The High School Fed Challenge is an unforgettable experience in economic analysis, monetary policy decision-making, public speaking and teamwork.
Fed Challenge participants develop skills—the ability to think analytically, to make effective presentations, to work as a team, to think on their feet—that are valuable in both their academic and professional careers.
To compete, teams of three to five students offer a 12-minute presentation on the economy and participate in a 13-minute Q&A with the judges.
Judges are New York Fed economists and staff who are experts on economics and monetary policy.
The High School Fed Challenge is designed to meet the following goals:
- To increase understanding of macroeconomics and the Federal Reserve's role in setting U.S. monetary policy and ensuring financial stability,
- to promote interest in economics as a subject for study and the basis for a career, and
- to foster a cooperative relationship among students, teachers and the New York Fed.
Schools can participate in only one of two divisions. Orientations, boot camps and online resources to aid students as they prepare for the challenge are available.
Teams of three to five students from schools that have not previously participated in the competition and/or whose students are not in AP Economics, Economics honors, college-level economics classes or are members of a high-school-level Fed Challenge club, afterschool program or course are eligible to join the Maiden Lane division.
- Teams will be sent a case study describing hypothetical economic conditions four weeks prior to the competition day.
- Teams must prepare and deliver a 15-minute presentation on their analysis of the case study with a monetary policy recommendation based on their analysis.
- There will be a Q&A session following the presentation.
Fed Challenge Macro Boot Camp:
In order to prepare for the Maiden Lane division, teams are strongly encouraged to attend the Fed Challenge Macro Boot Camp, a free one-day series of workshops that will teach students about introductory economics concepts as well as effective presentation techniques.
Teams of three to five students that have at least one student who is taking AP Economics, Economics honors, college-level economics classes or is a member of a high-school-level Fed Challenge club, afterschool program or course must join the Liberty Street division.
- Teams must prepare and deliver a 12-minute presentation on the economy—modeled after those made by Federal Reserve policymakers—that:
- addresses current economic conditions;
- forecasts near-term changes in economic and financial conditions of critical importance to monetary policy (such as unemployment, inflation and output);
- identifies possible economic, financial and international issues that might present either positive or negative risks to the economy;
- recommends a monetary policy response based on the above conditions
- Prepared presentations (deck of slides) need to be sent to Economic Education staff by email one week prior to the competition. A written policy statement is no longer required. In lieu of written policy statements, the charts in the presentation must be accompanied by some text to create a clear and concise narrative of how the team decided on its policy recommendation based on their analysis.
- There will be a 13-minute Q&A session following the presentation.
In order to prepare for the Liberty Street division, teams are encouraged to attend a student orientation where students will hear from top economists and policymakers about current economic conditions.
A team consists of three to five students who attend the same high school. A team can be formed in a number of ways:
- As part of an extracurricular activity. The team is made up of student volunteers who work on the Fed Challenge as an out-of-class activity. An advantage of extracurricular recruiting is having returning participants, who can relate, first-hand, their experiences from the previous year's Challenge.
- As the result of a class- or school-based competition. The class is divided into teams. Each team makes a presentation before the rest of the class; the team with the best presentation goes on to represent the school. An alternative is the "all-star" approach, in which the five best presenters in class are chosen. Or team selection can be extended to all the classes in a school by choosing either a best-of-school team or a team of the school's best presenters.
- By teacher selection. A teacher assembles a team on the basis of overall performance, some in-class assignment or expressed interest in the subject.
Other class members can get involved by taking part in team activities such as:
- gathering and analyzing data and useful background information,
- researching important concepts and issues that are likely to be important to monetary policy, preparing charts and other parts of the presentation,
- judging practice sessions and providing feedback, and
- serving as an alternate team member in case of team member absence on the day of the competition.
Faculty advisors must register their teams online.
- Schools must be in the Second Federal Reserve District which includes New York State; Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties in New Jersey; and Fairfield County in Connecticut.
- One team from each school is allowed to enter.
- All correspondence, including sign-up and materials distribution, will be done electronically through the New York Fed's website or email. It is the responsibility of faculty advisors and student participants to check the website for notices and posted materials and to read all email messages carefully. There will be no exceptions to this policy.
Faculty advisors will be asked to:
Note: Other adults, such as parents or interested community members, can serve as faculty advisors, but they must receive permission and endorsement from the school principal. The principal should email the program coordinator, as described above.