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ASU sponsors two main venues for funding conference travel for graduate students who are in the Department of English:

  • The Graduate College Travel Awards: Graduate students may apply through the English Department for Travel Awards from ASU Graduate College with additional support from the Department of English for the purpose of presenting papers at scholarly conferences. Graduate College Travel Awards reimburse graduate students the cost of airfare (maximum $500). The Department of English will provide additional support (maximum $300) for lodging and registration fees. The Department of English may have additional funding to support student travel, but students must still follow the procedure outlined for Graduate Travel Awards. Check your email for further information.
  • The GPSA Travel Grant Program: GPSA is ASU’s Graduate and Professional Student Association. According to its website, the organization “gives voice to graduate and professional students across ASU to promote success, inclusion, and vitality among the diverse communities we represent and serve.” Additionally, the website explains that the GPSA Travel Grant Program exists to support the academic and professional development endeavors of ASU graduate and professional students. The program offers five distinct grants funding costs associated with students' travel flight/mileage, transportation to/from the airport and a per diem for meals.

The process varies by award program:

  • The Graduate College Travel Awards: You apply for these awards through the English Department. Among the kinds of information required are an estimated expense list and a narration of the purpose of this trip, your level of participation at the conference, and how you will benefit from the trip. You will also be asked to attach supporting documents. See specific information in the quarterly emails about these awards from Kira Assad, the Senior Program Manager for Graduate Studies in English at ASU.
  • GPSA Travel Grant Program: GPSA uses an interface called ZoomGrants. To apply for a grant through this program, you will provide an estimate of your travel expenses and a written narrative justifying them. To plan your application, Click here New Application. Once through this portal, click on the grant program (travel or research) that applies to you. You can use the preview function to see the questions that the application requires you to answer and to prepare materials in advance of applying. Travel funding from GPSA can be found here. Further information can be found on the GPSA website.

Qualifications vary according to the award program:

  • The Graduate College Travel Awards: These are competitive grants with only two students from the department funded per cycle.In identifying nominees, the department gives priority to the type of conference (major conferences typically receive higher priority); status in program (those who are more advanced and presenting material directly from their dissertations typically receive higher priority); and type of presentation (individual papers and research-based posters may receive priority).  
  • GPSA Travel Program: To be eligible to apply for a grant, applicants must be current ASU graduate students (degree or non-degree seeking) enrolled in at least one graduate level credit at the time of application and at the time of travel. Travel must be directly related to applicant’s program of study. For a full menu of options and to see if you qualify, Click here for funding information.

For example, I have been accepted to present at a conference in November. How do I plan for travel funding application deadlines, and how will I be notified about these deadlines?

Schedules vary according to award program:

  • The Graduate College Travel Awards: These awards are scheduled 4 times a year, with internal deadlines in the Department of English in the early fall, late fall, late spring and early summer. Each deadline corresponds with conferences occurring within a given time frame (For example, August applications are for travel from October 1-Dec 31.) Application deadlines are announced regularly by email. If you have questions, contact Kira Assad.
  • The GPSA Travel Program: For Individual Travel Grants (and this is the case for Group Travel Grants, Out-of-State Career Development Grants, and Out-of-State internships as well), each month constitutes a funding cycle. Applications for these grants are due on the 1st of every month, two months prior to the month of departure. Applicants may apply up to three months ahead of their departure date, but no more than three months and no less than two months ahead.

An experienced graduate student advises:
-Pay attention to deadlines! All grants have different deadlines, and these are usually at least one month (but sometimes several months!) before your travel. There is usually not flexibility for missing these deadlines. If you don't submit your application on time, you will not be considered for funding. So don't miss the deadlines! 
-If you are not sure if you will know if you are accepted to a conference before the travel grant deadline, reach out to the conference and let them know about your funding opportunity. On two occasions, I received early notification of my acceptance to a conference so that I could meet travel grant deadlines, but only because I reached out to the conference organizers and let them know of my situation. 

Both programs work by reimbursement, so be sure to keep your receipts.

  • The Graduate College Travel Awards: Only expenses pertaining to airfare, hotel, and/or registration fees will be reimbursed. If you receive the award, upon your return, you will work directly with Courtney Wallen to create a Travel Expense Report no more than three business days after your return. You will receive instructions in an email.
  • GPSA Travel Program: Grants generally cover lodging, flight/mileage, and meals (per diem). You’ll use GPSA’s ZoomGrants app for reimbursement processing.

An experienced graduate student advises:
-Know that all grants are reimbursements. You will need to submit receipts for your travel expenses after your travel event.
-If you receive a grant, pay attention to communications and instructions about that grant. You will usually need to fill out some paperwork or start a reimbursement request before you leave, and then submit receipts when you return. If you miss these steps/deadlines, you may not be funded.

No. All these awards are highly competitive.

An experienced graduate student advises:
-If you don't receive a grant, don't take it personally. These grant programs often receive a ton of applications and aren't able to fund even some of the strongest applications.
-Do ask for feedback. Some grant programs are happy to let you know what could have made your application stronger so you can improve future applications (for example, GPSA will provide feedback on request). 

If you are not nominated for the Graduate College Travel Award, the Department of English may be able to award you some funding for your conference trip—depending on funding availability.

An experienced graduate student advises:
Anytime my application was not selected to be sent to The Graduate College, I received some funding from the Department for my travel - so always apply!). 

Be sure to submit all the required documents, and to craft your application to address the criteria provided with the application.

  • The Graduate College Travel Award: The first level of review for this award is departmental. In addition to the application form required by the Graduate College, a copy of the conference acceptance email, a one-page summary that includes the purpose of the travel, justification such as the level of participation, and a copy of your paper proposal is also required.As, mentioned in a response to a previous question, the department gives priority to the type of conference (major conferences typically receive higher priority); status in program (those who are more advanced and presenting material directly from their dissertations typically receive higher priority); and type of presentation (individual papers and research-based posters may receive priority). 
  • The GPSA Travel Grant Program: Criteria include detailed description and significance of the travel; service within the community, ASU and/or GPSA; and a well-justified Travel Budget.

An experienced graduate student advises:
Generally, [in my narrative justifying my application], I discuss how I will incorporate my learning from the conference in my teaching as a TA (in my specific classes that I'm teaching), in workshops as a GSEA board member, and in my conversations with colleagues. So, the student wants to demonstrate how they will benefit the larger community through their learning. 

Another experienced graduate student advises:
-Take the application seriously. Take your time when completing travel grant applications. Answer all questions thoroughly. Funders want to know how this funding will benefit both you and ASU. Provide in-depth answers with specific examples when explaining how you will benefit from the travel and what you will bring back to the school. Check your application for spelling and grammar errors. 
-Be realistic and savvy with your budget expenses. You won't be funded for a first class flight. Show how you are being budget conscious - did you shop around for the cheapest flight? Take an earlier flight because it was less expensive? Pay registration early to avoid late fees? Are you staying in a cheaper hotel, using Airbnb, or staying with family (can't be reimbursed for staying with family, but does free up more funds towards your other expenses)? Include these details in your application.

There are several ways that you can increase the competitiveness of your application—including volunteering to be a reviewer. For more information, click on link to view website for : funding and awards.

A graduate student advises:
-Look for resources. Some grant sources (such as GPSA) provide rubrics and even information sessions about the grants - take advantage of these to make your applications as strong as possible. 
-Volunteer. Volunteer to be a grant reviewer for GPSA - it takes a minimal amount of time, it will help you learn how to strengthen your own applications, and it helps fill out the service section of your application.
-Volunteer in the department - this can be for larger things like serving as a representative, or smaller commitments like writing articles for the newsletter. This will help you network, learn of more opportunities, and show you are invested in the department/school so they will invest more in you. 

Another experienced graduate student advises:
When applying for a GPSA grant, I recommend the following: often, students are focused specifically on demonstrating how the conference will benefit them and what they have done to get into the conference and they discuss their research at length. While some discussion of their research is helpful, this matters less than other aspects of the application. Instead, it is important for students to demonstrate how ASU/the larger campus community will benefit from their attendance (and how, specifically, attending will help them achieve their academic/professional goals). They also want to spend time discussing their volunteer experience at ASU specifically (rather than in the community at large or prior to their current program), as well as how they are working to cut costs in their budget. It's therefore very important that if grad students want money from GPSA that they volunteer on campus in some capacity (and demonstrate the extent/nature of this volunteer experience in detail in their application). 

Talk to your advisor about how your conference plans and priorities can most strategically work with your research and writing, and with the career pathways you are building. Such plans might include some local conferences and/or lodging coordinated with colleagues who may be participating in the same conference. See this webpage for: Centers and Projects and Conferences.

An experienced graduate student advises:
Apply for several grants for the same conference. If you are accepted for more than one, you can coordinate funds to cover your expenses (or you can reapply for some of the funds for another travel event). Include the information that you've applied for other grants in the budget section of your applications - it strengthens your application if you can show you are seeking additional funding.

If you submitted a proposal and are waiting to hear whether it’s been accepted, apply for funding anyway, acknowledging this fact. If you simply want to attend a conference, funding may be limited. See the GPSA options for professional development funding for more information click here on GPSA Funding.

Check out the conference website for specific details about whether the organization sponsors travel for graduate students and first-time participants. Here are some examples—funds may vary by year:

MLA:  Graduate Students Attending the Convention
CCCCs: Funding Opportunities for the CCCC Annual Convention
NCTE: National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Awards

An experienced graduate student advises:
For example, I received funding to present at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo through the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS). Also, some conferences or associations offer graduate student awards - always check the conference websites for this information.

At this time, online students are not eligible for travel awards. See previous question about other travel award venues.

An experienced graduate student advises:
It doesn't hurt to ask. If you have a question about how the application works, be sure to reach out with enough time that people can respond to you.

*Thanks to Meghan Nestel and Kristin Bennett for their tips.