GPSC grants to help grad students travel

By J. Ferguson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Graduate and Professional Student Council's travel grant program may be an answer to bridging the gap in a shrinking pie of funding for graduate student travel.

This year, GPSC will be awarding more than $50,000 in travel grants to students who are attending or presenting research at academic or professional conferences, said GPSC President Elaine Ulrich.

The grants have a maximum value of $500.

GPSC received a massive increase in its travel grants budget this year, which it runs in cooperation with the graduate college, said Ulrich, a philosophy doctoral student.

GPSC external affairs vice president Paul Thorn said the large increase in the travel grant budget primarily came after the GPSC met with members of the Dean of Students Office and convinced them to increase funding.

"Basically they agreed we needed more money," said Thorn, a philosophy doctoral student.

The increase, which will allow more students to attend conferences, almost doubled GPSC's travel budget, increasing to $50,800 this year from last year's $28,600 budget, said Thorn.

Last year, 303 students applied for travel grants, and in 2003, 151 students applied for funding. Considering these figures, the grants issued this year will fall short of helping every student, Thorn said.

"It's still not enough," he said.

Ulrich estimated about 40 percent of applicants would receive funding this year.

The travel grant budget will receive any remaining funds in the spring that are left over from other GPSC programs, Ulrich said.

"Any money we don't spend in other programs will go towards travel grants," Ulrich said.

The program offers six deadlines throughout the year to apply for funding, Ulrich said.

GPSC added two new deadlines to offer summer funding for students. Saturday is the next deadline for applying for travel grants.

According to the GPSC Web site, there are three criteria for eligibility: Applicants must be currently enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program at the UA, they must be in good academic standing and must complete all forms in their specified format.