Professional Development Grant (PDG)

PDG Grants are no longer being accepted. Please apply when the fall semester begins. 

Please make sure to submit your applications at least 28 days before your conference date and your reimbursement request within 28 days after your conference finishes. 

IMPORTANT UPDATE: GSA will now be accepting PDG applications for summer conferences. Applicants must still submit their applications according to the academic year deadlines, only receive one PDG grant per year, and follow guidelines. Reimbursements will be processed in the Fall semester following the summer conference. 

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The University of Massachusetts has implemented the Travel Registry system that facilitates rapid location and communication in the event of an emergency situation. To register travel go to the Controller’s website and select Travel Registry (Terra Dotta). There are several short online training videos and job aids to help you with the registration process. To get reimbursed for your trip, you are required to register online before your travel and submit your registration screenshot along with your receipts for reimbursement after you return. 


The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is dedicated to enhancing the academic development of graduate students at UMASS Boston. The Professional Development Grant (PDG) program’s goal is to assist with the economic burden of attending academic and professional conferences.

Application Fact Sheet

Students who are attending but not presenting at conferences are eligible to apply to PDGs for a maximum $250 reimbursement. Students who are presenting his/her work are eligible for PDG for up to $400 reimbursement. This is a post-travel reimbursement program. However, approval occurs prior to travel.

Overview of Process

**Please note that your PDG application is due 28 days prior to your conference start date and your receipt submission is due 28 days after your return from the conference.

**Please note that all conference travels and receipt submissions must be completed by May 24th, 2019 (or the deadlines noted in the previous paragraph, whichever is earlier). All receipts and the PDG Receipt Summary Form CAN be email to 

1. Submit PDG application: Submit a completed online application no less than 28 days prior to your departure date. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and to provide all of the required information.  Click the link below to access the application:

2. Notification: The GSA will notify you of the status of your application within approximately one week through your UMBeInvolved.

3.  Keep your receipts: If accepted, attend your conference and keep all of your receipts for any transportation, accommodation, poster/paper printing, registration, or meal expenses.  You will need to submit your receipts (digital or photocopies, not originals) and the PDG Receipt Summary Form to the GSA for reimbursement. 

Receipts must also include your name, the transaction amount and the last 4 digits of your credit/debit card number or account number that you used to pay for the transaction. If paid for in cash, the receipts must specify this.  If any of your receipts does not include this information, you will need to submit the bank statement including this transaction. Be sure to black out all information except for the last 4 digits of your card number and the individual transaction for security purposes.

4. Submit your receipts: Within 28 days of returning from your conference, email your receipts (a bank statement if necessary) and a completed PDG Receipt Summary Form to Merge all your documents into one word or PDF file and rename the file following the format of “John Doe_PDG reimbursement_20170910”. Please specify your email subject in the same format.

If the submission via email is not possible please submit your receipts (a bank statement if necessary) and a completed PDG Receipt Summary Form to the Office of Student Activities and Leadership located on the 3rd floor of the Campus Center in suite 3400.   Give your paperwork to a student working the Student Activities desk (right side of the front desk), and ask for your paperwork to be time stamped and placed in the GSA mailbox.

You must turn this paperwork in within 28 days of returning from your conference in order to remain eligible for reimbursement of your travel costs. If it is impossible for you to submit your receipts within 28 days of return, please email GSA advisor for an extension. If you have neither submitted the receipts or obtained an extension by the deadline, your grant will be allocated to the next pending application at GSA’s discretion. 

5. Check for payment: Please allow 6 weeks for your reimbursement to be posted to your student account in WISER. The GSA doesn’t handle the reimbursements directly. Once we submit your paperwork, it is out of our hands and is processed by other offices. The reimbursement will go into your student account and will be labeled as “Student Activities Reimbursement”. The best way to monitor the status of your reimbursement is to check your student account periodically via WISER.

6. Share your experience: Because the GSA takes pride in sending graduate students to prestigious conferences, nationally and internationally, we encourage those who receive funding to contact the UMB Office of Communications upon returning. Please submit a small blurb discussing your conference and academic contributions. This is an excellent opportunity to share your accomplishments outside of your respective programs. The link can be accessed at this address:

Who can participate?

Degree-seeking Masters and Doctoral students presenting work at or attending the requested conference.

Students enrolled in the following College of Advancing and Professional Studies programs are NOT eligible:

Degree Programs (Online):

MA Applied Linguistics: ESL
Foreign Language Pedagogy
M.Ed. Counseling: School Guidance
M.Ed. Counseling: Mental Health
M.Ed. Instructional Design
MS Gerontology, Management of Aging Services Track

Certificate Programs:

Adapting Curriculum Frameworks for All Learners
Applied Behavioral Analysis
Critical and Creative Thinking
Database Technology
Dispute Resolution (K-12)
Forensic Services
Gerontology – Management of Aging Services
Instructional Technology Design
Instructional Technology for Educators
Nurse Practitioner: Family or Gerontology/Adult Orientation and Mobility
Teaching of Spanish
Teaching of Writing
Women in Politics and Public Policy

Students who attend conferences post graduation date are also ineligible.

What is the PDG dollar amount?

The maximum grant for students presenting a paper or poster is $400.00. The maximum grant for students attending a conference and NOT presenting a paper or a poster is $250.

What expenses are covered by PDG?

The funding priorities for Professional Development Grant are registration, transportation, lodging accommodation and supplies.  There are limitations in regard to reimbursement of approved grants, thus the Graduate Student Assembly can only reimburse:

-Meals up to $40/day (alcoholic beverage costs and tips/gratuity are NOT eligible for reimbursement)

-Transportation by train, plane, bus or taxi (within the conference city outside of Boston), Parking/Garage fees are NOT eligible for reimbursement (with the exception of conferences in the Greater Boston area)

-Printing for conference posters and materials ONLY (shipping cost is not eligible for reimbursement)

-Conference-related fees

How many PDGs can I receive?

Students are permitted to receive a maximum of 1 PDG per fiscal year.  This rule applies to both Master’s and Doctoral students regardless of years of study. PDGs cannot be accumulated, for example, a 4th year PhD student cannot request multiple PDGs in one year because he/she did not apply PDG’s in prior years.

What kinds of events is a PDG for?

The PDG grant is intended to support students attending or presenting at academic or professional conferences. The GSA views conferences as consisting of events in which researchers or professionals in a particular discipline come together to share knowledge. Conferences must have a website detailing the event (beyond a Facebook page), a sponsoring organization, and some level of peer review submission process for presentations.
The purpose of the above requirements is to differentiate conferences from workshops, training events, or brief courses. GSA cannot subsidize student education. Using PDGs for workshops or other such training events blurs this stipulation. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.


Are PDGs considered taxable income?

Yes! All grants count as income, and as such are subject to taxation, as appropriate. Applicants are responsible for contacting University Financial Aid and the Bursar’s Office if they need information on how grants will affect their finances.
The maximum grant amount for students presenting a paper or a poster at a conference is $400.

Can PDGs affect my financial aid?

Possibly.  Please visit the UMB Financial Aid webpage at

The following information is especially important:

If you receive any form of aid from sources other than Financial Aid Services, your aid may be adjusted.  Contact the Financial Aid office to determine the impact of outside awards.  Examples of other sources of aid include scholarships, veteran’s benefits, employee reimbursement and tuition waivers (Massachusetts Rehab, veteran’s state employee, graduate assistantships).

Please note that “outside awards” includes any money awarded by the Graduate Student Assembly.

To find out if a GSA award will affect your financial aid and if so, how much, please contact the financial aid office at:

Financial Aid Office
Campus Center, 04, 04300

Contact us:

This page entails all the information you need to successfully submit your application and get travel reimbursement. You can also refer to our FAQ page for more information.

Should you have any further questions, feel free to email addressing the Treasurer, or you can drop by during our office hours below.

Monday           11am-1pm
Tuesday          11am-4pm
Wednesday     11am-5pm
Thursday         11am-1pm
GSA wishes you a successful endeavor in your academic pursuit!

6 thoughts on “Professional Development Grant (PDG)”

  1. Thanks for your question! We do not have another application for after traveling. You will only need to submit the receipts to our office within the 30-day time-frame. Some people mail their receipts, but many find it is more convenient to bring them to campus, get them timestamped on the 3rd floor Office of Student Activities, and drop them in our mailbox (in the same area). We look forward to receiving your receipts!

  2. I would like to apply for a PDG grant. I will be presenting a poster at the AANP conference in June 2011. However, the link to apply on online is no available. Are the grants still avaialble? The link does not open up the application. Thank you

    1. Hello Anne-Naomi,
      The links opens the application you just have to create a username first in order to use the system. This way we elliminate the paper form of applications. You can sign into the application with your gmail/ yahoo/ hotmail/ facebook/ twitter/ etc. accounts and complete the application the link is at the top… . Please email us if you continue to have problems at Hope to receive your application soon.

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