Academic Conference Fund

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, University travel is suspended at this time. This suspension applies to both domestic and international travel. Any CSCE, OURS, or Pew FTLC grant requests received during the COVID-19 pandemic are subject to Grand Valley State University’s travel guidelines, supported by recommendations from the CDC and state governmental agencies. Therefore, OURS is NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for conference travel at this time. OURS will resume accepting applications once the travel ban on domestic and international travel has been lifted.


ACF and APEF Procedure for Cancelled Conferences and Academic Meetings Due to Coronavirus

  1. Student and/or faculty grantees need to provide verification from conference or meeting organizers that the meeting was cancelled due to public health concerns. This information should be communicated to OURS via email within three business days of notification.
  2. Within three business days, student and/or faculty grantees need to communicate with airlines, hotels, and hosting associations to see if fees will be reimbursed/recouped. Please provide a detailed list of incurred, recouped, and outstanding costs to OURS. This will serve as documentation if there are outstanding costs.
  3. Student and faculty grantees should contact Shelley Sickrey in OURS if there are uncovered expenses. OURS will apply the ACF or APEF to these expenses, if possible.
  4. If a student and faculty grantee is concerned about this procedure, or has additional questions, please contact Dr. Susan Mendoza at

The Student Senate, the Provost's Office, and the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence have established a fund to support student travel to academic conferences. The Academic Conference Fund (ACF) is available to all undergraduate students who may be looking for one time funding to present/perform at an academic conference that is related to their major, minor, and/or professional goals.

Undergraduate Student Presenters/Performers


About the Award

Presenting an academic project, a creative exhibit, and/or a performance at an academic conference can be a valuable experience which enriches a students understanding of a discipline and subsequent professions. ACF is intended to assist students in presenting/performing such projects.

The purpose of these grants is to encourage student presentations at academic conferences by offsetting the cost of attendance.

The ACF grants are divided into 4 allotments which are distributed equally over the fiscal year (July-September, October-December, January-March, April-June). Proposals that meet established guidelines and quality will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis each quarter until funds are exhausted for the quarter. A student may only receive one ACF grant per fiscal year.* Although grants are non-competitive, each application will be reviewed by the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. More questions? See our ACF FAQs

Awards of up to $600.00 (up to $800.00 for international travel) will be given to those invited to present or perform at a conference/meeting.

Funding eligibility is open to all students who meet the following:

  • Are at least a halftime undergraduate student of Grand Valley State University at time of travel (6 credits for undergraduates)
  • Have the written support from a faculty member who can attest to the quality of the student's work or the academic benefit of attending the conference/meeting
  • Are in good financial and judiciary standing with the University
  • Are in good academic standing with the University
  • Have had their research accepted for a poster or presentation at a professional conference, or whose creative work is accepted for an exhibition or performance at a state, regional, or national competitive, juried event.

All presentations must comply with ethical standards as noted by the Office of Research Compliance and Integrity. This includes receiving the appropriate approvals from the Human Research and Review Committee (HRRC) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Although this is a non-competitive grant, applications will be reviewed by the Director of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship for eligibility, quality, and alignment with the intent of the Academic Conference Fund. Please allow 10 business days for grant application review. See the ACF FAQs Step-By-Step Instructions for a better sense of the entire process.

It is common practice to acknowledge those who have helped you present your work. Logos for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship can be found here. OURS also offers the use of poster tubes for seven days to assist in transporting your poster. They can be checked out in 230 LIB.

See presentations funded by ACF.

How to Apply

Submit your application online. You will need:

  • Your résumé
  • Proof that the paper or creative work has been accepted for presentation: It must come from the conference organizers and include your name, the title of your presentation, and the name of the conference
  • The recommendation of a faculty member who can speak to his/her support of your request for a travel grant, and attest to the quality of the work (be sure to enter the correct GVSU faculty email or your faculty member will not be able to submit the recommendation)



Application Requirements

Submit your online ACF application. Be sure to complete the "Profile" section and the "New Request" section. The "Profile" tells us who you are, and the "New Request" is the application to your conference. Both sections must be complete for a complete application.

Applications will be accepted on a per quarter basis for the July 1-June 30 fiscal year until funds are depleted. Funding awards will be on a first come, first served basis. Applications are due to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship no later than 30 days before the intended travel within the appropriate funding quarter (see table below).

The student applicant needs to complete the online application form. Be sure to go through each screen of the application process. Applications must include your profile information, conference information, resume, proof of acceptance to present at the conference, and a faculty recommendation. There will be space to upload your resume and proof of acceptance to present at the conference. The application system will also ask you to identify a faculty mentor who can provide a recommendation on your behalf. The application system will generate an automatic email to your identified faculty mentor where s/he will login to provide your recommendation. Faculty will be asked to speak to the following: 

  • The student applicant's research and his/her ability to present, exhibit, or perform at a national convention or conference
  • The potential impact of attending such a conference on the applicant's academic and professional development
  • The ability of the student to appropriately represent Grand Valley State University at a local, region, nation, or international conference
  • Overall recommendation


If Conference Is Between:

You Should Apply:

July 1 - September 30

June 1 - August 31

October 1 - December 31

September 1 - November 30

January 1 - March 31

December 1 - February 28

April 1 - June 30

March 1 - May 31

Report & Reimbursement Instructions

There are two components to the reimbursement requirement:

  1. Activities Summary & Reflection Essay (submitted online), and
  2. Travel and Expense (T&E) reimbursement form (original, printed and signed forms submitted to office).


Reimbursement Requirements

The student must login to the original proposal and submit online at within two weeks from the last day of the conference the following (ALL FORMS AND REPORTS MUST BE TYPED).

See below for links to forms and instructional video.

  1. Activities Summary and Reflection Essay:
    • SUBMIT THESE DOCUMENTS ONLINE - You will be asked to complete your actual budget. You will then upload your Activities Summary as a PDF document, and then your Reflection Essay as a PDF document.
      • Activities Summary: Attach a summary of your activity during the conference.  This should include, but not be limited to the sessions, seminars, or exhibits you attended during your time at the conference.  Note: a copy of the conference brochure is not sufficient
      • Reflection Essay: Attach an essay that addresses how this experience has impacted your understanding of the academic discipline and profession.  Also, please address how the conference has enhanced your liberal education and how you intend to maximize the experience.
  2. T&E Reimbursement Form:
    • Submit this ORIGINAL/SIGNED form, along with required receipts, to 230 LIB
    • Follow the Travel Form Instructions and the Travel & Expense Guidelines
    • Complete the appropriate Travel and Expense Form found on the GVSU Travel & Expense Reimbursement web page (the FIRST "Excel file to fill out and print" listed on the page) - PLEASE NOTE: this is an Excel document. You must be using Microsoft Excel or MAC Excel for compatibility. Anything else is not fully supported.
    • Review the T&E EXAMPLE for more instructions on how to complete the form


T&E Reimbursement Process

Use this video guide about how to complete the Travel & Expense (T&E) Form.

Fine Print

To ensure each grant follows the purpose stated in this proposal, funded students will be required to submit online an actual budget summary (form provided online), an Activities Summary (upload your pdf) and a Reflection Essay (upload your pdf) within two weeks from the last day of the conference, in addition to reconciling the monies from the grant. There will be no reimbursement to the student until their submitted Report and Reflection has been approved as meeting the requirements. ALL FORMS MUST BE TYPED. ACF Conference Report and Reflection examples can be found here.

Students must fill out a Travel & Expense form. Please allow 12-15 business days after report approval for reimbursement checks to arrive.

*Students are expected to adhere to GVSU's Student Code. Failure to meet these requirements may result in loss of funding by ACF.
*Grand Valley State University complies with the IRS regulations on reimbursements. Please be sure to review the GVSU Travel Policy and Procedures.
*Students who may have a hardship in waiting for a reimbursement may contact us at with an explanation of your circumstances.

Please note: the ACF grant and the APEF grant are mutually exclusive. You may not receive both funds for the same conference.

*In addition, a student may only receive one ACF grant per fiscal (i.e. Academic) year. If you have an additional conference funding need within the same fiscal year, you are welcome to email Dr. Susan Mendoza.