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GPSS Travel Fund Program

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Instructions for Fall TFP 2024.docx

The Fall 2024 TFP cycle will open on July 15th and close on August 19th at 11:59PM EDT. 

The Fall 2024 TFP cycle will open July 15th and close August 19th at 11:59pm EDT. The Fall TFP Cycle is for funding for conferences taking place between Travel dates: October 1 - December 31. The awardees will be notified by the first week of September. 

Contact Julia Shapiro ( 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.

All students must provide sufficient proof of being the presenting author. If the abstract format of the conference does not properly demonstrate this, additional documentation will be needed. We cannot fund applications that it is not clear that the student is presenting. Unclear applications will be deemed incomplete and will result in not being funded.

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 2024 (Travel dates: July 1 - September 30) 
  • Fall 2024 (Travel dates: October 1 - December 31)
  • Winter 2025 (Travel dates: January 1 - March 31) 
  • Spring 2025 (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. As of Spring 2023, GPSS decided to eliminate the $750 Tier 1 to ensure as many students received funding as possible. For Summer 2023, 5 students received grants of $500 and 75 students received grants of $300. 

The total amount available per TFP cycle is $20,000. 

To illustrate, dividing $30,000 among 198 applicants would result in a $151 grant for each applicant. From past experience with the TFP, GPSS Programs has 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 remains 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-Total guaranteed external funding. Total conference expenses are calculated primarily based on location using government reimbursement rates for travel. 

The total conference expense formula is: M&IE rate * Conference days + Lodging rate for month in which travel starts * (Conference days-1) + Abstract fees + Registration fee + Miles driving personal vehicle * $0.585 (if driving) + Airfare/rideshare (if flying)

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!


  •   The document should be official correspondence or documentation from the conference’s organizers. Examples include an e-mail informing the applicant of their abstract acceptance, a copy of the conference program with their presentation highlighted, an image of the abstract acceptance portal stating the student is the presenter of the talk or an abstract submission receipt with clear demonstration that the student is the presenting author.
  • You must provide proof of abstract submission and it must demonstrate that you are the presenting author. We cannot fund applications that are secondary author/not presenting. Even if you are a secondary author alongside your advisor, we cannot fund those applications. 

  • Insufficient proof of abstract submission – not demonstrating the student is the presenting author, submitting just a file containing the abstract with no proof of submitting to a conference, advisor is primary author/speaker
  • Submitting a file for advisor approval that is not the template from GPSS (attached on this page) 
  • Submitting the advisor approval without the advisor’s signature
  • Leaving some of the questions blank

  • Applications for conference travel that are outside the current cycle travel window
  • Not presenting author/submitting an abstract that is not yours
  • Someone else submitted the abstract to the conference for you (i.e. your advisor, collaborator, etc)

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

Application openings and deadlines for each cycle will also be announced on our Instagram, our Twitter account, and through the weekly Graduate School listserv email.

We encourage you to take advantage of this program!