Graduate Student Travel

The Department encourages graduate students to attend professional conferences and trainings. Our policy is to provide financial support for graduate students to attend at least one such event per calendar year, subject to the following conditions. 

  • You must be making a paper or poster presentation at the conference, or participating in an AFRE sponsored competition, in order to qualify for financial support. You cannot just be attending the conference as a consumer. 
  • Usually, students will attend the AAEA annual conference as their yearly-funded conference, but you may substitute a different conference subject to approval by the Graduate Program Director. The amount of funding provided for AAEA attendance in any year is determined by a pre-set stipend provided by the Department. 
  • All travel requests, other than to the annual AAEA conference, must be initiated by a travel funding request form. Please complete the form, produce all supporting documentation, retrieve your major professor’s signature (in two places), and email the documents to the Academic Program Coordinator to initiate the next steps. Additional process guidelines are in D2L. 
  • Your advisor can fund additional business travel for you. In these cases, if the account number that your advisor is using is not an AFRE account number, your travel must be processed in the department in which the account number is housed. Otherwise, follow the procedures outlined below. 

Before You Travel: 

  • You must provide a pre-trip authorization form to Nancy Creed in room 202 before you can travel. The form can be found in D2L, or you can contact Nancy at
  • You must see Nancy Creed before you make any travel plans, but after you have the final signoff from the Graduate School on your travel funding request (if applicable, see above). When you come and see Nancy to make travel arrangements, you should bring a copy of the routed travel funding request form with you. 
  • Co-mingling of business and personal air travel cannot be direct billed to the Department. This means that if you are direct billing, you must travel from the University, to the conference, and back to East Lansing. You cannot tack on personal travel to your trip before or after the conference days. If you choose to add personal travel to your business trip, you will need to purchase the air ticket yourself, but will only be reimbursed up to the cost it would have been to fly directly to the conference and back. This airfare quote must be acquired from Conlin Travel the same day you purchase your airline ticket. See Nancy to obtain a quote. 
  • Once your travel plans are booked with Nancy, no further changes can be made. The only exception would be extenuating medical or personal hardship circumstances. So please think very carefully about your travel plans ahead of time because once booked, you will not be able to make changes
  • Sharing lodging with faculty and staff is strictly prohibited. However, we would recommend that you make every effort to room with fellow students because it helps to cut down on costs. When rooming with fellow graduate students, you each must turn in separate hotel folios to Nancy for reimbursement. 
  • Please visit the Travel at State website to review MSU’s travel guidelines. Here, you can see which expenses are reimbursable, per University policy, and which receipts you will need to return to Nancy for reimbursement. Per-diem rules and guidelines are also listed on this page. You can find the travel reimbursement chart here

After You Return:

  • All receipts for reimbursement are due to Nancy no later than 30 days after the trip, or reimbursement cannot occur. Any receipts that you turn in must be itemized and should be summarized on a spreadsheet. 
  • Please do not co-mingle reimbursement receipts with other faculty, staff, or fellow students. You each need to bring your own receipts to Nancy. 
  • A copy of the conference agenda (or link to the agenda) should also be attached.