Graduate Student Travel Award

Funded by: Graduate Student Association

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 2018-2019 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 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 (Apply in Fall for travel between June 1 and December; Apply in Spring for travel between November and May 31). 


Application Process

New application process. Old paper and electronic forms will not be accepted. Students must use new application link here.

Students must complete the Graduate Student Travel Award Application (Qualtrics). Each student requesting funding must complete the application. (No group applications)

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

Students must include:

  • Proof of acceptance or invitation from the sponsoring organization
  • Conference/event information (The first page of the website announcing the conference will provide 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 2018 – Friday, October 12, 2018
Spring 2019 – Friday, February 15, 2019

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 12, 2018 deadline. (e.g. A conference which happens in late November can have a travel grant request filled out by February 15, 2019.)

Award Conditions:
Funding is determined based on the priority system and date of which the complete grant application is received. Travel grants may cover travel, lodging, and/or conference costs. 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 is implementing a point system to provide transparency to the award process. Click here for detailed point information.

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.

Funding may only be used to cover the following costs. Reimbursements are paid after the trip. Please be sure the receipt lists you as the person who paid the vendor. The following receipts are required:
• Transportation to and from the conference (airfare – receipt required; mileage calculated if you are driving)
• Lodging (receipt required)
• Conference registration fees (receipt required)

Documentations for conference registration, travel, and lodging must be submitted with the initial travel award request. Requests for funding for mileage must include the location of the event with corresponding mileage to be traveled—mileage will be verified by reviewing committee officers.

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, funding will be disbursed as travel reimbursement following the trip. 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 a student is funded to attend a conference and chooses later not to attend, the student must notify Roxane Stiles ( to cancel their travel request award for that conference no later than two (2) weeks after the conference. Students who do not notify Roxane Stiles ( within two (2) weeks after the conference that they did not attend will not qualify for re-application to another conference within the same academic year. Funds awarded for travel to one conference cannot be transferred to a different conference later in the year.

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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