Conference Travel Grants

Please be aware that applications for student travel grants remain open only as long as funds are available. Qualified applicants are accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Many undergraduate students at the University of St. Thomas are invited to present their research at academic conferences each year. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program supports these presentations by offering a limited number of travel grants for undergraduate students. These grants typically provide funding for air and ground transportation, lodging, meeting registration, meals, and other expenses directly related to the student's attendance at an academic conference. These grants are paid as a reimbursement of actual expenses, after a student has completed his or her travel.* 

IMPORTANT: Applications for Student Travel Grants must be received at least 14 calendar days prior to departure.

The amount of each Student Travel Grant depends upon need and funds available. Students may apply for up to $500, plus an additional $250 to match funding obtained from their academic departments. If you are an eligible applicant, you will receive an initial award of up to $500, based on the budget of projected expenses that you will provide during the application process. If your projected expenses exceed $500, you are strongly encouraged to seek additional funding from your department. If your department is willing to contribute, this Travel Grant Program will match your department's funds dollar-for-dollar, up to an additional $250. 

Example: John receives a travel grant for $500 from the Student Travel Grant Program for a trip that is projected to cost $1,000. He asks his department to help defer his expenses, and his department pledges an additional $250. The Student Travel Grant Program will then match this pledge with an additional grant of $250, making the entire award $750 from the Student Travel Grant Program and $250 from the student's department.

Undergraduate students participating in this grant program are responsible for understanding the full scope of the grant, including deadlines and application materials required, and are also responsible for leading/managing the application and reimbursement process. BEFORE YOU APPLY‌, please ensure that you have read the Travel Grant Policies portion of this website, as well as the information that is provided about the Reimbursement Process.

*If it is a financial hardship for you to pay for expenses up-front and be reimbursed, you encouraged to contact Laura Bru (laura.bru@stthomas.edu or 651-962-6033) to discuss alternative options. It is typically against our policy to pay for travel in advance for students, but we may be able to arrange for some expenses to be prepaid by your department or another source. Please be aware that we are unable to provide students with cash in advance for meals, transportation, or any other anticipated expenses.

Before You Go

As with all UST Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program undergraduate grants, we require you—the undergraduate student who will receive the grant—to take ownership by leading the application and reimbursement processes. The steps you need to take before you go are listed below.

Click on each step to expand the section and read more.

STEP 1: Read the Conference Travel Grant section of this website in its entirety.

You are responsible for all of the information and deadlines provided within these pages, so please make sure you’ve read it. Please also ensure that you've read the section on Travel Grant Policies, so that you have necessary information about spending limits, what is/is not reimbursed, and other important information. 

STEP 2: Make sure you are eligible.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • You must be a degree-seeking student undergraduate at UST.
  • Your travel must take place while you are enrolled at UST, or within three months of graduation.
  • If you are traveling after graduation, the focus of your scholarly presentation must be research that you carried out while enrolled at UST.
  • If you are not graduating immediately, and travelling in the summer, you must indicate your intention to return to UST in the fall semester following your travel.
  • If you are not in compliance with this or any other undergraduate research grant program (for example, if you have not turned in a paper produced with the assistance of an earlier research grant) you are not eligible to receive funding under this program.

STEP 3: Mark your calendar with important dates and deadlines.

You will need to apply for your conference travel grant AT LEAST 14 days in advance of your departure. You will also need to turn in all reimbursement paperwork within 28 days of your return. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to get any necessary department match paperwork—because all information is due within that window. You will not be reimbursed if your paperwork is turned in 29 days or more after your return.

STEP 4: Calculate your budget.

Your Conference Travel Grant application form includes an estimate of costs, which will be the basis for your award. Upon receiving your application, the UROP will verify that your estimated costs are accurate by looking up flight prices, conference registration/lodging information, and calculating meal costs based on the guidelines we’ve provided. If any discrepancies are found, we will offer you an opportunity to re-submit your budget.

By applying for a travel grant, you confirm that you are aware of the following restrictions:

  • Students may be supported for more than one trip per academic year, but in no case will a student receive more than $750 from the Student Travel Grant program in one academic year.
  • The Student Travel Grant will not pay for any alcohol.
  • Rental of a vehicle is absolutely forbidden unless you receive written permission to do so from theUndergraduate Research Opportunities Program prior to your departure. In most cases, rental of a car is not necessary.
  • The Student Travel Grant is intended to pay for regular meals only. Costs relating to snacks, "grazing," late-night outings, and coffee breaks will not be reimbursed.
  • When requesting reimbursement for meals, Student Travel Grant recipients will be reimbursed no more than $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, and $20 for dinner.
  • Food or drink ordered through room service will not be reimbursed.
  • The Student Travel Grant will pay for only essential expenses related exclusively to travel.
  • Student Travel Grants cannot be used to present material that has already been presented at another conference.

A note about funding responsibilities: Recipients of travel grants are strongly encouraged to pay for all of their travel on their own and then seek reimbursement (based on receipts) upon their return to the Twin Cities. Students for whom this would be a financial hardship may ask their sponsoring department (the department where their sponsoring faculty member resides) to pay in advance for airfare and conference registration only. All remaining travel costs (hotel, ground transportation, meals, etc.) will have to be paid by the grant recipient and then reimbursed upon their return to the Twin Cities. If you still expect this to be a financial hardship, please contact Laura Bru at 651-962-6033 or laura.bru@stthomas.edu for suggestions about how you may be able to still make your trip possible. Keep in mind that you will need prior approval from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to be reimbursed for any receipts that are not in your name (for example, if someone other than you is paying for your flight or hotel on their credit card), so ensure that you contact us BEFORE YOU GO, or those expenses will not be reimbursed. Also keep in mind that due to university policy, we are unable to provide you with any form of cash advance to cover meals or incidentals. The total costs (expenses paid by the department + expenses paid directly by the student) must not exceed the total value of the travel award.

As you fill out your budget, keep the following in mind:

  • Eligible applicants are awarded an outright grant of up to $500. If you do not have a department match, the maximum total under “Amount Requested of UROP” will be $500
  • For expenses beyond $500, the UROP will match funds provided by a department up to $250.
  • If your total anticipated travel costs are less than $1000 but more than $500, and you have a department match, you will split the difference 50-50 between your department, and UROP.
  • If your total anticipated travel costs are more than $1000, and you have a department match, the maximum total under “Amount Requested of UROP” will be $750.

STEP 5: Submit your application.

The travel application is submitted in three parts. 

1. The student application form

The student traveler should complete and submit this form. Complete all information fully, including your anticipated travel budget. To submit this form, you will need to upload three documents:

  • A abstract of your research
  • A PDF of the email or letter from the conference organizers confirming that you have been accepted as a presenter
  • A PDF of the confirmation email received from Study Abroad after registering your travel with UST via this link.

Once you have submitted your travel application, you will receive a confirmation notice via email, and your faculty sponsor will receive an email notice requesting their approval.

2. The faculty sponsor approval form

Faculty sponsors are prompted to submit this form when their student submits a new application.

3. The department match approval form

Students who are receiving some funding from their academic department must request that their departments submit this information. Please coordinate with your faculty sponsor to do so.

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the faculty sponsor and the department have the information they need to submit parts 2 & 3 in a timely fashion. All parts of the application must be received at least 14 calendar days before the student's departure date for the application to be reviewed for funding.

STEP 6: Accept your award.

If your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation email outlining the terms of your award. You will need to reply to that email in order to accept your grant. After that, enjoy your trip! And make sure that you keep your receipts.

In order to be reimbursed for any expense, student travel grant recipients must provide an original paper receipt confirming both the actual expenditure and the fact that it was paid for

Please note that itineraries and bills are not valid receipts (hotels and airlines commonly give you a bill indicating the cost of your stay or travel—these do not confirm how much you actually spent). The balance on your airline/hotel receipts must be $0.00, in order to show they have been paid. 

In all cases, students are asked to be responsible stewards of University resources. The Program reserves the right NOT to reimburse any travel grant recipient for expenses deemed excessive.

After reading the steps outlined above, do you still have questions or need help with your application? Email Laura Bru with your question, or to set up a time to meet and discuss it further.

After You Return

After you return from presenting your work, you may submit your receipts for reimbursement. The steps you need to take in order to be reimbursed upon your return are listed below.

Click on each step to expand the section and read more.

STEP 1: Check your deadlines.

You must submit all reimbursement paperwork within 28 days of your return to the Twin Cities. Please remember that grant recipients who turn in their receipts beyond that deadline effectively relinquish their grants and will not be reimbursed for their travel. It is particularly important to plan ahead if you have a department match as part of your grant—you will need to bring evidence that your department has made this match in order for your reimbursement paperwork to be accepted.

STEP 2: Check your receipts.

In order to be reimbursed for any expense, student travel grant recipients must provide an original paper receipt confirming both the actual expenditure and the fact that it was paid for

Please note that itineraries and bills are not valid receipts (hotels and airlines commonly give you a bill indicating the cost of your stay or travel—these do not confirm how much you actually spent). The balance on such receipts must be $0.00. 

In all cases, students are asked to be responsible stewards of University resources. The Program reserves the right NOT to reimburse any travel grant recipient for expenses deemed excessive.

You will be reimbursed according to the budget that you provided in your application. Please refer back to that budget when making your reimbursement request. Please also keep in mind the restrictions and budgeting guidelines that you read in the "Before You Go" section of this site.

STEP 3: Begin filling out your reimbursement form.

Student reimbursement forms can be downloaded from the Purchasing & Payables website. You also should have received a checklist in your original award email, with steps to follow in the reimbursement process (you may also download that form here: Checklist - Upon Your Return).

STEP 4: Get reimbursed for DEPARTMENT funds first.

If your department is not providing a match, you can skip this step. If your department IS providing a match, however, you will need to show that their funds have been paid before UROP will pay any funds. To do this, take your reimbursement form and applicable receipts to the budget-responsible person in your department. (Make sure you do this well in advance of the 28-day deadline!) That person will fill out the Index and Account information for the amount that is being covered by your department. (Remember that your department can pay any amount that they would like; we will match their funds up to $250, and will reimburse that amount along with the $500 we're providing as your grant.) Have that person sign the reimbursement form. Then, bring it to the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Office, as evidence that the department match has been made.

As you fill out your reimbursement form, please remember that you do not need to fill in the table with Index, Account, Activity, Location and Expenses Charged fields. That table will be completed by your department.

STEP 5: Get reimbursed by UROP for your travel grant.

Once you have the matching funds applied by your department (if applicable), you can submit your reimbursement to the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Bring it along with original receipts to Laura Bru in room 326 Aquinas.

As you fill out your reimbursement form, please remember that you do not need to fill in the table with Index, Account, Activity, Location and Expenses Charged fields. That table will be completed by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

Do you have questions or need help with the reimbursement process? Email Laura Bru with your question, or to set up a time to meet and discuss it further.

Conference Travel Grant Application

Before you submit your online application, please ensure that you have read both the "Before You Go" and "After You Return" sections above for necessary information about deadlines, allowable expenses, and other key information.

To apply, complete the online conference travel application, including all required attachments.

Your completed application packet will include:

  • A fully completed form.
  • An abstract of your research.
  • Confirmation from the conference verifying that you have been accepted as a presenter. Save the email or scan the letter as a digital file to upload.
  • Confirmation that you registered your travel with UST via this link. Save the email as a digital file to upload.
  • Confirmation of a financial match, if your department is providing one, submitted here.
  • Confirmation from a faculty member confirming that they approve of you traveling to present at this conference, submitted here.

Please keep in mind that your completed application packet is due at least 14 days before your departure.