Graduate Student Experience Grants

Anyone interested in improving the graduate student experience can apply!

The Graduate Student Experience Grants program is a request-for-proposal process that invites graduate students, spouses, faculty, and staff to submit creative ideas that kick-start community-building projects.

The GSEG grant cycle occurs 3 times throughout the year, with the following application windows:

  • March 15 – April 15 (ideal for events starting in Summer Term)
  • June 15 – July 15 (ideal for events starting in Fall Semester)
  • October 15 – November 15 (ideal for events starting in IAP & Spring Semester)

Funding may be requested for activities in the following categories:

  • Department-, Lab-, or Center-based student events & activities
  • Student-organized conferences or workshops
  • Innovative Projects

Proposals for creative projects in the following areas should apply under the Innovative Projects category:

  • Students with children
  • Diversity, equity, & inclusion
  • Professional & leadership development
  • Healthy living
  • Arts and civic engagement
  • Community-building across disciplines
  • Outreach
  • Advisor – advisee relations
  • And more!

Please email gradexperience@mit.edu for further questions.

Apply for Funding

How & When to Apply

Complete the online application by the end of the current application window. If you would like to explore your ideas with someone before you submit your proposal, contact the grants staff at gradexperience@mit.edu.

The GSEG grant cycle occurs 3 times throughout the year:

  • March 15 – April 15 (ideal for events starting in Summer Term)
  • June 15 – July 15 (ideal for events starting in Fall Semester)
  • October 15 – November 15 (ideal for events starting in IAP & Spring Semester)

Please note: If you plan to apply this cycle but your project has a start date prior to the end of cycle or one month after, this may not the appropriate funding source for you as decisions and funds will not be available before that date

Proposal characteristics

  • Consideration will be given to proposals of both modest and broad scope. Proposals might be for one-time events, a series of events, or a program.
  • A proposal will be evaluated based on the extent to which it identifies and addresses a community need; its feasibility; and its potential impact.
    • Community: Explain the need and how your proposal addresses that need.
    • Feasibility: Clarify that the effort is achievable within the proposed time frame and budget; explain why the project team is the appropriate one to implement your idea.
    • Impact: How will your proposal make a difference?

Funding restrictions

Funding will not cover the following:

  • equipment (computers, furniture, video equipment, etc.)
  • start-up activities or research
  • alcohol
  • air travel
  • payments to guest speakers (i.e. honoraria) (we do not typically fund honoraria but may consider under certain circumstances)
  • stipends for proposal authors; proposal authors are expected to volunteer their time
  • past events (i.e. events that have already occurred)
  • food for planning meetings
  • fees associated with cost objects
  • gift cards and some types of prizes

If your event or activity will include any of the following, it must be registered via Atlas. Please refer to the Institute Events policy and COVID-19 event restrictions.

  • you are expecting more than 100 attendees at an event
  • more than 20% of attendees are not members of the MIT community
  • events are cosponsored with a non-MIT partner
  • alcohol will be served (please note that grant funds may not be used to purchase alcohol, however it may be served at your event)
  • there will be entertainment
  • minors will be in attendance
  • travel off campus

Please note that special policies apply when you are using MIT funds to rent a car or will screen a movie. Some events will also need to be registered with Cambridge (see here for more information).

For large events, the Institute Event Planning Guide is a comprehensive resource.

For Student Organization Event Policies refer to this document.

For the most recent guidelines on COVID Policies such as campus access for off-campus guests, please see the events description under the FAQ here and updated events policy for more information

Budgeting

See sample budget and template with cost guidelines.

  • Total funding requested
    Note any additional sources of funding, including grants from other offices, departmental funding, and ticket revenue. If you do not report this, your group may be ineligible for funding in the future.
  • Detailed breakdown of how funds will be spent
    • number of participants
    • number of events
    • cost of publicity
    • cost of food and beverages
    • cost of local transportation
    • cost of materials and services
    • budget for police detail and licensing fees, as necessary
  • If you have an MIT account number you are using for this project, include it along with the account supervisor. Please note: your MIT student ID is not an account number; be sure to ask if you have questions.

Event planning

Think through your plan and its implications. Please refer to the Event Planning Guide as well.

  • Can you imagine any liabilities such as a potential for people to be hurt or damage to property? How can you plan to reduce risk?
  • Does your proposal involve another student group or MIT office? Make sure to reach out to them to secure their participation in your proposal.

Using Your Grant

Notification

The Office of Graduate Education seeks input from graduate students and administrators in their decision process. We may request further details about your proposal; recommend minor changes; and/or offer a grant total that is more or less than what you requested.

All proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. You will learn if your proposal has been approved within three to four weeks from the deadline, and a contract will be sent to you that spells out terms for acceptance of your grant funding. Before receiving funds, you must agree to submit a report when your project is finished.

Publicizing your Project:

Required for all grants:

  • Use the OGE logo on all related publicity. If your publicity is in the form of a text-only e-mail, you may include the phrase “Sponsored by the Office of Graduate Education” rather than using the image.
  • Document your events and share with us. Please note that any photographs and videos submitted to OGE may be used by OGE without restriction.
  • Collect data and demographics for your report. All grant authors are required to report on their events, which includes a summary of each event including but not limited to budgeting, descriptions, and demographic data (number of grad students and their department affiliation, etc.) on attendees.

Options for publicizing your project include the following:

  • The AnnoA weekly announcement e-mail that goes to the entire graduate student community on a weekly basis.  Messages may only be sent out once to the community. You may submit announcements for upcoming events, activities, and programs that apply to the entire graduate student community. Advertising in the Anno is a requirement for grants that fund events open to the entire graduate student community.
  • Websites and social media: If you are affiliated with a department or student group, publicize on their website or social media account. We are happy to post events on the MIT Grad Student social media as well!
  • Email Lists: Take some time to identify all the e-mail lists that might want to hear about your event.
  • Infinite Corridor Digital Displays: If you create designs to announce an upcoming event, consider using digital displays along the route used by other student groups (more information can be found here).
  • Infinite Corridor Poster Displays: The fixed poster display cases in the Infinite Corridor may be reserved by members of the MIT community (see scheduling website for more information). Poster dimensions must be vertical, 11 x 17″; paper should be 65# or heavier cover stock. For more information see the MIT Events and Information Center (7-121, 617-253-4795, infocenter-www@mit.edu).

Reporting on Your Project

Reports

All grant authors are required to report on their project, which includes a summary of each event or activity, including but not limited to budgeting, descriptions, and demographic data (number of grad students and their department affiliation, etc.) on attendees. Here is the link to report on your project. We require this to be filled out 30 days after a project has been completed. We love to see photos and videos!

Featured Sample Projects

Community Quilting

Building community through quilting. This project combines creativity and making to bring our department together. Individual squares will be created by various members of the community through any medium of their choice and fashioned together into a beautiful quilt to display . Banner created by the MechE community made up of individual squares using different fabrication techniques.

Find Your Next Adventure

“Find Your Next Adventure” is a chat series that features weekly hour-long fireside conversations between graduate students and successful female professionals from all career trajectories. We aim to build a network of mentors for students while introducing them to possible career fields.

Learning Acroyoga

Acroyoga is a communication practice disguised as a partner movement practice. The physical aspect combines yoga and acrobatics. This class is a great place to start, whether you’ve never tried acro before or you’re returning to it after some time away. We’ll go over the 3 key roles (base, flyer, spotter), refine the fundamentals and learn how to transition smoothly & gracefully.  Our goals are to build a community for people to come together and learn new skills all while building physical strength and flexibility. These skills are fun and challenging and create bonding opportunities among people with shared interests across the graduate community.