Scholarly Support Fund

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{{Spring 2022 applications will open on Monday, Jan 31 at 8 am EST (HERE)}}

Scholarly Support Fund (SSF) FAQ & GUIDELINES

The Graduate Employee Organization Scholarly Support Fund (GEO SSF) provides financial support to dues-paying GEO members who attend and/or present posters, papers (written work), or talks at academic and professional conferences.  SSF is a first come-first serve grant; funding is awarded to applicants in the order GEO receives applications. After the start of the Covid-19 global pandemic, SSF extended its scope to also fund other expenses such as scholarly association membership fees, software, books, and more. Please read this document carefully since our guidelines have evolved parallel to the Covid-19 pandemic.

FAQ

1.1 Who is eligible?

All graduate employees at the University of Massachusetts Boston who are also dues-paying members of the Graduate Employee Organization, UAW local 1596, at the time of application, are eligible. In order to be eligible, you must be a dues-paying member before you apply.

1.2 How do I know if I am a dues-paying member?

The GEO dues deduction form is usually completed in the pre-employment paperwork submitted by graduate assistants to the Office of Graduate Studies. If you are unsure whether or not you are a dues-paying member, fill out the GEO Membership Form here. This is a form-fillable PDF that you can email to GEO at geo@umb.edu. We will inform you by email once we have received your membership form. Filling it out more than once will not affect your membership status, nor cause any other changes, but it will help ensure you are in our system.

You can also check your pay-stub to see if you are a dues-paying member. To find your pay-stub:

  1. Go to UMB’s website at umb.edu
  2. Click on the MyUMass tab and then on HR Direct
  3. Log in with your UMB credentials
  4. Click on Payroll
  5. Select the latest pay period
  6. You should see “Boston GEO Dues” listed under “After-Tax Deductions” 
  7. If your pay-stub does not list this fee, that means you are not a dues-paying member, and must fill out a new membership form before applying.

*Please note that if you do not have a graduate assistantship at the time of your SSF application, you are neither a graduate employee nor an active dues-paying member. Therefore, you would not qualify for SSF at the time.

1.3 How many grants can be awarded to an individual applicant?

One grant per academic year is allowed per applicant. Applicants may receive SSF multiple times during their academic career as long as they apply in different academic years. For the purposes of SSF, an academic year starts the first day of the Fall semester, and ends the last day of the Summer break. These dates are due to the university’s pay schedule.

How does SSF work?

2.1 When does the application open?

The application will open on Monday, January 31 at 8 am EST. Applications will be accepted until funds for this round of SSF are exhausted. We will accept applications for incurred expenses for which you can provide receipts within the established timeline (Section 2.4).

2.2 What are the eligible expenses?

Up to $200 for scholarly association membership fee(s), software license for research*, access to database/article(s)*, book(s) for class or research, transcription services/research analysis tools, library fee/Interlibrary loan fee(s)*, technological peripheral(s) [e.g., headphones, mic, computer monitor, cables], ergonomic accessories [e.g., mouse/keyboard pad, chair with back support, and other accessories].

Up to $250 for attending or presenting at a virtual conference.; and for attending an in-person conference.

Up to $500 for presenting in-person at an academic conference. Since travel is again being permitted in some cases, you can get reimbursed up to $500 for expenses incurred during travel to an in-person academic conference. You can get reimbursed for flight/bus/train tickets, lodging, and food expenses as long as you can present receipts within the established timeline.

* These items qualify as long as they are not provided at no cost by UMass Boston.

* Please email geo@umb.edu to inquire about the eligibility of items that are not mentioned in the previous list.

2.3 What are some non-eligible expenses?

Non-eligible expenses include utility bills (e.g., internet, electricity, phone, etc.), exercise equipment, major home appliances, leisure books/softwares (e.g., gaming or non-related to research or class), and cellphones.

2.4 What is the timeline for qualifying conference-related expenses? 

Applications in the Fall semester cover virtual and in-person conferences attended in the Summer and Fall semesters, applications in the Spring semester cover conferences attended in the Winter and Spring semesters. Semesters are defined according to the UMass Boston academic calendar, thus:

  • Fall applications cover conferences occurring between the first day of the Summer semester and the day before Winter semester begins. 
  • Spring applications cover conferences occurring between the first day of Winter semester (January 3, 2022) and the day before Summer semester begins (May 30, 2022).

If conferences days fall within both rounds of funding, (e.g., a conference beginning May 29th and ending June 4th), please use the first day of the conference to determine which SSF round your conference falls into. In the example above, a conference taking place May 10 – May 15 would be eligible for the Spring round of SSF funding. Remember you can get funded for virtual and in-person conferences as long as you provide your receipts within 14 days of acceptance for SSF funds. You can prepare your application using the information in Section 2.7 of this document.

2.5 What is the timeline for other expenses?

You can submit your receipts for non-conference related expenses bought in the last 3 months before the SSF application (Purchase receipt(s) no older than November 1, 2021). See the complete list of eligible expenses in section 2.2.

2.6  Do I need an acceptance letter from the conference where I am presenting?

Yes. If you are presenting at a conference, you must have your acceptance letter ready to submit with your supporting documents. Otherwise, you would get funded as a regular conference attendee ($250).

2.7 What do I need to know before applying? (Copy & Paste this section to prepare for applying)

  1. Make sure you are a GEO member before applying (Section 1.2). If you are not sure whether you are an active dues-paying member, or just want to be safe, send us a new membership form and/or check your pay stub as per instructions in Section 1.2.
  2. Make sure you are applying for eligible expenses and conference dates (Sections 2.3-2.5).
  3. You will find the application form at the top of the SSF page. Applications will only be accepted through this online form. Applications submitted through email will not be accepted. 
  4. To fill out the form as quickly and comprehensively as possible, we recommend you have the following information at hand
    1. First and last name(s)
    2. UMB email address
    3. Student ID
    4. Local telephone number (no dashes or parentheses)
    5. Graduate Program
    6. Degree Sought (Master or PhD)
    7. Have you received an SSF grant in the past? (y/n)
    8. Did you receive funding last semester (Fall 2021)? (y/n) *Remember that you cannot receive SSF funding twice in an academic year. Applicants who received SSF funding in the Fall 2021 round are not eligible.
    9. Are you requesting funding for conference-related expenses? (y/n)
      1. If yes, list the following: 1) Date, 2) Name, & 3) Host of the conference (Open question)
      2. What is the format of the conference as of today, Monday, Jan 31? (Virtual/In-person)
      3. Will you present your work at the conference (in-person)? (y/n)
    10. I will use SSF funding for… (Select all that apply)
      1. Academic association membership fee(s) (e.g., ASA, ASPHA, ACS, P&W, APA, etc) 
      2. Software license for research (Not available through UMass Boston)
      3. Access to database/article(s) (Not available through UMass Boston’s Healey library and other resources)
      4. Book(s) (For class/research)
      5. Interview transcriptions/Research analysis tools 
      6. Technological peripheral(s) [e.g., headphones, mic, computer monitor, cables (e.g., HDMI, USBs)]
      7. Office accessories (e.g., Mouse/keyboard pad, chair with back support, and other accessories)
    11. If requesting funds for non-conference related expenses, list the item(s) requested and one sentence (per item) explaining why you need the items marked above for your academic development. Keep it simple! This in no way will influence your qualifications for receiving funding. 
    12. Do you have other source(s) of funding for any of the selected items? (no/other:____)
      1. If yes, fill out the second checkbox with the name of your source. 
    13. Type your name and the date below to electronically sign this form (Open question)

2.8 How are SSF recipients selected?

The SSF continues to be a first come-first serve award. As long as all requirements are met, funds will be awarded to applicants in the order by which GEO received your application. Timestamps are automatically generated by our website when the form is submitted. We will move from the first awardee down the line until all funds are distributed. If remaining funds for the last awardee total to less than their requested amount, then partial funding will be awarded to that awardee. After all funds have been distributed, a waiting list will be created of any applicants who have not been awarded funding or have received only partial funding. In case any applicant who has been awarded the SSF is unable to finish the process for SSF – including, but not limited to, being unable to attend their conference, or being unable to prove costs or supply receipts – the award will be given to the first person on the waiting list, continuing on a first come-first serve basis. Once awardees are selected, applicants will be notified of the status of their application. All applications will be kept on file by GEO.

After applying…

3.1 When will I be hearing from the GEO?

After you apply, you will be contacted by one of our committee members within 2-3 days after the application window closes to confirm your application submission and your GEO membership. Please be ready to confirm your membership. Then, we will let you know whether your application made it to the finalists, has been waitlisted, or did not make the cut. Hoping for the best, you should start gathering your receipts. You will hear from us soon after applications!

3.2 I made it to the finalists. What happens now?

Once you are notified that you’ve been selected to receive SSF, you will have 14 days (total) after our first email acceptance notification to submit your supporting documents including your receipts (for non-conference related expenses), presentation acceptance letter, conference registration receipt, and others that may apply. Remember that you will only be reimbursed for incurred expenses for which you can provide receipts. If you cannot provide receipts or an acceptance letter, we recommend that you should apply for the next round of SSF.

  • Fall semester: Receipts can be for a virtual or an in-person conference between the first day of the Summer Semester and the day before Winter semester begins (Section 2.4).
  • Spring semester: Receipts can be for a virtual or an in-person conference between January 3, 2022 and May 30, 2022 (Section 2.4).
  • Receipts for non-conference expenses should not be older than 3 months before the SSF application. In this case, receipts for non-conference/other expenses should not be older than November 1, 2021. See the complete list of eligible expenses in section 2.2 of this document.

Once GEO has all the necessary documentation, your application will be turned in to the Office of Once GEO has all the necessary documentation, your application will be turned in to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) for processing. After your supporting documentation is submitted to OGS, and everything is in order on the application, you should see the reimbursement through direct deposit within two pay-periods (four weeks) on your account. Suppose an applicant is unable to turn in receipts and travel registry confirmation within 14 days of the first email notification/receipt request. In that case, funding may be awarded to the next applicant on the waiting list. GEO may request additional documentation to ensure reimbursements happen on a fair and timely basis. As per university policies, if you have a pending balance in your Wiser account, your SSF grant will be allocated towards that balance. If you no longer need the funding, please let us know as soon as possible so other students can benefit from this round of funding.

*Grant-processing times may be delayed by the current Covid-19 situation.

Other Questions

4.1 How much money does GEO have and how much is allotted for each round of applications?

As of Spring 2022, the GEO has a total of $12,500 in SSF for each academic year. These funds are split into $6,250 for Summer/Fall and $6,250 for Winter/Spring. For each round of funding, funds will be awarded to as many applicants as can be covered by the $6,250. Candidates may apply for partial funding if their expenses do not add up to the full amount. Any spare funding will be passed down to the next applicant in the line, until that applicant’s requested funding amount is reached, and then the process will repeat to the next applicant. If the entire allotment of funding is not spent, funds may be rolled over from the Summer/Fall round of funding into the Winter/Spring.

4.2 What if I spent less than the requested amount?

If the total receipts turned in by an applicant total an amount that is less than the requested amount, the remaining funds will go to the next unfulfilled funding request.

4.3 What if I also got funding from the Graduate Student Assembly or any other internal UMass Boston source?

The SSF can be used in conjunction with other sources of internal funding. However, SSF funds must be used for expenses that are not already covered by any other source of funding. For example, if you spend $500 to attend a conference, you could use SSF funds to cover your $200 conference registration and other grants to cover your $300 flight or lodging. You could not submit the same $300 flight receipt to both grants and receive more than you spent on the flight. Any combination works, but funding cannot overlap. The university controller’s office keeps track of all internal funding granted to students and will let GEO know if there are any issues with misappropriated funds.

4.4 What if I received funding from other sources outside of UMass Boston?

The same rule applies, SSF will not cover any expenses already covered by other sources of funding. We hope applicants disclose all of their funding sources to ensure funds can be fairly distributed across our members.       

4.5 Does the SSF ever change how it works?

This semester (Spring 2022), we are continuing with the modified SSF protocol that we used since the start of Covid-19. Now we also are allowing members to apply for up to $500 to travel and present at in-person academic conferences as per original SSF guidelines. We recommend that you check our Graduate Advocate newsletter and website updates for upcoming changes or modifications to protocols and rules to suit this changing world. For Spring 2022 SSF guidelines, please follow this document.