Below is a list of frequently asked questions relating to the Wikimedia Foundation Scholarship Program, with answers tailored specifically for Wikimania 2016.
If your question is not answered here, please contact wikimania-scholarshipswikimedia.org or leave a message at Talk:Scholarships.
Q: What is a Wikimania 2016 scholarship?
A: A scholarship is a grant given to an individual to enable them to attend Wikimania 2016 from 22 and 26 June 2016 in Esino Lario, Italy. This is achieved through the Wikimedia Foundation providing funds that will cover accommodation, registration, and (for full scholarship recipients) transportation.
Q: Are all scholarships paid for by the Wikimedia Foundation?
A: No, some Wikimedia organizations such as chapters and thematic organizations are distributing and paying for their own scholarships – see #Wikimedia organization scholarships for more information about these.
Q: Who can apply for a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship?
A: Anyone can submit an application. However, scholarships will only be distributed to individuals with certain credentials – see #Scholarship eligibility.
Q: Where can interested users submit an application for a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship?
A: See Scholarships#Apply.
Q: When is the deadline for applications? When will the results be released?
A: See Scholarships#Important dates which gives the full planned timetable of the Wikimedia Foundation Scholarships Program.
Q: Can users submit applications for a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship after the deadline?
A: To ensure that final decision results are released on-time in fairness to other applicants, late applications will not be accepted. It is recommended that applications are submitted at least a few days before the deadline to avoid missing it.
Q: How will applicants for Wikimedia Foundation scholarships be notified of the results?
A: The e-mail address provided on the application will be used to notify an individual of whether their application has been successful or not. All applicants will be contacted at some point, regardless of the result. See Scholarships#Important dates for expected dates of notification.
Q: On what basis are the recipients of Wikimedia Foundation scholarships decided?
A: Using a predetermined selection process and selection criteria, WMF staff and the Scholarship Committee review all applications for a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship and determines which are successful.
Q: How is the Global North and Global South defined?
A: See strategy:Global South for the definition used by the Wikimedia Foundation Scholarships Program.
Q: How many applications for a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship are typically submitted in a given year?
A: For Wikimania 2013, 1,219 applications for a scholarship were submitted. This decreased slightly for Wikimania 2014, in which 1,168 applications were submitted, and decreased substantially in 2015 in which ~600 applications were submitted.
Q: How many Wikimedia Foundation scholarships are available?
A: No fixed number of scholarships are awarded; rather, there is a set amount of funding available to distribute, which amounts to approximately US$100,000-US$200,000; final budget will be determined in early 2016.
Types of scholarships
Q: What types of scholarships are available?
A: For Wikimania 2016, there are two types of scholarships available from the Wikimedia Foundation: Full scholarships and Partial scholarships. See Scholarships/Scholarship details for more information. Other Wikimedia organizations might offer full or partial scholarships as well – see Wikimedia organization scholarships.
Q: Why are partial scholarships being offered this year by the Wikimedia Foundation when they were not available in 2014 or 2015?
A: At the request of the 2016 organizing committee, partial scholarships are being offered this year. Given the previous concerns about the low acceptance rate of partial scholarships and the overhead in reimbursing them for Wikimania 2013, the evaluation of the new Scholarship program (instated in 2015 and continued in 2016) will include an evaluation of the acceptance and usage of partial scholarships.
Q: Are there country specific scholarships being offered?
A: Wikimedia Foundation scholarships can be awarded to a resident of almost any country. Scholarships offered by other Wikimedia organizations are often country specific – see Wikimedia organization scholarships.
Q: Who is eligible to receive a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship to attend Wikimania?
A: While anyone can apply for a scholarship to attend Wikimania, the most eligible candidates are active contributors to one or more Wikimedia projects, organizations, or initiatives who have a clear interest in Wikimania and the Wikimedia movement. Note however, as the program supports volunteer participation, individuals whose participation is tied to paid work are not eligible for a scholarship. Furthermore, unlike in previous years, individuals who solely contribute to non-Wikimedia free content projects or movements are no longer encouraged to apply, as Wikimedia related activities are now the main basis for evaluation.
Q: Are there any age restrictions?
A: No, anyone is welcome to apply. However, if a child applicant is offered a scholarship, the consent of their parent(s) or guardian(s) will be required before it is awarded. For this process, a child is defined as someone below the age of eighteen years when their application is submitted.
Q: Do applicants have to agree to any terms or conditions before submitting an application?
A: Yes, they are located on the bottom of the application form – all terms and conditions must be checked off before an application form can be submitted.
Q: Why do applicants have to agree to some terms and conditions before submitting their application?
A: To ensure that they understand what they will be expected to do and what they will be required to pay for if they receive a scholarship.
Q: Do applicants have to sign-up to a privacy agreement before submitting an application?
A: Yes, this agreement is located on the bottom of the application form – all applications must indicate their consent to the agreement by entering their full name in the appropriate box. Applicants below the age of eighteen years (see above) must also have their legal parent or guardian enter their full name in a separate box.
Q: Why do applicants have to consent to a privacy agreement before submitting their application?
A: For legal reasons and to ensure applicants understand what will happen to the data they submit.
Q: If an applicant has received a scholarship or travel grant to attend a previous Wikimania, are they eligible to receive one for Wikimania 2016 as well?
A: Yes, except for any 2014 or 2015 scholarship recipients who failed to complete a post-conference report. Furthermore, previous Wikimania attendees or Scholarships recipients will be asked to answer an additional question on their 2016 application.
Q: If I can afford to travel to and attend Wikimania, should I apply?
A: Scholarship recipients are not selected based on financial need, as such factors cannot be assessed by WMF staff or the Scholarship Committee when reviewing applications. However, it is asked that applicants carefully consider their financial need against the needs of other applicants from all over the world. Many applicants do not have the financial means to attend Wikimania without this opportunity.
Writing a scholarship application
Q: Can multiple applicants submit one joint application?
A: No, every applicant must submit their own application to be considered.
Q: Do applications have to be submitted in English?
A: No, but it is strongly recommended that they are, as English is the only language that all members of the Scholarship Committee can understand. In the event that an application is submitted in a language other than English, translation attempts will be made, but this may require the use of computer translators which do not always provide accurate translations. Note that as part of the Phase 1 selection criteria, applicants must provide evidence of English language abilities that are at a level that would enable them to participate in Wikimania, which is primarily conducted in English, and submitting an application in English is an effective way of fulfilling this requirement.
Q: Are applicants expected to answer all the questions on the application form?
A: Yes, except when not applicable or relevant to the applicant. If an applicant fails to make a reasonable effort to answer the questions, their application will likely fail the Phase 1 selection criteria.
Q: Why does the application form ask for some personal information?
A: To assist in the distribution of scholarships and for the purposes of diversity monitoring. Note that recipients will be selected based only on factors described in the selection process.
Q: What Wikimedia project usernames should applicants list on their application form?
A: All usernames that have been used by the applicant for contributing to Wikimedia projects. If a username is shared with someone else, this should be noted on the application. Unused accounts need not be listed. In any case, there is no obligation for applicants to list all accounts they own or use for editing.
Q: Can applicants provide links to pages on other websites as evidence in their answers?
A: Yes, this is encouraged, especially for answering the enrichment related questions. However, links to on-wiki or off-wiki sites should be associated with clear descriptions of the applicant's involvement and contribution. Reviewers will consider all relevant information available to them when reviewing applications.
Q: How much are applicants expected to write when answering the questions?
A: Enough to give reviewers a clear picture of the applicant – guidance on what to write is provided with the Phase 2 selection criteria. The appropriate length for an answer varies from applicant-to-applicant depending on what they have to show. For most applicants, between three and five normal sized paragraphs per question answer will be sufficient. Reviewers do not expect to receive a dissertation, but overly short answers will usually fail to support the application clearly enough.
Q: Can well known/established users skip the questions asking about their participation in Wikimedia projects?
A: No. Having more contributions should normally mean providing longer answers, not shorter answers or no answers at all. On grounds of fairness, all applicants are expected to make a reasonable effort to answer the questions as per the Phase 1 selection criteria.
Q: Can applicants edit their application after submission?
A: Unfortunately not. It is recommended that applicants draft their application carefully and ensure they say everything they need to say before submission. However, additional information can be submitted by applicants to wikimania-scholarshipswikimedia.org where a member of the Scholarship Committee or Wikimedia Foundation staff will note the new information on the user's application. Please do not submit an application twice; this creates a lot of additional work for reviewers.
Scholarship value and reimbursement process
Q: What does a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship pay for?
A: A Wikimedia Foundation full scholarship will cover the cost of an individual's round-trip travel as arranged by the Wikimedia Foundation travel agency, shared accommodation for up to 6 nights as arranged by the Wikimedia Foundation, the conference registration fee, and the shuttle service to and from the hotel and conference venue. Note that most meals during the conference are covered by the conference registration fee, such as lunches and receptions. A Wikimedia Foundation partial scholarship will only cover shared accommodation and the conference registration fee.
Q: What expenses are not covered by a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship?
A: Expenses that are not covered include any incidental costs (new passport, travel guides, plug adapters, clothes, etc.), local transportation during the conference (except airport transfers), meals outside of the conference venue, costs related to being accompanied by families and friends, and all expenses associated with any vacation taken outside of the conference dates. Please note that during the conference, some meals are provided. The Wikimedia Foundation will not normally cover the cost of obtaining a visa (see Travel) – exceptions may be made upon request.
Q: How will the Wikimedia Foundation pay for the expenses of scholarship recipients? Send them the money? Reimburse them?
A: The Wikimedia Foundation will pay directly for conference registration fees, travel, and shared accommodation. For the booking of transport, applicants are required to use a travel booking service contracted by the Wikimedia Foundation. For transportation to and from the airport (in both their home country and in Italy), WMF will reimburse scholarship recipients via Western Union, once recipients turn in their relevant receipts.
Q: Can Wikimedia Foundation scholarship recipients book their own travel arrangements and ask for reimbursement?
A: No, as a condition of submitting an application all applicants must agree to use the travel booking service provided by the Wikimedia Foundation.
Q: When should I register for Wikimania?
A: People who receive a scholarship will be provided a special code to register for the conference. All final decisions for the Wikimedia Foundation scholarships should be announced by mid-April (see Important dates; the page will be updated in the event of a delay). It is not recommended that applicants register until they have received a final decision on their application.
Q: Will the Wikimedia Foundation provide visa assistance?
A: An invitation letter for all scholarship recipients requiring a visa to attend the conference will be provided (see Travel). We expect each recipient to contact their local Italian consulate or embassy on their own or through a visa service and pay any fees. If paying the visa fee is a hardship, the Foundation will cover this expense.
Wikimedia organization scholarships
Q: What other Wikimedia organizations are providing scholarships for attending Wikimania 2016?
A: This list of organizations offering scholarships is an ongoing process. See Wikimedia organizations scholarships for the full list.
Q: Do applicants interested in both a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship and another Wikimedia organization scholarship need to apply twice?
A: It varies. Some Wikimedia organizations will be using the applications for Wikimedia Foundation scholarships to select their recipients; in these cases, additional applications directly to the Wikimedia organization will not be necessary. However, other Wikimedia organizations require separate applications. See Scholarships#Wikimedia organizations scholarships for more information.
Q: If a Wikimedia organization requires separate applications, when is the deadline to apply?
A: That depends on the Wikimedia organization in question – see Scholarships Wikimedia organizations scholarships.
Q: Who is eligible for a Wikimedia organization scholarship?
A: Most Wikimedia organizations will only provide scholarships to individuals who are relevant to them, such as those who have contributed to Wikimedia projects in languages of interest to that organization, or who live in the country where the organization is based. See Scholarships Wikimedia organizations scholarships for more detail.
Q: How do Wikimedia organizations decide who receives their scholarships?
A: Final decisions on successful applications are usually made by the organization themselves. If an organization is using applications for Wikimedia Foundation scholarships (see above), they may take the reviews completed by WMF staff and the Scholarship Committee as a starting point. The organizations which do not use these applications will carry out their own review and selection process independently of both the Scholarship Committee and the Wikimedia Foundation.
Q: How do these other Wikimedia organization scholarships differ from Wikimedia Foundation scholarships?
A: They usually cover the same or similar expenses, but it varies by organization – see Scholarships Wikimedia organizations scholarships
If your question is not answered here, please contact wikimania-scholarshipswikimedia.org or leave a message at Talk:Scholarships.