PyCon Pittsburgh. April 15-23, 2020.

Financial Aid Frequently asked Questions

Questions

Answers

Q: Who is eligible for PyCon 2020 Financial Aid?

A: The financial aid program is open to all contributors, attendees, students, and speakers and aims to provide assistance to those who otherwise might not be able to attend the conference.

Q: When/how can I apply for PyCon Financial Aid?

A. Here are important dates around the financial aid process:

  • October 9, 2019: Financial aid application opens
  • January 31, 2020: Financial aid application closes on 23:59:59 on January 31st
  • February 4, 2020: Financial aid grants awarded
  • February 21, 2020: Deadline to respond to accept / decline financial aid
  • March 16, 2020: Receipts and secure document portals open
  • April 16 - 18, 2020: Disbursement sessions at PyCon
    Please whitelist the email address pycon-aid@python.org; the Financial Aid team will send email communications regarding updates and information about awards, receipt uploads, and disbursement sessions.

Q: Are there limits to how much financial aid I may receive?

A: PyCon strives to provide assistance to as many financial aid applicants as possible by optimizing the funds we have available for financial aid. Recipients receive support for some or all of their expenses including travel, hotel, and childcare. While we wish we could give grants to everyone who applies, our funds are limited.
Please review your travel plans and adjust the amount to be under $2,000 USD. Possible ways to reduce expenses:

  1. Conference Registration Fee should not be included in your requested amount. If you are awarded financial aid a reduced rate conference ticket will be provided.
  2. Utilize the PyCon room share page to connect with others to reduce housing costs.
  3. Adjust travel dates to obtain a lower airfare.

If PyCon is still out of your financial means, don’t worry! Consider attending a local PyCon instead :). Also, all of our talks are recorded online, so you can enjoy the content too.

If you have already submitted an initial request, you may adjust your financial aid request by logging in to the financial aid dashboard. Please make adjustments by January 31, 2020. Please contact us with any questions.

Q: Where can I find out the status of my grant application?

A: Application status and other options can be found on your dashboard.

Q: If I request more funds after my grant has been approved, will that affect my current grant?

A: If you cannot attend with your current award, you may request additional funds through your PyCon dashboard instead of accepting or declining your grant. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate you because our budget is tightly stretched. Requesting additional funds puts you into the second funding round where we distribute remaining funds from people who have declined their awards.

Please note that if you are requesting more funds, and we are unable to allocate more funds, your previous award will no longer be available; this option is only intended for people who would not be able to attend PyCon on their current grant.

Q: What kind of costs are covered by the PyCon Financial Aid award?

A: The costs covered by the financial aid award include:

  • Airfare: tickets and baggage fees for travel to/from the conference. Flights may be direct or have stopovers of a maximum of 36 hours. Flights with layovers in other cities for 2+ days will not be reimbursed fully.
  • Lodging: hotels, motels, hostels, AirBnB, etc. for the days you attend the conference. Reimbursement is limited to the shared cost if the room has more than one occupant.
  • Transit receipts: taxi, bus, train, and mileage to/from airport, bus station, train station, lodging or conference center, and parking at these locations.
  • Per diem: covers food during the days you attend the conference plus a travel day at the beginning and end of your trip at a fixed rate. Please do not upload food receipts. Per diems are automatically granted to you based on the days that you are attending PyCon, plus up to one travel day before and after conference attendance.
  • Childcare: PyCon offers discounted childcare during the main conference days. Only PyCon-provided childcare is eligible for reimbursement.
  • Poster printing fees for PyCon poster presenters.
  • Visa fees: if you are a non US national and must have a visa to attend the conference.

The following costs are not covered in the package:

  • Discounted conference registration fees
  • Transportation to/from the visa application center for visa
  • Meals for the days you traveled for visa appointments
  • Airport Lounge Access Fees
  • On-board/Airport/Hotel WiFi Charges
  • Cellular roaming/international charges

If there are any ambiguities, final discretion lies with the Financial Aid Chair.

Q: What if I need help with a US visitor visa?

A: We can provide you with an “Invitation Letter” upon request, in support of an application for a United States visitor visa. It confirms that as a registered delegate you are invited to attend by the Python Software Foundation (PSF) and the PyCon 2020 committee.

Q: Can I be reimbursed for food?

A: The financial aid committee automatically adds a per-diem rate for food for each financial aid recipient. Please do not submit meal receipts. For 2020, the US GSA (Governmental Services Administration) set the per-diem rate for Pittsburgh, PA at $56 per day. Per-diems may only cover the days you are attending PyCon and up to one travel day before and after conference attendance. For conference days, because breakfast and lunches are provided, we only provide 1/2 the per diem ($28 per day). For tutorial and sprint days, because lunches are provided, we provide 3/4 the per diem ($42 per day).

Q: How do I provide a hotel receipt when I haven’t checked out yet?

A: A reservation confirmation from the hotel may be submitted as a receipt. The reservation confirmation should include the name and address of the hotel/motel/hostel/AirBnB, check-in and check-out dates, number of occupants, and the amount charged per day.

Q: Can I be reimbursed for auto expenses or mileage if I am driving to PyCon?

A: Yes. The IRS mileage rate includes cost coverage for maintenance and wear and tear on the vehicle. The 2020 IRS mileage rate is $[TBD] per mile. Please provide a PDF or screenshot of the mileage for your trip. Please do not submit gas receipts.

Q: Can the reduced registration fee be counted towards my grant?

A: Registration is already discounted for financial aid award recipients compared to the regular rate. As mentioned above, it is not part of the eligible set of receipts that we accept, and it cannot be part of the total amount you requested.

Q: What if my receipt is larger than my grant amount?

A: You can upload a receipt (example - airfare) for an amount larger than your grant, but you will only be reimbursed up to the award amount.

Q: Should I register for the conference before I find out if my financial aid application has been approved?

A: No. Financial Aid applicants do not need to register in the fear that the conference will sell out! We set aside tickets for Financial Aid recipients at a reduced rate of $50. (Reminder: the $50 ticket is not reimbursable.)

Q: After my grant is approved, how do I register for the conference and tutorials at the discounted rate?

A: Registration for the conference and tutorials is separate from clicking the link in the Financial Aid Award email you received. To register, log into your PyCon dashboard and go to the Registration Tab. Enter the Promo Code provided to you in the Financial Aid email on the registration page where requested. You will receive the option for the Financial Aid discounted registration, as well as receive the tutorial discount for the first tutorial you register for.

If you registered prior to receiving financial aid, please contact the registration team pycon-reg@python.org with the email address you used to register. Your existing registration will be adjusted to reflect the Financial Aid Award. Once the adjustment is complete, log into your dashboard and go to the registration tab where you will have the option to add tutorials with the discounted rate being applied to the first tutorial.
Note: Tutorials sell out quickly, so if you are planning to attend, please register early.

Q: How do I upload my receipts for reimbursement?

A: After your application has been approved, and you have accepted the award, log into your PyCon dashboard and click on the “Upload Receipt” link on your dashboard.
Receipts must include the following:

  1. Your full name
  2. Name of the service provider (i.e., hotel name, taxi company, airline name, etc.)
  3. The date of the transaction.
  4. The amount of the transaction.

Q: Why can’t I upload my receipts?

A: You must accept your grant by the deadline in your award letter or you will not be able to upload receipts for reimbursement.
If you accepted your award within the published timeline and are having difficulty uploading a receipt, please contact pycon-aid@python.org for assistance.

Q: What if I don’t come to PyCon?

A: If you do not register and attend PyCon, you will not receive your grant. Please notify the Financial Aid Committee that you cannot attend.

Q: How do I receive my travel grant disbursement?

A: Disbursement of funds will be onsite during the conference in Room [TBD] at the convention center during one of the following sessions. You must attend the conference in order to receive your travel grant disbursement.

  • April 16, 2020 9:00 am to 11:00 am
  • April 16, 2020 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
  • April 17, 2020 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • April 18, 2020 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Please bring a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, to the disbursement session so that the financial aid team can confirm your identity. The identity check ensures that the name on the payment matches your government ID to prevent delays in receiving the funds.

Q: What documents are considered government IDs for checking in at the Financial Aid disbursement session?

A: All IDs should be current and include a picture.

If you are 18 years of age and over:

  • United States citizens: driver’s license, learner’s permit, or picture ID issued by one of the 50 US states, passport, or a military ID
  • Non-US citizens: a valid passport.

If you are under 18 years of age:

  • PyCon requires that you are accompanied by a parent, teacher, or guardian 18 years of age or older.
  • The financial aid team will verify the accompanying adult’s valid identity proof (see above rules for an adult).
  • Please bring a valid School Photo ID, driver’s license, learner’s permit, state ID, or a passport for the minor.

Q: What payment options are available?

A: You may choose to receive your financial aid in one of the following payment methods:

  • PayPal
  • ACH for US domestic bank accounts
  • Physical check in USD on-site
  • Wire transfer for international payments

The PSF does not issue funds in cash.

No funds will be disbursed prior to the event. Only those that attend the conference, confirm identity in person at the disbursement session, and have submitted receipts will be reimbursed.

You may choose another person to receive the financial aid disbursement on your behalf, but the PSF cannot guarantee that the other person will release the funds to you.

If you select PayPal as your payment preference, PayPal may limit the amount of money that can be received in a single transaction or per year. PayPal does not publish these rules on their site, but does disclose restrictions to PayPal account holders. Account verification or other information is often required by PayPal to release the funds for use. Please contact PayPal before coming to PyCon to find out if any limits apply to your account.

If you select the ACH option, please submit the following information to our secure document portal:

  • The name of the beneficiary on the account
  • The beneficiary’s address on the account
  • The bank name
  • The bank address
  • The bank routing number
  • The account number

If you select the wire transfer option, please submit the following information to our secure document portal:

  • The name of the beneficiary on the account
  • The beneficiary’s address on the account
  • The bank name
  • The bank address
  • The bank SWIFT code
  • The account number or IBAN
  • The US intermediary bank’s SWIFT code

Q: Is there a bank near the convention center where I can cash my financial aid check without a fee?

A: The PSF is establishing a banking relationship with local bank (to be determined), which will cash PSF checks for travel grants without charging a check cashing fee.

When you go to the bank to cash your check, please bring a government-issued ID to cash checks if you live in the United States and a passport if you live outside of the United States.

Please let the accounting team know if you have any issues with cashing your check.

  • Branch location: TBD
  • Branch telephone: TBD
  • Branch hours: TBD
  • Bank website link: TBD

Please check back at a later date for details; we will also be sending out the relevant information to financial aid recipients via email.