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College Fed Challenge

Each fall, the Federal Reserve sponsors a national college competition. The college team consists of 3-5 members who create an original presentation about current macroeconomic conditions and monetary policy. Tryouts are typically held in September. If you're interested in learning more about HCFC or scheduling a tryout, please email us at fedchallenge@gmail.com.

The Challenge

The college challenge differs slightly from the high school challenge in two respects - the length of presentation is longer and the depth of knowledge is greater. Each college team must give a 20 minute presentation on the current economic and financial conditions that support a monetary policy recommendation. Economists, academics, and/or Fed officials then question the team for an additional 15 minutes. After each round, the top teams in their respective brackets advance. The Boston Federal Reserve hosts the first two rounds and the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. hosts the finals.


Tryouts are held in late September. If you plan to tryout, it is important that you sign up for a tryout time either at one of the student activities fairs or by emailing us at fedchallenge@gmail.com.

Tryouts are conducted by the College Coordinator and Team Captain. Prospective team members will give a 2-5 minute presentation on inflation (notes, articles, graphs, etc., may be used but are not required). No prior experience with monetary policy or Fed Challenge is needed - just an interest in learning, debating, and competing.

Volunteer Tutoring

In the spring, HCFC coaches a high school Fed Challenge team at Prospect Hill Academy in Central Square, Cambridge. Please see the High School page for more information.


In November 2011, Harvard won the Fed Challenge national championship, besting a field of over 100 colleges. Congratulations to team captain Sumit Malik, Anirudha Balasubramanian, James Sun, Ben Sprung-Keyser, Andreas Schaab, and alternate Justin Katiraei. Photographs have been posted in the gallery.


In December 2008, Harvard again won first at the National Fed Challenge. Congratulations to team captain Colin Motley, team members Troy Murrell, Akeel Rangwala, Charlie Schaub, and Anna Zhang; alternates Scott Vautour and Utsav Bhat; and the college coordinator, Stephanie Lo. The team thanks Professor Benjamin Friedman for serving as their adviser, as well as the economics department as a whole for the support it lent.


In November 2007, Harvard won first place at the National Fed Challenge competition. Congratulations to team captain Troy Murrell, team members Colin Motley, Scott Vautour, Akeel Rangwala, and Charlie Schaub, and the college coordinator, Stephanie Lo.
2007 was an exciting year for Fed Challenge. Besides traveling to DC with Professor Friedman in late November, the team had a discussion with Paul Volcker (former Fed Chairman) before he spoke at the IOP. The team also met with numerous prestigious professors, including Richard Cooper, Jeffrey Miron, and Martin Feldstein.

As of summer 2007, Professor Benjamin Friedman has agreed to serve as a Fed Challenge advisor, helping us with economic analysis and the development of our presentations. For the 2007-2008 school year, we have secured a new office in the Student Organization Center at Hilles (SOCH).

Special Events

Each year, HCFC invites professors and economists to speak at a meeting. During the 2004-2005 school year, former Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson of the Federal Open Market Committee came to speak with us about the Fed and transparency in central banking. In the 2006-2007 academic year, the competing team met with Professor N. Gregory Mankiw and Professor Martin Feldstein to discuss its presentation and current economic news. We are currently working in conjunction with the Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association to host a special guest speaker at the Institute of Politics. We also anticipate co-hosting an event at the Student Organization Center at Hilles (SOCH), which will include a conversation with a prominent Harvard economist. Future events will be posted on our calendar.