The NH Department of Education is starting a new grant program to fund robotics teams in schools across the state (see more details about the program and application here). According to the Union Leader, Governor Chris Sununu joined Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and FIRST Robotics founder Dean Kamen at a ceremony to promote the program:
They were surrounded by students who’ve participated in the program, and representatives of the many businesses who’ve contributed. Edelblut predicted private businesses would match the state funding at a level of $3 to $5 for every $1 from Concord, expanding access to the program across the state.
Schools can apply for grants to start a robotics team in their school or fund an existing one, which will then have the chance to compete with other teams across the state. The winners move on to regional, national and worldwide championships.
The state grants are designed to pay for everything needed to start a team, from robot kits and tools to tournament registration fees and stipends for team coaches. Sununu said the state funds could only be used for teams in public schools, while the private funds could be made available to non-public school teams.
Qualifying robotics programs are available for all students in grades K-12, but applications must be submitted between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. Applications are available on the Department of Education website.
Elementary schools are eligible for $1,000 toward materials and $250 toward the teacher stipend, while middle schools are eligible for $1,500 for materials and a $750 stipend. High schools can apply for up to $5,000 in materials and a teacher stipend of $1,500.
A law calling for state contributions to the robotics program was first passed in 2014, but was never funded, according to state Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, who was also on hand for the announcement.
“It’s not just an idea anymore, it’s a reality,” Sununu told the crowd. “We’re going to be able to create a fund that provides robotics teams to every school in the state of New Hampshire.”