The Alma Venture will enable Alma College students to pursue meaningful applied learning experiences that combine their academic, personal, and professional goals, add new perspective to their liberal arts education, and contribute to their success after Alma.
Registered Alma College students who enrolled in Fall 2013 or later as first-year students - or transferred in prior to their junior year - are eligible to apply for Alma Venture funding. To be eligible for Venture funds, students must:
- Have completed at least two full semesters (not counting Spring Term) at Alma College, and at least 56 credits, by the time the experience is scheduled to begin
- Have declared a major
- Be in good academic standing (GPA > 2.0)
- Be in good financial standing (< $1,000 outstanding on student account)
Graduating students may apply for Venture funds as long as the experience will conclude by the end of the Spring Term of their graduating year.
Amount of the Award
Most students are eligible for up to $2,500 to offset eligible costs associated with their Venture experience. Students will only be awarded one Alma Venture, even if they do not use the full amount available.
Students who wish to apply for Alma College funds for applied learning experiences before completing 56 credits may apply through the following programs, when program-specific criteria are met: Posey Global, Gazmararian, Currie Scholars, Spring Term Grant, Yehle Internship, and Walser Global Scholarship. The amount of these Venture-impacting awards already received will be deducted from total Venture funds for which the student is eligible. Recipients of these awards may apply for any remaining Venture funds once they meet the Venture eligibility criteria listed above (e.g. the recipient of a $500 Spring Term Grant would later be eligible for up to $2,000 in Venture funds once Venture-eligible).
Venture Awards cannot be combined, for the same applied experience, with other Venture-impacting funds, such as the Posey Global, Gazmararian, Yehle, Currie, Walser, or the Spring Term Grant.
Note for recipients of tuition exchanges and employee benefit awards: students receiving tuition exchange and employee benefit awards may apply for an Alma Venture up to a maximum of $1,000, subject to the same conditions as above.
**tuition exchange refers to a program used by only a few individuals whose parents work at a college participating in an exchange agreement with Alma College.
Fund Allocation and Accountability
In the event that a student does not comply with the conditions listed under “Amount of the Award,” (above) or fails to complete all required components of the Alma Venture, as specified below under “Venture Program Components,” the college reserves the right to revoke some or all of the Venture award in the form of a charge to the student’s Alma College account.
In the event that a Venture recipient must change or cancel a planned Venture experience after Venture funds have been expended by the College on their behalf, any non-recoverable funds will be deducted from that student’s total eligible award, and the student may apply for any remaining Venture funds in a future Venture proposal.
Students who are approved to receive Venture Program funds may receive these funds in any of the following ways:
When offsetting expenses invoiced through Alma College for spring term course fees and approved Off-Campus Study:
- Venture funds will be applied directly to the cost of the program. In the case of a Spring Term course, this will be reported to the faculty leading the trip. The student will be responsible for paying the remaining balance of the required fees in accordance with the faculty leader’s installment schedule (for spring term) or the Alma College billing cycle (for off-campus study).
When offsetting expenses that students pay directly (not via Alma College):
- The Venture recipient may request that the purchasing department arrange payment directly for airfare or other large expenses in advance of the Venture experience. The student can work with the Purchasing clerk Sara Killingsworth in Financial Services (Hamilton LL) for travel arrangements and/or to purchase supplies needed for their Venture experience. Recipients may also request that Financial Services pay an invoice directly. To request payment of a Venture-related invoice, submit the invoice to Accounts Payable in Financial Services with the Request for Payment form, which can be found at www.alma.edu/offices/financial-services/for-students/.
- The recipient may pay all expenses directly and then request a reimbursement of the full Venture amount by submitting a Travel Reimbursement form, along with all receipts for claimed expenses, to the Financial Services Office. This form can be found at: www.alma.edu/offices/financial-services/for-students/. Note that under College policy, airfare cannot be reimbursed until after the flight has taken place. Students wishing to book airfare in advance with Venture funds are encouraged to use the option above.
- The recipient may request an advance by filling out the Request for Payment form found at www.alma.edu/offices/financial-services/for-students/. Students using this method will be required to submit a travel reimbursement request form with receipts supporting the amount of the advance at the conclusion of their experience. Students will be required to return any funds that are unused or unsupported by receipts. Any unused or unsupported amount that is not returned will appear as a charge to the student’s Alma College account.
When offsetting expenses for which there is no receipt or invoice:
- The full award may be issued in the form of a check directly to the recipient. This is likely to have tax implications for the recipient.
Questions related to Venture award disbursal may be directed to Cassie Tennant or Denise McCracken in the Financial Services Office (Hamilton LL).
Proposal and Budget
Once students have secured the opportunity for which they wish to use Venture funds, they may submit an application including a Venture proposal (signed by their academic advisor) and budget to the Assistant Director of the Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) for the Venture Program. Proposals will be reviewed, with approval determined by a committee composed of Alma College faculty and staff.
Venture-eligible expenses, which may be included in the budget submitted with a Venture proposal, include:
- Travel to and from the site of a non-local Venture experience
- Mandatory program fees (excluding Alma tuition) for an Alma-led off-campus study program (e.g. Spring Term course)
- Mandatory program fees and host program tuition for an Alma-approved off-campus study program
- Passport, visa fees, and immunizations
- Special materials (e.g. books, lab material, etc.) if requested and explained in the Venture proposal. Note that special materials purchased with Venture funds will remain the property of Alma College unless the Venture Committee approves a written request from the applicant to keep the item(s).
- Reimbursement of reasonable living expenses (food, lodging, and local travel)
Clinical experiences, internships, off-campus study programs approved by the Off-Campus Study Committee, and research experiences may be eligible for Venture if they:
- Consist of a minimum of 150 hours in the internship, field, laboratory or international setting
- Demonstrate the extensive development of at least four of the following analytic and professional skills:
- Project planning, including adjustment in response to feedback
- Data collection and analysis
- Independent responsibility, including ability to make professional judgments
- Supervisory responsibility
- Responsibility for interaction with public or other external constituencies
- Summarizing and disseminating results in written formats
- Summarizing and disseminating results orally or through performance
- Working with computational or information technologies
- Communications through new media technologies
- Intercultural communication
- Foreign language acquisition—immersion in a language other than English or the participants’ mother tongue, if other than English
- Creative endeavors relevant to the participants’ field of study
Venture Program Components
Once approved for an Alma Venture, participants are responsible for completing all of the required components of the Alma Venture, including:
- Completion of a Venture Preparation Series
- Attendance at a Pre-departure Orientation (for all international and some U.S.-based experiences)
- Completion of a mid-term survey and end-of-experience reflection
- Sharing the completed experience with the campus community through a video, presentation, poster or performance
Financial Aid and Income Tax
Venture funds may have tax consequences. Students are advised to seek tax advice on this matter. In addition, Venture funds may affect eligibility for Federal Work Study and/or loans. Students are advised to meet with Financial Aid to seek advice on this matter.