A new travel grant will reimburse doctoral students up to $1,000 for research-related travel expenses beginning July.
Students who qualify for the Conference, Research and Professional Development Travel Grant Program can request reimbursement for travel-related expenses, including airfare, hotel and conference registration fees, said Robin Garrell, dean of UCLA’s graduate division.
The grant will be available from students’ first through seventh year in their program starting in July 2016 for continuing doctoral students and in fall 2016 for new doctoral students.
The grant aims to help students attend academic and professional conferences and conduct off-campus research and fieldwork, Garrell said.
Garrell said the amount of funding given to students for travel-related expenses has varied across departments in the past.
The new grant ensures a $1,000 fund without students having to go through their departments, Garrell said. She added she thinks the grant will give students an equal opportunity to receive funding, regardless of their department or the nature of their research.
She added some department research grants do not cover conferences.
“Many students want to attend a number of these conferences to network with potential mentors or employers (and) be exposed to new research,” she said.
Doctoral students whose research-related travel has already been funded by fellowships or other travel grant programs are not eligible for the full amount of the new grant, Garrell said. These students are only eligible for the difference between the total amount they have already received and $1,000, she said.
Anne Blackstock-Bernstein, a doctoral student in human development and psychology and co-chair of the Graduate Student Association’s education council, said she has spoken to students in her council to get feedback about the grant.
Blackstock-Bernstein said some students told her they didn’t think the current funding distribution for travel expenses was equal and are glad this grant is now available.
However, she said some students think there will now be a cap on their travel funding, since they will only qualify for some or none of the guaranteed funds.
Garrell said she thinks the new grant will not limit the travel funding students can obtain. Students can receive additional funding through other sources such as research grants, fellowships and department donor funds, she said.
To be reimbursed, eligible students need to complete an online form and provide receipts of their expenses, Garrell said.
Garrell added students in the law, medicine and dentistry doctoral programs are not eligible for the grant because those schools are not under the direction of graduate division.