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Professional Development Awards for Graduate Students and Parents

The GA recognizes that a graduate student’s education requires presenting at conferences and/or seminars, some of which take place in locations outside the Bay Area. Some departments may not provide full financial assistance to students presenting at conferences. Additionally, graduate student parents must often attend conferences and/or seminars while also filling the needs of their family and children. UC Berkeley campus currently does not offer funding support for graduate student parents to curb the additional costs associated with travel for dependents and/or a caregiver to conferences outside of the Bay Area or for childcare at such conferences. As a result, the GA implements two types of travel grants: the general Professional Development Award and the Graduate Student Parent Travel Award.

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the scope of the Travel Award has been broadened to the Professional Development Award. Please read carefully.

The Professional Development Award provides funding to graduate students presenting at conferences, either in person or virtually. These conferences must benefit the student’s educational or research endeavors. To be eligible for the Professional Development Award, the student must be presenting at the conference. The applicant’s sponsoring professor or advisor must email the GA Business Office (businessoffice@ga.berkeley.edu) from an @berkeley.edu academic email address stating their support that the conference benefit’s the student’s educational or research endeavors.

In addition, the Professional Development Award can be used to fund dues or membership fees in professional societies related to the student’s chosen field. Graduate students may request that up to two years of fees or dues be reimbursed, either via a two-year membership of a single professional society, or two one-year memberships at two different professional societies. The grant may be used to fund a longer term or lifetime membership only if the society does not provide annual membership options. Funding for professional society fees does not require the approval of an advisor.

Each Professional Development Award provides $300.

The Graduate Student Parent Travel Award provides funding for graduate student parents or legal guardians who, out of necessity, must bring their child(ren)/minor dependant and/or a caregiver for their child(ren) to conferences outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. Funds from this award may be used for travel costs for children or a caregiver or other childcare needed for the student parent to attend a conference. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate Student Parent Travel Award may also be used to cover childcare costs associated with attendance or presentation at a virtual conference. There are no presentation requirements for the graduate student parent associated with this award, but priority will be given to graduate student parents who will be presenting. This award does not require Academic Advisor or program advisor approval. Graduate student parents may apply for and receive both the Professional Development Award and Graduate Student Parent Travel Award for each award round in which they are eligible to apply. Each Graduate Student Travel Award provides $300.

The selection process for both awards is merit blind. If applications exceed available funding, funding will be awarded by random lottery.

Both award applications are hosted on the CalLink GA Funding page. Log in with your CalNet ID and password and scroll down to the “Form” section to access the applications.

Professional Development Award Policy

Students may only receive funding for conference attendance with the Professional Development Award every two academic years. Students may receive funding for professional society fees once per academic year. Funding is awarded in three rounds: fall, spring, and summer. If an applicant does not receive funding in a given round, they may reapply for funding in subsequent rounds. Student parents may apply for and receive both the Professional Development Award and the Graduate Student Parent Travel Award. Approved expenses for the Professional Development Award include:

  •       Conference registration fees (in person or virtual)
  •       Food (only for the person traveling, in destination city).
    •       No alcoholic beverages. If alcohol is purchased, you must request the vendor to print separate receipts.
  •       Lodging (in the destination city).
  •       Travel costs (between destination city, airport, conference site/hotel).
  •       Airline tickets (retain your boarding passes, itinerary confirmation, and payment confirmation).
  •       Gas/mileage (must include map showing distance traveled).
  •       Up to two years of professional society membership fees or dues
    •       Redeemable either as one two-year membership with a single society, or two one-year memberships at two different societies.
    •       Longer term or lifetime memberships may be funded for a single professional society only if annual memberships are not offered.

 

Graduate Student Parent Travel Award Policy

Student parents may only receive one Graduate Student Parent Travel Award every two academic years, and there are three rounds that are funded: fall, spring, and summer. If an applicant does not receive funding, the applicant may reapply for funding in the following rounds. Graduate parents may apply for both the general GA Travel Award for themselves, and for the Graduate Student Parent Travel Award. Approved expenses for the Graduate Student Parent Travel Award include:

  •       Childcare costs associated with graduate parents attending a conference (in person or virtually). 
  •       Travel costs for children or caregiver (between destination city, airport, conference site/hotel)
  •       Food (only for the child or caregiver traveling, in destination city).
  •       Airline tickets for child or caregiver (retain their boarding passes, itinerary confirmation, and payment confirmation).
  •       Costs of renting a car seat/booster seat at the destination.

Travel Award and Graduate Student Parent Travel Award Deadlines

Round Deadline Dates Timelines Decision posted to GA Website Receipts Due
Start Date End Date
Fall 2020 August 19, 2020 Sep. 1, 2020 Jan. 31, 2021 Aug. 27, 2020 within 30 days after travel date
Spring 2021 January 23, 2021 Feb. 1, 2021 April 30, 2021 Jan. 29, 2021 within 30 days after travel date
Summer 2021 April 17, 2021 May 1, 2021 Aug. 31, 2021 April 24, 2011 within 30 days after travel date


For more information, please refer to the Professional Development Award section of our 2020-2021 Funding Guide.

Funding support for the Professional Development Awards is provided as part of the Peet’s Coffee for a Cause Program. A portion of every Peet’s Coffee purchase made at Cal Dining Peet’s locations helps support student programs and initiatives including graduate travel grants, student scholarships, campus sustainability programs, a basic needs skills course, and an on-campus farm and gardening program. Visit the Peet’s partner page to learn more.