Council of Graduate Students

at The Ohio State University

Ray Travel Award for Service and Scholarship


Apply for the Edward J. Ray Travel Award


The Edward J. Ray Travel Award for Scholarship and Service (Ray Award) encourages and enables graduate students across the university to participate in professional conferences, both in their respective fields and in the broader academic community, by reimbursing or partially reimbursing the expenses incurred by graduate students during travel to conferences and meetings to present original research.

Unlike other programs that grant travel funds, the Ray Award gives substantial weight to the applicant's service to his/her department, the university, and the surrounding community. Ray Award judges also take into account the academic standing of the applicant, the applicant's professional goals, the nature of the conference being attended, and the applicant's ability to convey the focus of their research to a general audience.


The financial aspect of travel to and presentation at such events can be prohibitive to many graduate students, and the availability of such support for students varies widely across the university. Whereas students in some departments, schools, and colleges may have several opportunities for funding, others have no sources of funding whatsoever. For this reason, the absence of such funds at the university level has been a subject of concern for CGS for several years. Inquiries on this matter to the CGS office, from both individual students and other graduate student associations within the university, have increased in recent years. Therefore, we feel that the Professional Development Fund will fill a void for many students; it will also sustain and further the professional activities of students who have exhausted other funding sources. The Professional Development Fund is intended to supplement -- not to replace -- existing funds at the program, department, school, college, or university levels.

Although the fund is primarily intended to assist with travel expenses, we recognize that there are often other costs involved with professional presentations. We have defined the fund's uses so that other legitimate costs can be included when necessary. The awards committee will be composed of graduate students and faculty members representative of the university community, as well as representatives from groups contributing to the fund. These individuals will be expected to consider the university as a whole in their decision-making processes.

The Ray Award supports and enhances the three-part mission of the University: research, teaching, and service. The Council believes that professional presentations of research are a vital part of the academic and professional development of graduate students. Not only do such activities help the individual student gain recognition in his or her field (therefore increasing employment opportunities), but they also showcase the high quality research that characterizes The Ohio State University. Further, this program will have a positive effect on undergraduate programs in which graduate students serve as Teaching Associates, because we believe that those who engage in research and professional activities in their fields can become better teachers. Finally, we believe that this program will promote service to the university and surrounding community because service activities will be considered when selecting recipients. It is our hope that this endeavor will further develop the academic and civic culture of Ohio State.

Unlike other programs that grant travel funds, the Ray Award gives substantial weight to the applicant's service to his/her department, the university, and the surrounding community.

It is recommended that applicants read over the application questions and the sample responses under the Criteria / Applications Webpage. 

**Please be aware that there will be a change to the application in the coming funding periods.**

Please contact our Treasurer and Ray Chair - Michelle Scott(.1445) for any questions or comments.

All graduate students in good standing are eligible, and travel must take place before the student's graduation.

Funding Period #1

  • Application deadline: May 1 (Window to apply opens March 15)
  • Conference dates: July - September 

Funding Period #2

  • Application deadline: August 1 (Window to apply opens June 15)
  • Conference dates: October - December 

Funding Period #3   

  • Application deadline: November 1 (Window to apply opens September 15)
  • Conference dates: January - March 

Funding Period #4   

  • Application deadline: February 1 (Window to apply opens December 15)
  • Conference dates: April  - June 

Applications (including recommendation responses) are due by 11:59PM on the deadline day. Absolutely NO applications will be accepted after the application deadline. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Information about the Ray Award program:


In order to recognize more students for excellent service and scholarship, the following changes have been proposed and accepted by the CGS Delegate Body in regards to the Ray Travel Award.

Eligibility: Applicants MUST satisfy the following criteria to be considered for the award:

  1. They must be graduate students in good standing with the graduate school and their program.
  2. The application must be submitted prior to conference attendance
  3. They have not been awarded the Ray Travel Award in the previous fiscal year (July 1 – June 30)
  4. This means that if a recipient has been awarded the Ray Travel Award between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 then they will be ineligible to receive the award between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

Pre Travel Approval and Information

  1. Pre-travel form-We will need a pre-travel form from the student
  2. International Travel- There will be a separate form that needs to be filled out. This form will be sent to the travel office to review and approve as part of the overall travel approval process. 
  3. Students must use concur to book airfare. If the student doesn't, we need a valid reason why. And we will need flight comparisons between a concur flight and booking with a specific airline.
  4. Driving vs Flying- We will need flight comparison vs mileage. This applies to flying vs driving.
  5. Checking baggage- We need a screen print from the website (delta) on the expense to check a bag.

Post Travel:

The students will have a maximum of 60 days to turn in all travel paperwork. If the student doesn't make this deadline, we will not be reimbursing their travel. So, students who are traveling during October will need to submit their paperwork before winter break. 

  1. Students will need to submit the audit form, summary, post-travel form, all itemized receipts, conference agenda, proof of attendance/presenting, etc.
  2. We will not accept any documents via email or dropped off in person. A OneDrive folder will be created.