Your application for the URCA grant requires a detailed budget that itemizes all expenses you are requesting funds for. To be considered, please carefully follow all instructions below.

Official Budget Form

  • Open the link above and select “Make a Copy” to save this form to your Drive.
  • Rename this file to include your name.
  • Add and remove rows in the table as needed by right-clicking where you want to make changes and selecting the appropriate option from the menu.
  • When you are finished, select “File” > “Download” > “PDF Document” and submit the PDF with your grant application.

To improve the chances of a successful application, students are encouraged to share budget drafts with before submitting.

Categorizing Expenses

Expected Expenses Incurred by Department

This is where you list any purchases the faculty mentor's department will make on your behalf. This typically includes controlled substances or lab equipment. If you aren’t sure, consult with your mentor and the department financial analyst. This section also includes funds for payment to subjects in excess of $150. Any funds listed here will be sent to your department instead of to your BARC account. You must work with the department financial officers to inquire about their specific procedures for purchasing or reimbursement.

If your grant application is approved, the department will receive a copy of your budget and will require additional documentation from the URCA office for any modifications to approved use of funds.

Expected Expenses Incurred by Student

This category includes things you will purchase or rent to conduct your research that aren’t specialty items that your department must purchase on your behalf. For example, you might list a lab coat or book you plan to order online or a limited software subscription. Please note that there have been significant delays in students receiving these funds so if the expenses are time sensitive please consider working with the department instead.

Itemizing Budget Items

URCA Grants are intended to fund research expenses and cannot be used for conference expenses. The only exception is the printing of 24x36 posters to be displayed at the URCA Week Poster Colloquium using our group rate.

URCA has an agreement with the in the UCen to print URCA Week posters at a discount. To take advantage of this option, students must include it in their budget form under the appropriate section. 

Students who wish to print their posters separately are responsible for the associated expenses and cannot include these in other sections of the budget. 

Item Cost
Poster $25


Consumable Goods

Consumables are goods that must be replaced regularly because they wear out or are used up. They can also be defined as the components of an end product that is used up or permanently altered in the process of manufacturing such as semiconductor wafers and basic chemicals. Consumables require recurrent replacement because they are used up or transformed in their use, like office supplies, robot parts, or single-use lab equipment.

What to write in your budget form

Pens For survey participants Staples $10
Batteries For flashlight used in night observation Target


Jars Insect collection Amazon $20
Petri dishes Needed to run DNA tests on samples Fisher Scientific $40

Durable Goods

A durable good or a hard good is a good that does not quickly wear out or, more specifically, one that yields utility over time rather than being completely consumed or transformed in its use. For example, while a workbook you write in is a consumable good, a textbook is a durable good. A flash drive used to store data is a durable good, whereas a raspberry pi component built into a robot is consumable because the use is transformed.

URCA does not fund durable goods. Items like computer parts, flash drives, cameras, or voice recorders can not be purchased with URCA funds. In the event your project requires the purchase of a durable good that cannot be rented, you may request an exception before the deadline and agree to donate it to your department at the end of the funding period.

What to write in your budget form

Camera Rental Pentax Z17 Needed to record interviews for film (3 days at $84) Cardinal Photos $252

Payment to subjects over $150 must be listed as a department expense and students must work with the department financial staff to arrange payment and reimbursement. We cannot send more than $150 to BARC accounts for payment to subjects or services or to be used on gift cards.

To be considered, the budget must include the number of subjects and how they will be paid. Before submitting your application, please discuss with your department if they have any additional limitations such as providing identifying information about subjects or what cards may be purchased. You may not pay subjects in cash, Venmo, or similar direct payments.


What to write in your budget form

3x $25 Amazon gift cards Payment to subjects for two-hour interviews with three subjects Amazon $75
150x $3 Payment to subjects: Surveys to assess response to treatment MTurk


URCA funds are meant to support students pursuing independent research and creative projects. As such, they cannot be used to fund others doing significant work for your project.

However, if there is a highly specialized task that needs to be completed for your project to be successful and this is not a skill you have, there are some cases in which a professional can be hired, these are decided on a case by case basis and must be approved by URCA staff before the application deadline.

In cases when AI transcription software is not sufficient, such as when subjects have strong accents or the recording is not of good quality, a professional transcription service may be used.


What to write in your budget form

Transcription 3 hrs at $30 each Sound quality is poor at transit station interviews and requires human transcription FastScripts $90

URCA funds cannot be used to purchase books or articles available through the UCSB library.
Books that cannot be borrowed through the library may be purchased with grant funds; however, they must be donated to the department at the conclusion of the academic year.
All books must be listed in the budget form with title, author, and ISBN.
Academic articles must be listed with title, author, publication, and DOI.
Newspaper paywall’s must be identified with cost and the dates a subscription is being sought, please be aware the funding period ends at the conclusion of the academic year.
Data sets and subscriptions to data repositories must be clearly identified


What to write in your budget form

String Theory by David Foster Wallace (ISBN 978-1598534801) Book not available at Library and is necessary for literature reviews Chaucer's $19.95

Software can be subscribed to on a limited basis according to the project timeline. For example, if your timeline shows focus groups will be conducted in March, transcription software will not be funded for January and February. Furthermore, the subscription length is limited to the funding period of the grant, which ends with the academic year. Annual subscriptions will not be funded if monthly subscriptions through the end of the academic year are more cost-effective.
Software that is available free to students, such as Microsoft Office and Canva, will not be funded.

What to write in your budget form

Cost transcription 2/1-4/30 (3 months at $13) To transcribe interview recordings $39
NVivo Annual student subscription because no monthly available NVivio


URCA will fund travel that is needed for the successful completion of the project that is done within the funding period. URCA funds may not be used for conference travel.
All travel must follow UC Travel Policies (consult with the departmental Financial Officer PRIOR to the proposal submission and again PRIOR to actual trip).
URCA will not cover any expenses related to international travel.
URCA will not cover any expenses related to travel within the commuter area (Santa Barbara/Goleta).
Will not approve multiple trips to the same site.
URCA funds cannot be used for conference travel.
Mileage reimbursement is 65.5 cents/mile. This is the standard rate, regardless of what car you drive or current gas prices. It is a standard rate that includes insurance and maintenance cost. Funding for car travel not using this standard rate will not be considered.
URCA will only fund economy travel.

What to write in your budget form

Car Travel 200 miles at $0.655 Need to drive to LA Library to interview subjects Standard Rate $131
Flight SBA to PHL Trip to archive not available online American Airlines


Roundtrip to LA Union Station Travel to field research site Amtrak $62
Three nights accommodation in SD Hotel for multi-day field work trip Motel 6 $210

5 Common Reasons Budgets Are Rejected

The methods section in your project proposal is the basis for your budget. This means, URCA staff will look at what you’re asking for, and see if that is reasonably needed for the success of your project.

Every proposal is different and will be individually considered, but here are some of the common reasons budgets are rejected.

The expenses listed must not add up to more than $750. If your project is more expensive, only ask for some of the expenses

  • Requesting payment for 50 subjects when the proposal describes a small focus group
  • Requesting transcription software when the method described only includes written surveys from subjects
  • A flight to LAX when Amtrak is cheaper
  • Professional transcription when AI software would work on high-quality audio recording
  • Books that are available at the library
  • Canva Pro when free Canva would serve the same purpose
  • Travel costs within Santa Barbara or Goleta areas
  • Durable goods like flash drives or voice recorders
  • Payment to subject gift cards to BARC account
  • Subscriptions that exceed the funding period
  • Conference travel and fees. URCA funds cannot be used for any costs associated with presenting at conferences. The only exception is the URCA Colloquium, participation in which is a condition of accepting the grant. Applicants may request up to $25 in poster development expenses for the Colloquium.
  • Books are not itemized with title, author, and ISBN
  • Car travel cost is not listed using standard mileage or specifying the destination