Fed Challenge

High School Fed Challenge is an academic competition that provides students grades 9–12 the opportunity to study the U.S. economy through the lens of the U.S. central bank. The program is designed to encourage students to learn more about economics and about the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policymaking group that makes interest rate decisions to foster economic strength and stability.

Midwest Fed Challenge: 2015 Winners!

A team of five students from Nicolet High School in Glendale, WI, won on April 22 the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Midwest Fed Challenge Competition. Learn more about the winners.

Building a 21st Century Learning Environment

Fed Challenge students:


  • Analyze real data and use industry tools to assess the US economy
  • Develop a simulation to showcase assessment and recommendations
  • Gain exposure to professional economists from the Chicago Fed and sister organizations
  • Be evaluated on quality of teamwork
  • Develop critical thinking skills in preparation for live question and answer session with professional economists
  • Make personal connections that will last beyond high school

In Support of 21st Century Skills Framework

By the Partnership for 21st Century Skills


  • Focuses on 21st Century Skills, content knowledge and expertise.
  • Builds understanding across and among core subjects, as well as 21st Century interdisciplinary themes.
  • Emphasizes deep understanding, rather than shallow knowledge.
  • Engages students with the real world data, tools and experts that they will encounter in college, on the job and in life: Students learn best when actively engaged in solving meaningful problems.
  • Allows for multiple measures of mastery.

How Does Fed Challenge Work?

High school student teams from District schools take part in a simulated FOMC meeting. Each team of five students takes 15 minutes to analyze the U.S. economy, presents a short-term forecast for the economy and makes a monetary policy recommendation. The team must then defend its presentation before a panel of Fed economists in a 10-minute question-and-answer session.