Graduate Council Policies and Procedures

I. Introduction to the Graduate Council

The Simmons School of Education and Human Development’s Graduate Council is elected by the student body from each department of the Simmons School and administers funds for graduate student enrichment and professional development activities. The Simmons Graduate Council is intended to support individual student goals, not departmental goals. The Graduate Council represents all Simmons School graduate students, and students may submit suggestions or comments to the Council for consideration. For more information about the Council and how you can contact your department’s representative, please visit:


A) All policies, procedures, and rules are subject to interpretation by the Graduate Council. The Graduate Council reserves the right to change any policies, procedures, or rules without prior notice.

B) The Graduate Council may approve or decline an application based on eligibility requirements and/or merit, at its discretion.

C) The Graduate Council will not approve any applications for academic enrichment activities undertaken for course credit.

D) Students may submit an application in the funding cycle immediately after an event/activity, but preference will be given to funding requests that are planned and requested in advance. Students who have not received prior approval run the risk of their event/activity not being funded regardless of circumstance.

II. Services Provided by the Graduate Council

The Graduate Council reviews applications for funding from Simmons graduate students three times per academic year: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

A. Eligibility requirements

a) Funds are available only to currently-enrolled students at Southern Methodist University’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

b) Funds are available for academically enriching activities, such as (but not limited to):

  1. Attendance at academic or professional events related to your course of study (i.e., conferences, seminars, or colloquiums).

  2. Conducting original research in connection with the student’s degree program.

  3. Other activities related to degree program/coursework, pursuant to the Council’s discretion.

B. Regulations

a) Students who have been awarded funds by the Graduate Council will not be reimbursed until after the activity for which funds were sought has occurred.

b) Reimbursement Procedure:

  1. Once you return from your travel, contact the Graduate Council Treasurer to begin the check request process and submit your receipts. Receipts must be itemized with no alcohol or other disallowed purchases on receipts. Sales tax is not reimbursable and should not be included in your reimbursement request.

  2. Please include a detailed reconciliation with receipt submission.

  3. Once the receipts and detailed reconciliation have been received, the Treasurer will complete the necessary forms and submit the check request to the Student Comptroller. You will be notified via email when your check is ready for pick-up from the Student Comptroller's Office located on the third floor of the Hughes-Trigg building.

    Check Request Forms and receipts must be submitted no later than 90 days after the expense is incurred and/or you return from travel. For expenses already incurred at the time of applying, receipts are due within 14 days of receiving the award letter. If reimbursement is not sought within that 90-day/14-day period, your funding will be waived. If you are approved for funding, a link to submit receipts will be included in the award letter email.

c) For students driving to events in TX, NM, OK, AR, or LA, mileage may be reimbursed in accordance with SMU policies and guidelines. If beyond these limits the Council recommends flying. The Council may approve costs associated to park a vehicle at a hotel and/or conference. In accordance with the Council policy, receipts for these costs must be submitted to be reimbursed.

C. Stipulations

a) The maximum support a student can receive per academic year is $1750.

b) Students may only submit one application per funding cycle. Multiple events may be included in the one application if the events fall in the same funding cycle.

c) If you are seeking funds for courses connected with national and international travel, you may only seek reimbursement for such costs if you do not seek academic credit for the course. (Please note this is a university-wide policy, not limited to the Graduate Council.)

d) Applicants may also seek up to $100 reimbursement for Taxi, Uber (or similar), or hotel/airport shuttles for transportation to and from the airport.

e) If a student is awarded funds for travel but is unable to participate, the council is not responsible for reimbursing student prepaid expenses.

f) Amounts awarded may vary dependent upon the number and quality of applications, and the funds available per cycle.

g) The following items are not eligible for reimbursement:

  1. First-class or business class travel, upgrade fees, flight change fees, or baggage fees.

  2. Room service, phone calls, movies, mini-bar items, and Internet service.

  3. Alcoholic beverages.

  4. Taxi, Uber (or similar), or paid shuttles for daily use (i.e., travel from hotel to conference site or personal use)

  5. Vehicle rentals.

  6. Sales tax and other state taxes not reimbursable per SMU policies and guidelines, with the exception of hotel and flight taxes and fees.

D. Limitations

a) If the Council learns that a student has violated these policies and procedures, or has been untruthful in an application for funds, the Council reserves the right to seek repayment of any and all funds disbursed to the student as a result of said violation or untruthful application.

E. In the Event of a Tie

a) In the event of a tie that must be broken – whether from a department election, a funding application, or any circumstance involving Council business – the Council will break the tie by a vote of Council members with decision going to a 2/3 majority. If the tie directly involves a Council member the member’s vote is excluded and the member should, if applicable, remove themselves from the room. If after three votes the tie is not broken the tie-breaker will go to the present Council Faculty Advisor.

F. Internal Council Position Logistics

a) Position Recall: Any member of the Simons Graduate Council may be removed from their position involuntarily due to lack of attendance, not adhering to council rules, or any other offenses deemed significant by the council. In the event that a member must be removed, a 2/3 majority of the council must vote to remove the member from the council.

b) Once the council has voted to remove a member, the removed member is immediately no longer a representative for the council.

c) Recruitment: Simmons Graduate Council recruitment will occur once each academic year. Recruitment will only consist of recruiting for the positions currently open in the council. A digital nomination form will be sent out to all Simmons students to nominate themselves or others, followed by a formal voting process from all Simmons students for their representatives.

d) Meetings: The Council can use the fund to purchase up to $50 in food and drinks for meetings, no alcohol.