Funding Details and Guidelines

Funding Details and Guidelines

Fundable Activities

The GSC will reimburse for expenses actually incurred in two categories:

Operational Expenses:

These include:

  • Expenses related to regular group meetings (copying, postage, refreshments [but NOT meals])
  • Expenses related to pamphlets explaining the existence and/or purpose of the group
  • Expenses related to ongoing or regular events (discussions, video screenings, workshops, receptions)

Special Events:

  • Events appeal to more than one department and may include guest lecturers, academic conferences or parties (cultural or otherwise).


  • The GSC must be listed as a "contributor" in all special event publicity (see below) for which it makes a reimbursement commitment. Failure to do so will result in denial of a reimbursement for the event.
  • This event must also be submitted for inclusion on the GSC Events Calendar. Failure to do so will result in denial of a reimbursement for the event.
  • IMPORTANT: Requesting funding for events that have already occurred is not encouraged and will not receive priority when funding decisions are made.
  • The GSC will automatically commit to support newly recognized student groups with up to $400 for start-up expenses. This money will be awarded in that the group is guaranteed up to $400 with the newly recognized group’s first funding request and is not given on a separate occasion. If you are from a new organization and are requesting start money, please be sure to mention this to the Funding Committee.

Publicity Expectations

We require that groups receiving funding from the Graduate Student Council indicate GSC sponsorship in their publicity efforts. Groups and Organizations are also expected to tell members about upcoming GSC meetings. Failure to do so will result in a reimbursement denial and may also be a factor in determining future GSC support for your group or activity.

Groups are also required to make an effort to publicize their events to the entire GSAS community. Groups are expected to publicize their events in the GSAS Bulletin whenever possible and to poster on the appropriate bulletin boards in Dudley House. Student organizations are also encouraged to take advantage of the many publicity resources throughout the University.

Starting this year, we also require all groups who have received funding to send pictures of the event to GSC along with the reimbursement form. We highly encourage the groups to share pictures and details of their events on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn followers tagging GSC. We will of course share your posts to our social media followers. We are doing this to spread awareness about GSC and student group activities in the wider Harvard community. Failure to do this will result in denial of funding support.

We require student groups to advertise all GSC-funded events on the GSC calendar, which we share with theHarvard Graduate Dormitory Council. Failure to do so will result in a denial of funding support. Please send information for GSC sponsored events you would like advertised on the GSC calendar to Events not funded by the GSC but open to all GSAS students can also be added to the calendar.

Any merchandise (shirts, banners, etc.) that are bought with GSC funds should display the GSC logo. Email if you need the .eps file. 

Publicity Information

(listings also appear in printed edition of the Harvard University Gazette)

Criteria for Funding Decisions

The GSC uses objective criteria to determine the extent of its commitment to reimburse. The following suggestions should be taken into consideration when preparing a funding application:

  • Submit correct forms and put effort in the application
  • Submit detailed budgets (these are highly favored and more likely to receive greater funding)
  • Submit concise materials about events organized in the previous year
  • Submit outline of previous year’s budget (expenditures, sources of funding, etc.)
  • Publicize their events properly (GSAS Bulletin, Dudley House, GSC website, dormitories)
  • How would the proposed event positively impact GSAS student community? Here, you need to show how the event will either help a wide variety of GSAS students or deeply enrich a few students selected by an open application process.
  • How do the proposed events support the organization’s mission and goals?
  • How unique is the event or program proposed? GSC tries to sponsor a diverse range of activities and events, and look for some measure of balance between cultural, athletic, social, intellectual, wellness, and career/skill-building programming.
  • If the group is partnering up with another student group for the event. We want to encourage GSGs to collaborate with each other and so we will try to allocate roughly 15% of the total funding for collaborative events.

Is this a new event? We want to incentivize groups to organize new events to replace ones which did not work very well the year before. If you are proposing an event you did last year, please mention if you are making changes based on feedback from the event.


  1. We will first consider all the applications for funding before the events take place. If after exhausting all those events money is still left, we will fund applications requesting money after the event (So if you do an event in summer and are requesting funding in the fall round, you will be at a disadvantage).
  2. Make efforts to cut the costs (least expensive food i.e. no fancy catering, sourcing supplies from cheaper wholesalers etc.) otherwise your application will looked upon harshly.

We DONOT fund:

  • Expensive (catered) food. However, funding can be obtained for specific food events (example: a traditional food fair, open to the whole GSAS community).
  • Expensive plane fare (inviting local guests is highly encouraged).
  • Group luxuries (examples: dinners or trips / outings specifically designed for members).
  • Honoraria or gifts for speakers at conferences. Exceptions may exist, such as when the entire existence of a conference depends on a speaker who expects a payment. This must be explained in detail in the application, however the GSC does not guarantee to support such requests. Support is also not guaranteed for prizes for a tournament being hosted by the group.
  • Expenses related to bank accounts. Student groups are encouraged to get free accounts at Harvard University Employees Credit Union.
  • Expenses related to web accounts or general website management. All GSAS student organizations are eligible to receive free basic account services from the Harvard Computer Society per agreement between GSC and HCS.

A Note on DGSO's:

  • The majority of funding for a DGSO should come from the department; GSC funding should be considered only a supplement. To this end, DGSO’s are eligible for a limited pool of GSC money (~$1000/funding round i.e. $3000/year or ~10%).
  • Funding for large events such as in-house departmental conferences should be the responsibility of the department. The GSC DOES NOT have the resources to fund departments that want to host a conference.
  • The focus of the GSC is to fund activities that benefit a variety of GSAS students. DGSO applications for funding will be successful only if they can show that the events will have an impact on the larger GSAS community.

Student Organization Resource Guide

2016-2017 Student Group Handbook