APPLICATION PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES


 

****IMPORTANT: Before applying you must read this entire document or your application will be at risk for being denied. GSG reserves the right to change the policies outlined below at any time.****

Program Overview

The purpose of the GSG Conference Travel Program is to partially reimburse the expenses incurred by graduate students who travel to conferences that are related to the student’s major field of study. The GSG Travel Grant Program is to be considered supplemental to other sources of funding, and should be applied to only when all other funding options (including funding from their department) have failed to provide them with adequate resources.

To this end, applicants are required to seek travel funds from their departments, advisors, and/or other outside sources first, and must provide proof of their efforts when submitting their travel grants (e.g. in the form of letters or e-mails approving and/or denying funding).

The travel grant program currently does not fund travel to job or career fairs.

Qualifications

1. Applicant must be a registered graduate student of USC at the time of the conference.

2. Applicant must have paid the Student Programming Fee.

3. Applicant must meet the criteria of Category 1 or 2.

  • Category 1- Participant

i. Defined as an applicant who presented original work or took a leadership role for the conference in a conference related to their major field of study.

ii. This participation must be verifiable through official conference documentation such as applicant name in the program.

  • Category 2-Attendee

i. The graduate student must attend a conference related to their major field of study.

Travel Grant Application Dates

You can apply multiple times within one GSG Fiscal Year.

IMPORTANT FISCAL YEAR INFORMATION (PLEASE READ)!

Fiscal Year Examples

 The University Fiscal Year runs from July 1-June 30. Since travel grants applications are accepted on a rolling basis but are also first-come first-serve, each year has been divided into four funding cycles to ensure that graduate students are able to receive funds. All dates are inclusive.

Summer I: July 1 – Day before the first day of classes

Fall: First day of classes – December 31

Spring: January 1 – Commencement

Summer II: Day after Commencement – June 30

To find the exact dates, please see USC’s academic calendar:http://academics.usc.edu/calendar/

Should travel occur across funding periods OR across the fiscal year, the travel shall be considered to be a part of the period or fiscal year in which the majority of the conference takes place. Should the conference fall equally on both sides of a funding period (e.g. December 30-January 2), the conference shall be considered to have taken place in the later travel period. Should the conference fall equally on both sides of the fiscal year (e.g. June 29-July 2), the applicant should e-mail gsgvp@usc.edu as far in advance as possible, as the fiscal year determination will be made by USC’s Finance and Budget Office (GSG is unauthorized to make that determination).

Fiscal Year Allocations

Students are capped at the following amounts per conference:

  • Domestic Conference Attendee: $250

  • Domestic Conference Presenter: $500

  • International Conference Attendee: $500

  • International Conference Presenter: $1000

Please note that students may only receive a maximum of $500 in travel grants for domestic conferences in a given fiscal year, and $1000 in total travel grants in a given fiscal year.

Deadlines

Students may apply in advance of their conference in order to secure funding. Please note, however, that such early application will still require the student to submit receipts for flights and hotels in order to complete the application process. Pre-approval applications without receipts will not be considered. Students may apply up to six months in advance of a conference.

Students have 14 days from the last day of the conference to submit an application. Late applications will not be considered.

Students have 10 days to submit any requested missing or additional information. Barring an emergency, late submissions of additional information will not be accepted and will result in the forfeiture of the student’s application.

WHAT QUALIFIES AS AN EXPENSE?

Type of Expense

Maximum Limit

Conference registration

$500

Airfare (Must include class of travel, i.e. coach)

$500 for domestic/$1000 for international flights

Transportation (Train or Bus)

$500

Rental Car Payment

$35/day for up to 4 days

Rental Car Fuel*

$200

Parking

$10/day for up to 4 days

Lodging

$500 total*

Personal Car Mileage*
(Subject to change)

$0.56/mile

Lodging costs must be spread out over multiple days and/or the cost of lodging for one night must not equal $500.

Rideshares and taxis are only eligible between airport, hotel, and conference location. A Google Map with directions and mileage must be included with the receipt.

WHAT DOES NOT QUALIFY AS AN EXPENSE?

Please see the table below.

**NOTE: GSG no longer reimburses for food.**

What is a Non-Expense?

Why?

Any Non-Conference Related Expenses

Expense is not related to conference.

Excessive Mileage Instead of Using Public Transport

Public Transport should be used when it is cheaper option.

Transportation During a Conference

This transportation is used for extracurricular activities at conferences.

Room Incidentals

GSG does not fund Telephone Calls, Movie Charges, Safe Rental, etc.

Alcohol Purchases

It is a University policy that GSG cannot reimburse anyone for the purchase of alcohol.

Shared Expenses

See note on Shared Expenses below.

Any Expenses that were covered by other Sources

Do not submit expenses that were covered by departments or other grants.

Any Expense without an Original Receipt

You must submit a receipt with all submitted expenses.

Shared Expenses: A Note

If you split a room with other conference attendees, you must pay for your portion of the room (i.e. with cash or credit card) and obtain your own itemized receipt.

You must ask the hotel to print an itemized receipt for ONLY your portion of the cost of the room. If another person pays and you reimburse him or her directly, we cannot reimburse you for this expense.

Likewise, all expenses submitted must use a credit card in your name. Exceptions can be made if you are an authorized account user on a spouse’s account.

WHAT QUALIFIES AS A RECEIPT?

As a rule, a receipt indicates proof of payment (a transaction amount AND how the transaction was paid). The receipt must show last four digits of a credit card number or bank account number. If the receipt does not have payment information (last 4 digits of cc number) you must also include a bank statement showing the transaction.

Receipts must be itemized, or the purchase must otherwise be obviously stated on the receipt (e.g.

Receipts in foreign currencies must be accompanied by a conversion into USD for the date the expense occurred. We recommend using  https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/.

Receipts in foreign languages must be accompanied by a line-by-line translation; otherwise the USC Financial and Business Services office may reject the receipt.

To expedite the process, we strongly encourage all travelers to use the same credit or debit card for all purchases, or otherwise minimize the number of different cards used.

EXAMPLES:

  • VISA XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-1234

  • A bank statement that shows the transaction + the last digits of the account number

NOTE ON PROOF OF PAYMENT: Black out the first digits of any account numbers and the address.

ORIGINAL RECEIPTS

Copies of original receipts will NOT be accepted & will be rejected by the Finance and Budget Office. When submitting your final paperwork, please make a copy for yourself and submit the original receipts.

FOR HOTEL

  •  Itemized hotel bill with the credit card payment terms (balance need not show zero)

  • Must be per guest if sharing a room

FOR CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

  • Letter receipt stating “paid” (e.g. letter confirming receipt of payment for registration)

  • Original invoice showing method of payment and balance due as zero

FOR TRANSPORTATION

  • Airline ticket receipt and original boarding pass showing proof of payment

  • If transportation tickets are purchased online, E-tickets showing proof of payment

  • Itinerary (showing travel dates and proof of payment)

  • If you rent a car, please submit receipts for rental car fuel and rental car payment.

FOR PERSONAL MILEAGE

  • Mapquest or Google map printout showing distance from your home/hotel to the conference.

EXCEPTIONS

The following combinations of copies, printouts and original documents will be considered original receipts for the following expenses:

Airfare Purchased Online

• Screen printout of online order showing proof of payment + original boarding passes

• Screen printout of online order showing proof of payment +Email confirmation + proof of payment

• Screen printout + proof of payment

Lodging Booked Online

• Lodging Booked and Paid for Online (E.g. Priceline, Hotwire, etc.)

• Screen printout showing the daily rate and dates of stay PLUS proof of payment** as defined below

Conference Registration Paid for Online

• Screen printout of online order PLUS proof of payment** as defined below OR

• Email confirmation PLUS proof of payment** as defined below

How to Apply

 Go to Travel Grant and register or login (if you have previously registered).

***IMPORTANT NOTES FOR APPLICATION***

  • Make sure the address you provide for your GSG Travel Grants Website Profile is OFF- CAMPUS. GSG cannot mail a reimbursement check to a USC address.

  • Your abstract must be under 2000 words, make sure you check before you copy and paste.

  • For presenters, proof that you presented is required. This would include a letter inviting you to present and a program book with your name listed.

  • Please upload this proof that you presented along with your receipts.

  • It is required that all applicants attempt to seek outside funding and provide proof of their efforts in their applications. Proof of efforts include letters or e-mails awarding or denying funding. If funding is denied by a USC funding source, academic department, advisor, or principal investigator, it must be accompanied with a reason why.

  • It is required that you submit any departmental funding you may have received. You MUST inform GSG of outside funding (or attempts to get outside funding) if you wish to receive travel grant reimbursement. Possible sources include your advisor, PI, department, the USC graduate school, the conference itself, and outside organizations.

  •  Do not print forms or attach receipts double-sided (only single-sided).

  •  IMPORTANT: Make sure you save copies of your receipts. Scanned copies for your records are best. On rare occasions, application have been lost, and without copies of your receipts, we cannot re-process you reimbursement.

You were approved…now what??

HOW LONG UNTIL I RECEIVE MY TRAVEL GRANT?

Once these documents are processed by GSG, we will submit them to the appropriate USC offices to process your payment. This process will take about 8-12 weeks. Note that this timeline varies person to person. For some it will be much shorter, for others it will be longer. Please be patient while we process your application and reimbursement.

HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY TRAVEL GRANT?

Payment is usually processed in check form. Students who are currently enrolled in direct deposit set up with USC (e.g. if you receive a stipend or have an on-campus job) should be paid using this method. Once your check is processed, you will receive a call from the GSG office asking you to pick up the check.

Students are required to come to the GSG office to pick up their check. As checks do not expire for 180 days after being issued, the only exception to this rule is if, due to medical or geographic reasons (e.g. studying abroad), a student is unable to come to the GSG office within the 180 days following the approval of their application. Please e-mail gsgvp@usc.edu if you are unable to pick up a check to determine alternate means of receiving your reimbursement.

For Further Information:

Please see the FAQs on the GSG website (Travel Grants FAQ) or email gsgvp@usc.edu