Office of Undergraduate Research

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Frequently Asked Questions

SURE Program FAQs | Website/Submission FAQ

SURE Program FAQs

Q: What kind of projects are funded by SURE?

A: SURE funds research and scholarly projects that are proposed and conducted by an undergraduate student. The project needs to be feasibly completed in 10 weeks, and work must be performed over the summer. You might want to take a look at some sample proposals and a list of previously funded projects.

Q: Can I propose a project that involves more than one student?

A: Yes, but each student needs to submit an individual application and each will be evaluated separately.

Q: I am a graduating senior. Am I eligible to apply for SURE funding?

A: No. The SURE program is intended for returning students who will be able to establish an affiliation with a department or a mentor as a result of their experience in the program. Students who will graduate in December, after the Fall semester, ARE eligible to apply.

Q: I am a foreign student / non-US citizen. Can I apply for a SURE grant?

A: Yes. You must, however, have the appropriate visa or have a good chance of obtaining one prior to the summer. SURE can neither help or advise you with the complex issue of visas. The USD Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) may be able to help you.

Q: My proposed faculty mentor is an adjunct professor/postdoctoral fellow and isn't sure whether she is eligible to supervise my research under the SURE program. Is she?

A: Yes. Adjunct faculty and postdocs are eligible to serve as SURE mentors.

Q: I would like to do a project with someone who is not a USD faculty member. Can I use this money for research not at USD?

A: No. SURE provides funds only for projects supervised by USD faculty.

Q: What if I (or my faculty mentor) can't work all summer?

A: The SURE program funds 10 week projects but will consider shorter-term projects with modified stipend requests.

Q: Can I live on campus while working on a SURE project during the summer?

A: Yes. As a SURE grant recipient, you qualify for a discounted on-campus housing rate. More information will be provided to students who receive SURE awards.

Q: How much money does a SURE award pay?

A: Both the student and the faculty mentor receive payments for their participation in SURE. The amount changes from year to year depending on funding sources and number of applications. The student stipend amount for 2014 will be $3500. Students who need supplies or must travel to conduct their research can be awarded up to $500 towards these expenses.

Q: Is the student stipend taxable?

A: Yes. Withholding will be taken from the stipend checks; you may be able to adjust the amount withheld via the appropriate forms (see Human Resources). If you do not make enough annually to pay tax, you should be able to get most or all back in refunds by the appropriate filings. [Disclaimer: We can't give you real 'tax advice' here because we're not tax accountants and don't know your particular situation. You'll have to get that on your own.] If a project requires travel to a research site, the stipend may be converted into travel reimbursement, which allows the student to use the money towards project expenses without paying taxes on the reimbursement.

Q: What is required of me if I am awarded a SURE grant?

A: SURE students are required to complete their 10 weeks of proposed research/scholarship and professional development workshops. Additionally, students must submit a brief written report that summarizes their activities and accomplishments and weekly and end-of-program evaluation surveys. SURE students are also strongly encouraged to present their completed project at the following year's Creative Collaborations Undergraduate Research Conference, USD's annual celebration of research and scholarship held each spring.

Website/Submission FAQ

Q: I'm having problems with the website / online form / downloads - who should I contact?

A: First, read further to see if your question is answered below. If you are still having problems, please email

Q: How do I make a PDF to submit?

A: PC users: The latest version of Microsoft Word allows you to save a document as PDF from the 'Save As' menu. If you are using an older version of MS Word, this is more difficult. There are various add-ons you can download to make PDFs. Here is information about conversion from Adobe: Create PDF. You can get up to 5 free conversions online.
Mac users: in the Print dialog, there is an option to 'Save as PDF'.

Q: When I clicked the 'Submit' button, I got an error message. But now I can't seem to resubmit - what do I do, and was my data saved?

A: When you submit, your data is saved into our database, even if you receive an error message. In most cases, small errors will not be a problem. If you make a big error that you feel you must correct, please send a message to

Q: When I clicked the 'Submit' button, the screen went back to the main website, and I didn't receive a confirmation email later. What happened?

A: Significant delay in submitting while logged in may result in your session being timed out, and failure of the submission. If you do not see "Thank you. Your information has been submitted" after hitting the SUBMIT button, log in again and submit again. (If you can submit, it is evidence that the submission never happened the first time-- the system allows only one submission per student). Note also that automatic confirming emails usually are sent and arrive almost instantly (although they do occasionally take up to a few hours).