Protocol for Student Conference Funding
Conference travel grant awards will be considered for professional conference proposals submitted by SBA-recognized and funded organizations. Awards are contingent upon meeting established criteria and upon the availability of funds. Therefore, awards are not guaranteed.
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for submitting a travel/conference proposal and budget, for making travel and registration arrangements if approved, and for submitting a travel expense form.
1. This policy applies to all Valparaiso University Law School recognized and funded student organizations.
2. Organizations on provisional SBA-approved status may submit proposals with prior permission of the Director of Student Relations or the Vice Dean or designee.
3. Purely academic organizations (Law Review, Moot Court, Trial Advocacy, Jessup International Moot Court, etc.) are not eligible for funding via this mechanism.
Proposal and Processing Procedures
Points of Emphasis:
Proposals must be submitted early enough to take advantage of early-bird registration discounts and must be submitted no later than three weeks prior to the published conference date.
The Fall Semester deadline is October 1 for travel September through December. The Spring Semester deadline is February 1 for travel January through April. Early submission of Spring proposals will be accepted for consideration and is strongly encouraged.
Single proposals are limited to four (4) participants for a given conference.
Awards will not be given after the fact; prior approval is required.
Students awarded funding will be required to write or present a brief report on the event.
Sanctions for misuse of university funds (alcohol abuse, misrepresentation, non-attendance, etc.) may include disciplinary action and a requirement of financial restitution.
Students who cancel travel plans after registration and travel fees have been paid are personally liable to reimburse the Law School any and all nonrefundable expenses within the semester of travel. Failure to pay subjects the student to a lock on his/her student record. Such students will also be ineligible to submit future funding requests.
Criteria for consideration:
Proposals can be vetted by and forwarded from a SBA-recognized and funded student organization
The conference must be relevant to the mission of the organization
The conference must have an educational component – travel to career fairs will not be funded
Attendance must provide the potential for increased positive national visibility or leadership roles for Valparaiso University Law School students
No political or religious agendas will be supported
Students on academic or disciplinary probation are not eligible for funding.
Awards will be restricted to the following law students in good standing:
Executive Board Members of approved student organizations (2Ls and Fall 3Ls) and eligible for conference grant funding once per academic year. 3L Executive Board Members are eligible Fall semester only.
Regional Officers of approved student organizations (2Ls and 3Ls) and eligible for conference grant funding once per academic year. 3L Regional Officers are eligible Fall semester only.
National Officers of approved student organizations (2Ls and 3Ls) are eligible for conference grant funding twice per academic year.
1Ls are not eligible unless circumstances allow the Vice Dean or designee to grant permission such as a Spring Semester 1L who has been elected to organizational leadership for the following academic year.
Second semester 1Ls who receive funding and subsequently transfer will be required to repay the amount funded by the Law School. Failure to pay subjects the student to a lock on his/her record.
Preference will be shown to 2Ls as they will be in a better position to use the experience constructively for the betterment of the student body.
- Conference registration
- Transportation to and from the conference, e.g., lesser of mileage to/from airport plus airfare or mileage to/from conference subject to the Fly versus Drive rule
- Extraneous travel such as taxis, meals and other fees are not eligible for reimbursement
Amount of Funding:
Executive Board Members - award is limited to the lesser of 75% of total eligible expenses or $1,000 per individual
Regional Officers – award is limited to the lesser of 75% of total eligible expenses or $1,000 per individual
National Officers – eligible expenses are covered at 100% but capped at $1,000 per individual
Applicants must demonstrate how they will provide, and formally commit to providing, their matching funds for any conference grant awarded (this will be documented on the budget form)
Proposal and Budget Format and Submission:
A completed Student Conference Request – Proposal and Budget Form is to be submitted to the Director of Student Relations prior to submission deadlines
A short proposal must include the following documentation:
- Detailed information on the event (location, dates, website or brochure information)
- An explanation of how attendance at this event would be beneficial for the student applicant
- An explanation of how attendance at this event would be beneficial for the law school. The Student Conference Request – Proposal and Budget Form is used to estimate travel/conference expenses for each student and in total (if applicable)
- Quote for airfare or other travel costs (current pricing)
- Registration costs
- Brochures, literature or website addresses with pertinent information should be included (hotel costs, opportunities to reduce the cost via participating in the conference in some manner, specification of individual matching funds [if applicable]).
Approval and Processing:
After review by the committee, a member of the selection committee indicates approval by signing the completed Student Conference Request – Proposal and Budget Form
All materials are then forwarded to the Associate Director of Student Financial Planning to coordinate registrations, travel arrangements and the completion of other materials as specified by the Student Travel Policy
Approved travelers must meet with the Associate Director of Student Financial Planning immediately in order to assure that the proper travel forms are completed and to take advantage of early discounts.
A final report detailing all significant professional information from the conference is required to be submitted by all participants or an appointed representative. The report is to be submitted to the Director of Student Relations and to the Vice Dean or designee within two weeks of the event. In addition, attendees will be required to share their experience with the student body through efforts such as publication in the Forum, presentation to a student group or the student body as a whole, etc. Such venues are subject to the approval of the Director of Student Relations or the Vice Dean or designee.