Global Programs Customized Program Development Grant

Important update: The Customized Program Development Grant (CPDG) is currently suspended and is expected to remain in suspended state through the 2022-2023 academic year.  Those who were selected as recipients at the September 2021 deadline will continue to be eligible to receive their annual appropriation, following the three-year award structure.

The Customized Program Development Grant (CPDG) is a three-year award to support faculty travel or other activities related to developing customized programs to improve global awareness, global literacy, and global competency among Penn State’s undergraduate population. Grantees will be required to complete annual progress reports describing the activities funded by the grant.

Please note that only one application per project will be considered, regardless of the number of participants/applicants. Also, the CPDG will not be awarded retroactively (i.e. for travel that has already occurred at the time of the award), regardless of when the application was submitted.

Award Structure

The CPDG is a graduated award disbursed over three consecutive years:

  • Year 1: $3000* award either for program development expenses (see below) or to defray student costs when running the program for the first time
    • If the first-year funding is used for program development and not all funds are spent, any remaining funding may be rolled over to the following year and used to defray student costs, subject to financial protocols within Penn State Global and the awardee’s academic unit.
  • Year 2: $2000* award to defray student costs, which might include investments in equipment, technology, software, etc. that would support current and future iterations of the program
  • Year 3: $1000* award to defray student cost

Please see the Deadline section below for details on when funds will be made available.

*Amounts listed represent the maximum amount awarded per year. If less funds are needed due to the low-cost nature of the activity (i.e., virtual collaboration), then the review committee will consider the proposed budget and may scale the award amounts accordingly.

Supported Activities

Funding may be requested and awarded for the following types of activities**:

  • To develop collaborative relationships that will be used in future residential or distance courses that will have significant interaction with international faculty and students at the partner institution. For example, parallel courses jointly taught by faculty at both institutions; project-based courses with student teams of combined Penn State and international students.
  • To plan and set up an education abroad program for students (i.e. exploratory travel).
  • To lead students on an education abroad program.
  • To attend a conference, seminar, workshop or other professional development session aimed at enhancing global learning outcomes or upholding best practices in education abroad for the direct benefit of the proposed education abroad program or virtual global experience.
  • To invest in technology or lasting program infrastructure to support students who will participate in current and future iterations of the international academic experience.

Applications solely for faculty participation in conferences, seminars, symposia, organized training, workshops, research, sabbatical-related activities, etc. will not be considered.

Grants may be awarded for either a new course or an established course that adds a new international component. If requesting funds for travel, the travel must relate to a course that will be offered within the next two years.

**Note that for virtual collaborative experiences and other non-travel projects, the expenses may be low or non-existent for years 2 or 3; in such a case, the review committee and Global Programs reserve the right to decrease or suspend the award for any year where costs of running the experience are lower than the award amount.

Proposal Requirements

The proposal includes:

  1. A project overview.
  2. Learning objectives tied specifically to the intended international activity.
  3. An explanation of how the learning objectives will be achieved and how they will be assessed.
  4. A clear and compelling argument for why the international activity is critical for accomplishing the learning objectives.
  5. For courses that involve student travel, explain the choice of location. What makes this the best location for accomplishing the learning objectives?
  6. For exploratory trip funding, applicants are asked to propose a tentative budget for the program being planned; this will allow the review committee to evaluate whether or not the eventual program (if launched) would be sustainable at a compelling price point.
  7. A detailed budget and itinerary.
  8. For courses that involve service learning or community engagement, explain the process used to engage the community in advance to determine what student activities and projects are appropriate and how they have been prioritized. Explain how the activities will benefit the community. For projects involving any research, explain how the research results will be communicated back to the community.
  9. For travel support to lead students on an international experience, explain why the travel support is necessary and how the course will run in future without this additional support.
  10. A letter of support from an academic unit head (Department, College, or Campus). The letter should address:
    • Commitment of the academic unit to offer the course or program at least three times, including consideration of faculty teaching load
    • Explanation of how the initiative ties to the unit’s strategic priorities
    • The level of matching funds available from the academic unit during each of the first three years. If no matching funds are available, the letter of support should explain why this is the case. 

Evaluation Criteria

Programs will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The description of the program learning objectives and how they will be accomplished and assessed
  • The strength of the case made for why this particular international experience is critical for accomplishing those objectives
  • The program’s appropriate balance of academic and cultural content
  • Courses with academic or programmatic strengths that are synergistic with education abroad, such as a program meeting a General Education requirement as an inter-domain or “linked” course
  • For service-learning projects, the description of the ethical considerations employed in planning community engagement (see The Forum on Education Abroad, Code of Ethics)
  • In the interest of good stewardship of University resources, the committee may consider whether the applicant is currently applying for or has recently received funding from Penn State Global for similar projects.

Priority will be given to projects that:

Proposal Process

Proposers must complete the CPDG application at the link below. The online proposal will prompt the proposer to answer several informational questions about the program and upload supporting documentation, including an itinerary/schedule, budget, letter of support, and the proposal document itself. Early submission of applications is encouraged.

Online Proposal Portal


September 15 at 5:00 p.m. ET.  If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications will be accepted until the following Monday at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Proposals that involve expenses and/or travel for the following 12 months will be accepted at the deadline.  As an example, if exploratory travel or the first time the course will be offered occurs in the 12 months immediately after the September 15 deadline, then the course or program is eligible for review under the application cycle.

Special Guidance for Academic Year 2022-2023

Important update: The Customized Program Development Grant (CPDG) is currently suspended and is expected to remain in suspended state through the 2022-2023 academic year.  Those who were selected as recipients at the September 2021 deadline will continue to be eligible to receive their annual appropriation, following the three-year award structure.

University guidelines on international travel are being updated regularly, and grant applicants should review the University's guidance often throughout the application and award process. Any recipeint of the CPDG who is planning international travel must complete whatever travel authorization procedures are in place at the time of travel. Please contact if you have any questions or concerns.

Recipient Information

  • Funds for the first year’s award will be transferred to the University Finance Officer for your college/campus within two (2) weeks after award notification. Disbursements for the following years will be arranged between your FO and the Penn State Global FO. Recipients should contact their University FO to access the funds.
  • Faculty must notify Global Programs if the planning activities or program must be postponed or cancelled. Award funding may be postponed for one year, with approval from Global Programs ( 
  • All international travel funded by a Global Programs travel grant must comply with all applicable Penn State travel policies. The award of a travel grant does not constitute approval of the proposed trip or eliminate the requirement that the proposed international travel comply with all University travel policies. See Penn State Corporate Controller, Countries Considered "Dangerous."
  • Global Programs would like to remind all faculty members that they must register their travel with the Penn State Travel Safety Network except when traveling as leader of an approved education abroad program.
  • Travel to countries/areas identified by Penn State as high-risk areas must be reviewed and approved in advance.

Reporting Requirement

Customized Program Development Grant recipients are required to submit three annual progress reports within two (2) months of completing the planning or program activities, assessing how successful the activities were in achieving your planning goals or student learning outcomes. Grant awardees will be provided a link to submit reports through the proposal portal. Failure to submit reports may affect future grant applications.


Questions can be directed to