Academic Conference Fund FAQs

Questions Regarding Eligibility/Application

What needs to accompany my application?
Application forms must be accompanied by:

  1. Your résumé
  2. Proof that the paper or creative work has been accepted for presentation
    1. It must come from the conference organizers and include your name, the title of your presentation, and the name of the conference
  3. 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)

*Your application will not be reviewed until we receive all of the necessary components.

How long does it take to review my application?
Please allow 10 business days to review applications. You will be notified via email once the review is complete.

My conference begins in less than 30 days. Can I still apply?
ACF applications need to be submitted, at a minimum, 30 days before the conference. We do allow students to submit a waiver of this rule via email ( if circumstances prevented them from applying in time. The email should include justification for the waiver in the request, i.e., an explanation as to why the application would be submitted late.

Does ACF fund student organizations?
No; individuals receiving funds from the Academic Conference Fund may not also directly benefit from organization funding for the same trip provided to Registered Student Organizations through the Student Life Fund. Student Organizations have funding available through the Council and Funding Boards. Details can be found here:

Are presenters fulfilling a class requirement eligible for the award?
No; if the student presenting at the conference is doing so as a class requirement, they are not eligible to receive funds.

What does it mean to be "in good academic standing with the university?"
Each student must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 2.000 or higher to be in good standing

Are students who are attending a conference or meeting as a participant only, eligible for funding?
No; participants are no longer eligible. Presenters who have proof of acceptance or an invitation to present at an academic conference or meeting are eligible to apply for ACF. Participants can receive funds through APEF.

Can my professor also apply for the APEF grant for me?
No; the ACF and APEF grants can no longer be combined for further funding.

Can I use APEF for one conference and ACF for a different conference?
Yes; however, students can only receive one of each grant per fiscal year.

What questions does the application ask of me?
The application asks you to:

  1. Please describe:
    -the conference you will be attending (what organization is holding the conference, whether or not is it a scholarly venue, etc.)
    -the particular section or panel in which your presentation has been accepted
  2. Please explain what contribution to the scholarly community your research or project will make (500 word minimum):
  3. Please give a short bibliography of the literature referenced in the presentation. Also, please describe scholarly dialogue to which you will contribute:
  4. Please clearly describe and discuss your learning goals, including how this presentation relates to and advances your academic plans and intellectual development:

What does my professor need to write about in the recommendation?
The application asks faculty to write about:

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

Questions Regarding Travel

When will I get my reimbursement check?
Please allow 12-15 business days to process reimbursements. This allows for review and approval of your report and reflection, for us to submit a request to the accounting department, and for the accounting department's 7-10 business day processing time.

May I have someone else purchase my plane ticket?
Yes, BUT - only the person who purchased the ticket can be reimbursed the ticket. It is preferred that you make all purchases yourself for one complete reimbursement.

What if I am sharing a hotel room with another person?
If you are sharing a hotel room, then ask the desk clerk to split the bill at check-out. Many hotels are used to doing this. Be insistent if you must.

What if I cannot wait for a reimbursement?
Contact us at with an explanation of your circumstances. We cannot give travel advances through our office, but we will see what we can do on a case-by-case circumstance.

Step-By-Step Application Instructions for Academic Conference Fund Travel Grants


1. Apply for funding
Apply Online. You will need to upload your résumé and proof of acceptance to present at the conference. You will also enter the email address of the faculty member who will be asked to serve as a recommendation on your application.

2. Notification of Award
Applicants will be notified by email within 10 business days of the status of their grant application. Successful applicants will be sent an award letter and FERPA release that must be returned to 230 Mary Idema Pew Library to accept the award within 5 business days of grant notification.


3. Prepare reimbursement documents
All receipts must be submitted within 10 business days from the last day of the conference. See the University Travel web page for acceptable reimbursements.

4. Follow the directions
The student must submit to OURS within two weeks from the last day of the conference the following (ALL FORMS AND REPORTS MUST BE TYPED):

  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

Grand Valley State University complies with the IRS regulations on reimbursements. Please be sure to review the GVSU Travel Policy and Procedures. All GVSU travel must adhere to the Travel & Expense Guidelines.