Policy Solutions Challenge USA is a national competition among teams of students from U.S. schools of public policy, public affairs and public administration to develop innovative solutions to the most important policy problems facing the country. This year’s topic is “Increasing the National Rate of College Completion.”
In the first round of the challenge, teams representing institutions across the United States submitted a five-page memo that presented one policy option, forecasted how that option will increase the national rate of college completion in ten years, and used cost estimates to offer a preliminary cost-effectiveness analysis.
A panel of experts then selected 12 semifinalists from all entries received in the first round. SPA had two teams advance to the semifinalist stage: one comprised of PhD students, the other of AMPA students.
Each semifinalist team then submitted a 10-page memo that could include a total of three policy options and refined cost-effectiveness estimates for each of them, and offered any additional policy analysis the team wished to include. Six of the semifinalists were then selected by a panel of experts to attend the national finals.
The PhD team from SPA was chosen to be among the 6 finalists! Now the SPA team will travel to American University in Washington, D.C., to compete in the finals on March 25-26.
Before then, each team submits a 12-page memo in advance of the event using the same guidelines as for the semifinals. Those memos are provided to the judges for the finals. At the final event, each team has two opportunities to present their analyses to the judges: first in private, then in public. Prior to the public presentation, teams can make last-minute adjustments to their proposals based on feedback from the judges.