URCA Funds Frequently Asked Questions
What are some common problems in URCA applications?
#1 Problem Area: Project Description
- Too little detail (much fewer words than the maximum allowed).
- Identical submissions from students working on the same project (note that faculty are permitted to submit the same wording in their sections when serving as the faculty mentor for multiple URCAs).
- The description isn’t scholarly (e.g., no references are included).
- No (or vague) description of the methodology of the research.
- There aren’t results or hypothesized results (if you don’t have results yet for a Travel URCA, explain your timetable for having results before the conference).
- It is not clear if the project makes a unique contribution to the field.
- The writing is too technical; it is not comprehensible to a general audience.
#2 Problem Area: Budget
- Not itemized as specifically as reviewers like
- Not added up
- Obvious errors (e.g., “gas” instead of mileage; incorrect per diem amounts)
#3 Problem Area: Writing errors
- Grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Consider visiting the KSU Writing Center for assistance.
#4 Problem Area(s): The Faculty Sections
- Written by the student, not the faculty mentor
- Very short or vague
What is the acceptance rate of URCAs?
URCAs have become increasingly competitive. In 2014-2015, 83% (29 of 35) were accepted. In 2016-2017, 42% (24 of 57) were accepted.
What do funded URCAs have in common?
Typically, funding URCAs have the following characteristics:
- Clear, engaging, scholarly, well written description of the proposed research project, including how this research will make a unique contribution to the literature in this area.
- The results of the study are described in the project description, including implications or applications (in other words, why this research is important).
- Budget is itemized, totaled, and correct.
- The faculty mentor has indicated his/her interest and enthusiasm for mentoring students in general.
- The faculty mentor has indicated that students will learn a great deal from this project (e.g., making academic posters, networking, analyzing data, writing, public speaking, etc.).
Who evaluates URCA applications, and how do they make their decisions?URCA applications are reviewed by a panel review group. Each member individually evaluates each application. The group meets, discusses the applications, and makes decisions.
Can I receive the funding to go to a conference, even if I'm not presenting?Unfortunately, we do not have enough funds to support students who are not actually presenting at the conference.
Can graduate students apply for this funding?
The trip/supplies cost more than $1,000; how can I get more funding to cover the costs?Sometimes departments and colleges can help support student research; ask your faculty mentor, department chair, and/or dean for more details. In addition, several divisions in the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) offer student travel awards - check here for more information. Finally, there are discipline-specific organizations that sometimes offer student funding; check with your faculty advisor for more information.
The URCA application requires information from both the student and the faculty mentor. How should we submit the application?The application should be submitted from one person, either the student or the faculty mentor. Whoever submits the application should gather the information from the other person before submitting. Please use the provided template to submit the application.
Can I submit my application late or revise the application once submitted?No. In order to be fair to all other applicants, we need to adhere strictly to deadlines, as all grants do.
I have been accepted to present at a conference that is occurring after I graduate, although I conducted the research as an undergraduate. Can I still apply for the funding?Yes - students are eligible for the funding up to one semester after graduating from KSU.
I used URCA funds for a conference that costs much less than $1,000. Can I apply again for another conference for the remaining amount?No; each student is eligible for one URCA grant per academic year regardless of award amount.
I am part of a team of undergraduate researchers presenting together at a conference. Can all of us submit one URCA application?No; please select one student from a group project to represent the team at the conference.
If I am a recipient of a Travel URCA, how can I get help on making the travel arrangements and getting reimbursed?
The Business Manager for the Office of Research, Mr. Jonathan Coker, will assist you in the process. More information about that process can be found here.
Students must adhere to all KSU and USG regulations regarding travel. For example, it is not permissible to stay in a domestic Airbnb, and if you do, you cannot receive reimbursement. Before making plans, it is advisable to consult with the KSU Travel Team to ensure compliance.