Student Funding

Community-Engaged Student Travel Grants

Spend winter, spring or summer break engaging with communities domestically or internationally

**NOTE: In light of COVID-19 travel and program restrictions, we aren’t awarding Community-Engaged Student Travel Grants for summer 2020. Applications that have already been submitted for funding will not be reviewed. We are looking into the best ways to continue to support students’ community-engaged learning and will share new funding opportunities when they are available.


A break in the academic year is a great time for students to engage with communities and make a real difference — at home and around the world. Community-Engaged Student Travel Grants fund undergraduate, graduate and professional students who are spending winter, spring or summer breaks participating in community-based research activities or community-engagement projects both domestically and internationally.

These grants are intended to support travel for students participating in any of the following:

Course-based engagement activities (faculty-led)

Team-based learning and research projects

Individual community-engaged research projects

Presentations at conferences

Mentored internships

Team-based consulting projects


$1,500 maximum for winter break and summer projects, $750 maximum for spring break projects

Grant awards are distributed in winter (December and January), spring (March and April) and summer (June to August**), and they can’t be renewed.

**NOTE: We aren’t awarding summer 2020 grants due to COVID-19 travel and program restrictions.

Funds can’t be used toward tuition or nonrefundable program fees. However, funds can be applied toward the community project, transportation expenses, a personal stipend or other necessary costs to ensure the project’s success.


Cornell undergraduate, graduate and professional students in any major or graduate field are eligible to apply.

Preference for repeat applicants over one academic year will be given to undergraduates who are pursuing the Certificate in Engaged Leadership.

Graduate students can receive up to $1,500 in grant funding per academic year.

FOR STUDENTS APPLYING FOR SUMMER OR WINTER FUNDING: These grants support projects taking place while the applicant is enrolled at Cornell, so students in the final semester of school are not eligible to apply. Exception: Students who have completed the Certificate in Engaged Leadership can apply in their final semester for funds to be used the semester after they graduate.

Selection Criteria

Engaged Ambassadors and staff from the Office of Engagement Initiatives review and evaluate grant applications using the following criteria:

  1. Quality of project, including feasibility, potential for sustainability of the partnership, potential for student impact and potential for positive community impact.
  2. Potential for the applicant to develop in intercultural competence, defined as the ability to interpret personal intercultural experience from the perspectives of more than one worldview.
  3. Potential for the applicant to develop in ethical practice, defined as the practice of examining and communicating independently the connection between one’s actions and beliefs and the well-being of communities and society.
  4. Potential for the applicant to develop skills in critical reflection, defined as the practice of using critical and systematic approaches to examine their own and others’ assumptions, and the sources and solutions to community problems.

Tips for a Strong Application

  • To describe the quality of the community-engaged project, answer:
    • What is the community-engaged project?
    • Who is the community partner? Describe the relationship.
    • What is the background of this project (history, location, people, etc.)?
    • As a short or long-term project, how feasible is project? How sustainable is partnership?
    • What are the next steps for the project when the applicant gets back to campus?
    • What is the student applicant’s role? Discuss why this role is appropriate for the project.
    • What is the community partner’s role?
  • To show potential for development in critical reflection, answer:
    • What is the issue of community need being addressed?
    • How does the project relate to the applicant’s academic goals?
    • How does the project relate to the applicant’s professional goals?
    • How does the project relate to the applicant’s personal goals?
  • To show potential for development in intercultural competence, answer:
    • How will the applicant prepare to work among different cultures?
    • What opportunities will the applicant have to work with people of different cultures?
  • To show potential for development in ethical practice, answer:
    • What are the risks and benefits of this project to the applicant?
    • What are the risks and benefits of this project to the community partner?
    • Are there situations that might challenge the applicant’s values?
    • Are there situations in which the applicant may need to practice empathy with others?
    • How is the applicant preparing to work with people who may have values different from their own?
  • Double check, in the application, does the application:
    • Describe the off-campus partner?
    • Address the student’s role in the community?
    • List key outcomes of the engaged experience?
    • Address what pre-departure preparation is being done?
    • Describe what success looks like?
    • Lists the metrics of success?
    • Describe a timeline of events (before, during, after)?
    • Give a plan to disseminate the information that is gathered?
    • Give signs of a sustainable partnership?

Previous Recipients

Questions about your project?

Schedule a time to meet with program manager Joy Das.


Phone: (607) 255-6006

Other Student Funding