How to Apply for Funding

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Applying for Funding

The SSC uses a comprehensive evaluative process to ensure that every funded project incorporates student involvement, positive environmental impact, and an ability to spark change. We receive more proposals than we can fund and typically award approximately 40% of the applications we receive.

For questions regarding the application process, please email sustainability-committee@illinois.edu.

* The SSC is currently taking applications under $10,000 in budget for Student-Led and Faculty/Staff-Led Projects. In light of limited available funding because of COVID-19 related issues, we will be prioritizing Student-Led Projects. The deadline for this application cycle is April 21, 2021. Applicants are highly encouraged to attend a Working Group Meeting to pitch their projects. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to return to our normal funding capacity in Fall 2021.

Projects led by students with a budget over $750 must have a faculty/staff sponsor and a department sponsor to receive funds. With the exception of Micro Grants, the SSC is unable to provide funding directly to students and/or student organizations.

Projects Over $10,000

Student-Led Projects with costs exceeding $10,000 require the submission of two applications with two distinct deadlines. This application process is semester-long. Therefore, it is critical that those interested in this type of funding plan accordingly to the application requirements at each point of the funding cycle. This application process follows the sequence below:

  1. Attend a Working Group Meeting
    The SSC encourages applicants to attend a working group meeting to receive feedback to strengthen project proposals. These meetings occur regularly and are posted on our calendar.
  2. Submit the Funding Application – Step I
    Complete the SSC Funding Application – Step I (doc) and submit it to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu no later than 11:59 p.m. on the designated due date.
  3. Receive a Decision from SSC
    The SSC will decide to approve or deny the Funding Application – Step I. If approved, the application will be moved on to the next steps of the application process. If the committee denies an application, no further action should or needs to be taken.
  4. Submit the Funding Application – Step II & Supplemental Budget
    Complete the SSC Funding Application – Step II (doc) and the Supplemental Budget (xls). Submit both items to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu no later than 11:59 p.m. on the designated date.
  5. Sign the Funding Agreement & Request a C-FOAPAL
    Once the SSC funds a project, each stakeholder signs a funding agreement. The financial manager from your department will request a new C-FOAPAL string where the money will remain for the duration of the project. SSC allocated funding is available for a maximum of two years after the initial approval.
  6. Submit a Semesterly Report
    Each semester, project leaders are required to submit a Semesterly Report (doc) to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu no later than 11:59 p.m. on the designated date.
  7. Submit a Final Report
    Once the project is completed, project leaders will submit a Final Report (doc) to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu.

Projects Under $10,000

Student-Led Projects with costs less than $10,000 require the submission of a Student-Led Application. This application process follows the sequence below:

  1. Attend a Working Group Meeting
    The SSC encourages applicants to attend a working group meeting to receive feedback to strengthen project proposals. These meetings occur regularly and are posted on our calendar.
  2. Submit a Student-Led Application
    Complete the Student-Led Application (Under $10k) and submit it to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu no later than 11:59 p.m. on the designated date.
  3. Sign the Funding Agreement & Request a C-FOAPAL
    Once the SSC approves a project, each stakeholder signs a funding agreement. The financial manager from your department will request a new C-FOAPAL string where the money will remain for the duration of the project. SSC allocated funding is available for a maximum of two years after the initial approval.
  4. Submit a Semesterly Report
    Each semester, project leaders are required to submit a Semesterly Report (doc) to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu no later than 11:59 p.m. on the designated date.
  5. Submit a Final Report
    Once the project is completed, project leaders will submit a Final Report (doc) to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu.

Projects Under $750 (Micro Grants)

The SSC offers a Micro Grant for Student-Led Projects under $750. The Micro Grant provides an expedited funding process to enable a quicker turnaround time between applying and funding. The SSC accepts Micro Grant applications on a rolling basis throughout the fall and spring semesters.

* Unlike SSC’s traditional funding requirements, Micro Grant Projects do not require a faculty or staff advisor.

Micro Grant Application Process
  1. Attend a Working Group Meeting
    The SSC encourages applicants to attend a working group meeting to receive feedback to strengthen project proposals. These meetings occur regularly and are posted on our calendar.
  2. Submit a Micro Grant Application
    Complete a Micro Grant Application (doc) and submit it to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu.
Micro Grant-Specific Funding Standards

Micro Grant standards are unique given the smaller funding amount and the expedited application process. Please review the standards below to ensure your application is eligible to receive full consideration:

Micro Grant General Funding Standards
  • Undergraduate and graduate students may submit requests for a maximum amount of $750.
  • Funding may only be used for project applications submitted by students for university-affiliated projects on university property.
  • Projects must have a substantial impact on students. This may be through a direct impact or an indirect impact through education and engagement. Because funding comes from student initiated fees, projects must benefit the campus community.
  • The following may be funded on a case-by-case basis as determined by the committee:
    • Feasibility studies and design work that address a sustainability need on campus.
    • Outreach events with a central theme of sustainability and a primary audience that is the general campus community.
    • Innovative repairs and replacements to existing campus building systems that contribute toward sustainability. Preference is given to projects utilizing new ideas and technologies as opposed to those servicing routine maintenance.
Non-Eligible Items for Micro Grant Funding
  • Reimbursements
  • Projects with a primary end goal of generating revenue for non-University entities
  • Personal lodging, food, beverage, and other travel expenses
  • Tuition or other forms of personal financial assistance for students beyond standard student employee wages
  • Proposals that solely request student, staff, and/or faculty stipend(s)
  • Capital Projects
  • Faculty Projects
  • For a more complete list of guidelines, please view this list of prohibited and restricted purchases (pdf).

Projects with a faculty or staff member as the primary project leader require the submission of two applications with two distinct deadlines. This application process is semester-long. Therefore, it is critical that those interested in this type of funding plan accordingly to the application requirements at each point of the funding cycle. This application process follows the sequence below:

  1. Attend a Working Group Meeting
    The SSC encourages applicants to attend a working group meeting to receive feedback to strengthen project proposals. These meetings occur regularly and are posted on our calendar.
  2. Submit the Funding Application – Step I
    Complete the SSC Funding Application – Step I (doc) and submit it to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu no later than 11:59 p.m. on the designated due date.
  3. Receive a Decision from SSC
    The SSC will decide to approve or deny the Funding Application – Step I. If approved, the application will be moved on to the next steps of the application process. If the committee denies an application, no further action should or needs to be taken.
  4. Submit the Funding Application – Step II & Supplemental Budget
    Complete the SSC Funding Application – Step II (doc) and the Supplemental Budget (xls). Submit both items to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu no later than 11:59 p.m. on the designated date.
  5. Sign the Funding Agreement & Request a C-FOAPAL
    Once the SSC funds a project, each stakeholder signs a funding agreement. The financial manager from your department will request a new C-FOAPAL string where the money will remain for the duration of the project. SSC allocated funding is available for a maximum of two years after the initial approval.
  6. Submit a Semesterly Report
    Each semester, project leaders are required to submit a Semesterly Report (doc) to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu no later than 11:59 p.m. on the designated date.
  7. Submit a Final Report
    Once the project is completed, project leaders will submit a Final Report (doc) to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu.

SSC follows a set of funding standards that reflect our mission. Please review the standards below to ensure your application is eligible to receive full consideration:

General Standards

  • Projects must incorporate student involvement, positive environmental impact, and an ability to spark change.
  • Student-Led Projects require a faculty or staff sponsor.
  • Funding may only be allocated to university-affiliated projects.
  • Projects must have a substantial impact on the student body.
  • Projects over $100,000 must list project components and priority initiatives in the case SSC chooses to only partially fund the project.
  • The following may be funded on a case-by-case basis as determined by the committee:
    • Feasibility studies and design work that address a sustainability need on campus.
    • Wages toward positions designated for campus sustainability projects. Strong preference will be given to proposals receiving matching funding from departments and/or plans for maintaining continuity of the position after the end of the initial grant.
    • Outreach events with a central theme of sustainability. The primary audience must be the general campus community.
    • Food and prizes with justifiable reasoning.
    • Innovative repairs and replacements to existing building systems that contribute toward campus sustainability. Preference is given to projects utilizing new ideas and technologies.
    • Department loans for projects with a plan for repayment back to SSC. Loans will require a separate memorandum of understanding between the SSC and departmental leadership pledging to repay the award in full and detailing the payment plan.

Non-Eligible Projects

  • Projects with a primary end goal of generating revenue for non-University entities
  • Personal lodging, food, beverage, and other travel expenses
  • Tuition or other forms of personal financial assistance for students beyond standard student employee wages

Scope Change

If a project requires a change in timeline, budget, or objective, a Scope Change must be submitted. A Scope Change requires a detailed description and explanation of the changes being requested and must be submitted at least sixty (60) days in advance of the project’s original completion deadline.

Access the Scope Change form (doc). Please submit the completed Scope Change form to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu.

Semesterly Report

Semesterly Reports are required at the end of the fall and spring semesters for all ongoing projects in order to document progress as well as any significant updates. These must include supporting documentation (e.g., budget spreadsheets, progress photos, etc.). The submission deadline for these reports is the last day of final exams.

Access the Semester Report form (doc). Please submit the completed Semesterly Reports to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu.

Final Report

Final Reports are required upon completion of a project. Supporting documentation (e.g., budget spreadsheets, progress photos, etc.) must be included. The deadline for your project is detailed in the original funding agreement that was provided upon approval for your project.

Access the Final Report form (doc). Please submit the Final Report to sustainability-committee@illinois.edu.

What qualifies a project as being "Student-led"?

A Student-Led Project is one where a student is the lead figure in defining the goal and creating the design of the project. Students are still encouraged to consult faculty, staff, and/or other professionals while maintaining autonomy.

Are there specific types of expenses that the SSC will not fund?

Yes. Please refer to respective funding standards under How to Apply for Funding.

Will SSC fund multiple projects from the same applicant?

Yes, the SSC can fund multiple projects from the same applicant.

Will SSC fund my research project?

The SSC can fund research projects that have a tangible sustainability impact on the campus wide community. Research projects that are limited to individual personal gain will not be funded.

Why would my proposal not receive SSC funding?

Below are a few of the most common reasons. This list is not exhaustive:

  • The project was not in compliance with SSC’s funding requirements.
  • The application or presentation was too vague.
  • The project did not benefit the campus wide community.
  • Funding is competitive. We receive many applications for projects every semester and have a limited budget.
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