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Type: University Policy
Division: Business Affairs

Contact Phone Number: 503-838-8201
Contact Email Address: BusinessOffice@wou.edu

Vice President for Finance and Administration Director of Accounting

Guiding Principles

Western Oregon University’s (WOU) travel policy exists to comply with the rules of the Accountable Plan established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Accountable Plan’s rules are:

  • Expenses must have a business connection
  • Expenses must be adequately accounted for within a reasonable period of time
  • Any excess reimbursement or allowance must be returned within a reasonable period of time — expenses paid on direct invoice, P-Card, Travel Advance, or Travel Card in excess of per diem shall be returned to the University.

Adequate accounting is defined by the IRS as giving documentary evidence of the travel and expenses such as receipts. An established per diem plan satisfies the adequate accounting requirements.

All travelers on official University business must comply with WOU travel policies and procedures, ensure transactions are for authorized purposes, are an appropriate use of funds, and have a duty to exercise good judgment in obligating and expending the resources of the University. For insurance purposes, travelers’ dates, destinations, and purpose of travel should be tracked on departmental calendars. 

Travelers must submit the Travel Reimbursement Form (TRF) to the Business Office within 30 days after the trip or at the end of a grant, whichever is sooner.

WOU employees; WOU Vendors

Policy Acronyms

  CDC- Center for Disease and Control and Prevention 

  CPS- Campus Public Safety

  DOS- Department of State

  FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions 

  FRMDRCCD- Fleet Rate Model Daily Rental Cost Calculator Decision Workbook

  GSA- General Services Administration

  HR- Human Resources 

  IRS - Internal Revenue Service 

  LDW-Loss damage waiver 

  M&IE- Meals & Incidental Expenses 

  NHTSA- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

  NTE- Not to Exceed 

  OSUMP- Oregon State University Motor Pool 

  P-Card- Procurement Card 

  POV- Privately Owned Vehicle

  SODAS- State of Oregon Department of Administrative Services 

  STEP- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program 

  TRF- Travel Reimbursement Form 

  WOU - Western Oregon University


Procurement Card (P-Card)

The department P-Card is a convenient way to purchase goods, services, and travel expenses in support of WOU business. Allowable use of P-Cards off campus is for the purchase of non-personal items for WOU business locally with the card and receipt returned to the cardholder on the same day. Travelers shall not take the P-Card on a trip. The TRF for allowable expenses placed on travelers’ personal funds cards is the avenue to recoup funds. Travelers must submit all receipts and list P-card expenses on the TRF.

Use of the P-Card may be used to pre-pay expenses associated with University travel. 

Use of the P-Card is not allowable for meals and shall not be used to cover expenses that exceed per diem or non-business-related expenses.

Local, One Day Travel

Meals on one-day trips are not reimbursed unless they meet the criteria outlined by the IRS. Per the IRS, local travel is defined as:

“Travel which can be completed in less than 12 hours, does not exceed three hundred (300) miles round-trip and does not include any air, rail or lodging expenses. Employees must be in travel status for more than 12 hours to be eligible for per diem. If they travel for more than 12 hours, but less than 24 hours, they may receive 75% per diem for that day. This 12-hour rule does not necessarily mean that they are away from home for tax purposes and the per diem for that day will be taxable income.” IRS rule applies; RM, Taxable Travel Reimbursement.”

The IRS considers the following meals to be non-taxable:

  • When an employee is attending a conference, seminar, convention, or business meeting where non-employees are present, any cost for meals arranged by the event organizers and beyond the control of the traveler.
  • The documentation of the business purpose is acceptable.
  • When student groups or athletic teams travel for one day with meals provided, the actual cost of the meal is allowable with receipts up to the per diem amount.

For same day travel, depending on the distance travelled, it may be more cost effective to use a rental vehicle instead of a privately owned vehicle (POV). Please refer to the Mileage section below to determine course of action. 

If using a POV, WOU will reimburse the traveler based on the Fleet Rate Model Daily Rental Cost Calculator Decision Workbook (FRMDRCCD) (see Mileage section). If a POV is used, mileage reimbursement is from the traveler’s workstation OR home, whichever is the shortest route and MapQuest or Google Maps documentation for reimbursement is required.

Remote Work 

When working remotely the employee is not considered to be in travel status, so expenses associated with travel to campus is not reimbursable. Per the WOU Remote Work Policy and Guidelines:

“Campus (WOU) Worksite” or “Centrally located worksite” means the worksite where the employee would be required to work if they did not work remotely. Located on either the WOU Monmouth or WOU-Salem campus.

“Employee regular worksite” means the primary worksite location at which the employee is expected to perform their work.

The remote worker will not be paid for time or mileage involved in travel between the remote worksite and the primary worksite.” See Remote Work Policy on WOU HR website. 


Retreats allow for collaboration and strategic planning within a department. Use of University facilities and services are the most efficient and economical use of both employee time and University resources and shall be the first choice in meeting location. When a retreat is to be held at a non-University location, the employee responsible for the choice of location and facility shall submit justification in writing to the Budget Authority for approval. Regardless of the locale, the following retreat information shall be included in the justification and/or travel reconciliation:

  • Purpose and objective of the retreat
  • Names and signature of persons/organizations in attendance
  • Estimate of cost to the University, including employee travel costs
  • If a University facility cannot be used, the reason they cannot be used must be stated.

Per diem rates and purchasing policy apply for retreat expenses. Please reference allowable meal criteria under section Meal Per Diem Non-Overnight Travel below. 

The non-University retreat form is located on the Accounting & Business Services website.

Conference Expenses

Employees may pay for conference expenses using the P-Card, direct bill, or by personal funds. The conference hotel rate per diem is acceptable in lieu of typical lodging costs and expensed with the registration. WOU policy allows for an exception to lodging and meal per diem rates when attending a conference. Conference lodging may be paid up to the amount of the conference’s sponsored hotel’s rate (including taxes). The traveler must submit their lodging receipt and documentation from the conference website that shows conference hotel names and rates in order to receive this exception. All documentation must include location, dates, conference agenda/schedule and accompany the TRF. Conference meal deductions from per diem are optional due to food allergies and dietary restrictions. If the choice is to take per diem and there is an opt out option for meals during registration, the traveler shall opt out.

If attending a conference, check the conference web site for transportation options such as shuttles between airport and conference hotel and/or conference venue.

General Travel – No Personal Time Added


Disability-related accommodations related to University affiliated travel must be approved in advance by Human Resources for employees (hr@wou.edu 503-838-8490) or the Office of Disability Services for students (ods@wou.edu 503-838-8000) and documented on the TRF.

Airline Travel 

Travelers are required to use routes, schedules, and airlines that provide the lowest rate and most efficient means of travel. Travelers are encouraged to use a P-Card or CI Azumano Business Travel to book their flight and all travel shall be booked no less than ten (10) business days prior to travel. The additional cost of a refundable ticket is an allowable expense. Other additional fees associated with airfare are the responsibility of the traveler unless they are necessary for business needs or outside the control of the traveler (e.g., airline requires the purchase of a seat outside the airfare and checking one (1) bag charges). First class and business class airfare are not allowable purchases with grant funds and only allowed if necessary due to accommodation OR more economical options would result in excessively prolong travel. Preapproval of exceptions by the Budget Authority prior to booking ticket and documentation must accompany the TRF.

WOU will not recapture incentives received through airlines or use of personal credit card to pay for business travel. The value of points, frequent flyer miles, or other bonus plans redeemed for University travel is not a reimbursable expense.

Airport Parking 

Travelers shall use economy parking lots and submit receipts for reimbursement. Valet parking is not an allowable expense, thus not reimbursable.


Lodging expenses are reimbursed when it is determined that the traveler would not be expected to return to his or her residence between work shifts. Lodging is reimbursed or paid at actual cost up to the per diem rates plus tax. Airbnb, VRBO, and other rental companies are considered commercial lodging facilities. No additional fees or incidentals are reimbursable if the total exceeds the per diem rate. If the cost of lodging and tax only exceeds the per diem amount, travelers are to turn receipts in for maximum refund. Otherwise, no receipt is required. 

When staying in non-commercial facilities the maximum per diem allowed is $25.00 per night. If lodging is paid by an outside source, directly billed, or claimed on another traveler’s reimbursement, travelers must provide documentation stating why no lodging is being requested and included on the TRF. 

For non-employee travelers visiting the University on official business, the hosting department should collaborate with the visitor for direct billing of lodging options.

Overnight Stay Per Diem

When a traveler stays overnight prior to an early morning flight or meeting (8am or earlier), meals are not reimbursable for the day before the flight/meeting unless travel distance is one hundred (100) miles or more.

When a traveler stays overnight after a late returning flight (10pm or later), only breakfast will be reimbursed the following day.

Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE) Rates

The IRS defines per diem as “an allowance paid to your employees for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses incurred when travelling. This allowance is in lieu of paying their actual travel expenses.”  The per diem rate for M&IE includes meals, room service, fees, and tips for services such as food servers, transportation, and luggage handlers. 

M&IE is paid to the traveler in advance of the trip and no receipts are required. Please note, per diem varies depending on location/time of year (High/Low cost vs. International city) so please use the appropriate invoice form and provide the request two weeks in advance of the trip. The invoice date on the per diem invoice form shall be five (5) business days prior to trip departure. Direct deposit ensures funds will be available prior to travel. If you prefer a check to be mailed to your residence, funds may not arrive until after you depart. Due to the source of funding, PRO921 travel is not eligible for prepaid per diem.

The Per Diem Request Form and Deposit Authorization Agreement Form are in the Relevant Documents and Links section of this policy. 

On the initial day of travel, whether leaving from home or WOU campus, a traveler is eligible for three-fourths (3/4) of the daily M&IE regardless of the time the trip begins. Additionally, on the final day of travel, the traveler is eligible for three-fourths (3/4) of the daily M&IE with the ending date determined when the traveler arrives at their final destination. Use of the Overnight Stay per diem overrides the use of the three-fourths (3/4) First Day/Last Day M&IE.

Travelers do not have to submit receipts for M&IE per diem but should include the copy of the per diem invoice submitted with the TRF. 

Please note: The WOU Travel Card protocol supersedes the above language. ALL receipts must be included in travel card reconciliations.

Meal Per Diem Non-Overnight Travel 

A meal per diem is permitted under the following conditions during non-overnight travel:

  • Breakfast. Personnel must be on travel status for two hours or more before the beginning of their scheduled work shift to receive a breakfast allowance.
  • Lunch. No allowance is provided for lunch during non-overnight travel unless the employee is attending an official business meeting and the meal is an agenda item, which was not included in the fee, and the cost and choice of having the meal were beyond the control of the employee. A receipt is required.
  • Dinner. Personnel must be on travel status for two hours or more beyond the end of their scheduled work shift to receive a dinner allowance.


Travelers must use the most economical means possible. Options include vehicle rental, mileage reimbursement, and motor pool. 

Driver Authorization/Insurance

To drive a POV on University business requires travelers to submit and have an approved Driver Authorization form and Private Auto Certificate of Insurance form on file with Campus Public Safety (CPS) prior to the first use of a POV on University business. When the driver’s insurance information changes, a new Private Auto Certificate of Insurance form shall be provided to CPS. Forms are in the Relevant Documents and Links section of this policy.


Anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident while traveling on WOU business, must contact the police in that jurisdiction (or location) and complete a traffic accident report with that agency. They then must notify their supervisor, CPS, and Risk Management (located in the Office of the General Counsel) within 72 hours of the accident. Please provide date, time, location, and report number to CPS.

Vehicle Rental

Travelers may utilize State of Oregon contracts with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Hertz. Only Compact/Economy car rates are reimbursable unless justification for vehicle upgrade is preapproved by the Budget Authority prior to travel. The contract price on state contracts includes loss damage waiver (LDW) and liability insurance, therefore no additional insurance is necessary and is not reimbursable.

If renting from a non-contracted agency, the traveler should purchase LDW insurance and supplemental liability insurance. These are reimbursable expenses with receipt.

Due to the cost of the Fuel Purchase Option on rental vehicles, the traveler is responsible to refuel the vehicle and provide a receipt for reimbursement.

For non-employee travelers visiting the University on official business, the hosting department should collaborate with the visitor for direct billing rental car options. University insurance does not cover non-employees; therefore, the traveler needs to verify their coverage. Any costs associated with the purchase of LDW is reimbursable.

Links to the contracted agencies’ websites and account numbers are available from the Accounting & Business Services Travel Coordinator at 503-838-8231.

Due to safety concerns, 15-passenger van rental is not allowable. Please see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Advisory website. 

Motor Pool/State Vehicles 

Travelers may use pool vehicles available through the State of Oregon Department of Administrative Services (SODAS) in Salem and Oregon State University Motor Pool (OSUMP) in Corvallis. WOU employees must have an approved Drivers Authorization Form on file with the WOU CPS Office to drive a state/OSU motor pool vehicle. 

Reservations can be made online through the relevant agency. 


Mileage expenses for the most direct, usually traveled route, while traveling on official business, may be reimbursed at the current standard mileage rates. Per the IRS, if the travel begins and/or ends at the traveler's home, the mileage reimbursement for that portion of the travel is the lower of the distance from the travelers’ workstation OR home to the non-campus work destination. Documentation such as MapQuest or Google Maps must accompany reimbursement claim. If an employee’s home is their permanent workstation, then mileage would begin and end at their home.

The mileage reimbursement rates follow the state adopted two-tiered reimbursement schedule for POV mileage based on the General Services Administration (GSA) model that went into effect January 1, 2012.

  • If no rental or motor pool vehicle is available, the employee will be reimbursed the full IRS/GSA rate in effect at the time of travel.
  • If an agency determines through application of the Fleet Rate Model that the most cost-effective means of transportation is for the employee to use his or her POV for University business-related travel, the employee will be reimbursed the full IRS/GSA rate in effect at the time of travel.
  • If an individual requires an accommodation that has been documented and cannot be met with a rental or motor pool vehicle, the employee will be reimbursed the full IRS/GSA rate in effect at the time of travel.
  • If a rental or motor pool vehicle is available and is determined to be the most cost-effective means of transportation but the employee’s manager authorizes the employee to use his or her POV, the employee will be reimbursed at the reduced IRS/GSA rate in effect at the time of travel.
  • Reimbursement rates for POV mileage will be updated when the IRS/GSA updates its reimbursement rates.

If the traveler prefers to drive for a trip that would normally be via commercial airline, to determine the cost of flying vs. driving, a quote for airfare prior to trip departure is required as well as use of the Fleet Rate Model Daily Rental Cost Calculator Decision Workbook to determine the choice of vehicle. The amount reimbursed is the lower of 1) actual mileage, or 2) airfare quote plus roundtrip mileage to airport plus economy rate parking. Mileage to or from an airport is reimbursable with map documentation. 

The FRMDRCCD may be accessed on the Accounting & Business Services website. A copy of the FRMDRCCD must be submitted with the TRF.

Mileage for commuting between an employee’s home and official workstation is not reimbursable. Employees may have more than one official workstation. Personal expenses such as private vehicle repair and maintenance, and mileage for personal reasons or entertainment when on business travel is not reimbursable.

Other Modes of Transportation

Reimbursements for taxi, shuttle fares, bus lines, Lyft, Uber, or charter buses are allowable. If the cost of a fare or ticket exceeds $25, the TRF must include an itemized receipt that includes date and destination. All receipts for taxi, shuttle fares, bus lines, Lyft, Uber, or charter buses are allowable. Per the IRS, tips are not reimbursable.

Travelers must select the method of transportation most advantageous to WOU, when cost, time, and other factors are considered. The travel should be by the most expeditious means of transportation practicable and commensurate with the nature and purpose of the employee’s travel.

Railroad reimbursement is allowable for the lowest available rail fare (usually coach class) for domestic and international travel. Upgrade charges are not reimbursable and detailed receipts must accompany the reimbursement request.

Combining Business and Personal Travel

The following amendments to General Travel rules apply when travelers choose to combine personal and business travel. Travelers may combine personal travel as long as no added expense is incurred by the University. When combining personal travel with University business, payment will be based on the least expensive and reasonable means of transportation to and from the business location. 

Quotes for “business only” and “business and personal travel” are required. The airfare quotes for the cost of the business travel days and for the additional personal days must be quoted the same day and from the same vendor as the purchased airline ticket. This quote must be provided and pre-approved by the Budget Authority prior to booking the airfare.

Meal and lodging per diem are limited to the business portion of the trip only. Generally, the dates of the conference or meeting and one travel day before and after are allowable for reimbursement. Travel expenses will not be paid for personal days.

Vehicle rental and state contracts are only for use while on official WOU business. Please note that contracted rates are not eligible for the personal travel time of the trip and insurance is not covered. A separate rental car booking for personal time is required by the State of Oregon contract.

Grant Travel

Specific contracts or other awards may have different requirements for the submission of receipts relating to domestic or foreign travel. Travel authorizations with sponsored project funding shall be approved by the Budget Authority prior to travel confirming funding is available and allowed. Any travel that is billed to the contract and subsequently disallowed will be removed from the award and charged to the respective department. 

All grant travel will follow WOU general travel policy. Use of High/Low rates are applicable unless the grant award specifies the use of General Services Administration (GSA) rates.

     Fly America Act: When federal funds are used, provisions of the Fly America Act are applicable and foreign travel is restricted to a U.S. air carrier unless extenuating circumstances apply and are approved in advance by the department. Additional information on the Fly America Act is available in the Relevant Documents and Links section of this policy. If there are any questions relating to air travel when travel is on a grant, please contact the Budget Authority prior to booking.

International Travel

The following amendments to General Travel are required when travelers are on University business outside the country.

Employees traveling to international destinations should review the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) website for important health information by destination and the Department of State’s (DOS) website for important security information by destination. There are a variety of risks involved when traveling internationally. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The Embassy will notify you regarding changes in safety conditions, contact you in case of an emergency, as well as facilitate family and friends to contact you in the event of an emergency. See Relevant Documents and Links section of this policy for the STEP website. The best way to avoid risks is to plan ahead and be prepared for emergencies that may arise.

For specific information or questions regarding international travel, and/or insurance coverage while traveling, please contact Risk Management (located in the Office of the General Counsel). WOU’s insurance coverage does not cover the traveler in high-risk countries; see Travel Advisories from the U.S. Department of State.

International travel per diem rate varies by both country and city; see Relevant Documents and Links section of this policy. 

To ensure all rates are calculated correctly and time zone changes are accounted for, the Accounting & Business Services will be happy to assist in the budgeting process.

University sponsored trips two weeks or less are eligible for per diem. For any travel beyond this timeframe, travelers must work with Budget Authority on a Not to Exceed (NTE) per diem amount.

Reimbursable/Non-Reimbursable Items

See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Accounting & Business Services website for examples of reimbursable and non-reimbursable items. Receipts and documentation are required for all reimbursements except transportation costs under $25.

Trip Reconciliation/Reimbursement

All expenses require receipts except M&IE mileage, and ground transportation costs of less than $25. Detailed receipts, and mileage maps must accompany request for reimbursement and all transactions made via personal or P-Card must include the last four (4) digits of the credit card on the receipt for reconciliation. In addition, a copy of the signed Pre-Travel Authorization Form must accompany all documentation for non-local travel.

Any reimbursement due to the traveler is issued after the reconciliation and documentation is verified. Missing documentation delays reimbursement. Reimbursement may be issued via direct deposit or check, with direct deposit the faster mode. The Direct Deposit Authorization Agreement Form is in the Relevant Documents and Links section of this policy. 

Group/Team Travel

Group/Team travel follows all WOU Travel and Purchasing Policies. Athletic and student group travel should be processed as “Group Travel” and not individually for each participant. The Office of Student Affairs requires/manages the pre-approval prior to each student group travel (excluding for Athletics Dept.). Contracts may be required for chartered transportation services, group hotel rates, or group airline rates. Contact the Office of the General Counsel for information about when contracts may be required.

Policies, forms, and links are in the Referenced and Related Policies and Relevant Documents and Links sections of this policy. Each student’s signed forms should be attached to the associated final TRF package. 

The TRF must include a list of actual participants and their signatures, if applicable. For a group meal, detailed vendor receipts are required, and gratuity must be listed separately. A gratuity up to 15% (based on food and beverage charges ONLY) per group meal is allowed with the total amount not to exceed the allowable per diem rate. IF gratuity for large groups exceeds 15% and is posted/printed on the menu, please document this exception, and include it with the reconciliation as an allowable expense. Group travel lodging rate is the total lodging costs divided by total number of travelers and itemized receipts are required. For additional information, contact Accounting & Business Services.

Travel advances are available for athletic team travel and student group travel. To receive a travel advance, submit the completed Pre-Travel Authorization Form to the Accounting & Business Services at least two (2) weeks prior to departure. Travel advances will be received via direct deposit, or a check will be issued four days prior to departure date. 

The TRF must be submitted within 30 days of the trip’s end date to clear the advance. If the reimbursement amount is greater than the advance, direct deposit or a check will be issued to the traveler for the difference. If the reimbursement amount is less than the advance, the traveler must submit payment to the Cashier’s Office for the difference prior to submitting the TRF. Be sure to note the payment is for a travel advance and the Index and Account code it was issued under.

If the travel advance is not accounted for within 30 days after the travel has occurred, the following may occur:

  • Subsequent travel advance requests will not be granted.
  • The delinquent travel advance amount may be deducted from other reimbursements due to the employee.
  • The travel advance may be deducted from the employee’s payroll check. If the University is not able to deduct the delinquent travel advance from payroll, it will be set up as a receivable in the traveler’s name and will accrue interest.

Student Travel

WOU requires pre-approval of student travel prior to each trip for internal control, risk management, and a waiver of liability through the Office of Student Affairs. Refer to the Student Travel Policy for more information. 

The procedures are summarized below although the entire process should be reviewed and understoo d prior to proceeding:

  • The faculty or staff advisor or the contact person shall submit a completed Student Travel Request Form to the Vice President for Student Affairs on behalf of any student club, organization or department.
  • The request shall contain the name(s) of the faculty or staff advisor(s) and/or the contact person who will be traveling and staying with the group.
  • The request shall contain the approved drivers.
  • The request shall contain the names of the students traveling along with the Student Liability Waiver forms.
  • The request shall contain the nature of the trip, travel routes, and departure/arrival times.The Pre-Travel Authorization Form will be completed and submitted if required by University policy.

Each student’s signed forms should be attached to the associated final TRF package. 


All Budget Authorities, Group Travel, Recruiting Card, and Travel Card holders shall attend training on upon the adoption of this policy and then every three (3) years thereafter or upon major adoption of changes, whichever is sooner.

Student Travel
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Advisory
Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory
Remote Work Policy
WOU HR Webpage
WOU Accounting & Business Services Travel Webpage
Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC)
Fly America Act
CI Azumano Business Travel
International Per Diem Rates
IRS Travel Rules
State of Oregon Department of Administrative Services (SODAS) Online Reservations
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Private Auto COI Form
Student Travel Request Form
WOU Accounting & Business Services Webpage
WOU Driver Authorization Form
Personal Vehicle or Rental Decision Fleet Calc Workbook (updated on WOU Accounting & Business Services TRAVEL webpage)
Per Diem Rates (updated annually on WOU Accounting & Business Services TRAVEL webpage)
Advance Travel Meals Per Diem Invoice Request Form (updated on WOU Accounting & Business Services TRAVEL webpage)
State of Oregon Department of Administrative Services (SODAS) Online Reservations
Current Mileage Rates (updated annually under Per Diem Rates on WOU Accounting & Business Services TRAVEL webpage)
Pre-Travel Authorization Form (updated on WOU Accounting & Business Services TRAVEL webpage)
Travel Reimbursement Request (updated on WOU Accounting & Business Services TRAVEL webpage)
Travel Reimbursement Missing Receipt Form (updated on WOU Accounting & Business Services TRAVEL webpage)
GSA Mileage Model
WOU Direct Deposit Authorization Agreement Form
APPROVAL DATE: 12/19/2022
EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/01/1991
LAST UPDATED: 11/30/2022



SOURCE:    Previously Referred to as: FA-BO-004
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