Review Committee

Summary of Responsibilities

  1. Read and review the proposals for that travel period
  2. Meet with the rest of the committee to discuss the proposals and decide on the award for each applicant
  3. Remain on retainer until the end of that travel period; you will only be asked to meet again if a decision about changing the purpose of an award needs to be made.  I do not expect this to happen often

Reviewing Applications

The proposals will be graded in the following five areas:

  • Quality of Project Summary:  How well written is the project summary?  Is the project summary comprehensible to a person not in the applicants field?  Is the importance of the student’s work understandable to the reviewer – i.e. a person not in the applicant’s field?
  • Quality of Travel Purpose: Is the proposed travel reasonable for the work the student has accomplished?
  • Importance to Completion of Student’s Degree: Will the student benefit from the travel?  If the student is unable to travel, will the student’s research be unaffected, or will the student’s research be impaired, or will the student be forced to change thesis topics?
  • Budget Assessment: Is the total budget indicated by the student reasonable for the type of travel proposed?  Are the items selected to be paid by the GSA reasonable?
  • Financial Need: If the GSA does not award funding, will the student be unable to travel?  How many other sources of funding has the student sought?  A student whose advisor has no available funding will be ranked higher than a student whose adviser might be able to pay $400 is the student receives no funding from the GSA.
  • Quality of Letter of Recommendation: What is the strength of the letter of recommendation from the adviser? Is the adviser supportive of the student’s travel?

Additional Instructions

  • Each reviewer will grade each of the above mentioned five areas of the proposal from 0 to 10, and add up the results for a combined score.
  • Reviewers will also write a brief (couple of sentences) comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal.
  • After the reviewers have had an opportunity to look over the proposals individually, the entire review committee will meet in a closed session. The committee will initially sum together all points from all committee members for each applicant. Any extra points the applicant has earned will then be added, giving us the total points for each applicant.
  • After these extra points have been added to the applicant’s score, the reviewers will rank all of the proposals based on total points.
  • For proposals which have the same rank, students with no prior GSA Travel Grant awards will be given the higher rank. For instance, if two applicants receive 130 points after all points have been totaled, but one has received an award previously, the student without previous funding will be ranked above the one who has.
  • The committee will then discuss each of the proposals in the order of their ranking and determine the award amount for each proposal. The committee may decide to fund a proposal below the level requested in order to fund more proposals. The lowest ranking proposals normally receive no funding as the travel budget is typically exhausted by awards given to the highest ranking applications.

Examples of Why You Might Be Asked to Meet Again

  • In the rare case where a student is unable to travel for the original purpose, that student might try to use the award for another purpose. The Review Committee members will be asked to review the new application to decide if the student is allowed to travel for this new purpose.