One of the things the Drupal Association struggles a lot with is the pricing of DrupalCon tickets for attendees. As detailed in the 2011 Annual Report (1.3 MB PDF), DrupalCon tickets make up a significant portion of the organizations' overall revenue, which goes to funding hugely important long-term projects like the Drupal.org redesign and Git migration, server upgrades, programs like the Community Cultivation Grants, as well as salaries for our staff to help run operations. While we are actively working on diversifying our revenue stream through initiatives like a revamped Drupal Marketplace and hosting listings, and adding numerous benefits to our membership program, the fact remains that in the meantime, DrupalCon ticket sales help to off-set significant costs for programs that help benefit the wider Drupal community, including those individuals who could never hope to attend a DrupalCon due to family/geographical/visa issues.
At the same time, we also recognize the wonderful diversity of people in our community. And for students, hobbyists, non-profits, evaluators, freelancers, and others, even the significantly off-set ticket prices (thanks to our generous DrupalCon sponsors) can make DrupalCon attendance prohibitive to the people we hope most can get there. And while we offer full-ride scholarships for a limited number of people in financial need, asking for one is often uncomfortable, especially by people who give a lot to Drupal already. In the past, we've done super-cheap "land grab" tickets (first 100 or so), but often those go to the people who don't need them: the major Drupal shops and others making ample money off Drupal who already know they'll be coming to DrupalCon, regardless of ticket cost.
This time around, we're doing something a little different. The Drupal Association has set aside a number of half-price tickets to students and non-profits, as well as FREE tickets to contributors. To snag one, you have to apply to lead a sprint on the final sprint day. These applications will get checked over by the same group who looks over the scholarship applications, and use similar criteria (involvement in community of the participant, impact of the sprint on larger project, etc.) to evaluate the submissions.
So, if you're someone who is driving important change in Drupal (or someone wants to!), please tell us about your plans and you could qualify for complimentary admission!