We are pleased to announce continued funding for participation in robotics competitions. Under this appropriation, grant awards will be available of up to $5,000 to public schools, 2R and 2X charter schools, private schools, and home-based educational programs to facilitate participation in robotics competitions. Eligible teams include students in grades 6 through 12 and have at least one mentor. Allowable expenses will include fees, kits, supplies required to participate in a single robotics competition, travel expenses, and a stipend for the mentor of an eligible team. Read the statute in full here. And, read a list of Frequently Asked Questions here.
Requirements for Eligible Applicants
Eligible teams of pupils in grades 6-12 from school districts or charter schools established under section 118.40(2r) and (2x), private schools and home-based private education programs may submit one application per eligible team.
All team members must be in grades 6-12 during the grant year.
Eligible team participates in one or more competitions that require teams to design and operate robots. The competition(s) shall be sponsored by a nonprofit corporation as described under s. 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service. The competition organization encourages young people to develop an interest in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics.
Each eligible team shall have at least one mentor.
Required fees, required kits, and required supplies to participate in a single robotics competition; travel expenses to robotics competition for eligible team members; and a stipend for the mentor of an eligible team.
Each applicant shall secure matching funds in an amount equal to amount requested in application by the time the application is submitted.
There is a maximum award of $5,000. If the requests from applications approved exceed the amount of funding, the department will prorate the amount it awards to each applicant. The Department of Public Instruction cannot award more than $5,000 to an eligible team in a school year.
Grants expenditures shall be for the period of July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021. All applications must demonstrate an equal amount of matching funds.
2020-21 Application and Instructions - this pdf version of the application form will allow for applicants to send it to their administrator for a signature (the digital form linked above requires an administrator be present to sign it). It will need to be emailed to email@example.com by 11:59 pm CT on October 15, 2020.
FAQ for the Application Process:
Q: What if we don't know the date of the competition (2021)? A: For 2021, many tournaments have not released dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the pdf form, you can put TBD, or on the digital form (which requires a date), you can put 03/30/2021 as a placeholder.
Q: What if the competition gets cancelled? Or, what if a competition is virtual? A: Grant applications must indicate the qualified robotics competition in which the eligible team plans to participate. This competition may be in-person or virtual. If a team applies for the robotics grant, spends money on allowed expenses, and then has their planned competition cancelled, they can still receive their awarded reimbursement on those allowed expenses, as long as they also still have a matched amount spent. Teams must show a good faith effort to compete in a competition, and we will only reimburse teams for expenses if they were not able to compete because of COVID.
FAQ for the End-of-Year Reimbursement Form:
Q: What do we do for the required match? A: At the end of the grant cycle, grant awardees will need to provide an itemized report of what you spent matching funds on, with a total equal to or greater than the total you're asking for as a reimbursement. That will be in addition to the itemized report you provide detailing use of your grant funds. In-kind donations are not acceptable for the match. Funds for the match can come from other grant sources, but DPI still needs a full accounting of what funds were spent on.
Q: Do we need to submit receipts? A: DPI needs itemized business management documentation (often something schools/districts have) and/or itemized receipts (receipts required for homeschool groups).
Q: What if we don't spend all the money? A: Submit a reimbursement for less than your awarded amount, along with match details that equal the amount you're requesting for reimbursement.
Q: What goes in the columns on the end-of-year reimbursement form? A: In the first column you detail all the expenses that you're asking DPI to reimburse, up to the award amount of your grant. In the second column you detail the matched expenses, which should equal or exceed the reimbursement request. In the third column, you total the first two columns.
Q: What if our matched expenses are less than what we hope to be reimbursed from DPI, which is our award amount? A: That's not tenable. You would need to adjust your claim down, so you wouldn't be claiming your full award, but you would have an equivalent match.
Q: What if we don't have an invoice, receipt, or any business system documentation for an expense? A: Then, it cannot be claimed.