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Conference Presentation Awards for Graduate Students

For the 2021-22 academic year, the Graduate College has revised its Conference Travel Award program in light of ongoing travel limitations related to Covid-19. This year’s program is called the “Conference Presentation Award” program, and it will offer funds for travel to in-person conferences or for registration fees for virtual conferences. 

Awards are available only to those students who are making a presentation at the conference. Students merely attending a conference without giving a presentation are ineligible.

Before the pandemic, the Graduate College provided up to $350 for students to travel to a conference, and the number of awards given to a department depended on the department’s size.  This year’s Conference Presentation Award program will operate slightly differently, i.e., it will provide a department with funds, in increments of $450 depending on size, and the department may then disburse the funds for conference travel or for conference registration fees. 

Within the department's allocation, there are no limits on the dollar amount awarded to a particular student for eligible expenses.  As well, there are no limits on the number of students a department may elect to support with its allocation.

Awards may be offered as reimbursement for recently-completed conference travel/participation or for upcoming travel/participation (see “Eligible Periods” below).

Application is by department nomination only. 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 2021 Competition:

  • October 12 - Application period opens.
  • November 5 at 5:00 p.m. Deadline for departments to submit applications to the Graduate College. (Original deadline was November 1, but is now extended to November 5.)
  • December 15 - [Update] Anticipated date that funds will become available. Note that the Graduate College originally gave a November 15 date for disbursement, but unexpected issues have caused us to push back that date. We are processing the applications and will notify departments of fund availability as quickly as we can. 

Spring 2022 ComPetition:

  • February 3 - Application period opens.
  • February 24 at 5:00 p.m. - Deadline for departments to submit applications to the Graduate College.
  • March 25 (date revised from the original March 15) - Funds become available.


  • Conference Presentation Awards are available only to students who will be presenting a paper, poster, or creative work at a conference they attend.
  • Applicants must be registered and in good academic standing during both the term the application is submitted AND the term during which the conference takes place (exceptions to this are made for summer).
  • Applicants may receive only one Conference Presentation Award per academic year.
  • 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 (currently at $70 per semester) 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.

Eligible Travel Periods

  • For fall term awards, the conference must take place anytime from the beginning of the previous summer to the end of the following summer.  
  • For spring term awards, the conference 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 Presentation Award Submission Form. Note that the submission form must be completed by a Director of Graduate Study, a Graduate Contact, or other official acting on behalf of the department.  The form may not be completed by a student. 


  • The amount of funding a department may request is based on 10th day enrollment numbers as reported by DMI (report #1). See the table below to determine your department's funding level. (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 department's application 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 grant. The determination should be based upon whether or not the University is the primary beneficiary of the student award. If the student participates in the conference on behalf of the University, the payment should be processed as a 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. 

LEVEL OF FUNDING per Department

Unit Size

Conference Presentation Award Funding Per Semester

1-25 $450
26-75 $900
76-100 $1,350
101-200 $1,800
201+ $2,250

Award Amounts PER STUDENT

For students traveling to an in-person conference, award amounts are based on the cost of transportation to/from the conference plus the cost of lodging. For students participating in a virtual conference, award amounts are based on the registration fees required for participation in the conference. No other fees (such as membership fees) or costs (such as printing or meals) are allowable.

Submission of Receipts

Students who are awarded a Conference Presentation Award are required to submit to their department receipts showing all requested expenses.  The Graduate College does not require these receipts; however, the department should keep copies of them for audit purposes.


Please direct all questions to the Graduate College’s Business & Fellowship Processing Office at