Application Guidelines

The application form, found in the gnosis TDF application site, includes a 250- to 750-word statement of objectives along with an itemized budget and budget rationale. Applications with inadequate statements and/or unjustified budget items are likely to be denied.

To apply: 1) Log into the gnosis site. 2)  Select TDF [current semester/year] from the "Currently selected term" drop-down menu. 3) Click “Travel” from the top menu. (Note: The application is labeled Travel since that is the primary usage of TDF support, but should be used for all TDF requests.) This will open up your application page. 4) Complete the fields on the main page. 5) Scroll down to “Supporting Files,” and click on TDF Travel Application template form. This will download the blank application form that includes basic instructions. 6) Complete the form, overwriting the instructions with your narrative, save it as a PDF, and then upload your completed form. 7) Upload any additional supporting documents. 8) When you are ready to submit your application, Check the box marked "I am done editing this application and would like to submit it" and hit the Save button below.

Proof of conference registration that confirms the dates of attendance is required. Acceptable forms of proof include: an email from the conference organizers, a receipt, official quote, and/or a link and screenshot of the conference website confirming the dates and conference description.

USF policy regarding travel is that faculty can be compensated for either the driving mileage to and from their destination or the cost of air or train travel, whichever is less. The TDF Committee expects individual applicants to act responsibly with this collective benefit by keeping costs as reasonable as possible.

  • The TDF will fund the less expensive mode of travel. For example, driving 800 miles roundtrip to Los Angeles at $0.58/mile would be around $465, while a roundtrip flight to Los Angeles is $300. The TDF could only reimburse $300 should you choose to drive.
  • Airfare and rail travel must be economy or coach.
  • Three airfare quotes must be provided, even if the airfare has already been purchased, and when they were compared. (Note: All quotes should be taken on the same day, as ticket prices change daily.) If you do not choose the least expensive flight, please explain in your budget rationale the reason for doing so.
  • Baggage fees of up to $30 each way ($60 roundtrip) will be funded.
  • Auto transportation mileage is reimbursed at 65 cents per mile. Those applying for auto transportation costs must provide a map documenting the mileage (e.g., a screenshot of Google Maps driving directions). The starting location of the map must begin at the USF campus (2130 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117) even if this adds extra miles.
  • Local transportation includes taxis, buses, local trains, shuttles, tolls, rides-haring apps, and airport parking at San Francisco International Airport or Oakland International Airport. The domestic limit for this is $150. In the case of international travel, these costs may exceed $150 and should be placed in the “Exceptions” field and fully described in your itemized budget.
  • Car rentals may be funded only with a valid explanation in the itemized budget file. Car rental requests should be included in the “Exceptions” field. Add-on insurance for car rentals should be declined, as USF has an insurance policy that covers employees traveling for business purposes.
  • These expenses may be estimated and do not require documentation if travel has not yet taken place. However, if travel has occurred, copies of receipts must be submitted with your application. Retain your original receipts as they must be submitted with your expense reports.

Faculty are asked to be responsible with TDF funds by selecting a hotel with the lowest reasonable rates for the area to which you are traveling.

  • Number of nights: The hotel is funded for the number of nights you will be attending the conference (or research activities) plus 1 night for travel (maximum of 10 nights). For example, if you are attending the conference from Friday until Sunday morning, TDF would fund three nights (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). TDF will not fund longer conference stays than are justified by your role(s) at the conference.
  • Price quotes: Applicants should provide at least three hotel quotes (including, when possible, the conference hotel) to show that a reasonable rate has been chosen even if the hotel cost has already been paid.
  • Limits: The TDF will fund the lowest reasonable rate (no room upgrades) up to the domestic limit of $275/night, excluding taxes and fees. For more expensive cities or for international travel, the choice of a reasonable hotel rate above that limit should be explained in the budget rationale.
  • Conference hotel: If the conference hotel rate is unreasonably high for the area, the Committee may request that the applicant explore more economical alternatives.
  • Rate quotes should clearly show the dates of the stay and when they were compared.
  • Entering hotel costs on gnosis:The hotel rate may either be entered on gnosis as either a daily rate or a flat rate for the total price of the stay. If choosing flat rate option, please: check the “Flat Rate” box; select the number of nights, as the “Food” field will be automatically calculated from the “Number of Nights” field.
  • Non-hotel options: If it’s cheaper to rent an apartment than to stay in a hotel, the TDF will fund the rental. Please provide documentation showing hotel quotes for the time frame as well as the cost of the apartment or other lodging.
  • Room tax will be funded. Please include this in the hotel nightly rate.
  • Internet access costs of up to $10/night will be funded. Please include this in the hotel nightly rate.

Food is reimbursed at $25 per day, plus 1 additional day for travel. The “Food” field is automatically calculated from the “Number of Nights” field. Receipts are not required for reimbursement. Instead, attach the TDF award letter in the meal receipt area when submitting your Concur expense report.

Note: The expense type to use for food is Meal Allotment 716430.

The TDF does not fund food for online courses or conferences.

Should be fully explained in your budget rationale.

  • Courses, certifications, and trainings: The TDF does not support costs related to professional licensing and certification. The Committee considers requests for immersion or training courses, lessons, and coaching on a case-by-base basis, provided the applicant clearly demonstrates how they are directly related to the improvement of particular course(s) they teach at USF. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss such requests with their Associate Dean before submitting an application. 
  • Optional conference events, such as banquets or tours, are not supported.
  • Memberships: Costs of becoming a member of the organization holding the conference or workshop are not supported unless: a) membership is required to attend, or b) membership and registration fees combined are less than registration fees for non- members. If requesting membership fees, you must provide documentation that one of these exceptions has been met.
  • Optional travel upgrades or services such as extra leg room, in-flight wifi, and priority boarding are not supported.
  • Travel insurance is not supported.
  • Frequent flyer miles: The value of airfare purchased with frequent flyer miles or points cannot be supported or reimbursed.
  • Hotel services: Hotel phone calls, room service, video rentals, and other non-essential services are not supported.
  • Local accommodations: Hotel stays for conferences within 50 miles of USF are not supported.
  • Gifts or meals for others are not supported.
  • USF-sponsored retreats are not supported.
  • Paid gigs: Events for which the faculty member is being compensated (such as paid lectures) are not supported.
  • Computer purchases are not supported. Information Technology Services (ITS) handles purchase and disbursement of all computers and similar devices.
  • Commuting costs are not supported.

Please do not combine all your receipts or quotes into a single PDF file and upload that one file into each field. Actual receipts or price quotes must be uploaded for each field. Multiple files can be uploaded for each line item by clicking “Choose File” and then “Save” for each separate file. Your application should include the following items:

  • TDF application form, which includes the statement of objectives, itemized budget and budget rationale, and explanations of any exceptions in the request
  • Conference announcement, paper acceptance, or invitation acceptance for conference travel applications
  • Proof of registration cost or receipt for conference travel applications
  • Three airfare or train quotes (or map for automobile transportation)
  • Three hotel rate quotes
  • Local transportation receipts, if applying after travel has taken place

Processing of Reimbursements

For travel reimbursements, you submit an expense report in Concur. Accounting and Business Services provides instructions and a tutorial. You’ll need a copy of your award letter and the FOAP information included in that letter, which is different for each school. 

A note on meal reimbursements: The expense type to use for food is Meal Allotment 716430. No receipts are required. Instead, attach the TDF award letter, which shows the amount awarded for meals, in the meal receipt area.

Travel reimbursement requests should be submitted within 10 days of the date of the completion of travel. Retroactive travel reimbursement requests should be submitted as soon as possible after the relevant TDF Award is made. All reimbursement requests must be within the same fiscal year as the travel took place; the fiscal year ends on May 31st, so only expenses incurred in the year before that date can be reimbursed. Requests for reimbursement for expenses in a previous fiscal year will be denied by Accounting and Business Services. 

For expenses incurred overseas (rarely supported by TDF) please include original receipts (or quotes) in the country’s currency with an expense report completed in US dollars. When converting to US dollars for international travel, the University requires that receipts be converted on the day of the expense or final bill. Please go online to one of the converters and be sure to include the exact date of conversions (and not the current day’s date). Each conversion for each receipt must have a printed copy of the conversion from the online converter submitted with the receipt.

The expense type to use for food is Meal Allotment 716430, and no receipt is required. Instead, attach the TDF award letter in the meal receipt area.

Reimbursement is typically by direct deposit into your bank account. If you have not set this up, please download a reimbursement direct deposit form and email the completed form to Note that this form is different from the direct deposit form for salary.

Purchasing airline tickets without using a personal credit card is an option for faculty. In the College of Arts & Sciences, this is done with the assistance of the CAS Office of Operations, which uses a “ghost P-card” for airline tickets. If you are a CAS faculty member, please contact Sharon Li ( or Dan Dao ( for details; in other schools, please contact your Dean's Office.