Travel Support

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of UIUC Department of Communication, this program provides support for graduate student travel. There are two types of funding. Students may receive support to travel to professional conferences to present papers they have written, and/or support to attend other academic events that involve a competitive selection process but might not involve presentation of original research. All students who qualify receive awards. Students traveling to present original research may apply for up to $400 (the amount of the award may vary, depending on whether the student is the sole presenter or the co-presenter of the research). Students traveling to other academic events for which they were competitively selected (e.g., NCA Doctoral Honors Conference, RSA Institute, non-presenting authors of a paper selected for a traditional conference) may apply for up to $250. Applications are accepted at any time during the year. To apply, fill out an application form and submit it to the department office.

Qualifying for Friends Travel Support

The funds available for this program are limited, so some restrictions on eligibility are necessary; these are described below:

  1. To qualify for a $400 travel award, an applicant must be a graduate student in Communication, currently registered and in residence, who will be the sole presenter of a paper that he or she has written at a professional meeting or conference. Presentations may be made in a traditional paper session, a high-density paper session, or a Scholar-to-Scholar poster session.
  2. To qualify for a $250 travel award, an applicant must be a graduate student in Communication, currently registered and in residence, who will be attending an academic event for which there was a competitive selection process. (This includes being a non-presenting author of a competitively accepted conference paper.)
  3. A student may receive a maximum of two travel awards in any academic year. (An academic year begins on August 16 and ends on August 15 of the next calendar year.) The limit of two applies regardless of the amount of each award ($400 or $250).
  4. In a given academic year, students may receive travel awards only for conferences or events that take place during that academic year (defined as August 16 of one year to August 15 of the next).
  5. Each travel award must be used to attend a different meeting or event; that is, one may not receive two awards to attend the same meeting, even if one is presenting two or more papers at that meeting.
  6. In the case of papers co-authored by two or more graduate students, the sole presenting student may apply for $400 in support by submitting materials that show he or she is the sole presenting author. Alternatively, if the paper will be presented jointly by two or more student authors, each of the student co-presenters may apply for $250 in support. (Non-presenting authors of a competitively accepted conference paper are eligible to apply for the $250 award as well.)
  7. In the case of papers co-authored with faculty members, the student may apply for $400 in support only if the student will be presenting or co-presenting the paper. If multiple student coauthors will be presenting the paper jointly, each of the student co-presenters may apply for $250 in support. (Non-presenting authors of a competitively accepted conference paper are eligible to apply for the $250 award as well.)

Applying for Friends Travel Support

  1. The application form, which can be found on the forms page of the department web page, must be filled out completely and must be accompanied by evidence that the paper has been accepted for presentation or that the student has been competitively selected to attend an academic event (typically a letter of acceptance from the program chair and/or a copy of the meeting program).
  2. Students must apply for support a minimum of two weeks in advance of travel to the conference. Students will receive notification of the award before they travel.

Receiving Friends Travel Support

  1. Awards will be disbursed only after conference travel and based on the amount of allowable conference travel expenses that can be substantiated with receipts. All student conference travel will be processed through the TEM (Travel and Expense Management) system, a web-based system for submitting and approving requests. To receive awards, make sure you are set up in TEM through the main office and submit all receipts for allowable travel expenses to Amy Holland promptly on your return from the conference. If these are not received by the university within 60 days of the completion of the conference, the entire amount will be considered taxable income and you will only receive the awarded amount minus taxes.
  2. All receipts must be original, itemized and show date, amount and method of payment. For receipts not showing this information, additional documentation may be required (e.g., copy of a credit card statement). If expenses are shared with others, the university requires proof the portion claimed was paid by the student claiming it.
  3. Allowable travel expenses include the following:
    1. Hotel bills (not including incidental charges for telephone calls, mini bars, in-room movies, and the like). Provide a detailed bill showing a zero balance. If room is shared, request separate bills showing each individual's portion or provide other documentation showing proof of payment for the portion claimed.
    2. Conference registration fees - Receipt required. (Note: Membership is not considered a travel expense and cannot be included among expenses claimed.)
    3. Airline, train, or bus - Receipt required. For conference travel interrupted for personal time, request only the rate for uninterrupted travel by the most direct route. University requires a sample itinerary/cost of the trip without the personal time printed at the same time as the ticket was booked. For tickets showing more than one traveler, additional documentation is required to show the portion claimed was paid by the student claiming it.
    4. Taxi service - receipt required.
    5. Parking - receipt required.
    6. Mileage charges at $0.54 per mile can be claimed only by those who drive their own cars to conferences. Fuel receipts not required.
    7. Per Diem - A daily allowance for meal expenses while in conference travel status may be received. Amount is calculated by the start/stop time of conference travel and reduced for any meals provided. Receipts are not required..

This program is unrelated to the Graduate College student conference travel grants. Therefore, one might apply for and receive both a Friends Travel Support and a Graduate College Grant for the same conference.

This program provides support for graduate students to present papers at professional conferences. The amount of support awarded varies; there is a maximum of $350 and most awards are smaller than the maximum.

Each semester, there is a deadline for applying for funds for travel during that semester. As soon as you know you will be presenting a conference paper, obtain an application form from the Graduate College. To be eligible for an award, you must be nominated by the department, so your application materials must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies prior to the departments deadline for that semester. In each semester's competition for funds, each department is limited in the number of students that may be entered (recently, no more than three students can be entered), and each department's entries must be rank-ordered. The department orders its possible entrants by the points accumulated through the following system:

Meeting/convention to be attended

  • 4 points: ICA or NCA events (including conventions, Doctoral Honors Seminars, NCA summer conferences, and other such ICA/NCA sponsored undertakings)
  • 3 points: Other national or international events (e.g., conventions of the Modern Language Association, Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, Rhetoric Society of America (conference or institute), etc.)
  • 2 points: Regional meetings (i.e., CSSA, SSCA, ECA, or WSCA events)
  • 1 point: other events

Authorship of papers:

  • 3 points: first author and presented by applicant
  • 2 points: co-authored paper to be presented by applicant
  • 1 point: co-authored paper not to be presented by applicant

Degree sought and program stage:

  • 4 points: Ph.D. students who have both passed preliminary exams and have filed
  • an approved dissertation prospectus
  • 3 points: Ph.D. students who either have passed preliminary examinations or have
  • filed an approved dissertation prospectus
  • 2 points: Ph.D. students who have neither passed preliminary examinations nor
  • filed an approved dissertation prospectus
  • 1 point: M.A. students

Conference travel costs: The University Scholars Travel Fund estimates the cost of faculty conference travel ( These estimates will be used to approximate the costs of travel.

  • 2 points: Cost is at least $500
  • 1 point: Cost is under $500

Ties in points are broken by the number of hours completed toward the current degree sought (higher rankings to those further along) and those who have exhausted their eligibility for departmental aid will not be eligible for Graduate College Conference Travel Grants. When the department has a larger number of possible entrants than is permitted by the Graduate College, those with the highest rankings are selected.