Posted on the FRC Blog, 9/16/22 by Collin Fultz
Written by Collin Fultz, FIRST Robotics Competition Sr. Program Manager
As we move closer to event registration and the payment deadline, I wanted to remind teams of changes to the FIRST ® payment terms for the 2022-2023 season. These changes impact how team grant funds are used within the FIRST registration system. Team grant funds are funds that come from a sponsor (either via grant directly from that sponsor or pooled sponsor funding like the FIRST ® Robotics Competition New Team Grant) to a FIRST team via the FIRST Dashboard.
(Also, a reminder that now is a great time to be engaging with current and potential team sponsors. The Fundraising Toolkit has great suggestions and examples.)
In the past, there were several ways a sponsor could restrict grant funds made available to teams. This created a confusing system for sponsors and teams as the sponsor had to try to put the funds in the correct restriction to be most effectively used by the team. For FIRST Robotics Competition teams, the most commonly used restrictions were registration (i.e. initial team registration fee only), any registration, Championship registration, registration for a specific Regional event, and unrestricted. Unrestricted funds are grant funds that can be used for any registration fees or regranted to the team once initial registration is paid.
For the 2022-2023 season, we’ve simplified down to two grant types: restricted and unrestricted. Restricted funds can be used for any registration fees a FIRST Robotics Competition team may need to pay (initial registration, additional event(s), District Championship, FIRST Championship). Unrestricted funds can also be used for those registration fees or regranted to the team.
This year, the method of payment used when teams “check out” on the payments page of the FIRST Dashboard will be the final payment method used. In the past, if a team paid via credit card, then later received a grant for registration, the grant could be applied to registration and the credit card payment refunded. That is no longer an option for 2023. This means that if your team is waiting for a grant for 2023, you should wait to complete your registration payment until you’ve received that grant. (Though please do still pay attention to the FIRST Robotics Competition initial payment deadline of November 14, 2022.)
The FIRST Stewardship and Development teams have been working with team grant sponsors to get 2023 team grant allocations in ahead of the payment deadline.
For FIRST Robotics Competition teams, this change was actually implemented last season. For the 2021-2022 season, only US-based FIRST teams could receive regrants (i.e. checks) of unused unrestricted grant funds. For this season, FIRST ® LEGO® League and FIRST ® Tech Challenge teams can only receive Restricted grant funds, and thus no funds are available for regrants.