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A student was hired under the terms of a Cooperative Education Agreement between the university she attended and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Because of its proximity to the university, one of the HUD regional offices completed the hiring procedure, but the claimant was appointed to a position in another HUD office in the same State. She returned to her home in a leave-without-pay status for the purpose of completing her undergraduate studies. A certifying officer for HUD asked whether the claimant may be reimbursed for the travel expenses between the city where she was attending school and the city where she was employed. GAO held that, since the trainee had not completed her undergraduate work and since the position to which she was appointed had not been designated as one in a manpower shortage category, the trainee was subject to the general rule that new appointees must bear the travel expenses to their first duty station. Since the trainee's return to the university was for the purpose of completing her undergraduate studies and not for the purpose of transfer or official business, her return travel expenses may not be paid. Accordingly, the claim was disallowed.


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