The High School Fed Challenge is a competition designed to bring real-world economics into the classroom. Teams play the role of monetary policymakers by analyzing economic conditions and recommending a course for monetary policy.
Teams can compete in one of two divisions–Maiden Lane or Liberty Street–depending on the level of economics-related courses taken by students. Leading up to the competition, New York Fed staff will be hosting orientations and a boot camp for students as well as providing online resources to aid students as they prepare for the competition.
Schools in the Federal Reserve’s Second District are eligible to compete.
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:
- Fill out all information about the team in the online registration system.
- Have their school principal send an endorsement via email to the program managers, Graham Long at firstname.lastname@example.org and Carmi Recto at email@example.com. This endorsement is required for team participation. Download the principal endorsement form.
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.
In order to foster an efficient and respectful environment to successfully participate in the High School Fed Challenge, students, faculty advisors and judges are reminded to follow the Code of Conduct:
- The New York Fed High School Fed Challenge is an educational program that aims to encourage students to learn more about the Federal Reserve System and to spur interest in economics and finance as the basis for a possible career.
- Participants should conduct themselves professionally, respectfully and with integrity during all the events that constitute the New York Fed High School Fed Challenge.
- Participants should not engage in verbal or physical behavior that, according to reasonable sensibilities, stigmatizes or victimizes an individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion or disability.
- Participants should not engage in verbal or physical behavior that threatens or harms any individual involved in the New York Fed High School Fed Challenge.
- Students and faculty advisors should not approach the judges with questions, comments or concerns about the judging process, feedback or scoring of teams. These questions, comments and concerns should be referred to the New York Fed Economic Education staff onsite who will address them.
- Failure to follow the code of conduct may result in the participant’s or the team’s immediate disqualification from the High School Fed Challenge and from other current and/or future educational programs organized by the New York Fed.
How many competition dates are there?
- There will be a preliminary round and one semi-final/final day. The semi-final and final competitions are held on the same day, with the semi-final round taking place in the morning and the finals in the afternoon. A bracket is a group of teams that compete against each other in a competition round. All teams in a bracket face the same judges and compete in the same room. The winner of each bracket will advance to the next round of competition.
How are teams assigned to brackets and preliminary competition dates?
- Teams are assigned at random to brackets and to one of the two preliminary competition dates. Under extenuating circumstances, the New York Fed may assign a team to compete on a specific preliminary date and time. This accommodation, however, is not guaranteed.
Who are the competition judges and how are they assigned to brackets?
- Judges are New York Fed economists and staff who are experts on economics and monetary policy. Judging teams are assigned at random to the brackets.