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GPSS Travel Fund Program

This image is used via the library of congress' website. Citation for original image is Highsmith, C. M., photographer. (2012) Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. California San Francisco San Francisco. United States, 2012. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2013630560/.

an evening image of the golden gate bridge in San Francisco

The Winter 2023 Cycle Travel Fund Program opens on October 14th and closes on November 15th. The Winter Cycle covers any conferences attended between Jan. 1-April 30, 2023. Awardees will be notified on or before Dec. 5. Contact Cissy Ming (cissym@vt.edu) for more information.

Applications submitted outside the cycle window will not be considered, unless the applicant emails the TFP Chair for an extension in advance of the deadline and receives written notification that the extension has been granted.

Extensions will be granted if

  1. the conference’s abstract submission window opens after the TFP deadline,
  2. the applicant requires additional time for an eligible faculty member to sign the confirmation letter, and/or
  3. the applicant is rendered unable to complete the online form due to personal emergencies.

By applying for the TFP, you acknowledge that a travel grant is not guaranteed to you, even if you meet all eligibility requirements.

The Travel Fund Program (TFP) is the GPSS's most popular program, and is sponsored by the Graduate School and the Virginia Tech Office of the Provost. As funding is limited, TFP provides grants to partially offset expenses associated with graduate student conference travel, including transportation, registration fees, lodging, and meals for domestic and niternational travel. Full-time graduate students presenting research conducted as part of a Virginia Tech degree program are eligible to apply. Due to limited funding, an individual graduate student may only receive one award per academic year (Summer to Spring).

Please note that the TFP is no longer offering retroactive reimbursements for students who have already traveled prior to the application dates. All TFP awards are now distributed prior to the stated conference travel dates for each cycle. After traveling, recipients submit proof of purchase to their respective departments to claim reimbursements.

Applicants DO NOT need proof of an accepted abstract prior to submitting a TFP application. However, they need to demonstrate proof of abstract submission to the conference of interest if the abstract submission window is open during the TFP application period. This applies even if the deadline for abstract submission occurs after the TFP application closes. Extensions will not be granted because an applicant wanted to spend additional time refining their abstract.

TFP awards are given out to eligible applicants based on level of demonstrated financial need. Please see the FAQ section for full details. Applicants who are first-author presenters of original research are given priority over secondary authors/presenters or presenters of literature reviews.

Travel Fund Cycles

The program is divided into three cycles for faster reimbursements. The cycles are:

  • Summer 2022 (Travel dates: July 1 - September 30) 
  • Fall 2022 (Travel dates: October 1 - December 31)
  • Winter 2023 (Travel dates: January 1 - April 30) 
  • Spring 2023 (Travel dates: April 1 - June 30) 

Applications for each cycle will be announced on this page as they are opened. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Unfortunately, no. However, GPSS Programs attempts to fund as many eligible applicants as possible by distributing >65% of grants in the lowest tier amount. 

During the Fall 2022 cycle, 96 of 198 applicants received some form of travel support. The probability of receiving the TFP varies depending on the number of applicants per cycle and total funding available. 

As previously detailed, >65% of TFP grants are awarded in the lowest tier. An applicant is unlikely to receive a Tier 1 grant unless they are traveling outside the country and completely lacking external support. For context, two Tier 1 awards were distributed, nine Tier 2 ($500) awards were distributed, and 85 Tier 3 ($300) awards were distributed in Fall 2022.

For the Winter 2023 cycle, $33,000 is available due to a one-time influx of extra funding from the Graduate School. Starting in Spring 2023, the total amount available per TFP cycle will decline to $20,000.

Dividing $30,000 among 198 applicants would result in a $151 grant for each applicant. From past experience with the TFP, GPSS programs have found that many graduate students do not complete the reimbursement process for grants smaller than $300. As a result, thousands of dollars in TFP money remain unused at the end of the academic year. Distributing fewer, larger dollar grants ultimately helps a greater number of graduate students because grant recipients actually use the money we award.

GPSS Programs strongly discourages applicants from making travel plans assuming they will receive money from the TFP, or that they will receive a certain amount of money. GPSS Programs makes every effort to release decisions in a timely manner so that applicants can plan ahead. Applicants should not expect the TFP to fully fund their travel. GPSS Programs expects applicants to make every effort toward finding external funding sources from advisors, departments, professional societies, etc. 

No, GPSS Programs distributes grants based on eligibility and financial need alone. An applicant’s assessment of their own merit and research significance will not be considered either in the regular application or appeals process.

Financial need is calculated using this formula: Total conference expenses minus total guaranteed external funding. Total conference expenses are calculated primarily based on location, using government reimbursement rates for travel. 

Applicants are awarded grants in descending order of financial need. GPSS Programs understands that the cutoff for funding can appear unreasonable. An applicant with $1,500 in financial need is not much better off than an applicant with $1,700 in financial need. However, selecting grant recipients from a crowded applicant pool necessarily involves drawing arbitrary distinctions.

All graduate students are eligible to join the GPSS Programs Committee! The Programs Committee helps review TFP applications and write TFP policy. For more information, contact the TFP Chair.

Write to your graduate coordinators, the Graduate School, and the Provost’s office to explain why this program is so important to you and the opportunities you could pursue if the TFP were expanded!

Questions? Please email the TFP Chair from your VT email address.

We encourage you to take advantage of this program!