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Conference Travel Awards for Graduate Students

The Graduate College provides awards of up to $350 for students to travel to professional conferences to present papers, posters, or creative work. Awards may be offered as reimbursement for recently-completed travel or for upcoming travel (see “Eligible Travel Periods” below). Award amounts vary depending on the distance from Champaign to the conference. 

Allowable expenses include transportation, lodging, food, and other travel-related expenses for the awardee only (i.e., the award will not cover expenses for dependents, assistants, or anyone other than the awardee).  Expenses not allowable include registration fees, supplies, photocopies, etc.

Application is by department nomination only. In other words, students do not apply directly to the Graduate College. Instead, students submit materials to their department, then the department selects applications for submission to the Graduate College using the online nomination form below. Though not required by the Graduate College, departments may wish to have applicants complete this Student Application Form as part of the department’s internal review process. Students interested in applying should contact their Director of Graduate Studies to inquire about the department’s internal selection process.


Fall 2019 Competition:

  • September 3 - Submission period opens.
  • October 4 at 5:00 p.m. Deadline for departments to submit applications to the Graduate College.
  • November 6 - Funds become available.

Spring 2020 ComPetition:

  • January 27 - Submission period opens.
  • February 28 at 5:00 p.m. - Deadline for departments to submit applications to the Graduate College.
  • March 25 - Funds become available.


  • Applicants must be registered and in good academic standing during the term the award is received.
  • Applicants may receive only one Conference Travel Award per academic year, and only one per conference.
  • Students in non-degree, online, cost-recovery, and self-supporting programs are ineligible.
  • Awards are supported by Students for Equal Access to Learning (SEAL) fees, which are part of the Student Initiated Fees. Therefore, applicants must have paid the Student Initiated Fees in the semester during which they apply. For details on fees, see the Office of the Registrar's website. Students who are not assessed the fees, e.g., students registered in Credit Range III or IV (less than 6 hours), may become eligible by paying the fee at a cashier's window in 100 Henry Administration Building.
  • If students are traveling under University sponsorship and are traveling overseas, campus policy requires them to purchase international travel and health insurance through the Office of International Safety and Security. See details on the International Safety and Security website.

Eligible Travel Periods

  • For fall term awards, travel must take place anytime from the beginning of the previous summer to the end of the following summer.  
  • For spring term awards, travel must take place anytime from the beginning of the spring term to the end of the following fall term.

Nomination Instructions for Departments

  • Nominations must be submitted by the department to the Graduate College using the Graduate College Conference Travel Award Submission Form.

Travel Award Submission Form

  • The number of applications that may be submitted per department is based on 10th day enrollment numbers as reported by DMI (report #1). See the table below to determine how many awards your department may receive. (Note: Because students in online programs are not assessed the Student Initiated Fees, they are not counted toward the department’s number of enrolled graduate students, nor are they eligible to receive the award.)
  • Account codes and disbursement of funds: Funds will be transferred to the State or ICR CFOP that is provided on the submission form. Gift fund codes may not be used. This allows the department to determine whether the payment to the student should be processed as a reimbursement or as a travel grant. The determination should be based upon whether or not the University is the primary beneficiary of the student travel. If the student travels on behalf of the University, the payment should be processed as a travel reimbursement through University Payables. Once the transfers have been processed, the departmental contact person will receive a summary report via e-mail showing all awards given to students in the department. 

Number of Awards per Department

Unit Size

Maximum Number of Travel Awards Per Semester

1-25 1
26-75 2
76-100 3
101-200 4
201+ 5

Award Amounts

Award amounts are based on the distance from Champaign, IL to the conference location.  The Graduate College's mileage calculations are final.

Miles from Champaign



< 200





















Submission of Receipts

Students who are awarded a Conference Travel Award are required to submit to their department receipts supporting travel expenses. The Graduate College does not require these receipts; however, the department should keep copies of the award letter, relevant vouchers, and receipts on file for audit purposes.


Please direct all questions to Jane Gomez at or 217-333-9390.