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Graduate Student Travel Award

Funded by: Graduate Student Association

GSA Travel Award Guidelines

*Funding is disbursed as a reimbursement after travel.

The WCU Graduate Student Association will provide up to $16,000 in funding during the academic year to graduate students who will represent Western Carolina University at regional and national/international conferences, professional organization meetings, etc. See complete list below. Travel awards are for a maximum of $500 for an individual. The Executive Board officers of the Graduate Student Association reserve the right to approve the request in part or in full. A committee including at least two Executive Board officers of the Graduate Student Association will approve applications. All approvals or denials will have a brief description provided by the Executive Officers.

General Focus: GSA travel funds support WCU graduate students' scholarly/artistic/professional development by assisting with costs related to travel to regional and national/international events.


Although GSA supports experiential activities, some experiential activities include travel which is not eligible for the GSA Travel Award. For example, travel expenses related to Study Abroad courses, Practicums, Clinicals, Internships, etc., are not eligible for GSA reimbursement.

To be eligible for consideration, the student must be enrolled at WCU as a graduate student in good academic standing at the time of the application and travel. Good academic standing is defined as a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students are only eligible for one travel award per academic year (1 June - 31 May).

Award Deadlines:

The application and all application documentation or cost estimates must be submitted by the application deadline each semester. Review and approval of applications will happen at the first Executive Committee meeting following the deadline.

Travel Dates Application Cycle Submission Deadline
1 June through 31 December Fall 15 October 2024
1 November through 31 May Spring 14 February 2025

GSA reviews applications after the posted deadlines for each cycle. GSA does not review applications outside of the fall and spring application cycles nor do they review spring applications early during the fall cycle. Spring cycle applications will be reviewed after the 15 February deadline.

Students can submit an application by the spring semester deadline for a fall conference or event under the condition that the event did not occur before the fall 16 October deadline. (e.g. A conference which happened in late November can have a travel award request filled out by 15 February.)

 Application Process

Students must complete the Graduate Student Travel Award Application. Please use the personal link provided to you in the email announcement and reminders we send. You can contact the Graduate School at 828.227.7398 or via email at if you have any questions. Each student traveling and requesting funding must complete the application. No group applications accepted.

Documentation must be included with the travel award application and all scans or screenshots must be legible.

Students must include:

  • Program Faculty Sponsor's name and email address
  • Proof of acceptance or invitation from the sponsoring organization if presenting
  • Conference/event information (The first page of the website announcing the conference will provide much of  the conference information below.)
    • Event Name
    • Event Location
    • Event Date
    • Registration fee
    • Actual or estimated hotel and airfare costs
    • Other items or estimates such as mileage, Uber/taxi, rail, etc.
  • Complete receipts (all pages) showing who was paid, what was paid, and that you paid the cost. If you have not traveled yet, an estimated cost of all the expenses noted above will be fine for application review.

Documentation must be included with the travel award request if you have already traveled.

Use this checklist to help you prepare your application.

Award Conditions:
Funding is determined based on the priority system. Travel grants may only be used to cover travel expenses for airfare, receipt required; mileage calculated if you are driving; lodging, receipt required; and/or conference registration fees, receipt required. The priority system is as follows for graduate students who are:

  1. Presenting scholarly or creative work at a conference, juried exhibition, etc.
  2. Accepting an award from a professional organization or academic institution.
  3. Competing in an academic competition at a regional or national/international level.
  4. Participating in a seminar, workshop, training program or another form of professional development not previously listed above which provides hands-on experience not available at Western Carolina University (WCU) that is directly related to one's major. Applicant must explain the benefit of expertise gained.
  5. Attending a regional or national/international conference, exhibition, studio visit etc. associated with one’s program.

GSA has implemented a point system to provide transparency to the award process.

Proposals for the following will not be considered: Professional development to address skills required by your current position or equipment/books required by your current position/major.

Notification of Award Request:
Applicants will be notified of the GSA Executive Board’s decision via email approximately one (1) month following the deadline if not sooner. If the request is approved, please be sure the receipt lists you as the person who paid the vendor.  If the request is denied, the reason for the denial will be included in the notification email. Requests denied due to lack of information may not be resubmitted.

The GSA Executive Officers will also create a ranked waitlist of requests in the event that additional funds become available. If you are approved for funding and your plans change and you cannot attend, please inform Kate Roche as soon as possible so that we can fund a student from the waitlist.

For more information, please contact:
Kate Roche
Graduate School and Research
110 Cordelia Camp Building
Cullowhee, NC  28723



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