Copeland Proposal Guidelines

Remember, the intent of the Copeland Fund is to enhance the I.S. experience by providing for unique or remarkable opportunities not normally available to students. It is not intended to provide an alternative funding source for expensive I.S. projects, nor to supply funding that is required for the completion of an I.S. project.

A Copeland proposal must include:

  1. A clear project description and plans for completion of  the project. It is important to explain how Copeland Funds will enhance the scope of the project. Please remember that the reviewers are faculty members from all academic disciplines and may not understand discipline-specific jargon. Therefore your proposal should be written for an educated individual, but one outside your area of expertise.
  2. A demonstrated need for the funds and a budget that is realistic (i.e., economy plane fares, shared costs where possible, etc.). The budget must include the source of quotes (catalogue, website). You will also be asked to indicate all funds provided by the department or other sources for your IS project.
  3. A clear indication of other funding that is available for their I.S. project—such as Department or Program funding or through an advisor’s grant. For those departments that have funds to support Independent Study, the proposal should indicate how that money will be used and the remaining amount will be considered for Copeland Funding.
  4. A strong recommendation from the faculty I.S. advisor(s) that speaks to both the particular proposal and the student’s general academic, creative, and/or artistic abilities. A copy of your application will be sent to your advisor along with a link to the Advisor’s Recommendation survey.
  5. Any student who will be working with human or animal subjects must discuss the topic with the advisor to determine if and/or what type of approval must be obtained from the Human Subjects Research Committee or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, respectively.

The Committee will not review proposals that are incomplete or are received late. To give yourself the best odds of receiving at least partial funding, be sure your proposal is clear, complete, and has been read by your I.S. adviser prior to submission. The Committee receives a high volume of proposals that must be decided upon quickly so that projects can begin, therefore there is little opportunity for the Committee to contact you for clarification purposes.

Eligible Expenses & Restrictions

Travel Expenses

The Copeland Committee encourages students to pursue opportunities off-campus and offers the following guidelines for preparing a budget that includes travel expenses:

  • Reimbursement for car mileage will be done using the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standard mileage rate for the first 150 miles and .30/miles for additional mileage per day. Use a mapping app to estimate total mileage.
  • Meal expenses are not reimbursed.
  • Requests for lodging should be reasonable, and students should look for lodging at youth hostels or other low-cost options whenever possible. The committee does recognize that there is considerable variation in lodging costs, but generally will not fund more than $50/night.
  • Airfare for travel is supported, but you should make every effort to keep expenses reasonable by booking tickets well in advance. Travel search engines and the sites of low-cost airlines can be used to estimate your air travel expenses. Do not quote air and hotel packages unless the hotel rates meet the Copeland Fund guidelines. Because airfares can frequently change, you should double check fares just prior to submitting your proposal to the committee.

Cancellation Policy: If a Copeland-funded trip is canceled for personal reasons, the student should reimburse the total grant to the College. If cancellation is due to an emergency or natural disaster, the grantee will be asked to try to get refund of airfare purchased/deposits paid to the extent possible. The chair of the Committee will be the final arbitrator of such matters.


Any equipment, materials, or supplies purchased with Copeland Funds become the property of the College upon completion of the Independent Study.  Generally, these are returned to the awardee’s department or program, though the Committee may make alternative arrangements for specialized equipment that could be used in multiple areas.  The Committee does not typically support requests for purchasing general use equipment, since this should be available from and maintained by a student’s department or program.  

The Copeland fund does not support requests for recording equipment, cameras, laptop computers, or tablets. However, students should discuss borrowing available equipment from their department, the Digital Studio, and/or Instructional Technology.

Attending Conferences

Scholarly meetings where a significant portion of the meeting is related to their I.S. topic or at which they would be meeting a person or persons who could have a significant impact upon the experience or analysis of their I.S. are eligible for Copeland funding. The student should explain the specific sessions or panels that would benefit their I.S.  Funding for students to present on their I.S. research are typically funded through their department and/or supported with student conference travel funds through APEX.

Interview Expenses

Under most circumstances, the Copeland Fund does not subsidize payment for assistance in transcribing interviews, conducting analysis, or providing food or gifts to research subjects.

Performance and Presentation Expenses

Some departments ask that students send out invitations for the performance or presentation of their I.S. project. The Copeland committee does not consider these to be an enhancement to the I.S. experience and as such, they should not be included in the budget request.

If you have questions about whether an expense is eligible for Copeland funding, please contact Jessica Martin,