Student Travel Policies

Valparaiso University recognizes that travel to off-campus events and activities is a beneficial part of the student collegiate experience; therefore, the University encourages and permits such travel and recommends the use of commercial transportation. The University seeks to provide the safest opportunities and methods of transportation and to mitigate any risks that might be associated with student travel. To that end, the following policies and procedures have been established. These policies, including those outlined in the Student Guide to University Life, are considered the minimum requirements for student travel. Sponsors of trips (i.e. academic units, the Chapel, athletics, and/or student organizations) may require additional standards to address the unique requirements associated with a particular type of trip.

Prerequisite Approval and Required Use of Forms

Student Travel Flowchart >> 

Student Trip Application >>

Student trips for which the University provides transportation must be approved by the appropriate administrative office (see below) using the Student Trip Application form.

This form may be used for either blanket (semester) or one-time trip authorization. It must be completed in its entirety and submitted to one of the following administrative offices at least three weeks prior to departure. Once approved, the Student Trip Application form will be returned to the faculty/staff advisor to be filed with the Release of All Claims form. Together, these forms will be filed in the department’s main office so that others have access in the advisor’s absence. Travel emergency procedures and contact information will be returned along with the approved Student Trip Application. Questions regarding the University’s student travel policies may also be directed to these administrative offices.

  • Office of the Provost – for Academic/Chapel travel. Travel that is sponsored by academic units (excluding the Law School) or the Chapel and for which the University provides transportation requires the approval of the Provost. These trips include course-related field trips; field study courses; music; theatre, or Chapel groups; service learning trips; attendance at conferences, workshops, and competitions; and group field research.
  • Office of the Union Director – for Co-curricular and Student Organization travel. Student travel that is sponsored by student organizations requires the approval of the Union Director. Such travel must also adhere to current policies and procedures for student organizations.
  • Office of the Director of Athletics – for Athletics travel. Athletic travel, including club sports travel, requires the approval of the Director of Athletics. Athletic travel must also adhere to the policies of the Department of Athletics.
  • Office of the Dean, Law School – for travel sponsored by the Law School.

Student Self-Transportation Agreement >>

In the event a student travels in any personally owned vehicle or via public transportation for University-sponsored travel off campus, the student must complete a Student Self-Transportation Agreement and submit it to the department chair or trip sponsor prior to the event. This form is to be kept on file for two years and three months following the last day of travel. The Student Self-Transportation Agreement may be used for one-time trips or for frequent trips throughout a given semester. This policy applies to events for which the student chooses not to use the University-provided transportation as well as events for which the University does not provide transportation. In the event a student is involved in an accident in her or his personal vehicle while traveling to/from a University-sponsored event, the student is responsible for loss or damage to the vehicle and any bodily injury or property damage to others they may cause, and is expected to maintain appropriate insurance covering damage, liability, and medical costs. Note that sponsoring department/organization policies may be more restrictive in nature and may not allow student self-transportation.

Release of All Claim >>

Students who participate in University-sponsored travel events, including those for which the University provides transportation and those for which students transport themselves, must sign the Release of All Claims form. This form must be kept on file along with the approved Student Trip Application or the signed Student Self-Transportation Agreement in the department/chair (main) office for two years and three months following the last day of travel.

Commercial Transportation

The use of commercial transportation is recommended for the purposes of student travel. Chartered buses, vans, and limousine services are examples of acceptable commercial transportation. It is imperative that a certificate of insurance be obtained from the commercial operator before students are transported. When a reservation for commercial transportation is made, confirm whether the University has a certificate of insurance on file; if not, request a certificate of insurance to be faxed to the University’s Finance Office at 219.464.6000. Information regarding companies who currently have certificates of insurance on file can be accessed directly on the University’s Office of Procurement site.

All University purchasing policies apply when procuring commercial transportation.

Faculty/Staff Transportation

All faculty and staff who provide student transportation must be authorized by the University to do so. All faculty and staff who anticipate that they may be involved with student travel are encouraged to become authorized drivers at the beginning of the semester, or soon after hire. Faculty/staff must submit a current driver’s license to the Valparaiso University Police Department, which will request a driver’s history and driving record check on the information provided. Departments/organizations will be charged for the costs incurred to conduct this check.  Please allow for processing and review time of approximately three weeks.

Faculty/staff driving authorizations are valid for the duration of employment with Valparaiso University unless a violation occurs. Licensure violations must be self-reported to VUPD within three days of the violation. Driving authorizations are subject to revocation, and failure to self-report violations will result in disciplinary action. The University reserves the right to require interim license and driving record checks.

Faculty/staff who transport students are encouraged to use rental vehicles rather than a personal vehicle. See the Transportation web page of the University’s travel policy for vehicle rental policies and procedures.

Student Driver Policies

Valparaiso University permits student drivers for University-related travel and student trips only after proper reporting or with required authorization as indicated below. These policies are considered the minimum requirements for student travel. Sponsors of trips (i.e. academic units, the Chapel, student organizations, athletics, and/or the Law School) may require that student drivers meet additional standards to address the unique requirements associated with a particular type of trip.

University authorization is not required for student drivers for the following routine or recurring activities for which Valparaiso University does not ordinarily provide transportation:  student teaching, nursing clinicals, practicums, internships and co-ops, off-site instruction, and certain field research and service learning experiences. Students are, however, required to complete a Student Self-Transportation Agreement.

Student Driver Authorization Application >>

Authorization is required for student drivers for all University-provided travel and student trips. The Student Driver Authorization Application form is used to obtain such approval. To become an authorized driver, students should initiate the following application process at least three weeks prior to the trip.

  1. Submit a current driver’s license to VUPD for a driver’s history and record check.
  2. Complete the University’s driver’s safety training course.
  3. Attach a copy of the student driver safety training certificate of completion to the Student Driver Authorization Application.

This form must be submitted for approval to the appropriate administrative office as follows:

Academic and Chapel Travel

  • Student drivers for travel provided by academic units (excluding the Law School) or the Chapel require the approval of the Provost. These trips include course-related field trips; field study courses; music, theatre, or Chapel groups; service learning trips; conferences, workshops, and competitions; and field research. Charges incurred to check a student’s driver’s license will be charged back to the sponsoring academic unit.

Co-curricular and Student Organization Travel

  • Student drivers for travel provided by a student organization require the approval of the Union Director. Charges incurred to check a student’s driver’s license will be charged back to sponsoring student organization.

Athletic Travel

  • Student drivers for travel provided by athletics or club sports require the approval of the Director of Athletics. Charges incurred to check a student’s driver’s license will be charged back to the sponsoring department.

Travel Sponsored by the Law School

  • Student drivers for travel sponsored by the Law School require the approval of the Dean of the Law School or designee. Charges incurred to check a student’s driver’s license will be charged back to sponsoring department.

Student driving authorizations are valid for the duration of enrollment at Valparaiso University unless a violation occurs. Licensure violations must be self-reported to VUPD within three days of the violation. Driving authorizations are subject to revocation, and failure to self-report violations will result in disciplinary action. The University reserves the right to require interim license and driving record checks.

In addition, the following policies apply:

  • Under no circumstance will the student operate/use a cell phone, including text messaging, while driving a vehicle.
  • In the event that a student must operate a rental vehicle, the student will be covered by University insurance as long as the student follows the authorized itinerary. If the student on her or his own accord chooses to deviate from the directed itinerary and an accident occurs, the insurance coverage is no longer in effect. Personal side trips are not permitted.
  • In the event of an accident, regardless of the amount of damage or injury, the student must contact local law enforcement authorities, and an accident report must be obtained. The student must immediately notify the University’s insurance carrier Travelers Insurance at their 24-hour claim reporting service by calling 1.800.832.7839 and reference Policy #TJ-CAP-7440L22-2, and advise the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration of the University at 219.464.5215 as soon as possible.
  • Rental vehicles must be returned refueled to avoid excessive vendor refueling charges. Reimbursement will be limited to the US Retail Gasoline Price Average available on the website if the vehicle is refueled at the rental agency.
  • Under no circumstance will the student be reimbursed for fines for moving or parking violations.
  • Under no circumstance will the student operate a rental or University vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances.

Contact Information


Frontier MEDEX
International Travel Assistance, inside the U.S. or Canada  -  800.537.2029
Worldwide  -  +1.410.453.6330
24-Hours a Day

The Hartford
Domestic Travel
800.243.6108

Valparaiso University, Office of Finance and Administration
Insurance-related inquires
219.464.5215