Professional Development Grant (PDG)

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. 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. All eligible applications are approved on a first-come, first-served basis. This is a post travel reimbursement program.


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.

Application Overview 

1. Submit PDG application: Submit a completed online application no less than 28 days prior to the start of your conference date. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and to provide all of the required information. In order to complete the application, you will need a PDF of your current class schedule as it appears in WISER and the confirmation of registration and/or presentation at the conference. All applicants
interested in summer conference funding should note that all receipt submissions must follow the aforementioned guidelines, however reimbursement will not be processed until the next Fall semester.

Click this link to access the online application:

2. Notification: The GSA will notify you of the status of your application within approximately two weeks via UMBeInvolved. You can check your application status by logging on to UMBeInvolved, clicking on your name icon, and going to the “submissions” tab.

3. Keep your receipts: If accepted, attend your conference and keep all of your receipts for any conference-related expenses listed above. You will need to submit your receipts, supporting documents (digital or photocopies, not original copies) and the PDG Receipt Summary Form to the GSA for reimbursement. Important Receipt information 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: Submit your receipts no later than 28 days after the final day of your conference, email your receipts and supporting documents and a completed PDG Receipt Summary Form to

5. Please allow 8 weeks for your reimbursement to be posted to your student account in WISER or to receive the funds in your university paycheck. The best way to monitor the status of your reimbursement is to check your student account periodically via WISER or your university paystub.

Frequently Asked Questions

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:

Accommodation: Hotel, Airbnb, or Hostel -Transportation: By train, plane, bus (to/from the conference city) or taxi, Uber, Lyft (within the conference city if outside of Boston) and no transportation is paid for if your conference is in the Boston area. Gas and/or Mileage is not reimbursed.

Meals: up to $40/day (excluding alcoholic beverage costs and tips/gratuity)

Printing for conference posters and materials ONLY (excluding shipping or rush fees)

Conference registration (excluding membership 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?

Please note important information found on the UMB Financial Aid webpage which can be viewed 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 our 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           TBD
Tuesday          TBD
Wednesday     TBD
Thursday         TBD
GSA wishes you a successful endeavor in your academic pursuit!

8 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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