Essay Contest Rules and Awards

Eligibility | Awards | Regulations | Judging

Eligibility Requirements

All high school students residing in the Ninth Federal Reserve District are eligible for the essay contest. The Ninth District includes Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Each entrant must be under the supervision and direction of a teacher.

The supervising teachers or students must submit all essays and student entry forms on or before the contest due date on March 27, 2015.

Students who have family members employed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis or serving as contest judges are not eligible to participate.


Thirty students will receive $100. In addition, a first-, second- and third-place winners will be selected. The third-place winner will receive an additional $200, and the second-place winner will receive an additional $300. The first-place winner will receive an additional $400 and a paid summer internship at the Minneapolis Fed. The winning essay will also be published in The Region magazine.

Contest winners and their teachers will be invited to a culminating workshop, luncheon and awards program at the Minneapolis Fed. A parent or guardian is welcome to attend the awards program. Although winners are encouraged to participate, attendance is not mandatory to receive awards.

Scholarships covering travel—based on automobile mileage and one night’s lodging—will be provided for winners and teachers attending from outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

Cash incentives for teachers!

Classroom Visits by a Minneapolis Fed Economist

Teachers with one or more students who are selected as finalists are now eligible for a $100 cash prize. From a pool of teachers who assign the essay contest as a class requirement and submit essays for the contest, several schools will be selected for a classroom visit by an economist. Please email if you wish to be considered. If travel precludes a visit, a conference call may be scheduled.

Contest Regulations

All essays must comply with the following contest rules before submission:

  • No literary form other than an essay will be accepted.
  • Each essay must reflect the contestant's own research, writing and original thinking.
  • Only one (1) essay may be submitted by each contestant.
  • Each teacher may submit no more than 15 essays per classroom. (Submissions from more than one classroom will be accepted.)
  • Each contestant must complete and attach a student entry form.
  • Teachers must verify and sign the verification of authenticity on the student entry form.
  • Essays must be typed.
  • The essay text is limited to three (3) double-spaced, 12-point font, single-sided, numbered pages with one-inch margins. The title page and bibliography are not included in the three pages.
  • Each essay must include a title page, not considered text, with the following information:

    essay title
    author's name
    school name
    school address
    school telephone number
    total number of pages of essay
    name of supervising teacher

  • The title of the essay, but NOT the author's name, MUST appear on the top of the first page of essay text.
  • References should be included and clearly identified.
  • Send two (2) copies of the essay to:
    Essay Contest
    Public Affairs
    Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
    Public Affairs Department
    P.O. Box 291
    Minneapolis, MN 55480-0291
  • If you wish to send your essay via e-mail, contact Joe Mahon at to make arrangements.
  • Entries must be postmarked on or before contest due date on March 27, 2015.
  • Essays will not be returned to the author; they become property of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The Bank may reprint the essays in educational publications and use them at economic education workshops. Appropriate citations will be given to the writers.


College economics faculty and Federal Reserve staff will judge the essays using five criteria. A sample scoring sheet follows.

Essay Scoring Sheets

Rate each of the five categories 1 through 20, with 20 as the highest score. Add the five categories to reach the essay's final score.

Essay Number _____________

Comprehension (1-20 points) _________
How well does the essay reflect a thorough comprehension of the issues involved the essay topic?
Organization (1-20 points) __________
Does the argument follow a logical and easily understood progression? Does corroborating evidence support the essay's main points?
Conclusions (1-20 points) __________
Do the conclusions follow logically from the argument? How compelling are the conclusions?
Creativity  (1-20 points) ___________
Use of diverse resources, including interviews. Creative angle on the issue.
 Writing     (1-20 points) ____________
Correct grammar, spelling, punctuation. Concise language.
Final Score _____________



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