsoring unit is responsible for completing the Safety & Risk Management Report of Incident within 5 days.

A Driver's Agreement [Form 4][DOCX] may be used for this purpose. 

402.00 Automobile Insurance Information

University Self Insurance Through Montana State Risk management and Tort Defense Division:

The RMTDD's liability protection or Tort Liability Program is set forth by State Statute which also specifies the statutory limit of $750,000 per claim and $1,500,000 per occurrence for claims and suits brought by third parties that allege the negligence of State personnel. For purposes of this State Tort

Liability Program, State personnel can include an employee, a volunteer and/or a student of the
University as long as the vehicle use is in the course and scope of University business.

Since the State Tort Liability Program is not commercial insurance coverage it makes no provision for "no fault medical payments" coverage, nor does it include "uninsured motorist" or "underinsured motorist" insurance coverage. The State's program operates under the assumption that anyone operating or riding in a State vehicle, whether owned or non‐owned is on official State business and thus would be an employee who would have worker's compensation coverage if injured in the course and scope of employment. MSU does not provide any accident or medical insurance as part of its automobile coverage. Individual student drivers or passengers are responsible for their own medical coverage.

Rental Vehicles:

All vehicles that are owned/leased/loaned/rented by MSU in the United States and Canada are automatically covered under the State Tort Liability Program for the first 30 days. Physical damage insurance is provided for vehicles rented using the university P-card which applies in the United States and most foreign countries. Those traveling in the United States and Canada using a P-Card to pay for the rental may decline all insurance coverage offered by the rental agency. Those who are traveling outside of the United States and Canada must purchase local vehicle liability insurance at the statutory minimum limits in accordance with the laws of the local jurisdiction. Use of the P-card for foreign vehicle rentals will provide physical damage insurance. When renting any vehicle ensure that the driver's name, along with Montana State University, is listed as the lessor/named insured on the rental agreement. Any secondary drivers must also be named on the vehicle rental agreement for coverage to apply.

Registered Student Organizations which have funding through the student organization fee or through another campus entity, may use the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) contract and receive the WSCA coverage (collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and $1 Million Combined Single Limit (CSL) Liability is included in the rates). 

Registered student organizations which do not have funding through the student organization fee or through another campus entity, may receive MSU contract pricing; however, they are not eligible for any liability coverage/collision.  Such organizations are advised to purchase liability coverage/collision from the rental agency.

Personal Vehicles:

Students or faculty who use their personal vehicles to travel on official university business should be aware that their personal automobile insurance coverage will considered primary coverage. The university provides no coverage and will assume no responsibility for repairing damage to a personal vehicle.

403.00 What to do in case of an emergency/car accident:

  1. If there are any injuries, call an ambulance. Most communities have a "911" system that would allow you to call a single number to dispatch all necessary emergency services.
  2. Call the local police or highway patrol and report the accident.
  3. Call the designated university contact. The designated university contact is responsible for contacting the appropriate campus officials. If the contact is not available, call the University Police dispatch (406) 994-2121.
  4. Make arrangements for the students' alternative travel and/or lodging. The students may wish to wait for repairs if that is possible or may make alternative travel plans.
  5. Advise the designated university contact of what the plans are for each student.
  6. Complete Report of Incident. The person most knowledgeable about the incident should complete the report. If there are questions about filling out the report, contact Safety and Risk Management (406) 994-2711.

404.00   Airline travel Airline tickets purchased by the university must be purchased with an appropriate university P-card and the university policies related to travel apply.

Faculty should not use personal credit cards to buy tickets for themselves, students or other employees for university travel.


500.00 Accommodations of Students with a Disability

If any student with a disability requires accommodation, the sponsoring unit should contact the Disability, Re-Entry and Veterans Services Office for assistance in providing reasonable accommodations.


600.00 Compliance with University Policies and Trip Requirements

All faculty, staff and students participating in a university related travel are bound by applicable university policies. The students are bound to comply with the requirements of the Student Conduct Code and any further requirements imposed by the sponsoring unit.


700.00 Property loss

All losses or damage to university property should be reported to Safety and Risk Management. The students and employees are responsible for the security of their own personal property.


800.00 Expectations for Sponsoring Units

The university has a duty to exercise reasonable care in protecting its students from foreseeable harm particularly in events where the University has significant control. The University and its academic departments should plan and implement field experiences for students so that the risk of injury is minimized.

Listed below are definitions of relevant liability terms.

  • Negligence - Failure of one who owed a duty of care to another to fulfill that duty, directly resulting in injury to the party owed the duty. Negligence can occur both by doing something that a reasonable, prudent person would not do in a particular situation or from failure to do what a reasonable, prudent person would do in a certain circumstance.
  • Duty to Use Reasonable Care- A duty to provide reasonably safe conditions for participation in a university activity given the nature of the activity, the location and the purpose.
  • Assumption of Risk- The University is not the insurer of the student's safety during any university activity. In many situations, students assume the obvious and inherent risks associated with an activity that cannot be eliminated by the exercise of reasonable care.

900.00 Guidelines for Minimizing Risks

It is impossible to eliminate all risks associated with student trips. However, advanced planning can help minimize the exposures to the students, instructor, the department, and the University.

The following information is designed to assist sponsoring units in planning a safe educational experience for students participating in field experiences or student travel under their guidance.

901.00 Factors to Consider In Planning a Field Experience or Student Travel

  1. Destination Site
    The Trip Coordinator should be familiar with the site and prepare in advance a site safety plan for participants. Lodging premises and locations should be known in advance. Orientation for participants should include emergency contact information and, if necessary, procedures for a "buddy system." Prior notice should be given to students in regard to known risks, local cultural customs and applicable regulations.
  2. Supervision
    Faculty or staff supervision is strongly recommended for academic field experiences. The skills and tools necessary for effective supervision should be identified (i.e. first aid, rescue skills, communication skills.)

    The number of supervisors for the trip and their competency level should be based upon the number of students and their range of skill levels. If there is no on-site faculty or staff supervision, the department head and dean must approve and the sponsoring unit must have a plan for the students in case of unforeseen events or emergencies. All parties should be provided with emergency procedures and contact information. An individual (student or faculty/staff) MUST be identified as a trip supervisor or leader.

    If trips are student-led, proper training and orientation must be given to these student leaders prior to departure, including emergency protocols.

1000.00 Expectations for Travelers

1001.00 Conduct
Each student is required to act in a responsible and appropriate manner. Each student is required to refrain from behavior that may pose a risk or harm to him/her or others. Each student assumes the risks related to the activity. Students must comply with any written requirements for conduct established by the sponsoring unit and must comply with the Student Conduct Code at all times during the university related trip. Any infractions should be reported to the sponsoring unit and the MSU Dean of Students Office.

1002.00 Travel and Emergency Funds
All travelers should be aware that the university assumes no responsibility for providing students with funds in case of emergency. Each student should be prepared to assume their costs of travel and lodging if there are unanticipated delays or other incidents which may require additional expenditures. Each department or registered student organization should advise students that they should be prepared to provide funds to cover expenses in the case of an unforeseen emergency. Costs such as uncovered medical costs, food and hotel charges may be necessary and students should be prepared to pay these costs.

1003.00 Medical Consents and Insurance information
MSU has no source of insurance which provides medical coverage for student travelers. Each student, staff member or faculty should have his or her own medical insurance. University employees are also covered by the MUS workers' compensation program if injured in the course and scope of employment. Any costs not covered by insurance or MUS workers' compensation will be the responsibility of the traveler. Those planning a trip should advise travelers to carry Identification and their medical insurance cards with them.

The sponsoring unit should request copies of the students' medical insurance cards and ask students about any medical conditions, allergies that may be relevant in the case of an emergency. If students are going on an extended trip, the sponsoring units may request students to sign medical consent forms authorizing them to give consent in cases of emergency. A sample form [Form 5][DOCX] is attached. This information is confidential and should be secured by the sponsoring unit and not disclosed to third parties unless necessary for the medical treatment of the student.


1100.00 Important Phone numbers

University Police (24 hour dispatch) (406) 994-2121
Dean of Students Office (406) 994-2826
Safety and Risk Management (406) 994-2711
Office of Activities and Engagement (406) 994-6902