For many students, traveling to conferences is the highlight of a university experience, though sometimes a very expensive highlight. The Students' Union has offered financial assistance to students traveling to academic and non-academic events for years now, but recently changed the funding structure to close a loop-hole.
Last year, each conference was capped at $1250 of subsidization and SU cheques were made out to clubs.
"We found with processing applications through group names, where the cheque is signed out to the group name, we have no way to check how many times an individual is accessing the fund," said SU vice-president operations and finance James Delaney.
The new rules call for individual applications for funding. Each student is capped at $250, twice per academic year.
Delaney hopes the new system will allow more people to access the fund while preventing others from "dipping into the fund again and again."
Specific conferences are still capped, but that limit was raised to $2,000. Despite the new maximums for individuals, conference caps are necessary to avoid draining the entire fund on a single popular event. Delaney explained that each year roughly 100 education students attend a teaching conference. If each student were to receive $250, the money left for other students' travels would be cut in half.
To get the grant, students must apply online and provide proof of undergraduate enrollment. Delaney originally planned for students to provide a signed letter from a faculty member, but did not want to discourage students from applying to non-academic conferences.