Travel Awards

Quick info

To apply for a GPC Conference Presentation Travel Award (CPTA), please complete this MU Engage form.

To apply for a GPC Professional Development Travel Award (PDTA), please complete this MU Engage form.

All materials must be submitted digitally by 5pm on the due date via the applicable MU Engage form.


Application Cycle Dates

Travel Ending Between: Application Due by 5:00pm on: Award Results Emailed on:
Sep 15, 2021 – Jul 15, 2022 Oct 8th, 2021 Oct 22nd, 2021
Jan 15, 2022 – Oct 15, 2022 Feb 4th, 2022 Feb 18th, 2022
Mar 15, 2022 – Jan 15, 2023 Apr 8th, 2022 Apr 22nd, 2022


About the Two Award Types

This academic year, GPC will give out around $70,000 in conference presentation travel awards and $20,000 in professional development travel awards to MU graduate and professional students. Both awards are post-travel awards- that is, awards are processed as reimbursements after you return from your trip.

The Conference Presentation Travel Award (CPTA) is designed to assist MU graduate and professional students who are representing the University of Missouri by presenting research papers, posters, or creative works at conferences. The award is not a research grant and cannot be used as such, but is rather a reimbursement for travel associated with academic or professional work. The maximum amount awarded to an applicant is $600, but the majority of awards are less than this due to the large number of applicants each cycle.

The Professional Development Travel Award (PDTA) is intended to cover some of the costs for students to attend conferences when the primary purpose of their attendance is professional development (i.e. they are not presenting their own work at the conference). Examples of these conferences include workshops, events where you are an invited speaker (when costs of the trip are not already covered by the inviter), and conferences you attend as an officer of a professional organization. Prior to July 1, 2018, this award was offered by the Graduate Student Association (GSA). The maximum award amount is $200.

Wet labs for veterinary and medical students may be submitted to either the CPTA or the PDTA.

Note: Per GPC’s Bylaws, individual students in Represented Areas that are not in “Good Standing” for the semester of the travel award cycle are eligible for at most 50% of the maximum travel award. See this page for the list of Represented Areas currently in Good Standing.

Choosing a Cycle

If your conference end date falls within two cycles, GPC generally recommends that you apply for the first cycle you are eligible for since if you are denied funding you may apply again for the same trip during the next cycle. However, if one application would be due before you actually attend the conference and the next available cycle would be after your trip, remember to take into account the relative strength of your application before you actually experience the conference vs. after you return to maximize your likelihood of being awarded a higher amount. If you choose to reapply during a later cycle, you will be permitted to revise your application materials.

Below are two timing examples:

Example 1- Trip ends on October 30, 2018

You have the option of submitting an application by October 5, 2018 or by February 1, 2019. If you are denied funding for the October cycle, then you are allowed to apply again for the same trip (or, of course, a different trip) during the February cycle. If you are denied funding for the February cycle, then GPC will not fund your trip that ended October 30, 2018, regardless of whether or not you submitted an application on October 5, 2018.

Example 2- Trip ends on October 5, 2018

You may only apply for the October 5 due date. Unfortunately, you cannot apply for the two later cycles. These cycles were designed with the intention of balancing the travel award budget before every application due date.


Any person who is a MU graduate or professional student at the time of application is eligible to apply for a GPC travel award, but GPC will perform reimbursements for only one of each type of travel award per student per academic year (i.e. maximum one CPTA and one PDTA per academic year). Each student may submit a maximum of one entry per award type per cycle, where only one trip can be included in a single entry. Students are permitted to apply to both award types in the same cycle if they attended two conferences, but each conference will of course only be eligible for one of the award types.

Note: Wet labs for veterinary and medical students can be submitted for the CPTA.

Eligible Expenses

GPC can only fund your share of the following expenses:

  • Transportation costs via automobile mileage or airfare to destination
    • For automobile mileage, GPC will reimburse mileage at $0.37 per mile (or the university rate in effect at the time of travel) up to a maximum of $150.
  • Lodging costs
  • Conference registration fees
    • Includes the membership fee if the membership fee plus the conference fee for members is less than the conference fee for non-members.
  • In-state airport shuttle expenses (e.g. Mo-X)
  • Reasonable ground transportation expenses (e.g. Uber/Lyft/taxi between the airport, lodging, and conference venue), excluding transportation in Missouri.

GPC cannot fund travel-related expenses for:

  • Rental cars
  • Out-of-state airport shuttles
  • Gas receipts
  • Airport parking
  • Automobile mileage to the airport
  • Meals
  • Entertainment
  • General allowance
  • Travel visas
  • Presentation preparation materials

Application Criteria

The amount awarded is based on the quality of the application relative to other applications in that cycle. The GPC Finance Committee judges the quality of each application based on professionalism (spelling and grammar, appropriate word usage, formatting, compliance with instructions etc.) and the completeness of the application materials as specified below.

Application Materials

An application is considered complete if and only if it contains the following items:

  • Application form
  • Statement of intent
  • Letter of recommendation (Conference Presentation Travel Award only)

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Travel receipts should not be included with the application.

Application form

Besides evaluating responses for thoroughness and accuracy, GPC also considers the efforts made to minimize transportation and lodging costs, and efforts made to secure alternative sources of funding.

Statement of Intent

The statement of intent should be titled “Statement of Intent- [Your Full Name]” and submitted as a .pdf file within the MU Engage form. Write the statement for a lay audience, not experts in your field. Be thorough but concise. Your statement of intent must discuss the following:

  • The content of your presentation in non-technical language (Conference Presentation Award only)
  • The importance of the conference/event to you personally
  • The importance of the conference/event to you professionally
  • Why you are attending this specific conference/event

Veterinary and medical students attending wet labs should describe in non-technical language the content of the wet lab and the procedures you will be performing.

Three example statements of intent are linked below. These are actual statements submitted in the past by students for the CPTA. The Finance Committee thought these statements fulfilled all requirements, and these students received the maximum award amount. Permission to post these examples was obtained by GPC, and names have been removed for privacy.

Letter of Recommendation (CPTA only)

Due to the fact that many students’ applications got disqualified because professors did not send in their recommendation letters, GPC asks students to secure a signed recommendation letter from their nominator and then upload that letter with their application starting April 2020.

The letter of recommendation should be signed by the nominator (with e-signature or similar authorization), titled “Letter of Recommendation- [Your Full Name]” and should be attached as a .pdf file on your MU Engage application. It is the student’s responsibility to inform their recommender of when the application is due and what the letter should contain, and it is the student’s responsibility to attach that signed letter to their application before completing their application.

The recommender should be a faculty member who is familiar with the student’s academic experience. Their letter should discuss the following:

  • The importance of the conference to the student
    • For veterinary and medical students attending wet labs, the letter should instead discuss the importance of the wet lab to the student
  • The quality of the student

After the Review Process

After the Finance Committee has reviewed applications, award winners will be notified via e-mail by the GPC Treasurer. Applicants who are denied funding will receive a notice, but GPC is not required to give a reason for denial of funding.

Award winners must submit all requested documentation, including a copy of the award letter and original receipts for travel costs, to the location and person(s) described in the award letter. For applications awarded before travel has concluded, receipts will be due within 30 days of your return. For applications awarded for travel that has already concluded, receipts are due within 30 days of award notification. Again, do not submit any receipts until requested, but keep in mind that proper documentation submitted in a timely manner will be required to receive an award.

Alternative Sources of Funding

GPC strongly encourages schools and departments to help fund their students’ conference travel. GPC does not reimburse schools or departments for money they spend, through their budgets or faculty grants, for students to attend conferences. Travel awards will be dispensed only as direct reimbursements to award winners for expenses they must pay themselves. Award letters will provide further details. In addition to applying for GPC travel funding, students are encouraged to contact their departmental ORG representative for information on seeking other sources of funding.

An Opportunity to Present Locally

GPC gives students an opportunity to present on the MU campus through the Research and Creative Activities Forum (RCAF), hosted early in March each year. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the RCAF as it allows you to gain presentation experience, to receive feedback from judges, and to be awarded cash prizes (cash prizes are awarded to the top presenters in each division). For more information, you can go to the RCAF Page or contact