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Student Success Grant Application Guidelines

Student Success Grant Guidelines

College of Business Administration (CoBA) Student Success Grants (SSGs) are available to help students meet the costs of attending skills, knowledge-building, and networking events that will enhance their professional development. These may include, but are not limited to, attendance and/or participation at conferences, seminars, workshops, or work on research projects, practical application projects, or publications. Items or activities that are considered tuition or other related expenses or fees toward your CSUSM degree will not be considered for this program.

CoBA recognizes that different programs have different professional development needs and opportunities and encourages all students to apply for SSGs. Students who receive funds from our Student Success Grants will be representatives of the California State University San Marcos College of Business Administration at their funded event, program, and/or conference.

General Guidelines

  • SSGs are intended to cover a portion, not all, of the student’s legitimate professional development Legitimate expenses include, but are not limited to, event registration fees, flights, transportation, and lodging.
  • SSGs are selected in consultation with CoBA Department Chairs and awarded by the CoBA Dean and Director of Student Success.
  • SSG awards work on a reimbursement basis and require submission of original itemized receipts as outlined in the SSG Award Letter.
  • At completion, SSG award recipients must submit a short description (not to exceed 500 words) of the event and how they benefited from attending Relevant photos should be included with this description.
  • Students may receive only one SSG per academic year of their CSUSM CoBA undergraduate program. If a student declines or fails to claim an SSG that has been awarded to him/her, he/she may apply for a second SSG within that same academic year.
  • Awards will be granted throughout the calendar We have limited funding to provide to students each year. We encourage you to plan ahead and apply early.


  • SSGs are not available for the purchase of any hardware, software, or
  • SSGs may not be applied toward work for academic credit or for coursework activities, such as internships or capstone experiences.
  • Professional organization membership will not be reimbursed even at a student rate unless it reduces the cost of conference registration.
  • Applications submitted for events or activities that have already occurred will not be


  • Must be a student who is currently registered at CSUSM at minimum as a pre-business student in CoBA.
  • Must be a student in good standing and the events or activities must be closely related to the applicant’s field of study, i.e. selected option.
  • Students may apply for a SSG award at any point while enrolled and registered at CSUSM as at least a pre-business student in Graduating students may still apply for funds in their final semester as long as the event takes place prior to graduating from the University. We are not able to reimburse students post-graduation.

SSG Award Amounts

  • SSG award amounts will depend on factors such as relevance of event, student’s level of participation and/or role at the event, event registration fees, amount of travel required, size/number of grants requested by other students attending the same event, and so on.
  • For conferences and other events requiring travel and accommodation, the maximum possible SSG award amount is $1,000.
  • Students are encouraged to participate in conference as presenters, as CoBA hopes this will increase networking value to the student as well as the visibility of CSUSM’s excellence.
  • For grants not involving travel and/or presentations, the maximum award is $500.

All SSG grant amounts are awarded at the sole discretion of the CoBA Dean and Director of Student Success.

Application Form, Deadlines, and Process

Applications for Spring 2024 are closed
Check back in August 2024 to apply for Fall 2024.
  • Applicants must include a summary of their expected participation and a breakdown of estimated The most common expense categories are Event Registration Fee, Transportation, Lodging, and Association Registration Fee.
  • Applicants should also specify if any meals are included in the registration fee and specify any additional expenses. The summary must include an explanation of how the event or activity will contribute to the applicant's professional development.
  • If the applicant is a CSUSM worker and intends to claim mileage reimbursement, the applicant must take the Defensive Driving Test offered in the CSUSM Employee Training Center. Copy of the Defensive Driving Test certificate with visible expiration date must be uploaded in the application.

Character Reference for Proposals including Travel

Due to increased risk in traveling outside of the San Diego area for professional development, we are requiring that all student applicants requesting funds to travel outside of the area submit a letter of recommendation from a professor from the College of Business Administration. The letter of recommendation should include the following:

  • Attest to your character
  • Support your professional development and how it relates to your career goals
  • And any other particularly useful information in which the professor would like to share

NOTE: The letter does not have to be long but does need to address the above and be signed by the professor (or emailed to Michelle Tillman at by the professor).

Students should not assume that they are guaranteed any or all funding when submitting a proposal.

Approval Process

Applications received by CoBA will be reviewed by the Director of Student Success within a one-week period where possible.

Students will be notified by the Dean’s Office of acceptance or non-acceptance of the proposal. If awarded, the grant is a commitment of reimbursement up to the specified amount, given the timely submission of proper receipts (within two weeks after the event). No funds may be released without formal approval. The decision of the Dean’s Office is final.

Reimbursement Procedure & Deadline

To have a Student Success Grant reimbursed, students- with the support of a designated CoBA staff- must submit a travel expense claim via Concur, with appropriate back up for reimbursement. A copy of the Student Success Grant approval letter, and the two-paragraph description of the event (no more than 500 words) must be included.

The College cannot reimburse a student for payment another person has made. Therefore, all receipts paid for by credit card must have the student’s name on the receipt as the bearer of the credit card.

Students can only be reimbursed for receipts turned in. Receipts over $75 must be itemized.

Prepaid hotel expenses are strongly discouraged and not reimbursable prior to the travel event. Refundable airline tickets are not permitted. Travelers may only choose non-refundable tickets. Airline upgrades (including Southwest Early Bird Check-in) are prohibited and non-reimbursable.

Utilizing broker sites such as CheapOAir, Expedia,, etc. is not advised. Itemized receipts are required, and often these sites do not provide adequate detail.

If less than the SSG award is spent, the student cannot claim the full SSG award amount.

All receipts must be submitted within two weeks of attending the event.
Reimbursement requests submitted after these deadlines will be considered cancelled. The Dean’s Office is not responsible for the loss of receipts and/or paperwork and recommend that students keep copies of their receipts for their personal records. The Dean’s Office will not make copies of receipts or submissions for students.

Items Required for Reimbursement

  • Note: Anything that is paid for by credit card or any method other than cash must have your name on it. We will not reimburse students for someone else's expense.
  • For anything paid for by cash, check, or credit card: original dated receipts.
  • For anything paid by check: a copy of the canceled check (front and back).
  • For airline flights, a copy of the travel itinerary that includes the cost of the flight and the name of the flier. Boarding passes are NOT redeemable for reimbursement.
  • A copy of your award letter.
  • At minimum, a short description (no more than 500 words) of the event and how you benefited from attending it, and photos where appropriate. You will receive a link to submit your post- event summary with your award notification. All submissions to the Dean’s Office are considered approval that work may be posted.
  • The rules of the College apply for reimbursement of Transportation (by the most economical means available), Lodging (excluding food), and Registration Fees.

Reimbursement Checks

Normally, it takes 2-3 weeks after submitting a request to receive a SSG reimbursement check. Checks will be mailed to the submitter's local address, unless pickup at the cashier’s desk is specified.