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Remote Innovation Grants

Ignite Your Curiosity!

Science Researcher

Research has shown that engagement opportunities are transformative. Enabling every Penn State student to more expeditiously connect with life-changing engagement experiences significantly enhances the overall student experience. This better prepares them to regularly contribute to their local, national, and international communities in meaningful and impactful ways. A distinguishing feature of engagement at Penn State is a focus on student growth across five unique competencies: multicultural awareness, civic responsibility, ethical leadership, systems thinking, and professional development. Students who participate in engaging learning experiences are shown to make a deeper psychological investment into what they’re learning, incorporate class material into real-world circumstances, and develop critical life skills.

Personalize Your Engaged Learning Journey!

Personalize Your Journey

The Student Engagement Network offers this unique funding opportunity for students that supports the breadth of student engagement experiences in the spirit of both virtual/remote learning as well as face-to-face engagement experiences. Undergraduate students across the commonwealth are encouraged to apply for a Remote Innovation Grants that will support virtual, remote, and/or face-to-face engagement opportunities this coming academic year. All experiences and opportunities must follow Federal, State, and University policies on health and safety as well as Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on physical distancing, and should include plans to improve personal growth, professional readiness, and/or social connection/impact.

Students may apply for either a $1000 award or a $2000 award. Successful applications will receive the requested amount, either $1000 or $2000, to complete their experience during the grant cycle time frame and will participate in the SEN Canvas course (free, non-credit bearing) centered on the student engagement journey. Learn more about the SEN Canvas modules here.

Importantly, each student will be assigned a Penn State faculty or staff Engagement Coach to help students complete their virtual/remote experience and is expected to attend weekly virtual coaching sessions.

There are no group grants awarded for this program.

All experiences must be completed on or before January 8th, 2021.

Drive Personal Growth Using Real Projects, Activities, and Experiences

Drive Personal Growth

The SEN encourages applicants to be innovative and consider how their engagement experience will create personal and/or community impact. Funding can be applied toward any of the following engagement types/experience, including:

  • Undergraduate research –  Program theses, capstone projects, independent research
  • Professional experiences–  Internships, co-ops, clinical and field experiences, client-based projects
  • Study abroad/study away  – Study abroad and study away experiences
  • Community-based learning – Service learning, supervised field experiences, community development, tech transfer, immersive service experience, etc.
  • Creative accomplishments  – Public performance, community and creative arts programs, design consultations
  • Courses with out-of-class component  – Courses that require interaction with an external entity (ex. embedded travel courses, projects that interact with industry, government, community organizations, businesses, etc.)
  • Organizational experiences  – Active participation in a professional organization, student organization, or membership on a community board
  • Peer mentoring  – Resident assistants, orientation leadership, learning assistants, peer counseling, etc.
  • Self-directed student engagement  – Activities that enable students to apply their learning in special circumstances or acquire new skills (ex. leadership programs)
  • Volunteerism  – Campus and/or community involvement opportunities, civic engagement, philanthropic service
  • Employment/Work Experiences – Dining Commons, HUB, Greeter Desk, Work Study positions

*Note: Any experience planned face-to-face must have a contingency plan to be completed virtually/remotely should circumstances warrant.

Requirements

  1. Applicants are required to follow all Federal, State, University, and CDC safety protocols regarding COVID-19 and physical distancing during the experience.
  2. Applicants will be required to provide a budget explaining specific use of funding using the budget template provided in the application process.
  3. Grant awardees will be assigned a ‘Penn State’ engagement supervisor/coach upon funding and will receive specific instructions after the awarding period.
  4. Grant awardees will be required to complete the free (no-cost) Student Engagement module on Canvas to receiving their full funding, which includes completion of a pre- and post-experience survey, assignments, reflection journals, check-in meetings, and POSTER assignment.
  5. Grant awardees are expected to present their poster at the Student Engagement EXPO (at University Park), in a virtual speaker series (TBA), or at a equivalent regional or remote EXPO experience within one academic year of experience completion.

2020-2021 SEN Remote Innovation Grant Timeline

Fall 2020 (includes Winter break experiences)

  • August 17th – Application Opens
  • September 4th – Application Closes
  • Week of September 14th – Award Decision Notifications
  • Award winners will receive further instructions
  • January 8, 2021 - All experiences should be complete for this grant cycle

Spring 2021 (includes Spring Break and Maymester experiences)

  • November 20th - Application Opens
  • December 11th - Application Closes
  • January 8th - Award Decision Notifications
  • Award winners will receive further instructions
  • May 31st - All experiences should be complete for this grant cycle

Summer 2021 (includes Maymester, Summer I and Summer II experiences)

  • February 26th - Application Opens
  • March 19th- Application Closes
  • March 31st - Award Decision Notifications
  • Award winners will receive further instructions
  • August 15th - All experiences should be complete for this grant cycle
Who is eligible to apply?
Students must be currently enrolled as undergraduate students at Penn State. Students applying for summer funding must be enrolled in summer courses or registered for the following fall. Students must also be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the University.
I just graduated. Can I still apply?
No. You must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate student to apply for and receive a grant.
The application is closed, but I want to prepare ahead of time. What questions will I need to answer?
Students who are interested in preparing their responses ahead of time can preview the application. A budget breakdown for your engagement experience is required and must be prepared using our template, which can be downloaded here.
When is the deadline for grant applications?
Grant application deadlines are listed according to the summer and fall/spring award periods. The review committee will make award decisions and notify recipients approximately two weeks after the application has closed.
The funding cycle deadline has passed. Will more funding be available?

Funding will be offered at different times of the year for the summer and fall/spring semesters. Please carefully note the application funding cycles and know that the amount of available money may vary by award period. Please check back for future opportunities.

When will I be notified about a decision?
After the application deadline has passed, the review committee will notify students with decisions within the following two weeks.
Can I apply for a summer grant during the fall/spring award period or vice versa?
No. Your engagement experience must take place within the current funding cycle.
Can I apply for multiple grants in a funding cycle?
No. While you may only apply for one grant per funding cycle, there's no limit to the number of award periods you can apply for.
Can a group of students apply together?
If you’re part of a student group, class, or program, each student must apply for a grant separately. Please provide the appropriate information as prompted by the application. Please note that cohort applications are reviewed on individual merit. For example, while some members of a group may receive funding, others may not. We encourage you to ask the program leader to communicate in advance with the Student Engagement Network office regarding these requests.
Can a student club or organization seek funding for projects, events, and/or community service?
No. Student clubs and organization leaders are encouraged to seek funding first through their campus allocations committee, academic department or college, and/or student government.
What types of things will grants fund?
Grant recipients may use funding to cover the costs of living (i.e. housing, food, transportation), supplies and materials for events and presentations, and other costs related to an engagement experience. Professional conference registration fees and/or travel may also be covered depending on the application. Please provide these details in the budget breakdown on the application.
What types of things are not funded?
Funding is not to be used for tuition, student club/organization fees and dues (including Greek life), unsupervised research, travel not affiliated with the University, personal bills or expenses, or miscellaneous costs that don't pertain to an engagement experience.
Can I use the grant to pay my tuition?
No. Funding is not to be used for tuition dollars.
What are some examples for the above types of engagement experiences that "count?"
Type Examples
Undergraduate research Program theses, capstone projects, independent research
Professional experiences Internships, co-ops, clinical and field experiences, client-based projects
Study abroad/study away Study abroad and study away experiences
Community-based learning Service learning, supervised field experiences, community development, tech transfer, immersive service experience, etc.
Creative accomplishments Public performance, community and creative arts programs, design consultations
Courses with out-of-class component Courses that require interaction with an external entity (ex. embedded travel courses, projects that interact with industry, government, community organizations, businesses, etc.)
Organizational experiences Active participation in a professional organization, student organization, or membership on a community board
Peer mentoring Resident assistants, orientation leadership, learning assistants, peer counseling, etc.
Self-directed student engagement Activities that enable students to apply their learning in special circumstances or acquire new skills (ex. leadership programs)
Volunteerism Campus and/or community involvement opportunities, civic engagement, philanthropic service

 

What will be expected of me if I receive a grant?
If chosen for an award, you will be expected to: 1) attend a mandatory informational session; 2) complete an assessment at the end of your experience; 3) reflect on your experience in the form of a narrative; 4) submit images that capture your experience.
If I'm awarded a grant, when will I receive funding?
After attending a mandatory informational session, funding will be disbursed to students via their Office of Student Aid account. If you have an outstanding balance, the grant monies will inevitably be applied to your balance. If you don't have a balance, you will receive a refund of the full amount credited to your account via a check or direct deposit (depending on your account settings).
How are grants applications reviewed?

A committee of faculty and staff will review applications using a rubric designed by the Student Engagement Network that incorporates University scales for both merit and need. Students are encouraged to attend a grant writing workshop and carefully consider the prompts on the application form.

How many SEN Grants can I apply for/receive?

Students are permitted to receive one SEN Grant during their undergraduate years.

Can graduate students apply for SEN Grants?

Not at this time, but Penn State is working on making this a possibility soon.

What if I received a SEN Grant, but my plans have changed and I am no longer completing the engagement experience?

Please inform the Student Engagement Network of your change in plans or to discuss other pathways towards engagement opportunities.

Why can’t I withdraw the SEN grant funds from my financial aid account?

If you have a current balance due when your SEN Grant funds are added to your account, the SEN Grant funds will be applied to your current balance.

I am coordinating a Group experience with a Group grant. Can I get all of the funds in one lump sum paid to me so I can make all of the arrangements (travel, housing, registrations, etc)?

Unfortunately, no. Due to federal law surrounding financial aid, all funds for group grants will be distributed evenly among the students completing the experience.

Will receiving a SEN Grant effect my Student Financial Aid Package?

Although this is typically not the case, in certain cases when you receive funds that place you in an over-award, this will impact your Financial Aid Account by placing a hold on account and your financial aid is reviewed for a possible adjustments/reductions. Please contact Student Aid for more specific information about how your account might be impacted.