College-Sponsored Teams: I need some help!

Before you all ask me to search, I know there have been several posts asking such questions before. However, they’re all kinda dated now, and I want current information.

As a bit of background, I recently joined team 830, in Ann Arbor, MI. We have several college student mentors from the University of Michigan, but we do not currently receive any funding or technical support from the University. I’m putting together a proposal to the University and/or the College of Engineering, in an attempt to raise money to attend the Championship this April. I’d like to get some information on other college-sponsored teams to add to my presentation. I figure if I can show how other universities sponsor FIRST in a major way, I can get at least a small commitment out of U-M.

So, my questions to all of you on college-sponsored teams (especially college students on those teams):

Which college or university sponsors your team?
What department or office at your university is your sponsor?
How much money do they give you (approximately)?
What other forms of support do they give you (technical, faculty, etc.)?
How long has your university been a sponsor?
How many college students are involved with your team?

Any other information or promotional materials you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Hey Jeff,

While I know that we are quite bitter rivals, MSU’s team is in the same predictment. We are having a very difficult time getting university funding also.

College that our team is a part of: Michigan State University
Department or office: We have a mentor from the university who is a part of the engineering department, but once again, no funding
Money: None
Support: Each student organization is required to have a faculty sponsor person. This is what we have, however, this is all that MSU has given us.
Length of University sponsorship: We are a rookie this year and only joined with the university this fall
College students involved: 7, one, however, I haven’t heard from since meeting 1, which is disappointing as I thought that he would be able to get us some very good contacts.

Anyways, I don’t know whether or not this helped you at all, but if you ever need to vent college team frustrations, please feel free to contact me, I know where you’re coming from!


Teams 599 and 1070 are both supported by Cal. State Univ. Northridge. The specific department that helps out is Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Management (MSEM). MSEM has helped out both teams since each was a rookie.

The money has varied yearly. Most of the money, from what little I’ve spoken to the professor in charge about it, has actually been coming from Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) monies that he applied for. (You might also look into getting Associated Student funding.) I believe that this means college students must be involved with the teams for them to be able to use the money. Sorry I can’t give you more information about the actual amounts or details.

Other forms of support are generally initiated by the college students going to the machine shop as needed.

The number of college students involved changes yearly. Last year, I was the only college student helping 599 and there were 3 of us helping 1070 throughout build with an extra 2 helping when possible. This year, I will, to my knowledge, be the only one helping 599, and there will be a minimum of 6 students helping 1070. (If you want all of the numbers for 599 going back to its rookie year, let me know.)

This year, CSUN is offering a FIRST scholarship. Check out their information through the FIRST scholarship page, as it has a little bit about why they work are involved with FIRST.

Also, the big thing to emphasize is what the college and its students get out of being involved. Why would they want to spend any time or money on a high school program? Answers include, but are not limited to, having their name associated with a national organization & competition, promoting their school to future students, promoting community service within their area (if the school has any CS components), and turning out a more productive workforce because of the skills attained by being involved.

If you have other specific questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them. Again, my apologies for not being able to give you any specific financial amounts.


I am a 3rd year ME at Georgia Tech. Our FIRST team is organized under the RoboJackets, a student organization in the ME department. We raise money within the school through the ME department, our student government association, and college affiliated organizations. If you guys are organized and established there, then you could try to do the same thing. However, in your proposals and such to the college departments and student government you usually have to show how the program benefits the college students. Other money usually exists for mentorship in other college affiliated orgnizations.

Our team received funds both ways. Our ME department is pretty helpful in notifying us about grants and getting us in as a part of larger proposals to companies (so we get bits of money from companies that fund the ME dept). Also as we ran Technology Enrichment Sessions for area teams, we recieved funding for that through Women in Engineering’s outreach program. The amount is never really concrete. It depends on how much you ask for in your proposal and how you show that it will be used. Depending on who you’re asking, the funds they have are usually for a specific purpose that you should address in your proposal. You just have to find out what it is.

Most of this stuff has to be set up in advance though. For money in the near future for championship registration etc., Your best bet may be through professor and department personal contacts. (ex. A professor and/or dept. head runs a company that sponsors you directly)

Hope some of that helped/made sense.

Which college or university sponsors your team: Purdue University
What department or office at your university is your sponsor: Several of the colleges of Engineering, Office of the Dean of engineering (i believe)
How much money do they give you (approximately): most of our budget
What other forms of support do they give you (technical, faculty, etc.): several faculty members
How long has your university been a sponsor: 6 years
How many college students are involved with your team: including LL mentors about 20-25

I can’t really answer the questions you have provided, but I will be mentoring 830 next year and have a promotional presentation in MSWord form that I wrote up for the purpose of obtaining sponsorship.

Basically, would it help for U of M to see how FIRST has affected its incoming students, as well? I’d love to help my future team in any way possible.