GAPSA travel grant funding almost out

There is only $600 left for professional travel, with half a year left.

by Cali Owings

With only $600 left in the grants budget and a whole semester to go, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly is running out of funds for professional travel.
These $200 grants are to be used by students for travel to professional opportunities beyond their program requirements, like conferences and volunteer trips. GAPSA also awards grants for scholarly travel.
GAPSA had not begun refusing many grant applications until this month, and applications quickly depleted the $12,000 fund, Tyler Price, vice president of finance, said.
He said the majority of travel graduate students will do is scholarly, like presenting at a conference or any other opportunity to showcase their academic work.
GAPSA devotes $81,000 to grant funding for scholarly and professional travel, academic events and social events for groups. Of these grant programs, professional travel receives the least amount of funding.
But with $5,000 in unused grant funding set aside for the Nursing College Board, professional travel grants might still be available next semester.
GAPSA sets aside funding for each of the councils to apply for throughout the year and the nursing council chose not to apply this year, Price said.
The grants committee will recommend they move that money into their budget for professional travel and their request will be brought to the general assembly for approval.
The grants committee received 43 applications for professional travel in December, of which 15 were denied, in contrast to scholarly applications, for which all 23 requests were granted.
Grant applications are evaluated out of 24 points. Students must usually score at least 12 points to be eligible for consideration.
Most of the applications that were denied did not meet the minimum requirements for the three short essays the grants committee evaluates for the application.
Students are asked to explain their proposal, define professional development and describe how they will share their knowledge with other graduate and professional students.
Price said a big issue for the grants committee is the number of students applying for travel grants for the Asylum Law Project, an opportunity for first-year law students to provide legal assistance to political refugees seeking asylum.
For December, more than two-thirds of professional travel applications came from students working with the Asylum Law Project, and 13 of those were denied.
âÄúIf we were to award all of them âĦ we would basically be using that budget well before the end of the semester,âÄù Price said, âÄúmaking students who apply after that date ineligible just because no money exists.âÄù
Heather LaChapelle, a first-year graduate student studying public policy, received a professional travel grant in December to travel to Arizona over winter break. LaChapelle and other students in the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs will assist a local Catholic charity in the evaluation of their financial literacy program.
âÄúThis is a chance to really help a program that might not otherwise be able to afford to pay a professional to come in and evaluate what they are doing,âÄù she said.
For LaChapelle and the other students headed to Arizona, grants make up a large part of how they plan to fund their trip. She said at this point, they are each paying just $100 out-of-pocket because of the grants they have secured.
âÄúItâÄôs a great service to students here who wouldnâÄôt even consider going to conferences or trips because they wouldnâÄôt be able to afford it in addition to the rising costs of tuition,âÄù she said.