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January 21, 2009

Pay for my academic travel?

January 21. Day 205.

I keep a list in the back of my mind of things I'd like to ask for. Some are fun, some are practical.

Today, I crossed a big one off the practical list.

My department in grad school has the generous policy of paying for conference travel once per year, up to $500. Then, in a student's final year, there's a fund to help pay for travel to an interview or job talk.

I have never applied for either fund, and today I finally got up the courage to ask if they would still, nevertheless, help pay for a trip back to campus. It would still be strictly for professional development, and considering a student could receive a maximum of $3500 in a typical 6 year career (not to including summer travel or other larger grants), perhaps they'd be willing to help me out.

I would submit receipts, provide all the documentation one would for the other professional development grants, only it would be for travel to either defend my thesis or meet again with profs and get library books.

This morning, I called the department administrator and phrased my question.

"I don't know right now if we can do that, but I will ask," she replied. "The chair is out, but I'll check with her to see if we can use those funds, or if we have any other discretionary funds, and I'll get back to you."

"That sounds great. Thank you!"

Gained: Perhaps a financial boost that will make my next trip back to Boston less of a dent in the budget. Even part of a plane ticket would be amazing... Fingers crossed!
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