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Eligibility | AwardsRegulationsJudging

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, or a parent who is homeschooling.

The supervising teachers or parents must submit all essays and student entry forms on or before the contest due date on April 16, 2021.

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


Thirty student finalists will receive $100. In addition, 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, to take place in the summer of 2022. The winning essays will also be published online.

Contest finalists 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.

Incentives for teachers!

Teachers with one or more students who are selected as finalists will receive a $100 prize.

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 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.
  • Essays must be submitted electronically by the student's teacher or parent via our online submission form.
  • The teacher or parent must vouch for the authenticity of the student's paper via our online submission form.
  • Essays must be submitted in Microsoft Word.
  • The essay text is limited to three double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman 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
    • Author's email address
    • School name
    • School city, state
    • Name of supervising teacher/parent
  • 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.   
  • Essays must be received via the online submission form on or before April 16, 2021.
  • 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 10, with 10 as the highest score. Add the five categories to reach the essay's final score.

Essay Number _____________

  1. Comprehension (1-10 points) _________
    Does the student identify relevant economic issues arising from the question? How well does the essay reflect the student’s understanding of those principles as they relate to the topic?
  2. Organization (1-10 points)
    Does the student state a clear thesis? Does the argument follow a logical and easily understood progression? Does corroborating evidence support the essay's main points?
  3. Conclusions (1-10 points) __________
    Does the student apply economic reasoning to support their thesis? Do their conclusions logically follow from the argument? How compelling are the conclusions?
  4. Creativity (1-10 points) ___________
    Creative angle on the issue. Use of diverse resources, including interviews.
  5. Writing (1-10 points) ____________
    Correct grammar, spelling, punctuation. Concise language.
  6. Final Score _____________