USG Academic Research Fund

2016-2017 Policies and Guidelines

Carson Hatfield | Director

Ryan Schick | Assistant Director



The purpose of the Academic Research Fund is to provide support for undergraduate students who conduct research projects, attend academic conferees, and pursue other research-oriented academic interests.


How To Apply

  • Application
    • Complete the two-part funding application on the USG Funds website
    • Part 2 of the application requires a full budget for your project along with official invoices/quotes/estimates for each individual expense
    • Your application will not advance in the funding process until both parts are completed within necessary deadlines (see “Deadlines”)
    • Applications with missing or inaccurate information will be rejected
    • Faculty Letter of Recommendation (Due immediately after Part 2 is submitted)
      • To be submitted in person to the USG Office (TCC 224)
      • Must be sealed in a signed envelope
      • Deadlines
        • Applications are due four weeks prior to either the date of the event or the due date of the earliest payment (whichever comes first)
        • Applications for funding of air travel requests require a deadline of eight weeks prior the date of travel
        • For same-week consideration, applications must be received by noon at least two days prior to the next funding board meeting
        • Funding is a first-come, first-served program. Apply as early as possible to avoid delays caused by school breaks and other technical issues
        • Eligibility
          • Applicant must be a USC undergraduate student
          • Applicant may receive funds from only one USG account per event. Examples of other USG accounts include all USG Funding Boards, Program Board, and RCC – an individual project may only receive funds from one such source
          • Applicant must have a current USC faculty member serve as a mentor and sponsor for the research project
          • Vendors used in funding applications must either be USC-approved vendors or accept VISA Credit Card
          • Applications received from individuals with access to other University-mandated fees must disclose this information on the application and will not receive priority consideration for funding. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
    • What to expect from USG
      • The Director of the Academic Fund will respond to all inquiries within two business days, including funding decisions and any changes in the application’s status
      • The Director of the Academic Fund will request and make payments in accordance with University and USG internal policy
      • Funding Applications will be voted on by USC undergraduates in a closed meeting with supervision from non-voting university staff


What We Fund & Don’t Fund

  • Appropriate use of funds
    • Conferences, seminars, workshops and other academic events at the discretion of the board at which research is a component
    • Research & fieldwork supplies
    • Payment Types & Requirements
      • Conference Fees: Completely filled out registration forms for each participant and copies of information you have on the conference.
      • Research/Conference Travel: Please include with your application the following: For airfare, please submit a quote from the airline for your expenses. For hotels, please get an official invoice and submit this with your application.
      • Research/Fieldwork Supplies: If you need supplies from a store, you must obtain an official invoice and submit this with your application. If the item is available online, please submit a printout of the item with ordering information.
      • Internal Payments to University Accounts: If you are planning to have the money transferred into an account that is administered by your Faculty Sponsor or Department please include the name on the account and the account number. We will still need an itemized budget and a quote describing exactly what the payment will be used for.
  • Will Not Be Funded
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Food, T-Shirts, Gifts, or any “hand-outs”
    • Gasoline costs for travel purposes
    • Reimbursements
    • Refundable deposits, deposits on future events, or cleaning/damage fees
    • Limitations on support
      • Individual students may receive a maximum of $800 from this fund per academic year
      • Funding decisions are never guaranteed – precedence and/or basic qualification do not automatically result in approval of the application
      • Collaboration: A collaborative application with multiple students can be considered for more than $800, but no more than 10% of the fund’s annual budget can be spent on a single application. Approved funds will be counted evenly among all applicants against their annual limit.


Funding Presentation

  • The Director of the Academic Fund will schedule a brief presentation once the entire application is complete and verified.
  • Applicants must present to the funding board in order for the board to vote on the application.
  • Due to the volume of applications, presentations cannot be moved rescheduled. Missed presentations will result in automatic rejection of the funding application.
  • For presentations, dress in business casual and bring any relevant materials (PowerPoint, brochures, itinerary, flyer, etc.).


Applicant Follow-Up

  • USG should be identified as a sponsor for the activity on any relevant publications (academic travel blogs, papers, presentations, etc.)
  • Actively correspond with the Director concerning completing the payment process. Failure to do so in a timely manner will result in cancellation of your funding
  • Any increase in costs beyond the original allocation by the Funding Board will not be covered by USG.
  • Submit all receipts (and/or final invoices if requested) within two weeks of the payment
  • Submit online Evaluation form within two weeks of the payment


A Few Friendly Reminders

  • The Funding Board reserves the right to reject, partially-, or wholly-fund any application
  • Funding decisions are final. Rejected applications can re-apply with a new application given all deadlines are met and some condition of the research activity has been changed
  • Never pay for approved expenses with your own money – USG only pays vendors directly and will not reimburse any expenses
  • Any changes requested by the applicant to an approved funding application voids USG’s guarantee to make any payments on that application. If such a change does void or cancel a payment, USG will not owe the organization or vendor any funds
  • Failure to comply with any of these stated funding guidelines at any time will result in automatic rejection of the application and the organization will lose access to USG Funds for two academic years.