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Graduate Student Travel Award

Funded by: Graduate Student Association

GSA Travel Award Guidelines

*Funding is disbursed as travel reimbursement following the trip.

The WCU Graduate Student Association will provide up to $16,000 in funding during the academic year to graduate students who will represent Western Carolina University at regional and national/international conferences, professional organization meetings, etc. See complete list below. Travel awards are for a maximum of $500.00 for an individual. The Executive Board officers of the Graduate Student Association reserve the right to approve the request in part or in full. A committee including at least two Executive Board officers of the Graduate Student Association will approve applications. All approvals or denials will have a brief description provided by the Executive Board officers.

General Focus: GSA travel funds support WCU graduate students' scholarly/artistic/professional development by assisting with costs related to travel to regional and national/international events.


Although GSA supports experiential activities, some experiential activities include travel which is not eligible for the GSA Travel Award. For example, travel expenses related to Study Abroad courses, Practicums, Clinicals, Internships, etc., are not eligible for GSA reimbursement.

To be eligible for consideration, the student must be enrolled at WCU as a graduate student in good academic standing at the time of the application and travel. Good academic standing is defined as a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students are only eligible for one travel award per academic year.

To receive reimbursement for Fall Travel (Fall Travel is between June 1st and December 31st), you must submit a complete application by the October 7, 2021 deadline.

To receive reimbursement for Spring Travel (Spring Travel is between November 1st and May 31st), you must submit a complete application by the February 10, 2022 deadline.

 Application Process

Students must complete the Graduate Student Travel Award Application.  Each student requesting funding must complete the application. No group applications accepted. Each student traveling must submit a travel award application.

Documentation must be included with the travel award application and all scans or screenshots must be legible.

Students must include:

  • Faculty Sponsor/Department travel preapproval in Chrome River or via email
  • Proof of acceptance or invitation from the sponsoring organization
  • Conference/event information (The first page of the website announcing the conference will provide much of  the conference information below.)
    • Name
    • Location
    • Date
    • Registration fee
    • Hotel cost information
  • Reservation confirmations or receipts

Documentation must be included with the travel award request.

Applications missing any of the above documentation will be considered incomplete. Students will be notified that the submitted application is incomplete and will not be considered for funding.

Use this checklist to help you prepare your application.

Award Deadlines:

Application and all application documentation described above must be submitted by the application deadline each semester. Review and approval of applications will happen at the first Executive Committee meeting following the deadline.

Fall 2021 – Thursday, October 7, 2021
Spring 2022 – Thursday, February 10, 2022

If a student would like to fill out a travel grant request for an event after the Fall semester deadline, they can submit a request by the Spring semester deadline under the condition that the Fall conference or event did not occur before the Fall October 7 deadline. (e.g. A conference which happens in late November can have a travel grant request filled out by February 10.)

Award Conditions:
Funding is determined based on the priority system and date of which the complete grant application is received. Travel grants may only be used to cover travel (airfare receipt required; mileage calculated if you are driving), lodging (receipt required), and/or conference registration fees (receipt required). The priority system is as follows for graduate students who are:

  1. Presenting scholarly or creative work at a conference, juried exhibition, etc.
  2. Accepting an award from a professional organization or academic institution.
  3. Competing in an academic competition at a regional or national/international level.
  4. Participating in a seminar, workshop, training program or another form of professional development not previously listed above which provides hands-on experience not available at Western Carolina University (WCU) that is directly related to one's major. Applicant must explain the benefit of expertise gained.
  5. Attending a regional or national/international conference, exhibition, studio visit etc. associated with one’s program.

GSA has implemented a point system to provide transparency to the award process. 

Proposals for the following will not be considered: Professional development to address skills required by your current position or equipment/books required by your current position/major.

Notification of Award Request:
Applicants will be notified of the GSA Executive Board’s decision via email approximately one (1) month following the deadline. If the request is approved, please be sure the receipt lists you as the person who paid the vendor.  If the request is denied, the reason for the denial will be included in the notification email. Requests denied due to lack of information may not be resubmitted.

The GSA Executive Board will also create a ranked waitlist of requests in the event that additional funds become available. If you are approved for funding and your plans change and you cannot attend, please inform Roxane Stiles as soon as possible so that we can fund a student on the waitlist.

For more information, please contact:
Roxane Stiles (828-227-7398)
Graduate School and Research
110 Cordelia Camp Building
Cullowhee, NC  28723



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