April 25, 2017

Travel (USTF)

The Undergraduate Student Travel Fund (USTF) supports research and scholarly related travel for undergraduates.  Please read the guidelines for applying below, and learn more about the students who have been approved for USTF grants in the past. Click the map to see where our students have gone!

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What travel is covered?

  • Travel to present undergraduate student scholarship at professional events (i.e., conferences, performances, forums, exhibitions). Conference attendance for professional development only (e.g. just attending) is not covered.

Who can apply?:

  • ALL Mason full-time undergraduates are eligible
  • Students must provide evidence of their acceptance to present at the event OR fully justify why funds are needed to support the execution of their research project.
  • Students who have not been previously been funded by USTF are given priority.
  • Students who are traveling to present the results of their URSP, Federal Work Study Research, or RS course results are given priority in funding.

How does the funding work?:

  • Travel funds are allocated by the following guidelines:
    • Local/regional travel: maximum $400
    • National travel: maximum $600
    • International travel: maximum $800
  • Student travel funds can be used to support the following expenses, within reasonable limits:
    • Conference registration fees
    • Air, train, bus, or taxi fare
    • Car or van rental
    • Gas (if traveling by personal vehicle)
    • Hotel lodging expenses
  • Students must be able to pay for the majority of the travel expenses up front, and expenses will be reimbursed to the student once they return.
  • Departments, programs, and colleges may also contribute to the student travel expenses. If any additional travel support is expected from an outside source, please note this on your application.
  • If funding is used for international travel, $50 needs to be budgeted for a travel insurance fee. Students will also need to sign up on the Travel Registration Page.

When do you apply?:

  • Students must apply at least one month before they are scheduled to depart.
  • Applications are reviewed by the Student Scholarly Activities subcommittee at their monthly meetings.
  • Travel support cannot be provided for travel that has already occurred.

Additional suggestions:

  • Students are encouraged to submit their work in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program or in an RS (Research and Scholarship intensive) designated class to professional conferences and events.
  • Please make every effort to reduce expenses (by sharing hotel rooms and transportation costs with other students, for example) so that a larger number of students can be funded.
  • Students should contact the event organizers to see if there are discounts, scholarships, or volunteer opportunities available for undergraduate participants.
  • If you have any questions, please contact us at oscar@gmu.edu.  It's much easier to solve problems before they occur!

Application

Before traveling, the student must:

  1. Complete and submit the online USTF application. Students must apply at least one month before they are scheduled to depart. Applications are reviewed by the Student Scholarly Activities Subcommittee at their monthly meetings. Travel support cannot be provided for travel that has already occurred.
  2. Submit proof of registration or acceptance to the event. This may be presented after the application is submitted, but must be provided to OSCAR before any travel funding is given. You may either submit this by email as a pdf or in person to OSCAR.
  3. All Mason students traveling on university-sponsored or university-related international educational travel are required to purchase international travel insurance through Mason Study Abroad. Go to the Independent Student Travel Registration to register travel and purchase insurance.

After traveling, the student must do the following within two weeks of their return date to be reimbursed for eligible travel expenses:

  1. Complete the USTF Reimbursement Request Form to initiate reimbursement for your trip. Make sure to update your expenses to match the exact amounts on your receipts. Once completed, please print, sign, and submit a paper copy of the form to OSCAR.
  2. Please also submit all original receipts for registration, lodging, taxi and/or airfare, baggage fees, etc. with your USTF Reimbursement Request Form again ensuring that all amounts match.
  3. Send a picture (this does not need to be high quality - a cell phone picture is fine!) of yourself at the event, preferably by your poster, while giving your presentation, or near a sign for the event, to oscar@gmu.edu.

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