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.

An acceptable proposal should exhibit/contain the following:

  1. A clear statement of the problem, with hypothesis(es) where applicable, an unambiguous description of the research methods, and the processes intended to complete 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., appropriate plane fares, rooming costs, etc.). It is important to explain how Copeland Funds will enhance the scope of the project. A budget must include quotes and their sources and inclusion of all funds provided by the department.
  3. A strong recommendation from the faculty advisor that speaks to both the particular proposal and the student's general academic, creative, and/or artistic abilities when possible will be completed online.
  4. 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 in any way 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.

Travel Expenses

Please Note: College sponsored travel (other than within your local area) has been restricted until December 31, 2020. Due to the pandemic, applications for travel will not be considered at this time. Applications for travel will be permitted for the Spring semester, provided College policy changes.

The committee wishes to encourage 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 standard mileage rate which is currently $0.575 per mile for the first 150 miles, $0.30 per mile thereafter.
  • Meal expenses are not reimbursed.
  • Please read the paragraph on Equipment purchases (below)
  • Requests for lodging should be reasonable, and students should look for lodging at youth hostels whenever possible. The committee does recognize that there is considerable variation in this area, but generally will not fund more than $50/night.
  • Airfare for travel is supported, but you should make every effort to hold down expenses by booking tickets well in advance and by staying over a Saturday night if that will reduce overall expenses.

For car travel you may find Mapquest useful for estimating mileage. You will need to get into the Road Trip Planner. For air travel, you may find Travelocity and sites of low-cost airlines useful for estimating your air travel expenses. Do not quote Travelocity 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.


Any equipment or item purchased with Copeland Funds becomes the property of the College upon completion of the Independent Study. The Fund does not support requests for tape recorders, cameras, or laptop computers. However, students should discuss borrowing available equipment from their department and/or Instructional Technology. In addition, the Fund does not provide support for students to enroll in classes during the summer.

The Committee cautions against using the Copeland Funds for the purchase of Departmental equipment. All items of equipment or substantial unused supplies purchased with Copeland Funds must be either turned in, or a letter documenting their receipt by the appropriate academic department be turned in to the Office of Academic Affairs, upon completion of the Independent Study and before graduation.

Attending Meetings

Meetings that have a direct bearing on the I.S. project are encouraged. For example, students can receive funding to attend meetings at which a significant portion of the meeting is related to their I.S. topics 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. projects. Requests by students to attend large national meetings in order to present their data are not generally awarded. These requests are best handled within a department or through the Office of Student Research.

Copying Expenses

Copying expenses in excess of the College allotment can be a legitimate budget item, but the committee frowns upon copying texts simply for the sake of convenience. If a budget is to include reimbursement for copying expenses, the necessity of making copies for the enhancement of the I. S. must be made clear. It is assumed that students will normally incur the costs of copying texts needed for their I.S., as I.S. is a course that does not require the purchase of any textbooks.

Interview 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. 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.

Departmental Funds

Departments need to indicate if a regular budget or an endowed fund is available specifically to be usable for I.S. projects; each I.S. advisor must include this information in the letter of support.

For those departments that have funds to support Independent Study, the proposal should state the amount that the student has available to him or her and deduct that amount from the total cost of the project; the remaining amount will be considered for Copeland Funding. Omission of information on departmental funds will render the application as incomplete.

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.