State Fellowship

Managing Your Award/Frequently Asked Questions


Guidebook

California Sea Grant developed a guidebook for prospective and incoming fellows.

This guidebook covers how to prepare for the matching workshop, relationships with your host office, cities and neighborhoods close to agency offices, and other helpful tips from previous fellows. With contributions from state fellow alumni, this guide offers insight and experiences from those who have lived through it.

Guidebook (Accurate as of 2019, will be updated in the future)


Fellowship Contacts

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Nick Sadrpour
Program Coordinator - Science Integration Team
nsadrpour@ucsd.edu 
858-246-5269 

STIPEND, HEALTH INSURANCE AND TRAVEL QUESTIONS

Herminia Robles
Fund Manager
hcrobles@ucsd.edu
858-534-4442

TRAVEL PREAUTHORIZATION

sgfellow@ucsd.edu 

GENERAL CONTACTS

Main Phone: (858) 534-4440
Fax: (858) 534-2231

Mailing Address

California Sea Grant
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, Dept. 0232
La Jolla, CA 92093-0232

Express Mailing Address (via UPS, FedEx)

California Sea Grant
University of California, San Diego
8830 Biological Grade Way
La Jolla, CA 92037


Stipends

What are the allocation amounts for my fellowship? 

2022- 

The California Sea Grant program at UC San Diego administers the overall award of $53,976 (based on a 12-month period) per fellow, as of 2022. Of this amount, the California Sea Grant program provides $51,504 ($4,292/month) for stipend and health insurance for the twelve-month assignment. Additional funds of $2,472 to cover travel for any California Sea Grant coordinated state fellow in-person meeting and other fellowship related travel. Additional travel associated with the fellowship may be covered by the host agency at the agency’s discretion.

2021

The California Sea Grant program at UC San Diego administers the overall award of $53,976 (based on a 12-month period) per fellow, as of 2021. Of this amount, the California Sea Grant program provides $48,264 ($4,022 per month) to each fellow for stipend and living expenses. California Sea Grant will reimburse costs for private health insurance that you may already have or will obtain, up to a total of $3,240 over twelve months ($270/month). There is also $2,472 available to cover expenses for the matching workshop, joint California Sea Grant Extension Program meeting, and any remaining funds can be applied to other fellowship-related travel.

When will I receive my first stipend? 
Your stipend will be issued via UCSD's most current financial system. Timely payment of your first stipend payment is dependent upon timely enrollment in UCSD's system. You will receive a link to register to do business with UC San Diego through Payment Compass. Please do not delete this email, this is where you register for direct deposit. Stipends are paid one month in arrears. Since this is not through the payroll system and must go through multiple approval processes, there is not a specified date that you will receive your stipend. We strive to have your stipend processed before the 1st of each month.  

Please click here for instructions on changing your address in Payment Compass

Am I considered a UCSD employee? 
No. You are not considered a UCSD employee. You are paid via Payment Authorizations (non-payroll) through UCSD Disbursements.


Insurance

Does California Sea Grant provide health insurance?
No. However, your fellowship award provides a monthly stipend that includes $270 for health insurance reimbursement. 

2022- up to a total of $3,240 over twelve months.

2021- up to a total of $3,240 over twelve months.

Mandatory Health Insurance Requirement-

How to confirm health insurance:  Log into eSeaGrant each month. There you'll be directed to a fillable form to confirm your health insurance. Please contact sgfellow@ucsd.edu with any issues accessing eSeaGrant during your fellowship. 

 


Travel 

APPROVAL

Below are the procedures required when requesting to travel. 

Travel requests must be approved in advance by host and California Sea Grant. 

1. Well before the requested travel, send an email to your host supervisor requesting permission to travel and include a completed pre-authorization form. The pre-authorization form is available below

2.  Once the host approves your travel, please forward that email with the pre-authorization form attached to sgfellow@ucsd.edu

All travel must be pre-approved by CASG and your host mentor.  While you may submit all the necessary documents CASG cannot guarantee approval.

Currently we are not requesting an essential form to travel however policy changes quickly and we will let you know if this changes again.  CDC requirements change rapidly due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We advise travelers to review their host agency guidelines, New CDC order & the CDC's FAQ page prior to making travel arrangements. All travelers are directed to follow CDC guidance before, during, and upon return from travel.
 

Where can I find the pre-authorization form?
The pre-authorization form is available for download (see Travel Forms) below

What happens if I travel without pre-authorization?
You run the risk of not being reimbursed for some or all of your travel expenses.

May I travel internationally using fellowship funds? 
No. Only domestic travel, is allowed through the fellowship. However, there are some states currently subject to California’s ban on state-funded and state-sponsored travel. So please contact sgfellow@ucsd.edu before considering out-of-state travel.

REIMBURSEMENT

At the conclusion of your trip, fill out a Travel Reimbursement Form (available below). Submit this form with all expense itemized receipts to sgfellow@ucsd.edu

NOTE: For travel shorter than 24 hours, meals can only be claimed if you had:

  • An overnight stay and you provided a lodging receipt
  • A working meal was scheduled as an integral part of a meeting or conference (include the agenda for the meeting that itemizes the meal)

Can I hold on to my travel receipts until the end of my fellowship so I can receive one lump sum?
No. Reimbursements for travel expenses need to be submitted within 30 days of the trip’s completion. Reporting of expenses submitted after 44 days may be treated as taxable, or may not be paid.

AIRFARE

All travel must utilize the most economical mode of transportation and commonly traveled route. If you have any questions, please contact sgfellow@ucsd.edu.

  • Please provide an e-ticket, original passenger receipt, or travel agent receipt that shows traveler’s name, airfare costs, class of travel (i.e. economy, business, etc.), form of payment, dates, and route.
  • Sea Grant will only reimburse the cost of coach airfare.
  • Early check-in fees and upgrades are non-reimbursable.
  • Please note that all travel must be in compliance with the Fly America Act, which mandates the use of US carriers on all legs of the trip, including code shared flights. PRIOR approval by California Sea Grant is required if a foreign carrier is to be used on ANY portion of a trip. Contact Herminia if you have any questions.

LODGING

  • Please provide an itemized copy of the original receipt summarizing cost of daily lodging and other expenses.
  • Sea Grant will only reimburse the room rate plus associated taxes. Any other in-room charges such as internet or room service will not be reimbursed.
  • If you share a room with another fellow, each person will need to submit an itemized folio that provides individual proof of payment.
  • Avoid “package deals” as they’re generally ineligible for reimbursement. Expenses combined in a package usually fail to meet receipt requirements.
  • You must be at least 40 miles from home/headquarters (whichever is closer) to be reimbursed for an overnight stay.

MEALS

  • Please keep all itemized meal receipts during your trip so you can submit a copy at the conclusion of your trip.
  • You may claim only the actual amount spent and that amount may not exceed $62/day for travel lasting 1-29 days.
  • If the full amount ($62) is claimed, you will need to provide additional information of why this is so, otherwise the reimbursement request will be rejected (i.e. receipts, meal log and/or clear justification of expense). If you routinely claim the maximum amount under all travel conditions, it will appear that the maximum meal expenses are being used incorrectly. In this case, the UCSD Travel Office will notify you that your expenses will be reported as taxable income.
  • Meals are not reimbursable for any trip lasting under 24 hours unless you have an overnight stay and provide a lodging receipt.
  • Alcohol will not be reimbursed.

PRIVATE VEHICLE 

  • Please provide original receipts for tolls and parking costs. You cannot request reimbursement for gas since you will be reimbursed based on mileage.
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the IRS standard mileage rates for the business use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) is 58.5 cents per mile (mileage rate includes the cost of fuel).
  • You must seek pre-approval of mileage from California Sea Grant if your mileage exceeds 130 miles round-trip. Renting a car is preferred for trips more than 130 miles. 
  • If you are carpooling, only the driver can claim mileage reimbursement.
  • Flying vs. Driving – When choosing surface transportation in lieu of air travel, the total cost of surface transportation cannot exceed the equivalent lowest cost airfare. Proof of airfare cost, such as a screen capture of flights prices during the same time, must be provided.
  • UCSD has minimum liability coverage requirements for personal vehicle insurance. If you use a private automobile for fellowship-related travel, you must provide proof of personal vehicle insurance that meets the University of California’s minimum liability coverage requirements:
    • $50,000 for personal injury to or death of one person
    • $100,000 for injury to or death of two or more persons in one accident
    • $50,000 for property damage. 
  • If your private automobile is damaged when you are using it to conduct UC San Diego business, contact your own automobile insurance company to find out your coverage, make claims, and arrange for repairs. 

RENTAL CARS

  • You will need to provide an itemized copy of the rental car and gas receipts with proof of payment to request reimbursement.
  • Rental car reimbursement is for up to an economy/ standard model unless a no-cost upgrade is provided.
  • Any expense for upgrading, including for a built-in GPS, is generally not eligible for reimbursement.
  • To minimize expenses, return the rental car with specified amount of gas in the tank so that refueling by the agency is not required.
  • If you are carpooling with other fellows, you can split the total cost. Please make it clear as to how much each person paid when you submit for reimbursement.

Reserving a car

To rent a car, you must make your reservation by phone using UCSD ID codes. Per university policy, any add-on insurance for rental cars are generally not eligible for reimbursement because the university contracts with partner agencies to give us discounted rates which include coverage. The only way to insure that your rental car has insurance coverage, and that these expenses are reimbursable, is to book your rental car using our UCSD agreement codes. Please follow the steps below when renting a car.

  1. Call your selected agency (refer to Step 3 below for contact information).
  2. Confirm that you are renting a car for UCSD business travel and that you want the university rate.
  3. Provide the Agreement UCSD ID for the agency you have selected:

    Dollar & Thrifty: Reservations with Dollar & Thrifty available only through a Connexxus via Balboa Travel (online or agent) and SWABIZ.

    Enterprise: Agreement UCSD ID: XZ32F01
    Rental phone: (800) 261-7331

    Hertz: Agreement UCSD ID: 72129
    Rental phone: (888) 222-0286

    National: Agreement UCSD ID: XZ32F01
    Rental phone: (800) 227-7368

  4. Confirm that the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), also known as a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), and liability insurance are included as provided by the UC Agreement. Decline any CDW or liability insurance coverage offered by the agency.
  5. Note: If the type of travel requires a vehicle that is not covered by an agreement (such as some vans, trucks, and SUVs), then you may purchase collision damage coverage and be reimbursed after travel is over.
  6. Confirm that the UC agreement special rate ID is noted on the contract before you sign it. Agreement codes are listed above in step 3. You must submit an original, itemized receipt for car rental reimbursement.

CONFERENCE & REGISTRATION FEES

  • Please provide a copy of the original receipts indicating traveler’s name, cost, date, type of payment, and event title.
  • Conference and registration fees are reimbursed with your travel expenses after your trip has concluded.

SPLITTING EXPENSES WITH ANOTHER FELLOW

  • Lodging – Each person must submit an itemized receipt with proof of their payment.
  • Meals – Each person must submit an itemized receipt with proof of their payment.
  • Private vehicle – Only the person driving may request reimbursement for mileage.
  • Rental cars – Each person must submit an itemized receipt with proof of payment.
  • Conference & registration fees – These expenses cannot be split. You must have your own individual receipt.
  • Please note: You cannot pay the full amount of any travel expenses and request reimbursement from another fellow’s travel funds. If you pay for the expense, once approved, the expense will be reimbursed to you using your allocated travel funds. No exceptions.

Travel forms

Pre-authorization Form (.xls)

Travel Reimbursement Form (.xls)


Communications

California Sea Grant State Fellows do work that is important to California and beyond. Help us tell your story by sharing  information about your publications, projects, and events. We require that each fellow contribute at least one communications material, whether that is a blog post, social takeover, or other project. We also ask that you represent yourself by listing your affiliation with California Sea Grant in addition to your host agency, in any public communications, presentations, or publications that you produce. The California Sea Grant communications team is also happy to provide support or advise in science communication matters.

Where can I find the California Sea Grant logo?
Fellows are strongly encouraged to use the logo for presentations and appropriate publications. Please see the Logos and Usage Policy for file downloads and guidelines for using the logos.

How can California Sea Grant communications help me?

NEWSLETTER AND SOCIAL MEDIA

If you’d like us to share a project or announcement from your host office, email casgcomms@ucsd.edu

OTHER SUPPORT

If you or your host agency need additional communications guidance, reach out. We’re happy to help brainstorm or discuss how we can help.
 

What is the recommended email signature?

[First Name] [Last name] | California Sea Grant State Fellow
[Host agency name]
[Phone number]

Example

Nick Sadrpour | California Sea Grant State Fellow
California Ocean Protection Council
858.534.4444


Tax information

State Fellow Tax Information


Student Loans

Student loan deferment 
The California Sea Grant State Fellowship Program qualifies as an educational training opportunity called a graduate fellowship, as defined by the Department of Education. Because of this classification Federal student loans may be deferred for the duration of the fellowship period. 

From the U.S. Department of Education: 

"You may defer repayment of your loan(s) while you are in a full-time course of study in a Graduate Fellowship Program. To qualify, your graduate fellowship program must: (1) provide sufficient financial support to allow for full-time study for a period of at least 6 months; (2) require, before the awarding of financial support, a written statement from each applicant which explains the applicant’s objectives; (3) require a graduate fellow to submit periodic reports, projects, or other evidence of the graduate fellow’s progress; and (4) in the case of a course of study at a foreign university, accept the course of study for completion of the fellowship program. In addition, you must: (1) hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree conferred by an institution of program on a full-time basis." 

Deferment applies to unconsolidated federal student loans; it may or may not apply for private loans as well. If you have private students loans please contact the lender for information on loan deferment. Many but not all have provisions to defer loans for education or public service appointments, either of which may apply to the fellowship. Please note that unsubsidized Federal loans and many private loans will continue to accrue interest during the deferment period. 

How to defer your federal student loans 
Fill out an “Educated Related Deferment Request” form with your contact information and check the box for “In a full-time course of study in a Graduate Fellowship Program” box. Sign and send to Herminia Robles (hcrobles@ucsd.edu). She will fill out the section “Authorized Official’s Certification,” sign, and return to you to mail to your loan processor. 

You will find this form on your loan processor’s website. If you have multiple loan processors, you will have to file forms with each processor separately. 


Reporting

State Fellows are required to submit monthly progress reports and a mentor plan. Blog posts are encouraged but not mandatory. 

Monthly report example for 2021 State Fellows. 

2022 State Fellows will be using eSeaGrant to submit mandatory montlhy progress reports. 

Blog post guidelines


Order business cards

Place your order at http://bit.ly/fellowcards

This form must be submitted by the specified deadline.

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