Grant Information

September 2021 Update: Research and Professional Development Travel Grants (with physical travel) can now be approved here, provided that the student follows the required approval process described here for Domestic Travel, and here for International Travel

New Travel System 

1. Pre-approval travel must be obtained prior to applying for a Research or Professional Development Grant. Students will need to work with their department to initiate a travel request. Please see below section GSA Travel Pre-Approval Instructions for Students. If authorization is not provided to GSA, this will nullify the grant approval. Instructions on how to submit travel approval can be seen here.
2. No Travel arrangements can be made before obtaining Pre-Travel Approval.
3. All travelers on University-related travel are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless appropriate waiver documentation is on file with the university.

General Grant Information

The GSA has a Grants Program that provides funds for reimbursing graduate students for certain expenses incurred while engaging in professional development or thesis-related research.

In order to provide more and better opportunities for intellectual, professional, and social development, There are two types of grants available from the GSA: Professional Development Grants and Research Grants.

Professional Grants can be used for costs directly related to one’s professional development up to $750 such as: attending or presenting at the conference or event relevant to your discipline, traveling to workshops, symposiums, or internships.

Research Grants can be used to fund costs incurred through performing or conducting thesis or dissertation related research up to $1000. This includes research materials not available on campus or through other campus means, traveling to interview participants or collect data, research participant incentives, and most other things directly related to performing research.

All out-of-state and overnight in-state travel be approved prior to making any travel arrangements. Applications must be submitted at least a month before the intended grant usage date. Grant applications are due by the 15th of each month and will be reviewed by the Grants Review Panel about 1-2 weeks after the deadline. Once the GRP has approved the grants, they are sent to the OGSL Staff who will notify the recipients within 5 business days if granted or denied.

GSA does not reimburse for any purchases made prior to grant approval.

Any research materials or supplies that are not fully expended, must be retained within the recipient’s department or discussed with the GSA.

Vehicle Use and Meal Reimbursement Rates

As of January 1, 2021 and in accordance with review of the Board of Regents Policy VIII 11.10, the reimbursement rate for the use of a personal vehicle is 56 cents per mile. The meal reimbursement rate is 56 dollars per day as of September 1, 2019. Rates per meal are as follows: Breakfast $13.00, Lunch $15.00, and Dinner $28.00.

Foreign travel is reimbursed at the applicable U.S. Department of State Meal and Incidental Rate without receipts, or the actual cost with receipts.

Memorandum for record: Travel Reimbursement Rates as of January 1, 2021.

GSA Travel Pre-Approval Instructions for Students

Grad students applying for travel have multiple options in terms of funding including (1) travel on department or grant-sponsored funds; (2) approved travel grant issued by the GSA; and (3) self-funding. Any combination of these various funding sources can also be used.

All students need to seek approval for travel through their individual departments for the purposes of travel insurance and the necessity of UMBC-sponsored travel, and in particular, if any departmental or supervisor’s grant funds will be used.

The Grad School will need to assure departments that a chart string provided when creating a pre-approval request does not mean that the particular chart string will be used to pay the student, unless the department makes a specific pre-arrangement with the student. Payment is only expensed to the chart string on the reimbursement request, not the pre-approval request.

In the pre-approval process (DocuSign web interface), under the Estimates tab, the student should break down the distribution of charges according to (where applicable): (1) self; (2) GSA; (3) department. Each distribution will need to reflect a dollar amount, fund, department, PFin, and account. For each additional distribution, use the green “Add New Distribution of Charges”. When completed, the various sub-totals and total amount should be accurately reflected in the summary box in the upper right of the screen.

The distribution of charges or chart string needs to be provided by the department that is approving the travel for the student, including the department number. It is the department number that populates the list of appropriate approvers for that department. The department may want to give the name of the specific approver that the student should use, as there is usually more than one approver for a given department.

Grant Selection

Grants are awarded based on the results of a review process described in the GSA Points of Policy (see Section 8). For concerns or questions about this process, please fill out the form on the ‘Contact Us’ page on the GSA Website or email us at Please keep in mind that the application is due by the 15th of each month and will be reviewed by the Grants Review Panel who need about 1-2 weeks after the deadline to meet.


Once the panel has approved the grants, they are sent to the OGSL Staff who will notify the recipients within 5 business days. All pre-approval forms MUST BE APPROVED AND ATTACHED TO THE APPLICATION BEFORE THE TRAVEL DATE. Keeping this in mind, please consider the grant application deadlines listed below very carefully and apply ahead of time, especially if you are traveling in the last two weeks of the month.

Grant Awards

In order to receive funding through the GSA for reimbursement of expenses, you must complete and submit the application for the grant you would like by the deadlines listed below. All graduate students enrolled in any graduate program at UMBC are eligible to apply. A minimum of 1 hour volunteer time to GSA related events is required following receipt of any GSA grant disbursement. No further grants will be awarded if this requirement is not met. If you are awarded a grant, you must completely use that grant first before applying for further grants in the future

Please note that each Grant Period spans 3 months with an overlap of one month between each period. Please read the dates carefully and apply as early as you can

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