SECTION I. THE GPSA TRAVEL AND RESEARCH SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM

A. MISSION STATEMENT

The GPSA’s Research, Travel, and Professional Development Sponsorship Program shall support projects which directly affect a student’s degree program or make a considerable contribution to their field of study.

B. PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The GPSA has established a Sponsorship Program which will assist enrolled graduate and professional students to purchase research materials, present their work at national/international conferences, and partake in professional development opportunities that support completion of requirements for their degree program. The primary purpose of the Sponsorship Program is to support the research and professional development of UNLV’s student scholars. Preference will be given to students working on research projects that will be applied to their final thesis/dissertation manuscript. Applications will be open year-round and reviewed by the Sponsorship Committee (henceforth referred to as the Committee) on a monthly basis. Applications chosen for GPSA sponsorship shall be funded upon the Committee’s decision via grant through the Office of Financial Aid. Award recipients are required to present their funded project at the Annual Graduate & Professional Student Research Forum and complete a program survey at the end of the semester to remain eligible for future funding from any GPSA program.

C. PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION & BUDGET

The GPSA President, with guidance from the GPSA Executive Board and Manager / Advisor, shall present the projected budget allocation to the GPSA Council for approval. Program minimums require $150,000 be allocated to this program annually for sponsorship. The total monetary and award amounts shall be determined and reevaluated on a yearly basis according to the projected GPSA budget, revenues, and expenditures as well as additional funding sources. Fiscal year allocations shall be published on the sponsorship website in the month of September.

The GPSA Research, Travel, and Professional Development Sponsorship Program (henceforth referred to as the Sponsorship Program) will be administered in accordance with this policy by the Sponsorship Committee of the Graduate and Professional Student Association.

SECTION II. ELIGIBILITY, DEADLINES, AND LIMITATIONS

A. ELIGIBILITY FOR SPONSORSHIP

To qualify for the Sponsorship Program, students must be officially admitted to and currently enrolled in a UNLV graduate and/or professional degree program at the time of award. Students must have completed (or have in progress) at least six graduate/professional credit hours and maintain both enrollment and a 3.0 GPA minimum upon application submission. 

B. APPLICATION DEADLINES

The deadline for submission of all application materials shall be based on the dates of the proposed activity timeline. Application deadlines will be as follows:

 

Application Deadlines
Application Deadline Activity Starts in Month of
August 31 November
September 30 December
October 31 January
November 30 February
December 31 March
January 31 April
February 28 May
March 31 June
April 30 July
May 31 August
June 30 September
July 31 October

Note: Students are encouraged to submit applications early. For example, students should submit their application the moment they receive their conference acceptance. Applications should be submitted by the deadline noted based on activity start date (i.e., project start date, first day of conference, first day of internship, etc.).

  1. Applications Submitted Past the Deadline
    • While students are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible, funds are available to accommodate applications which demonstrate extenuating circumstances outside of the control of the applicant. Late applications will require a brief Sponsorship Program Appeal form which should explain the conditions that delayed or prevented the application from being submitted before the deadline. Late applications should be submitted through the application portal as normal. The appeal form will be sent automatically to the applicant’s email once the application has been submitted. Appeals are an electronic form and should be completed as quickly as possible, and no later than two business days after application submission. Appeals will be reviewed by the GPSA Vice President and applications will be reviewed at the discretion of the GPSA Sponsorship Committee. All Sponsorship Program applications are subject to eligibility requirements and funding limitations. Complete applications must be received by the Committee prior to the proposed activity start date. The GPSA cannot award activities already in progress or past activities. 

C. FUNDING LIMITATIONS – Individual and Group Applications

Individual applicants shall not obtain more than a maximum of two thousand five hundred ($2,500) dollars in one academic year. Group applications may have up to ten (10) eligible students; each student is considered on an individual basis (but one application may be submitted for a group activity). Group applicants are encouraged to cut costs and to demonstrate this in the shared budget. 

  • Master’s- and professional-level students will be eligible to receive up to $2,500 during their tenure at UNLV.
    • If a master’s or professional student were to later enroll as a doctoral student at UNLV, they would be eligible for an additional $2,500 in sponsorship funding (total $5,000).
  • Doctoral-level students will be eligible to receive up to $5,000 during their tenure at UNLV and may request up to a maximum of $2,500 annually.
  • Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for GPSA sponsorship funding.

SECTION III. APPLICATION GUIDELINES & PROCEDURES

A. APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS & STRUCTURE

Applicant must complete the submission form, consisting of identifying information and attachments, in its entirety. Sample applications can be found in the Appendix section of this document. Failure to adhere to the pre-established standards will result in rejection of application. Completed applications must be submitted electronically using the form link by 11:59 PM on the application deadline. Emailed applications will not be considered. Incomplete applications will be disqualified, and late applications will not be accepted without an approved Sponsorship Program Appeal form.

B. FUNDING PRIORITY

Owing to the competitive nature of the Sponsorship program, and to augment project support, applications are considered based the following priority levels:

  1. Tier 1 Activities
    • Any research, project, creative activity, and/or academic travel expense (i.e., research or conference presentation purposes) that is required for the completion of a graduate or professional degree program. Program requirements must be demonstrated, such as a screen capture from the degree handbook or a written statement from your advisor stating your graduation depends on this specific activity. 
  2. Tier 2 Activities
    • Any research, project, creative activity, and/or academic travel expense that is not required for, but supplements, the completion of a graduate degree program.
    • Note: Tier 2 sponsorship activities typically refer to: (a) projects outside of the student’s professional paper/thesis/dissertation; (b) conference travel for an accepted abstract in which the sponsorship applicant is presenting; (c) an internship or third-party course not required by your program but supplements your degree progression.
  3. Tier 3 Activities
    • Networking or attendance at a conference/performance or professional development event with no presentation.

C. APPLICATION MATERIALS

Applications for sponsorship shall consist of:

  1. identifying information, 
  2. explanation of activities, 
  3. detailed and justified budget, 
  4. faculty endorsement, and 
  5. conference acceptance (if applicable)
  6. supporting documentation (budget comparisons, documents which support your explanation of activities, other supporting documentation that may strengthen your overall application)

Incomplete applications will be disqualified. Sponsorship applications shall be reviewed on a monthly basis per the application deadlines and decided by the GPSA Sponsorship Committee.

  1. Identifying Information
    • An electronic form shall be used to collect student information from an active UNLV directory, not limited to name, contact information, department, advisor information.
  2. Explanation of Activities
    • A strong explanation of activities must succinctly describe the applicant’s involvement with the proposed activities, describe the applicant’s research project (if applicable), address the significance (significance to the applicant, to GPSA, and to UNLV) of the research or conference being attended, and mention the applicant’s role in the project. This section may contain graphs, photos, illustrations, etc. but should not exceed 1 page (single-spaced, no less than 0.5” justified margins, and 10-12pt black font for main text). Failure to adhere to the pre-established standards will result in rejection of application. A concise summary narrative of the proposed activities includes, but is not limited to:
    • Significance of Activity/Research. Provides relevant background information about the applicant’s research and/or field of study in general terms. In narrative form, a description of the methods and specific aims or objectives of the research is provided. Describes the current understanding of the research problem, identifies the gap(s) in the science, and briefly describes the study’s novelty or innovation.
    • Activity Summary. Provides an overview of the proposed activity including, but not limited to, role in (e.g., contribution to research or presentation) and the purpose of the activity. A description of the purpose of the activity being conducted, significance to degree progression and completion, and implications to the applicant’s field of study. Provides a discussion of how this activity will contribute to and benefit degree progression, the GPSA, and the UNLV community.
    • Intended Use of Funds. Explicitly states intended use of the sponsorship funds and why the project should be funded.
    • Timeline & Future Work. Provides information about the expected timeline. If proposing research, provide details on project completion steps. If proposing travel, include a brief discussion of planned activities (i.e., the day of your presentation, workshops you are attending, etc.).
    • References. May utilize abbreviated styles provided references fit within the subscribed page limit.
    • Note: For collaborative projects or group travel, applicants should consider submitting a Group Sponsorship Application, (e.g., budget, supporting materials, approval forms) but the explanation of activities should address each individual’s role in the project. 
  3. Budget
    • The budget provides an estimate of the projected expenses through a detailed table and a justification narrative which explains the costs in each category. The budget shall outline the costs of research materials , the costs of travel expenses, and all other costs associated with the proposed activities to be covered by the GPSA. Items requested for GPSA funding should be included and justified in the budget. The applicant should identify additional funding sources and request no more than the maximum eligible amount. Failure to adhere to the pre-established standards will result in rejection of application. The budget document is expected to be:
    • Itemized. Break down items requested by unit price, number of units and total price for each item in a budget table.
    • Detailed. Short description of each item (e.g., “Roundtrip airfare from Las Vegas, NV to San Francisco, CA on Southwest Airlines”).
    • Justified. Explain why item was chosen and how the price was determined (e.g., a hotel chosen using various travel websites, was the least expensive, close proximity to the conference, hotel recommended by conference organizers but comparisons still provided). Include description of how each item will be used in the proposed activity. Preference is given to least expensive items.
    • Supplemental Materials. Include printouts of budget line-item comparisons (e.g., site searches for hotel/flight, vendor sites, etc. sorted by “low to high” price. Dates of the search must be clearly visible); hyperlinks not accepted. Include no less than three (3) comparisons for each item listed in the budget. If no comparison is possible (e.g., registration fee, lab materials) this must be explained in the item’s budget justification. Items missing justification will be ineligible for funding and deducted from the overall requested amount. Further information found under notes on common requests section.
    • Note: Funding requests for non-covered items will not be approved and deducted from the overall requested amount. 
  4. Conference Acceptance
    • Proof of acceptance must be provided before the application will be considered and funds awarded.
  5. Approval Forms
    • If applicable, before funds can be released, applicant must provide evidence of approvals or must show evidence that they are actively pursuing approval by the IRB, IACUC, or FDA for their project. Check with your department chair or the UNLV Office of Sponsored Programs for further information.
    • Note: Award will be forfeited if evidence is not produced prior to/with the submission of sponsorship reimbursement materials.
  6. Applicant Certification
    • Submission of a Sponsorship Program application is an acknowledgement and  acceptance of this operating policy, all application requirements, and eligibility.
  7. Faculty Endorsement
    • Only a current UNLV faculty member may endorse a Sponsorship Program application. An endorsement link will be immediately emailed to the faculty advisor, program director, or graduate coordinator provided by the student in their application upon submission. It is expected that applicants shall have the support of a faculty member, preferably within the student’s committee, for the proposed activity.

D. DUPLICATE, REPEAT, AND/OR FRAUDULENT DOCUMENT SUBMISSION

Applications must be the original work of the applicant; for collaborative projects or group travel, while applications may be similar in nature (i.e., budget, supporting materials, etc.), the explanation of activities must be written in the applicant’s own words. Applicants in these circumstances may want to consider the Group Sponsorship Application. Applications for the same activity will be denied if any GPSA Sponsorship Program funding was already provided. Subsequent applications for the same project may be considered if funding is requested for a new activity, new project phase, or for a change in the project’s direction. Presentation of documents that are duplicates, fraudulent, or otherwise purposely incorrect will result in the disqualification of the application, suspension of future funding eligibility from any GPSA program for a specific period or indefinitely (at discretion of the Committee), and/or require the immediate repayment of any disbursed funds. Further, the student(s) will be referred to their department’s Graduate Coordinator and/or the Office of Student Conduct for further consideration.

SECTION IV. SPONSORSHIP AWARD SELECTION AND DISBURSEMENT

A. REVIEW CRITERIA

Award recipients will be determined based on completed applications from qualified applicants. The selection procedure will be guided by the sponsorship application scoring rubric. Partial points may be awarded.

A minimum of half of the total available points are required for consideration to fund an application. Final funding approval will be at the discretion of the Committee based on the merit/quality of the application, number of applications received, and available budget.

Note: Application review is based on a predetermined scoring rubric available in the Appendix section.

B. DECISION NOTIFICATION

This is a competitive program. The GPSA Sponsorship Committee receives a large volume of Sponsorship Program applications. To allow enough time for the thorough review of all applications and supporting materials, applicants will be notified of a decision approximately four to six (4 to 6) weeks after the application deadline.

C. DECISION APPEAL PROCESS

An applicant may appeal a decision, in writing, to the GPSA President by submitting a notification of intent to appeal within ten (10) calendar days after notification of the Sponsorship Committee’s decision. The final electronic appeal form shall be submitted within no more than thirty (30) days explaining the appellant’s argument in response to the Committee’s decision to deny or limit funding. Appeals will be evaluated in their entirety by the GPSA Executive Board; no additional supplemental materials shall be considered, only the appeal letter and application in its original form will be evaluated utilizing the Sponsorship Program application rubric. Decisions will be final. The appellant shall be notified of the GPSA Executive Board’s decision by the GPSA Secretary.

D. AWARD MODIFICATION PROCESS

The purpose of a modification is to request that a sponsorship award be applied to a different scholarly activity and/or to modify the research/travel itemized budget. A one-time amendment to an approved award when travel or research plans have changed due to force majeureto (an event or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled) affecting the funded activity (e.g., research materials needed for the proposed activity were modified, conference/research location or dates changed, pandemic, problems with visas or project approvals, access to population for research, etc.) may be permitted. New projects, changes in location and dates, changes to budget and requested funded amount may require a new sponsorship program application. Requests for modification are reviewed and decided by the GPSA Vice President.

  1. Modification Procedure
    • Upon knowledge of the change to the original activity, the sponsorship award recipient may request an amendment, in writing, to the GPSA Vice President by submitting an electronic modification request as soon as possible explaining the alterations in the activity. The following items are mandatory for consideration of modification requests:
    • Explanation of Modification. Applicant must present a statement describing the proposed activity and/or budget modifications. Explanation should outline the reason(s) for the proposed changes.
    • Explanation of Activities (Revised). Applicant must submit a revised explanation of activities for consideration.
    • Budget (Revised). Applicant must submit a revised budget with revised justifications and supporting documentation (and cost comparisons) for consideration.
    • Conference Acceptance. If applicable, it is mandatory that a conference registration and acceptance be included for consideration.
  2. Additional Notes
    • Failure to notify the GPSA Vice President of a needed amendment to a funded application may result in the negation or repayment of the entire award. Award recipients are responsible for informing the GPSA of changes to their funded activity. Sponsorship modification applications shall be reviewed monthly on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the GPSA Vice President. Incomplete modification requests will not be considered.
    • If changes to the award amount are made, a new award letter must be provided to the applicant and filed with the GPSA Secretary.
    • Modifications shall not: increase the initially approved award amount (a funding increase will require a new application reviewed by the Sponsorship Committee) nor fund previously denied items.

E. DISBURSAL OF GPSA SPONSORSHIP GRANTS

Sponsorship recipients must be enrolled in the semester for which they are receiving the award. Disbursement of funds is dependent on eligibility requirements Sponsorship awards not claimed by the end of the semester  will be forfeited and funds will be returned to the general GPSA account. 

  1. Research Materials Funding Notes
    • Material purchases (goods or services) made through the student's department using a departmental purchasing card (PCard) or purchase order (PO) must remain within the department for future use per university policy.
    • Note to Departments: Any items purchased using a student’s personal card must be reimbursed to the student via a scholarship roster. Additionally, departments should request a journal voucher (JV) from the GPSA for the cost of materials purchased. Departments should reconcile their PCard/PO against their own account number and request a journal voucher (JV) from GPSA’s account, PG00614 with activity code AC01581. Please attach the student’s award letter to the JV in Workday. Departments should request the full award amount only if the full award will be applied to material project costs (even those spread throughout the year). Any remaining funds not spent on materials should be disbursed to the student via a scholarship roster.
  2. Travel Funding Notes
    • Departments should not purchase student travel. Conference travel is not considered university business and therefore departments cannot purchase travel on behalf of students per Accounts Payable. Additionally, this award cannot be applied to an expense report. Travel expenses should be incurred using a personal card and “reimbursed” to the student via a scholarship roster.
    • The GPSA should be informed if a portion of the student’s grant will go to material purchases (goods or services) made by their department so that amount can be sent directly to the student’s department. The remaining awarded amount will be disbursed directly to the student so they can make other purchases as they see fit in pursuit of the funded activity.
    • Students are responsible for booking their own travel activities. Grants are processed through the Office of Financial Aid following the Sponsorship Committee’s decision. Award amounts may take up to eight (8) weeks to appear in the student’s MyUNLV account.

 

F. TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ACCEPTANCE

Sponsorship Program recipients agree to complete award requirements upon notification of award letter. The recipient shall be responsible for ensuring that funds are used according to the accepted budget. Slight budget adjustments are expected and do not need to be approved by the GPSA Sponsorship Committee. Major adjustments should be directed to the GPSA Vice President. 

As a stipulation to accepting a Sponsorship Program grant, you are required to participate (through a poster or podium presentation) in the next Graduate & Professional Student Research Forum (https://www.unlv.edu/gpsa/forum), which will be held during the Spring semester. While recipients are responsible for ensuring they register for Forum and submit an abstract by the deadline, additional information regarding this event will be accessible to the student body as details become available. Additionally, recipients must complete a Sponsorship Program Evaluation Survey at the end of the semester. Failure to comply with the above requirements will result in suspension of any further GPSA funding and/or a freeze on any existing GPSA award. 

Failure to comply with any eligibility requirement or expectation of this award shall result in suspension of current funding and/or the forfeiture of any future GPSA funding. Award recipients may be featured in GPSA promotional material and/or additional UNLV/NSHE communications.

  1. Acknowledgements
    • Any and all presentations, reports, papers, articles, and books resulting from the applicant’s funded project should include an acknowledgement to the Graduate & Professional Student Association.
  2. GPSA Research Forum and Volunteering
    • The Research Forum is hosted by the GPSA with support from the university and the Graduate College. This event is held annually in the spring semester. Sponsorship award recipients are required to submit an abstract and present (in poster or podium format) their research at the Research Forum. Students who have received GPSA sponsorship funding and do not present at the Research Forum are ineligible for funding from GPSA until the Forum requirement has been fulfilled. If students do not have a presentable project, they may discuss other ways to fulfill this requirement with the GPSA Executive Board. Other ways to meet this requirement are limited but may include volunteering for the Research Forum Planning Committee or volunteering for other GPSA events on a case-by-case basis.

G. DISCLAIMER & IMPORTANT NOTES

All requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and approvals/rejections for the Sponsorship Program are at the discretion of the Sponsorship Committee. The Committee is not held to a uniform standard of award (i.e., there is no guarantee that a previously funded activity/item will be funded again). If applications exceed available funds, complete applications will be prioritized at the discretion of the Committee based on, but not limited to, application completeness and merit. Awards must be utilized as approved by the Committee unless an activity modification request is approved. Failure to amend a funded application may result in the negation of entire award. Dishonesty during/after the application process is cause for loss of eligibility and/or conduct referrals.

  1. Notes on Common Requests
    • Travel Expenses. Comparisons and justifications should consider third-party websites/apps.
      • Lodging. Describe your decision to select lodging type (e.g., hotel vs. conference hotel, Airbnb, VRBO, etc.).
      • Transportation. Describe transportation to activity location (e.g., flight, bus, train) and ground transportation within the location (e.g., public transportation, car rental, personal car, etc.). If utilizing Uber/Lyft, be sure to compare both platforms and justify over other public transportation methods. 
      • Conference Registration. Only student registration is eligible for funding; if your registration receipt does not show the fee paid is a “student registration”, provide a printout of the conference fee schedule.
      • Laboratory Materials. Routine materials (e.g., cell culturing, cleaning, etc.) are generally not funded. However, laboratory equipment and/or project specific materials are eligible for funding provided justifications describe their use and need.
  2. Non-covered Items
    • Compensation (salaries, wages, honorarium, tuition, etc.), routine supplies, professional organization membership, per diem, conference presentation posters, research participants (GPSA cannot fund cash incentives or gift cards, GPSA  can fund material incentives such as phone cards or swag), nor thesis/dissertation copies as they are not permissible and, therefore, are considered non-covered items.

 

SECTION V. THE GPSA SPONSORSHIP COMMITTEE

A. MISSION STATEMENT

The GPSA Sponsorship Committee shall support projects which directly affect a student’s degree program and make a considerable contribution to their field of study.

B. COMMITTEE SCOPE OF PRACTICE

The GPSA Sponsorship Committee shall be responsible for the disbursal of the GPSA Research, Travel, and Professional Development Sponsorship Program budget. The Committee shall be tasked with, not inclusive, of the following:

  • Review all Sponsorship Program funding applications submitted to the GPSA and recommend approval or rejection of funds, according to the merit of proposed fundable activities.
  • Maintain an updated report on requests for Sponsorship Program funding for presentation to the GPSA Council. Submit a zero-deficit annual report to the GPSA President and GPSA Council no later than seven days prior to the first Council Meeting of the fiscal year (i.e., July meeting).
  • Make recommendations on operating procedures and guidelines to the GPSA President and Executive Board for further review and action.

C. COMMITTEE COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE

The Sponsorship Program budget shall be managed by the GPSA Sponsorship Committee. As per the GPSA Bylaws, the GPSA Vice President shall chair the Committee and shall only vote in the event of a tie. The Committee shall be comprised of at least six (6) voting members (appointed Council Representative or member-at-large) with no more than one representative appointed from a single department and no more than two   representatives from the same college. The Committee may take additional members from the same department/college if Committee membership is low and no other parties are interested in serving on the Committee. The opportunity to join the Committee must be made public through the GPSA Council at least 10 business days prior to this exception. Committee ex-officio members shall include the remaining members of the GPSA Executive Board and a GPSA full-time employee. The GPSA Executive Board, the Committee chair, and/or members of the Committee shall have the power to recommend and adopt policy changes to this operating policy as necessary, with the exception of appointment capabilities which remain with the GPSA President (as per the GPSA Constitution and Bylaws). All chair and member expectations and responsibilities are subject to modification as necessary to reflect Committee development.

  1. Chair Duties and Responsibilities
    • The duties of the Committee Chair include presiding over official meetings, maintaining Committee meeting agendas and minutes, recording attendance of Committee members, organizing and reviewing all submitted applications, delegating roles within the Committee as necessary, submitting decision letters to the GPSA full-time employee, maintaining a running total of Committee approved awards. 
  2. Committee Member Duties and Responsibilities
    • A ranking member may be appointed by the GPSA Vice President or elected by Committee members at the first meeting of each academic year and/or in the case of vacancy. The duties of the Vice Chair include:
    • Maintaining minutes of official meetings.
    • Assisting in the maintenance of budgets to reflect approved amounts.
  3. ▪    Acting as interim chair in the case of the permanent absence of the chair. All committee members will be expected to:
  4. ▪    Attend all scheduled meetings; provide notice if absence is necessary.
  5. ▪    Review applications prior to committee meetings.
  6. ▪    Maintain notes on each committee meeting.
  7. ▪    Complete assigned tasks in a timely manner.
     

SECTION VI. PROGRAM QUESTIONS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Contact

Questions about the GPSA Research, Travel, and Professional Development Sponsorship Program may be directed to the GPSA Offices, CBC-C 111 or LLB 2141. Application materials and abbreviated information regarding this program can be found on the GPSA website.