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Graduate Student Grant-in-Aid Award

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ASHRAE Graduate Student Grant-in-Aid Application Requirements and Selection Criteria
(updated 09/2016)

Overview of Award

A Grant-in-Aid is a grant of funds to a full-time graduate student of ASHRAE-related technologies. It is awarded once each year for use in the following academic year.

Past recipients of this award are NOT eligible to reapply for this award.

Multiple awards (typically 10 to 25) are made each year in the amount of up to $10,000. The awards are meant for the students’ personal use while pursuing an HVAC&R related education.  The goal of the Grant-In-Aid program is to encourage outstanding graduate students to become involved in ASHRAE, its research and establish careers that include active engagement within and continued contributions to Society activities.  Part of the award will be used to pay for the student’s travel and registration for one Society Winter or Annual meeting within the 18 months following notification of award.  An award in the amount of $5,000 will be paid upon confirmation of the student’s enrollment.  An additional $5,000 shall be paid upon receipt of a report prepared by the awardee documenting his/her attendance at one of the next three ASHRAE Society meetings following the award; these funds will be retained by ASHRAE if the awardee does not attend one of these meetings.

In addition, grant-in-aid recipients are eligible for an additional $1,500.00 honorarium if they author and present a peer-reviewed paper at an ASHRAE annual or winter meeting or submit an article that is published in the Science and Technology for The Built Environment.  The presentation or publication must be based on the thesis/research supported by the grant-in-aid.  The honorarium will be paid by the Manager of Research and Technical Services (MORTS) to the GIA recipient upon confirmation of presentation or publication of the paper.

The evaluation criteria for candidates include academic performance, quality of the student’s thesis/research plan and its relevance to ASHRAE, the advisors’ recommendation, and an overall assessment of the likelihood for future involvement of the student within ASHRAE. In order to be eligible for an award, the applicant must be a full-time graduate student throughout the academic year following the award.  The student should be preparing a thesis on ASHRAE related areas/technology or be working on or proposing to work on a research project that has relevance to ASHRAE. The student must also have a faculty advisor who is supervising the student. Applicants from all ASHRAE regions worldwide are eligible. While membership in ASHRAE is not a requirement for the award, all applicants are strongly encouraged to become student members and to participate in the activities of the Society.

Application Requirements

Applications shall be made to the Manager of Research & Technical Services on the student's behalf by the faculty advisor and will be reviewed and selected by the Research Administration Committee at their spring meeting each year. Applications must be received at ASHRAE Headquarters by March 1st to be considered.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the competitive evaluation by May 1st. Funds will be available to the grant recipients shortly after July 1st.

The student shall complete pages 1-3 of the application and submit it to his/her advisor.

  • Student History: Name, address, post-secondary education including current degree program, grade point average (transcript to be attached), rank in class, membership in professional societies, and previous work experience.
  • Description of Thesis/Research Project: Significance of thesis/research, outline of plan of procedure, plans for publication of thesis/research results.

The advisor will then supply the following data on page 4 prior to submission to ASHRAE:

  • Information on Institution and Faculty Advisor: Is the Faculty Advisor an ASHRAE member, and if so, for how long and at what grade? Indicate nature of activity in Society affairs. Faculty Advisor's assessment of applicant

Application for Grant-In-Aid for Graduate Students (Word) can be obtained from the ASHRAE website ( or the MORTS at ASHRAE headquarters. Requests may be made via mail, or e-mail ( ). 

Selection Criteria

The goal in the selection process is to choose candidates who have the greatest potential for long term involvement in ASHRAE and contributions to the ASHRAE membership. The information submitted on the application form is reviewed and scored by the Research Administration Committee (RAC) in the following manner with a maximum score of 100:

    • Academic Performance: Overall Grade Point Averages (GPA) should be reported on a scale of 1.0 to 4.0 basis with Excellent = A = 4.0; Average = C = 2.0. Students who attend or have attended institutions that use a different grading system should, with the help of their faculty advisor, attempt to translate their grades to a base having a maximum value of 4. Both undergraduate and graduate GPAs should be reported along with the number of credits associated with each GPA. (See explanation below for guidance on determining number of credits and GPA.)  Students who attended academic institutions outside of North America may be unable to calculate their GPA and number of credits and may not know where they rank in relation to other students in their class. If this is the case, a brief explanation of the system used to evaluate student performance in their academic institution(s) should be provided. As an example, if a student’s academic institution uses a classification system as a basis for designating academic achievement, each of the classifications should be described and the student should indicate the classification they received. For academic institutions from the United Kingdom, a “First” is equivalent to a 4.0, an “Upper Second” to a 3.0, a “Lower Second” to a 2.0, and a “Third” to a 1.0. Up to 20 points are awarded for academic performance. The quality of the undergraduate and graduate program is used as part of the criteria for awarding the 20 points

    • Thesis/Research Plan: Significance of thesis/research, outline of plan of procedure, and plans for publication of thesis/research results should be described. A maximum of 30 points are awarded for this element of the application.

    • Faculty advisor recommendation:The Faculty Advisor should make a recommendation based upon student involvement related to ASHRAE or other related society activity, academic achievements, ability to carry out the research project. Up to 20 points are awarded based upon these recommendations. 

  • Potential for future ASHRAE involvement: The evaluation of this criterion is based on the student and faculty involvement within ASHRAE, the relevance of the thesis/research project to ASHRAE, the history of ASHRAE involvement of the institution. The student is strongly encouraged to be a student member within ASHRAE and participate in ASHRAE activities such as an ASHRAE student chapter and local chapter. The faculty advisor is expected to be an ASHRAE member and should demonstrate a history of and/or future potential for involvement within ASHRAE activities. For students and faculty residing outside of North America, membership in the appropriate ASHRAE associate society will be considered to be equivalent. 30 points are awarded for the potential for future involvement by the nominee.

Determining Grade Point Averages and Credits:

  • Academic courses in North American colleges and universities are generally assigned a number of credits according to the workload of the course. A 3-credit course generally implies that there are three hours of lectures associated with the course each week. Students are assigned letter grades in each course (e.g., an “A” denotes excellent performance, a “C” denotes average performance, etc.) A letter grade is sometimes followed by a “+” or a “-“, where, for example, a “C+” denotes performance slightly above average, and a “C-“ denotes performance slightly below average. Letter grades are then translated to a number on a point scale from 0.0 to 4.0, as shown in the example table below.

Letter Grade

Points on the Point Scale

























  • Note that this table is intended to be illustrative and may not match a particular academic institution's grading and/or point scale. For instance, some academic institutions award grades of "A+" for exceptional performance and translate this grade to a value of 4.33 on the point scale
  • To calculate a grade point average (GPA) for a number of courses, the number of points on the point scale achieved in each course is multiplied by the number of credits assigned to that particular course. The GPA is then calculated by adding the product of "point's × credits" for each course and dividing by the total number of credits for those courses. The example below shows the calculation of a GPA based on five individual course grades






Points × Credits


Thermodynamics I






Heat Transfer





Calculus III





Classical Physics





Electrical Circuits










56.33/16 = 3.52

**ASHRAE must be notified if an applicant or awardee leaves school, changes projects or changes faculty advisors.