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Conference Presentation Awards for Graduate Students (during Covid-19)

The Graduate College has revamped its Conference Travel Award program in light of travel restrictions related to Covid-19. The new and temporary program is called the “Conference Presentation Award” program. Whereas the previous “Conference Travel Awards” covered travel to in-person conferences, “Conference Presentation Awards” will cover registration fees for virtual conferences. Once pandemic-related travel restrictions are lifted, the program will return to its previous iteration and will support actual travel to in-person conferences.

The Graduate College provides awards of up to $350 for students to participate in virtual conferences to present papers, posters, or creative work. Awards will not cover participation unless the student is making a presentation.

Awards may be offered as reimbursement for recently-completed virtual conference participation or for upcoming 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 2020 Competition:

  • October 12 - Submission period opens.
  • November 6 at 5:00 p.m. Deadline for departments to submit applications to the Graduate College.
  • November 16 - Funds become available.

Spring 2021 ComPetition:

  • January 27 - Submission period opens.
  • February 26 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 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. Students in traditional on-campus degree programs whose courses are being temporarily held online because of the pandemic are eligible.
  • 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.

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.


  • 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 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. 

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 registration fees required for participation in the conference. No other fees (such as membership fees) are allowable.  The maximum allowable award amount is $350.

Submission of Receipts

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


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