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Thinking about attending a conference, networking event or participating in a competition? Apply for Student Council professional development funding to offset the cost of participation.

The Student Council endeavors to support the needs of the student body by providing the opportunity to apply for financial support when attending or presenting at professional events both domestically and abroad. Funds will be awarded to qualifying students upon submission of a satisfactory application to the Professional Development Funding (PDF) Committee. Once the professional development event has occurred, students who have been approved for funding will be instructed to submit receipts and any required deliverable(s) for reimbursement up to the awarded amount.

The following information was for the 2018-19 academic year. Updates to this process for the 2019-20 academic year will be posted by August 1.


Current degree-seeking students who are in good academic and financial standing and who have paid the student activity fee are eligible to apply. Due to the high demand for funding, the applicant pool is competitive. Funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Applicants may receive funding once per academic year to fund participation in a single professional development event.
  • Consideration is given to applicants who apply for professional development funding related to an event taking place in the same academic year, including summer.
  • Applications may be submitted from August 20, 2018 through April 26, 2019. The PDF Committee meets the last Friday of every month (September–April) to review applications. DC Career Exploration Week applications are due by March 10, 2019.
    • Please note: students may apply for Professional Development Funding for events that occur during the months of August and September by the September 28 deadline with the understanding that they will not be notified of the PDF committee’s decision until after the deadline.
  • Funding can be used toward the following expenses only:
    • Conference registration
    • Travel and transportation
    • Lodging
  • Funding is not guaranteed.
  • Amount awarded is at the discretion of the Professional Development Funding Committee.
  • If recipients are unhappy with the awarded amount, they may deny the offer of funding and apply for a later event in the same academic year. 
  • Funding is provided on a reimbursement basis.
  • All reimbursement paperwork, including a required deliverable in the form of a slide deck, must be submitted within two weeks after the last day of the event. Failure to do so will cause the student to lose funds allocated by the Committee. Full instructions for the reimbursement process are included in the confirmation email from the PDF Committee.

To Apply

Submit a completed Professional Development Funding Application or DC Career Exploration Week Funding Application. Applications are due by the last Friday of the month prior to when your event will occur. For example, if you plan to attend a conference in November, you must apply by the October review date. A full list of deadlines is below. 

Application Tip: It will take 1-2 weeks for the PDF Committee to review applications submitted by the end of each month. If you would like to know if you are eligible for PDF prior to your event, we suggest applying at least a month early (i.e. if attending a conference in November, submit your application by the end of September).  

To apply for funding towards the DC Career Exploration week, submit a DC Career Exploration Week Funding Application.

Students will be notified of their award via email within one to two weeks of the closest review date following their submission. For example, if a student submits an application on October 15, they should expect to hear the PDF Committee's decision 1-2 weeks after the October 26 review date.

Retroactive applications will not be reviewed. 

2018-19 Deadlines

  • September 28 - for events that occur in August, September and October or later*
  • October 26 - for events that occur in November or later
  • November 30 - for events that occur in December and January or later; committee does not meet in December
  • January 25 - for events that occur in February or later
  • February 22 - for events that occur in March or later
  • March 10 – DC Career Exploration Week application deadline only
  • March 29 - for events the occur in April or later
  • April 26 - final deadline for all events occurring in May through August

* Students may apply for Professional Development Funding for events that occur during the months of August and September by the September 28 deadline with the understanding that they will not be notified of the PDF committee’s decision until after the deadline.

Essay Criteria (for all applications with the exception of the DC Career Exploration Week)

When applying for PDF, you will submit a one-page essay (approximately 500 words). Include a detailed, grammatically sound, comprehensive proposal stating the name and purpose of the conference, competition or professional networking event, along with the reasons you are interested in attending.

You may review the grading rubric for Professional Development Funding applications to understand how your application will be evaluated.

The essay should demonstrate the following:

  • How the conference/competition/networking event directly relates to the student's field of study or academic interest and why attending will enhance the student's academic experience/development
  • How the conference/competition/networking event relates to the student's future career goals
  • How the student's participation in the conference/competition/networking event will benefit the Institute community

Funding can be used towards conference, competition or event registration fees, travel and ground transportation, and lodging. Food, personal expenses and other miscellaneous expenses related to the professional development event are not reimbursable.

Award decisions will be based on the point system below.

Please note, $350 for a conference attendee and $750 for a presenter are the maximum awards one can receive from Student Council as PDF. Additionally, students are only eligible for one PDF reimbursement per academic year.  

Application Scoring System and Award Amounts

Conferences, Professional Development Network Events, and Competitions

Attendees     Presenters  
Score of 3 $350                         Score of 3 $750
Score of 2 $250   Score of 2 $550
Score of 1 $150   Score of 1 $350
Score of 0 No award   Score of 0 No award

DC Career Week

This pool of funding will be distributed evenly among qualified applicants, reimbursable based on satisfactory attendance at all DC Career Week sessions for which they have committed to attending. The deadline to submit all required materials for reimbursement is April 5 (two weeks after the trip). Minimum award is $150/student. 

Additional Information

  • PDF recipients are eligible for reimbursement up to the amount they were awarded. For example, if you are awarded $250 towards a specific conference and your final costs total $75, you are eligible to receive $75 in reimbursable expenses, minus any relevant taxes.
  • Award amounts do not roll over to a future event.
  • Students may decline the funding award offered to them in lieu of applying for a future professional development event in the same academic year by responding to the PDF Committee's decision email.
  • It is important to turn in a strong application, as it will only be reviewed one time per event. Resubmissions for the same event will not be accepted.
  • Students applying for PDF must read and agree to these terms and guidelines.
  • The PDF Committee reserves the right to request additional documentation regarding attendance/participation, including but not limited to receipts, registration forms, and proof of participation.