The Catholic University of America

Conference and Research Related Travel

The GSA is happy to offer a limited number of reimbursement grants to qualifying graduate students. These are relatively few in number and applying well in advance of the conference is highly recommended. We cannot guarantee funding to all who apply.

Funding Guidelines


  • We reimburse 75% of the total eligible expenses of the applicant who attends or presents at an academic conference.
  • We also reimburse eligible expenses for research directly related to completion of a doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis.
  • Maximum reimbursement is $600.00 for conference presentations or research related travel and $150.00 for conference attendance. 
  • No one may receive more than $600.00 per fiscal year. The fiscal year is from May 1 to April 30 the following year.
  • No reimbursement will be issued until after the conference or travel.
  • All travel receipts must be submitted within 14 days of arrival. Exceptions cannot be made to this policy.
  • Requests that do not adhere to the guidelines will be returned to the applicant.
  • If you have any questions before or during the process, contact the Conferences Chair.

Eligible Expenses

The only expenses that are eligible for funding are:


  • Plane, Rail, and Bus tickets
  • Car Rentals
  • Registration Fees
  • Lodging Fees
  • Presentation Materials (e.g. poster printing/photo-copying)
  • Taxi Fare
  • Conference Banquets

How the process works:

  1. Request a promissory note before the conference to secure funding.

  2. Submit an official reimbursement request within 14 days after you return from your conference or travel.

Before the Conference or Research Related Travel

  1. Submit a GSA Conferences Committee Promissory Note Form.

    1. Make your best guess for anticipated funding.

    2. You will be required to show proof of attendance and/or presentation to receive reimbursement. reimbursement, as well as documentation of receipts and a Travel Expense Report (TER). Make sure to collect and keep these documents.

  2. You will receive approval via email.

  3. After approval, check your Nest Messages and accept the invitation to join GSA Conferences.

  4. Keep and scan all paper receipts and email confirmations for later reimbursement.


Important Notes:

  1. Responses to your reimbursement request may take up to a week.

  2. If you plan on sharing a hotel room, the bill must display the last four credit card digits and name of each person sharing the room. GSA is not able to reimburse people whose names and last four credit card digits are not on the bill.

  3. Indicate by circling or bolding the exact expense on each receipt that matches the expense on the TER. Your request will be denied if the numbers on your TER do not match the numbers on your receipts.

  4. Failure to follow these instructions will result in automatic cancellation of your reimbursement request. You will have to submit a new request, which will go to the back of the queue. It is possible that re-submitted requests will not be processed in time to receive reimbursement.

  5. If you have any questions about the process, such as whether an expense will qualify, please email the Conferences Chair before you submit your reimbursement request. If is not always possible to resolve difficult issues within the University’s 14 day deadline.

  6. While you may request reimbursement without a promissory note, it is possible that no funds for the period will remain. A promissory note guarantees that you will receive reimbursement.


After Returning

You must submit an official reimbursement request within two weeks of the last travel day of your conference or travel. Submit one request for each conference you attend or period of travel.

  1. When you return from your conference, email GSA Conferences using your CUA email address to tell him that you returned from your conference. Once you have accepted the invitation to join Nest as an “approved conference attendee,” you can submit your request.

  2. Complete a Travel Expense Report (TER). Sign or type your name under "Traveler's Signature," and print your name below that. Disregard the authorizing signature line.

  3. Log in to the Nest at Return to this page.

  4. Create a purchase request. Include your full name and the name of the conference in the “Subject” section.

  5. Make sure that you submit the following Required Documents:

1. Completed TER.
2. All receipts that list your expenses.
a.              If any receipts are original cash register-style receipts, such as taxi fare, be sure to also bring original copies to the Office of Campus Activities (OCA) in 204 Pryz.
b.              Clearly mark (circle, highlight, underline) the specific expense on both the original receipts and the electronic receipts you attach so the conference chair does not need to pour through multiple pages of numbers to find the single expense.
c.              If you hand in any documentation to OCA, such as paper receipts or conference attendance documentation, mention this in the comment section of your request.
d.              Copied and pasted receipts in Microsoft Word documents are not permitted.
e.              Taking screenshots of deductions from your bank account is insufficient. You must provide an screenshot of an email confirmation or a paper receipt showing your name, the explicit amount paid, and the name of the conference or company that charged you.
         3.    Proof of conference attendance and/or presentation.
a.        If you presented, include either: 1) a copy of the conference itinerary with your name and your presentation highlighted/circled; or 2): a picture taken of you while presenting.
b.        If you attended but did not present, include either: 1) a copy of the conference itinerary; 2) name tag; 3) tote bag; or 4) a picture of you at conference.
c.        An email confirming you paid the conference fee is NOT proof of conference attendance.
4.   If you are being reimbursed for research, you must also submit:
a.     A signed letter on letterhead from the archivist/research person-of-contact confirming that you completed research. This letter must be scanned and attached to the purchase request (see sample letter below).


b.    A signed letter from your dissertation or thesis advisor on your department or school’s letterhead confirming that you completed research; the dates of your travel; the name and location of your research site; and that the research relates to your dissertation or thesis (see sample letter below). This letter must be scanned and attached to the purchase request.
Sample form letter for archivist/research person-of-contact and/or advisor at CUA:
This letter may be copied and used, or another may be written that contains the same information.
Dear Graduate Student Association:
I am writing to confirm that ­­­­­­­­­­____(name)__________________________ completed research related to
his/her dissertation/master’s thesis (circle one) from_______(starting date)________ to ________________(ending date)_____ at ______(name and location of archive).
(name and signature of archivist/research person-of-contact)
(name and signature of dissertation/thesis advisor)


To Review the Status of the Request

  1. Log in to Conferences Finances.

  2. Search for your name to review your request:

    1. Finance Stage = "Request Submitted by Student Organization" or "Advisor Approved" – GSA Officers have not yet approved your request. You may want to email GSA Conferences Chair Paul El-Meouchy to inform him that you have an outstanding request.

    2. Finance Stage = Financial Liaison Approved – GSA Officers have approved the request

    3. Status = Approved – Office of Campus Activities is currently processing the request

    4. Status = Completed – Office of Campus Activities has completed all processing and submitted to the appropriate budget department office. For further status updates you will need to contact the Office of Campus Activities for assistance. Please allow 1-2 weeks for check to be mailed after the time the Status is changed to "Completed"


When submitting your receipts to The Nest online for reimbursements, your receipt becomes public to the CUA community. Due to the way that The Nest works, there is no way around this. Receipts only show the last four digits of the credit card number and the last name, which is insufficient for fraudulent activity. If you are uncomfortable with this, we recommend you paying with cash (and still saving receipts).