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Author Topic: Relocation reimbursements  (Read 2047 times)
coffeeman
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« on: November 24, 2012, 12:39:41 PM »

Hello,
The acting dean (incorrectly it turns out) said that there exists a policy against reimbursing faculty at state institutions for relocation costs. I had to shell out $3000 for the move (although requested and received a $4000 bump in salary) to Georgia. This has me concerned that such policies actually do exist elsewhere. For those making significant moves, how did your college/university provide for relocation costs? A percentage of your starting salary? I wonder if private institutions tend to provide more than public for such costs. Thanks for any info.
-Coffeeman
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2012, 2:04:16 PM »

I received a 3000K stipend for moving expenses, as well as the contact information for moving companies who have a contract with the university.

We ended up doing the move ourselves, and came in just at the 3000K mark. That was with a cross country/cross border move.

I am at a State Uni, so I had to follow the reimbursement "rules" which are provided on the website.

The one thing which needed pre-approval from the dept. was the one flight and travel costs to do house hunting beforehand. It was approved.
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totoro
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2012, 2:08:54 PM »

I got a bit over $5000 at a private R1 university in 2002. I was moving from Australia. When we moved to Australia in 2007 my wife got $A10k.
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msparticularity
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2012, 2:12:45 PM »

Hello,
The acting dean (incorrectly it turns out) said that there exists a policy against reimbursing faculty at state institutions for relocation costs. I had to shell out $3000 for the move (although requested and received a $4000 bump in salary) to Georgia. This has me concerned that such policies actually do exist elsewhere. For those making significant moves, how did your college/university provide for relocation costs? A percentage of your starting salary? I wonder if private institutions tend to provide more than public for such costs. Thanks for any info.
-Coffeeman

There are very definitely states with such laws: Illinois is one. When I moved cross-country to take a position at an Illinois institution, my moving expenses were partially reimbursed ($2,000 of my ~$5,000 actual costs) from a foundation account that had been established to provide for such costs. Basically, what the law says in most places is that state funds cannot be used for this purpose, but places that are trying to attract good faculty will try to work around that limitation.

I moved this past summer to a SLAC in a nearby state. The set reimbursement amount for moving was $2,000, but I was able to negotiate for $3,000. Keep in mind, too, though, that a lot of the actual costs of moving (more take-out food, for example, along with the random stuff like shower curtains and wastebaskets and paint and so on that you'll have to buy to deal with the move into a new home) simply won't be reimbursed.

I suspect one of the mods will be along shortly to relocate this to the appropriate board, BTW, since this really is not an inquiry about academic travel.
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wet_blanket
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2012, 10:51:16 AM »

A related question, from someone who has a way to go before this is an actual situation: What kinds of expenses are allowable as moving expenses?

The reason I ask is because I'm a grad student with all kinds of crappy ugly furniture.  When I graduate I intend to give all of this furniture away.   It is certainly not worth hauling halfway across the country.  Everything I would want to take with me could go as a third checked bag on  plane or easily fit in a car.  Assuming I win the TT lottery and am offered moving expenses, could I use this to purchase furniture?
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2012, 1:33:45 PM »

A related question, from someone who has a way to go before this is an actual situation: What kinds of expenses are allowable as moving expenses?

The reason I ask is because I'm a grad student with all kinds of crappy ugly furniture.  When I graduate I intend to give all of this furniture away.   It is certainly not worth hauling halfway across the country.  Everything I would want to take with me could go as a third checked bag on  plane or easily fit in a car.  Assuming I win the TT lottery and am offered moving expenses, could I use this to purchase furniture?

Not within the parameters of my contract. It was super specific about exactly what was reimbursable ( at a state uni).

That isn't to say you can't negotiate your contract differently depending on your institution, WB, and is an excellent bargaining point/question.
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sea_and_ski
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2012, 2:26:40 PM »

Just to chime in, my state university has strict limit, set by the state, for any state employee, limiting how much the state will pay for a move.  Moves are also bid out, and one has to take the low bid, unless you can come up with a compelling reason not to.  However, alternative, non-state funds can be used above this limit.

For those thinking of negotiating with your university to be creative with "moving expenses," remember that the IRS has a very narrow view of allowed moving expenses: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p521/ar02.html#en_US_2012_publink1000203509.  Your university will have to report as income non-allowed expenses (e.g., meals in transit, pre-move house hunting trip, etc.) paid to you and you'll be taxed on them.
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westcoastgirl
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2012, 9:28:20 PM »

My relocation was allocated at a percentage of my salary. It was pretty generous and we came in just a bit under. Keep in mind, though, this was because the move was only 90 miles and we hired a local moving company; I found them on my marketplace for my (former) university and they had decent reviews. I spent a lot of time reading a thread someone here had posted on moving companies. I concluded from that site that most movers in the Chicago area were pretty problematic. At the same time, we didn't quite have the budget to go with a nationally recognized company.
 
I'll admit that my decision was unwise, but I'll put this out for others as a warning. I don't believe our moving company was licensed, bonded or insured. Thankfully, nothing was broken or scuffed (well, they lost some chair legs, but West Elm replaced them for free). When I asked for a receipt, I received a hand-written receipt. When I handed it in at the beginning of the academic year, they mentioned that they hadn't seen anything like that prior and they'd have to check how reimbursement worked in this case. They were reassuring and said that they may have to contact the "company" to give them an I-9, but didn't anticipate major problems. I left the office pretty worried, though.

I got reimbursed, but I wish I had asked about/been directed to a website that detailed the conditions for reimbursement. I"m still not sure such a site exists, but I probably should have asked someone.
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totoro
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 12:51:42 AM »

A related question, from someone who has a way to go before this is an actual situation: What kinds of expenses are allowable as moving expenses?

The reason I ask is because I'm a grad student with all kinds of crappy ugly furniture.  When I graduate I intend to give all of this furniture away.   It is certainly not worth hauling halfway across the country.  Everything I would want to take with me could go as a third checked bag on  plane or easily fit in a car.  Assuming I win the TT lottery and am offered moving expenses, could I use this to purchase furniture?

I doubt it. But you could ask. We've had actual moving expenses, flight, hotel, car hire covered.
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systeme_d_
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 1:28:41 AM »

Assuming I win the TT lottery and am offered moving expenses, could I use this to purchase furniture?

I've been provided with relocation expenses three times, and in all three cases, the answer would be a resounding NO.

And do keep in mind that some relocation expenses end up being considered taxable income.

My advice to a grad student moving to his/her first TT job would be to travel light, rent apartments for at least the first few years, and buy furnishings a little bit at a time.  Don't fall into the terrible trap of thinking that you immediately need/deserve a house full of new crap.
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mozman
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2012, 12:11:58 PM »

When I moved last year to a State University, they paid directly over $20K to move my household and my lab.
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westcoastgirl
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2012, 12:29:17 PM »

A related question, from someone who has a way to go before this is an actual situation: What kinds of expenses are allowable as moving expenses?

The reason I ask is because I'm a grad student with all kinds of crappy ugly furniture.  When I graduate I intend to give all of this furniture away.   It is certainly not worth hauling halfway across the country.  Everything I would want to take with me could go as a third checked bag on  plane or easily fit in a car.  Assuming I win the TT lottery and am offered moving expenses, could I use this to purchase furniture?

I doubt it. But you could ask. We've had actual moving expenses, flight, hotel, car hire covered.

Echoing this. My husband had a pretty sizable budget to move across the country. Since we are a two-body household, he didn't take anything aside from books and had the car hauled west. Since there was so much left over, I had him ask if he could use these funds for an apartment deposit, etc. The answer, as systeme_d put it, was a resounding "no."
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tee_bee
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2012, 12:46:40 AM »

A related question, from someone who has a way to go before this is an actual situation: What kinds of expenses are allowable as moving expenses?

The reason I ask is because I'm a grad student with all kinds of crappy ugly furniture.  When I graduate I intend to give all of this furniture away.   It is certainly not worth hauling halfway across the country.  Everything I would want to take with me could go as a third checked bag on  plane or easily fit in a car.  Assuming I win the TT lottery and am offered moving expenses, could I use this to purchase furniture?

Not on my planet. Others have been somewhat more equivocal in their responses, but I can say with absolute confidence that the answer would be No. In fact, I can see the faces of the office staff as they laugh at the very idea of the request. Sorry, but in a world where universities (really foolishly, in my opinion) make faculty run the gantlet just to get moving costs at least partially reimbursed, buying furniture seems like a big leap.

If you do move that cheaply, negotiate for a bit of extra startup funding so you can do more academic travel or buy books or cover other things that might be out of pocket expenses.
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