This is my understanding. You receive one trade-in for each team that you have registered with RECF. You turn in a Cortex, a controller and two VEXnet keys for each trade in and you will receive a V5 brain, a V5 Controller, a V5 radio (replaces the VEXnet key for the robot), a battery and battery Charger for approximately $225 ish. I don’t think it matters whether you received the Cortex through the RECF grant or not. Plus, unless this has changed, you will receive a voucher for 30% off V5 motors for each trade-in.
That is doubtful. Over the years, from our prior rep, I had received many incorrect answers. In fact, nearly every question I had asked was answered with incorrect info. For example, I was told that if we had a middle school team and a high school team, they would each have to pay the fee for the first team ($150 rather than the 2nd team being $100) and was told it had always been that way but that they had finally fixed things so it would not happen that way in the future. This was even though it is the same organization at the same location. After probing further, I was informed that it was a glitch in the system and all I had to do was register the second team as the same level as the first and then change it to the other level. I was told you can even have the same leading number for IQ elem, IQ MS, VRC MS, and VRC HS and only would need to pay the $150 for the first team.
The incorrect information that our former RECF rep gave actually cost another organization money because they believed him.
I would check further up the line. I am not sure how they would even know if the material was from the grant.
It depends on how the grant is written and what the terms are. It could be that not all grants are created equal. However the guidance I received from our RECF Regional Rep. was that we were allowed to upgrade our cortex that were obtained with grants. (Our grants were structured that after 3 years the requirements were satisfied.)
He also mentioned what @Powerbelly said, new grants this year will be getting cortex systems.
I believe that the team just wants to “do the right thing” as far as the grant’s rules are concerned. When given $1000+ it would be rude to “just trade it in” if there were conditions forbidding it. After all, you’re still better off than without the grant.
EDIT: typo, and @WARCoachL from reading the grant application instructions (from this page, it says that the donated equipment is required to be kept in a safe, clean location and must be used for official VRC competitions or activities. I would attempt to go further up the chain to try and get the answer you want, but the terms and conditions are worded in a way I would keep the equipment unless you get a very clear answer.
Seems like the easy answer to that is so long as you compete for the required number of seasons, it is not an issue. If it becomes an issue because you decide to not compete the required number of years, you turn in the upgrade with the equipment.